Our first meeting for 2019 was a well-attended affair with around 70 members and friends attending. Those who arrived early enough were able to park their sports and classic cars along the roadway outside the clubhouse as part of an impromptu twilight show-n-shine. Amongst that select little group was Mort FitzGerald’s new red Mustang coupe attending its first Sporting Register event. Doug Armour rode shotgun, but anticipates collecting his own ponycar within the next few weeks.
Inside the function room Mark McKibbin had his 1936 Austin 7 Special on display. This was the baby Austin’s second appearance on the green carpet – the first being a while ago as a work-in-progress which showed the extent of the restoration required.
The Specials were light-weight modified versions of regular Austin Sevens and Mark’s Special is based on a 1936 Ruby. It was apparently built in Drouin in the 1980s, but ended up in Darwin where Mark bought it sight-unseen for what he describes as three times its proper value. After stripping it down and finding all the major components badly in need of rebuilding, Mark embarked on a 2-year restoration culminating in the fitting of Club Permit plates in October last year.
Its first major outing was an Austin Seven Rally where lots of things fell off and noises indicating impending doom brought their participation to an end after only a couple of days into the event. There is now a growing list of things-to-do that includes:
1. Fit a proper windscreen
2. Replace pop rivets in the bonnet with cool-looking copper rivets
3. Fit new rear springs to cure a listing to the starboard side
4. Refit the mirror to achieve a view of the road behind rather than the driver’s shoulder
5. Fit a remote gearshift (currently enroute from England)
6. Fit a spare wheel cover
7. Rebuild engine with new crankshaft
8. Fix speedo issues so that it and the odometer read within cooee of the actual speed and distance
Despite the trials and tribulations, Mark finds the Austin Seven a lot of fun to drive and it goes much faster than he thought it would. It’s even comfortable cruising at 90km/h, it just takes a while getting there.