FEBRUARY MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 14th February

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.

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MID-WEEK RUN to TRAFALGAR – Wednesday, February 13th


Our Mid-Week Run on the 13th February, started at our usual spot at the Darnum Stump Tearooms and there were a great number of members there for a coffee. Some didn’t continue on the trip and some met us at the dinner destination, which was the Trafalgar Hotel instead of the original Yarragon Hotel which we found out couldn’t cater for such a large number of people on the day.

There were 17 vehicles and around 31 people attending today’s outing, a great turn up. We set off on our drive at approx. 11:10am with the weather being a little unkind with drizzly rain, but as we traveled into the hills it became quite nice.

John had given us all a few warnings regarding debris and some evidence of fallen trees on some parts of the roads due to the previous days’ strong winds, so we found some areas were covered in tree bark and small twigs, but when you’re in a Porsche any small twig feels like a log. There were also a couple of dangerous corners to maneuver around.

The drive up Sunny Creek Road was very enjoyable. As per everywhere at the moment, the farming area is very dry, and many dams were seen to be very low, if not dry. We stopped at the Childers intersection for all the cars to catch up, then we continued on to Thorpdale. Up until now, the weather had been very kind to us, the sun had popped out making our drive very pleasant.

It was lovely to see green in the hills – potatoes not grass, but the crops seemed to be flourishing.

On arrival at Thorpdale it was great to see the Pub has been refurbished and reopened after the fire. Great for the town and adjoining areas.

Then onto McDonalds Track which had some lovely scenery, down through picturesque Narracan, then along the winding Coalville Road where the scenery once again was lovely – a bit hard for the drivers to notice, but great for the passengers. Then it was back along the Moe South Rd. and its more open views. Going up to one of the slow dangerous corners John had warned us about, a couple from Wesburn who had joined our Club for their first trip with us, had a minor hiccup on this wet corner and had a spin out which caused damage to the radiator letting out the coolant, so unfortunately that was the end of their day with us. A tow truck was called to rescue the mildly-damaged car and luckily no one was hurt. John & Jenny Rooke (from Dandenong) stayed with them until the tow truck was organized and on its way.

Eventually the group moved on. The views going along Lawrence Road and Rogers Road in Trafalgar South were spectacular looking over the valley with the Trafalgar township in a spot of sunlight. If the day had of been a bit clearer it would have been great for photos.

We arrived at the Trafalgar Pub about 12:30 and all managed to get parking spots in the car-park behind the Pub. Everyone agreed the trip was, as usual – very enjoyable.

We all had a lovely dinner – especially Jan who had a little bit more meat than she ordered, hence she removed it and took it outside to live again (a Lady Bug). It was a very social atmosphere with a lot of talking, so it was after 2pm before we all started to leave. When we were traveling home, at the lights in Traf we saw the damaged car on the back of a tow-truck, so all was well, but they obviously spent a while waiting to be picked up. Unfortunately, they missed the lovely dinner. MAYBE NEXT TRIP! (Footnote – they said the Tow-truck driver was a lovely obliging chap, and Shannons will cover the expense.)

Thanks again John & Jan for organizing a great day.

Lorrainne Knight

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MIRBOO NORTH ITALIAN FESTA, Sunday 10th February

Following Warragul’s early morning Breakfast Club, several Sporting Register members headed south to Mirboo North to support the Fiat Club which was displaying some of its members’ cars at the town’s annual Italian Festa. This event is now bigger than Ben Hur and includes everything Italian, even Roman Centurions and Flag Twirlers. The fine weather certainly drew the crowds who enjoyed excellent food, Italian music, excellent food, traditional dance and did I mention the food?

Ian Maud brought along his Fiat X1/9 Prototipo, whilst Steve Schmidt and Mike Whitford displayed their classic and contemporary versions of the Fiat 124 Spider. Other Italian cars on display included several early Fiats, some Abarths, Alfas, Maseratis and a Lamborghini. There were also plenty of Vespas for those who prefer two wheels.

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BREAKFAST CLUB , Warragul CBD – Sunday 10th Feb

Sunday’s cooler weather was obviously the opportunity our members and many others were waiting for. A perfect morning to drive that special vehicle – and where better to take it than Warragul’s Breakfast Club. As has recently become the trend, the Woolies’ car park started filling around 7:30am and by eight there were at least 40 cars already in position. Your correspondent was kept too busy with the camera and signing Club Permit renewals to take a count, but with almost 100 photos in the galleries, the total number of vehicles would have easily exceeded that.

It’s not unusual to have a large Triumph contingent at our gatherings, but following Bernard Doherty’s promotion of International Drive Your Triumph Day, the marque from Coventry outnumbered even the MGs and Mustangs which we regularly find at the top of the attendance sheets. It was a surprise to see a handful of Subaru Brumbys attending this month’s event. The tough little utilitarian Brumby is not most people’s idea of a classic or collectible car, but they undoubtedly have a strong following in 4×4 circles.

Debut appearances this month included Ian Maud’s Fiat X1/9 Prototipo which should be off the trailer and on Club plates next time it makes an appearance. There was a 1996 Saleen Mustang in red, a Japanese market Nissan Stagea station wagon, an unusual brown BMW Z3 and a beautifully presented Holden FB/FC Special wagon. Several others have probably slipped through to the keeper and missed a mention this month, but each and every vehicle plays a significant role in helping to make Warragul’s Breakfast Club the success it has become.

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AUSTRALIA DAY MYSTERY RUN, Saturday 26th January

Glenn and Pam Campbell having been organising and running our annual Australia Day mystery runs for longer than I care to remember and the event is always an enjoyable way of celebrating the occasion. The drive inevitably encompasses some of our best scenic forest roads and inexorably leads to some out-of-the-way café for morning tea before participants head off again on Stage 2 which finishes at the lunch venue. The optional Australiana Trivia Quiz keeps passengers involved and discussion within the vehicle ongoing.

Following on from a week of very hot weather, it was a relief to have a cool change come through on Australia Day eve this year, heralding in a new day which was much more suitable for top-down motoring. It wasn’t a surprise therefore to see, out of the 22 cars participating, three Mercedes roadsters, a couple of MGBs, an MX5, XJS cabriolet, Boxster, Saab convertible, Fiat Spider, E-type Jag, Ford Capri, Healey 100/4, a BMW Z3 and Mark McKibbin’s 1925 Lancia Lambda all letting the wind ruffle the coiffure.

Stage 1 covered a distance of 55 kilometres, beginning in Warragul and heading south out towards Seaview and then along the Grand Ridge Road through Hallston and Allambee South to Mirboo North.  The popular Strzelecki Ranges town was a hive of activity with a local market adding even more visitors to the usual weekend crowd. Forty minutes, however, was sufficient time to enjoy a coffee and cake at one of several cafes, or even a souvlaki at the take-away if that was your want. We then gathered back at the car park where Clint Wilson had discovered the rear tyres on my Spider were fitted to wrong sides of the car and thus rotating against the prescribed Direction of Rotation – thanks Clint, well spotted and now rectified! Instructions for Stage 2 (60 kilometres) were then handed out and the cars began filing out of town past the Brewery towards Boolarra. Simon Eaton driving his very tidy Fiat 128 3P peeled off and headed for home at Jeeralang Junction whilst Shane Slatter’s E-type decided it needed to rest for a while before proceeding further. The rest of the group enjoyed some seldom-used back roads that took us back through Yinnar and Narracan to the Trafalgar-Thorpdale Rd and eventually the Princes Highway through to Coco’s Café at Yarragon for lunch.

Food was consumed and trivia quizzes assessed. Alan and Marg Humphreys topped the results with 10 out of 10 winning themselves two pairs of Aussie thongs (for their feet). Second place with 9 out of 10 went to Ian and Jenny Honey who will need to share the Aussie top hat prize, whilst third place was a tie – split by a tie-breaker between the McKibbins and Kevin Perry both of whom scored 8 out of 10. The McKibbins prevailed and took home a pair of Aussie car mirror covers.  Fun Fact – Who was Count Strzelecki’s aboriginal guide? Answer: Tarra – and the river in South Gippsland is named after him.

Thank you to Glenn and Pam for another terrific Aussie Day Mystery Run and to all the participants who helped make it a success.

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JANUARY MID-WEEK RUN to the ROYAL HOTEL, DROUIN – Thursday 17th Jan

The weather was almost perfect for the group of 17 that met at the Darnum Stump Tearooms around 10:30am via 40km/h re-sealing works on the Princes Hwy. After a desperately needed coffee and briefing by John Fowler, we enjoyed a very scenic drive taking in Bona Vista, Warragul South, Hallora and Lardner and everyone remarked on the wonderful scenery on those great winding and hilly roads, before arriving right on 12:00pm for lunch at the refurbished Royal Hotel in Drouin. It was a baptism by fire for a young staff member who hadn’t been warned that there were three large groups booked for lunch today, but he coped quite well with the crowds while taking food and bar orders.

I was surprised to see such dry conditions in the hills despite the high rainfall throughout December, and those of us that drove “roof down” were in no danger from the few spits of rain as we wound our way past yet more roadworks and farm machinery in the surprisingly almost mild weather despite the dire heat-wave warnings.

Our contingent was made up of an Austin Healey 100-4, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z3, Mercedes E280, Audi S3, Subaru BRZ, Land Rover Discovery and two MX5’s plus the throaty sounds of a Chrysler Charger that reminded me of my teen years. All I needed to hear would be air horns and my day would be complete.

Thank you to John and Jan for organising another fun event and I look for to our next Mid-Week Run.

Words and pictures by Sandra Levey and John Fowler

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