OPEN GARAGE and GARDEN at LONGMORE’S in TYERS – Sunday 24th July

I’ve lost track of how many Open Garage and Garden events Graham and Marg have hosted at their home in Tyers, but like many Sporting Register members, I’ve attended and enjoyed each one. Graham’s garages are quite humble, but the work that goes on inside them is anything but. Many members would be familiar with Graham’s immaculate D-type Jag replica which is often seen at our Warragul Breakfast gatherings – the workmanship and attention to detail is second to none. For the last 15 years Graham has been constructing a 1930’s inspired, Devaux Coupe. Starting with little more than a fibreglass body shell from Devaux Cars in Upper Beaconsfield, Graham has adapted, modified, designed or built from scratch each and every component. The chassis is from a Riley and the drive train, Jaguar. There are bits and pieces from at least half a dozen other makes and models although even more has been hand-made to suit the purpose. Devaux Cars make turn-key Coupes for sale using current Ford Falcon running gear, but they elected to use simple but rather awkward sliding windows in the doors. Graham has designed and built a rather intricate lever mechanism with runners that fits into the small door cavity to create wind-up windows which as well as being more practical, are infinitely more aesthetically pleasing. Although the bodyshell is currently unpainted – the silver-grey coating is a merely a protective film that can be washed off with turpentine – the Devaux is now almost ready for a final engineer’s inspection and then registration. It’s been a long gestation period, but when you take time to look beyond the gorgeous exterior, the detailing explains it all.

Those who managed to tear themselves away from the Devaux, may have enjoyed a wander around the property admiring Marg’s plantings and gardens. There’s even the Tea Room located up near the pool – it’s a de-mounted aluminium-bodied camper built by Graham for an old forward-control Land Rover that they used for touring.  There are also the other garages further up the hill that house their XK120, MINI Cooper S, an old Range Rover, their recently acquired Leyland Mini Clubman and off course the world’s most perfectly measured, cut and stacked supply of firewood that needs to be seen to be believed. On the road outside, the assembly of members’ cars was also worth a look. It was great to see Barry Dunstan’s Fiat 124 BC Coupe on the road after a long period of restoration, and John Cobbledick’s recently purchased, low-mileage V12 XJS Jaguar Cabriolet, which hardly looks old enough to be on Club plates. Graham’s classic motorcycle mates were also invited along and the half dozen or so bikes assembled in the driveway made an interesting diversion for those with a passion for two-wheeled machinery.

Open Garages and Gardens are not meant to be about the food, but it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge Marg’s culinary and catering skills which with the assistance of several young helpers, kept this grateful crowd supplied with hot cocktail frankfurts, pies, sausage rolls, biscuits and slices. On a cold winter’s morning, there’s nothing better than home-made party food. Thanks Marg.

Club President Graeme Hollingsworth presented Graham and Marg with a small plaque in appreciation for once again hosting a very successful Open Garage event. How they managed to organise a welcome morning of sunshine in what has been a very cold, wet and dismal Gippsland winter  is anyone’s guess, but it was also muchly appreciated.

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