MID-WEEK RUN to Garfield. Wednesday 24th Feb

Hill Country to Swamp Country with Paul “Need for Speed” Mogensen

On a day that suggested that Autumn was just around the corner, an eclectic convoy of cars set off from the Darnum Tea Rooms. Leading the way was Paul “Need for Speed” Mogensen which in hindsight was never going to be a good move, because his longing for putting the foot down got in the way of him making a right hand turn onto Bona Vista Rd. Instead, the car hammered along Darnum-Allanbee Rd until we got to Hazeldean Rd where we joined the MX5 Car Club run. It was at that time I thought we were going to get to lunch in half an hour not the proposed one hour.

We reunited with the appropriate Car Club along Hazeldean Rd on way to Warragul-Korumburra Rd, near Ellinbank. Once the conga line was re-established settled in nicely (and safely) behind other cars and headed west along Lardners Track and then onto the Torwood – Topiram Rd where beautiful vistas of the Baw Baw Ranges were plentiful. It is these views that make you realise what beautiful country you are in. Adding to this scenery was a magnificent eagle soaring on thermals with a murder of crows trying to move it on with little success. Idyllic really, even though I was nervously unsure what the driver was going to do next. 

Being hemmed in by other cars made ‘Need for Speed’ a bit edgy, so we had to hang back at times just so he could downshift and gun it along the cruisy, Westernport Rd. Once we hit the flat and headed into Swamp country we started reminiscing about the good old days of discos at the Yannathan Hall, tennis matches at Bayles and swimming in the Lang Lang River, which we had by then crossed four times. 

Finally after missing the chicken that was sorting out how to cross the road and which car it was going to play chicken with, we arrived with peace in our hearts (courtesy of the Peaceful House near Garfield). Lovely meal with lovely company.

This is a drive that had a bit of everything, lovely hilly climbs with beautiful surprises around every corner and long flat open straights filled with memories all around. It was definitely a journey through the food-bowl of West Gippsland.  

From ‘Need for Speed’s perspective

Hill Country to Swamp Country with Helen “Handbrake” Mogensen

The Stump Darnum Tea Room to Garfield Hotel for lunch you might say,  well let me tell you about the bit in between the departure and the destination with passenger, aka co-pilot Helen “Handbrake” Mogensen. LOL

After sitting down at the tea rooms for a cuppa  and meeting up with a lovely couple of members new to me,  John and Jenny Crooke, we enjoyed a brief chat before being marshaled by Mr John Fowler to the pleasant outside temperature (for me) to hear about the route and directions to be taken.

John and Jan have a wonderful knack of providing maps for us participants for the runs they organise. I took one look amidst banter with Ian Honey and thought I had the drive down pat.

Without further ado, I went and fired up our Mk 7 Bolwell roadster so that I could have a little run south of Darnum, independent of the peloton with the view of dropping back after we got to Hazeldean Rd. Well guess what?  I did not use my reading glasses and kept on continuing down Allambee-Darnum Rd, missing the fact that John had intended us to veer right into Bona Vista and come out at Hazeldean Rd further west.

Oh well, I did enjoy the spurt ,and surprise surprise, we ended up on the coat tails of the MX 5 Club Eastern Chapter having a run after departing I assumed, from Trafalgar which worked in our favour as the peloton had to give way and we were soon reunited with the first four cars behind John and Jan in their beautiful smoke silver 420G leading a really nice coloured candy-apple-red Datsun 1600, then a red Na MX5 and a Black Porsche Boxster. As the front cars waited, the MX5 Club went past and for a while our convoy followed them west on to Lardners Track then turning west on Torwood-Topiram Rd (one of my favourite twisty roads) – just ask some of the guys in the club with Boxsters when we go out and I take the MX5.

For a few minutes I thought John must have organised the run in conjunction with Peter Ferguson of that club. However, we turned north on Main South Rd at Hallora and then wound along Lang Lang Park Rd then across to the Drouin Poowong Rd and north again to Invermay Rd West, which is where the MX5 boys headed east and were never seen again.

All the while this was going on, yours truly could not help himself and so gunned the car periodically to get the fix of an adrenalin rush with the torque and power of a humble 3-litre Holden 186 with triple Webers. The engine drives through a 5-speed Celica gearbox with an LSD rear end set up for track work. It goes where it’s pointed and then some. Can you get a sense that I’m getting off the point about our car club run? Ha Ha that’s the enjoyment! If you thought I had noticed the scenery you are mostly mistaken because that’s what passengers do. For me it was mostly all about the exhilaration of the drive because behind me was a beautiful and well prepared Austin Healey 100/4 in a livery of silver blue with cream coves.

Once we turned from Invermary Rd west into Westernport Rd, we headed west again down onto the swamp flats as “HandBrake” had already alluded to. We then drove for a few kilometres before turning north again onto Heads Rd which eventually took us in to Bayles before turning right at the Old Onion factory. See I do notice some things!! We swept through Cora Lynn, then out through Vervale on what I call the Bunyip River Rd as it is adjacent to the river flowing past all the veggie flat-farm country, then a lefty into Thirteen Mile Rd to arrive in Garfield.

We parked up at the side of the Garfield Hotel before convening for some stories, laughter, good food and refreshments. Having seen the size of meals coming out, I can say as fact that no one should ever go hungry having a meal in this establishment. After some two hours plus, various travelers called it an afternoon and made their ways off in various directions to home.

Thank you John and Jan for another interesting driving, talking, drinking and eating day out.

John, after this “War and Peace” novel, I don’t think you will pick on me to do a write up again – chuckle, chuckle! From my perspective it was always going to be about the cars and the drive.

Can you not pick locations that have gift shops close by, as Helen lightened our wallet before heading home.

Cheers,

Words by Paul and Helen Mogensen (Photos by John Fowler and Steve Schmidt)

COMMENTS:

Rick Dathan: That was a good read; thank you. It was quite a surprise to see “Mk7 Bolwell roadster” mentioned – and then the two photos of this beautiful car that I have not seen for quite a while.
– Rick

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AUSTRALIA DAY MYSTERY RUN – Tuesday 26th January

As I sit here reclining under the tilt-a-door of my garage nursing a laptop, my Bugeye is parked in the sun nearby, doors open with the seats and rubber floor mats airing on the outdoor furniture. Yesterday was Australia Day and it was wet – 26mm in our rain gauge. Why I chose to take my least weather-proof vehicle on Glenn’s Mystery tour has slipped my mind, but it was a terrific drive along the Grand Ridge Road, passing through the aptly termed rain forest on the flanks of Mt Worth and watching the country gently morph into cleared hills on the approach to Mirboo North. It was there we stopped for a morning tea break, sheltering from the drizzle with a coffee or pastry under one of the many verandahs along the town’s main street. I had departed the start of the event in Warragul a little earlier than the rest to find a location in the forest suitable for photos as our convoy drove past. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many club members participating in event driving their sporting and classic cars despite the relatively unpleasant weather. Once they’d passed, it didn’t take me long to catch the tail of the convoy, as patches of roadworks and a stray cow meandering down the road slowed their pace somewhat. The normal spectacular vistas had disappeared beneath a heavy mist, but as tail-end Charlie, it was interesting to watch our snaking convoy traverse the twists and turns up ahead. Unfortunately, Dave and Paula Anderson’s Pontiac Firebird was having an off-day with cooling fan problems and no front brakes. They made a sensible move to head for home rather than persevere with what must have been a difficult car to drive in such conditions.

The second half of the tour, which headed out into the rich pasture country around Mardan and Dumbalk on the way to Leongatha is a bit of a mystery, because your correspondent positioned himself on the wrong road for photographs and never laid eyes on the convoy. I do know that everyone eventually made it to Mossvale Park on the Strzelecki Highway just south of Mirboo North for a picnic lunch. I have also been told that John Cobbledick won the short, elimination-style Australia Day Quiz, taking home a magnificent Australia Day themed Covid-19 survival pack that included hand sanitizer, a bottle opener and drinking mug.

Many thanks to Glenn for once again organising this regular event on our calendar and I am sure he was relieved to see so many members taking part with Aussie flags flying, despite the weather conditions.

The Sprite has now dried out, the hard-top has been returned to storage in the garage rafters and side-screens are back on the shelf. I’ll give her a quick spray wax, refit the seats and then we’ll be ready for our next event. See you there.

Steve

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul – Sunday 10th January

With fine weather forecast and a dearth of other activities on our post-Covid lock-down calendar, a healthy turnout of special vehicles was expected this month. Your correspondent therefore arrived 45 minutes before the scheduled starting time, assuming that there’d be an opportunity to enjoy a sit-down breakfast at Maccas before the carpark started filling and things got underway. Wrong!

Upon arrival, half a dozen cars were already in position and the streets echoed with tuned exhausts as one after another desirable classic or sporting vehicle shuffled into their parking spaces. The southern section of the carpark reached capacity well before 8am and the rest was filling quickly. A count confirmed that this indeed, was our largest ever gathering, with somewhere between 140 and 150 vehicles in attendance during the morning. The regular numbers had been swelled by members of the Prince Skyline, MX5 and early Holden clubs as well as a group of VW Golf owners who paid us a visit. Unfortunately, a couple of shoppers complained to some club members, expressing their annoyance at the inconvenience of being forced to park further away from the supermarket entrance than they normally do. This was met with the appropriate sympathy and understanding as they were made aware of the vacant parking areas on the eastern side of the carpark and the Coles Supermarket just down the road.

It would be impossible to mention all the cars that were making their first appearances at this month’s gathering, but I would like to mention the rare little Simca 850 that Peter Walker brought out this month. Peter regularly turns up in his V8 Simca Vadette and has been working for several years to complete the pretty little 850 which I believe is the only one in Victoria. At the other extreme Peter Waghorn turned up in his fully restored 1973 Dodge tow truck, complete with chrome exhaust stacks and flashing yellow light. Thankfully his services were not required, although it was a close thing with Mark McKibbin’s Austin 7 Chummy needing several push-starts to kick it into life later in the morning. Another couple of rarities included a stunning, replica “lightweight” E-type Jaguar and a Mazda Cosmo – a car produced from 1967 with a focus on future technology and to showcase the new, forward-thinking rotary engine. It is one of ten or so in Australia.

As well as the Austin 7 Chummy there was good representation from the pre-WWII era with a couple of Cadillacs, a T-Model Ford, a massive Delage and Des Dillon’s Bugatti Type 35B. In contrast, some of the newest sporting cars included a Subaru BRZ, Lotus Elise and a Golf GTi. As usual, there were plenty of classics from the 1960s and ‘70s including a clutch of MGBs, several Fiats, a couple of Falcon GTs, a trio of Minis, and pairs of Triumph Stags, Manx Beach Buggies as well as Bugeye Sprites. American sheet metal was in abundance on models from Pontiac, Cadillac and Ford, and the Europeans didn’t disappoint with late model-sporting sedans, coupes and roadsters from Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar and Porsche.

It was a huge morning, enjoyed by many passers-by as well as our club members who appreciated the diversity and strength of the classic car scene in Gippsland – and yes, I managed to get some breakfast at about 10am.

Locky Fowler created a short video of the event which you can view by copying and pasting this link into your browser: https://photos.app.goo.gl/5CzP39BntKnYrPdN8

RESPONSES TO: BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul – 10th January

Comment from GRANT BUCK: 
Fantastic day and such a great turnout of different cars to look at.
 Kevin Smith 
Awesome lineup to make us all drool
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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul – Sunday 13th December

In what was seen by many as a tentative step back towards normality, our Breakfast Club returned to Warragul after a ten-month hiatus. The weather forecast was perfect and a huge turnout was expected. Cars began arriving at the venue soon after 7am and by the nominated start time of 8am, the southern section of the car park was already full – by 8:30 an estimated 100 special vehicles were packed in to the Woolies car park.

As usual there was a broad spectrum of special interest vehicles on display, American iron, high performance European marques, convertibles, vintage and veteran, Pommy sports cars, beach buggies and Australian classics.  Amongst the regulars that had been sitting out the Covid pandemic were a few new arrivals. Ross McConnell brought along his immaculate 1963 Bolwell Mk.4. It was the little sports car’s maiden outing after a complete restoration was completed only weeks ago. The car runs a Ford Escort drive train and is a beautiful piece of work. At the other end of the size scale was Peter Waghorn’s 1959/60 Pontiac Laurentian which, if nothing else, exemplifies the notion of “nothing succeeds like excess” a common theme with American manufacturers of that era. In between these two extremes we could place Ray Youlden’s recently acquired AMG C63 Benz. The mid-sized German sedan may not have the same acreage of sheetmetal as the Pontiac, but when it comes to cubic inches, the 6.2 litre V8 is not lacking excess.

The morning passed quickly with people catching on each other’s’ latest news and admiring the machinery on display. By 10am the car park was beginning to return to its regular function, with spaces vacated by our classics filling up with Hyundais, Camrys and non-descript SUVs. It had been a special morning that had reminded us about what we had missed out on during the successive lockdown periods. We all hope that the State’s new Hotel Quarantine Controls work effectively and the resumption of our monthly gatherings can continue unabated.

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DECEMBER MID-WEEK RUN to NOOJEE PUB, Thursday 10th December

What a lovely day it has been for our trip to Noojee and our pub lunch patronized by fifty-four members. That extrapolated to a lot vehicles and a traffic jam cleared by the local parking inspector. (Just joking). I saw many happy faces on the deck at the “Nooj”.

I got very anxious for Karen and Steve as it seemed their meal had been forgotten as we polished our plates.

Not to worry, their din dins turned up in the fullness of time.

Lots of laughs about dogs and their owners. Heard about violence committed on a mare by a wayward deer stag in bushy Drouin. New items and discussion about our Shire administration.

Alan had a great story about a motor home built by a less than skilled artisan!

On the way up, Jenny and I followed a very immaculate BMW hardtop coupe. The driver seemed to be talking to his passenger a lot as the road speed fluctuated. Here am I thinking I will just stick with this member and get there early by sticking to the main road.

Well, imagine my surprise when he peeled off toward Powelltown. Have we lost a member, never to be seen again?

Thanks to our evergreen organizer, John Fowler, for another enjoyable outing, on our 54th wedding anniversary.

Ian and Jenny Honey











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A SUNDAY DRIVE – Sunday 6th December

As has been the pattern these past eight months, sizable club gatherings or outings are off the agenda, but small groups of club members have been organising outings to give their cars a run and catch up with others who they haven’t seen for a while. I was fortunate enough to be invited on such a run last Sunday by Rob Nolan who assembled seven drivers, four in Boxsters, one in a 911, another in an MX5 and your correspondent in a Fiat 124 Coupe, for a morning’s romp around the hills south of Loch before returning to John Stoker’s place in Nyora for a BBQ lunch.

The route from Warragul took us south along Lardners Track to the Torwood-Topiram Rd and onto Poowong and Loch where John was waiting to join us. We then followed Paul Mogensen in the MX5 down to Kernot and across to the coast at Grantville. The weather was less than clement there, with regular showers and a gale-force wind, so we didn’t venture far from the carpark before departing on an easy run down the highway through Bass and Anderson to Kilcunda for a morning tea out in the elements on the front porch of the café. The return trip to Loch took us through Archies Creek, Almurta and Krowera, but our convoy broke up thanks to traffic joining the road at various points which slowed our progress somewhat. It was nice, however, to see (and hear) a group of about 20 Porsches enjoying an outing and heading in the opposite direction. We regrouped in Loch and followed John to his property at Nyora where he provided a massive BBQ lunch for us on his large sheltered deck at the back of his house. Thank you for the hospitality John, and to everyone else for their company on a pleasant day out enjoying our passion for driving sports and classic cars.

Steve Schmidt

Steve,

Thanks for the write up and great photographs.

Regards
John Stoker

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