Mothers’ Day dawned damp and cool with the roads still wet from overnight rain. Thick fog filled the hollows and rolled its way along the valleys making the drive into Warragul rather hazardous. The battery in your correspondent’s Fiat 124 Coupe was charged up and ready to roll, but the combination of lumpy cams and big chokes on a cold morning extended the engine’s cantankerous warm-up period to include the whole trip into town. Several other participants had also noted the abrupt seasonal change, the number of roofless sports cars was certainly down on previous months and the lack of motorcycles was noted.
Doug Armour and Des Dillon defied the elements, rugged up and drove their very open vintage sports cars to our gathering. Des’s 1927 Type 35b Bugatti is always a crowd-puller with its supercharged straight eight engine and Grand Prix heritage, but it is always interesting to see the reactions to Doug’s home-made Fiat special with its Maserati-inspired coachwork, flat-head Ford V8, Fiat 509 chassis and other components sourced from a range of donor vehicles.
There may not have been many open sports cars this month, but the weather was perfect to coax out four classic MGBGT coupes. The GT often takes second billing to its more popular roadster sibling, but with the choice of 4-cylinder and V8 engines, a useful opening hatch at the back and weather tight bodywork they’re hard to ignore when looking for a practical classic sports car. The MX5 contingent were strongly represented again this month, their easily erected soft top or optional hardtop make them as weather tight as a coupe – a far cry from many classic UK sporties.
Several vehicles made debut appearances this month. It’s not every day that you see a powder blue two-tone Bentley and a T-model Ford in the same carpark, there was also a green classic convertible Mustang on NSW plates and a relatively rare 2002 Mustang in red. Trevor Batt brought along his recently acquired Mercedes SLK 280 convertible and Richard Rowley has traded his late model silver Jag in on a new red XE – S model that had only just arrived from a dealership in Tasmania.
Despite it being Mothers’ Day, there were somewhere in the vicinity of 70 vehicles on display, which doesn’t count the work utes and Landcruisers that some members elected to drive to this month’s event. The fog eventually lifted and the sun did pop out briefly from between the clouds to tempt our sports car owners into removing their hoods. The drive home was certainly more enjoyable than the drive in, so the Fiat and I grabbed the opportunity and took the long way around.