BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 14th Oct.

Hawaiian shirts, shorts and thongs may be unusual attire for a pleasant Spring morning in Warragul, but it was obvious by the huge turnout of convertibles this month that Summer isn’t that far away. Daylight Saving also doesn’t seem to have affected the early bird arrivals, Ian and Mary Hodge drove down from Melbourne in their recently Club-plated Citroen DS, arriving almost an hour early. The Citroen obviously cruises a fair bit quicker than Ian’s MGTF, so they had plenty of time to enjoy a feed at Frankies before the crowd arrived. Your correspondent also arrived early after giving the Z4 a quick hose down and chamois at the car wash to remove the remains of splattered bugs gathered the previous morning on a Bimmer Club run through the Yarra Valley. At 7:30am there were around a dozen vehicles already in position with more arriving every minute.

With well over a hundred sports, classic and collectible cars on display throughout the morning, this month’s event was up there as one of our largest turnouts, and the car park was buzzing with activity. As usual, the diversity of vehicles was just as interesting as the vehicles themselves.  From the stately English classics from Rolls Royce and Bentley to a tiny Austin 7 Special; from a Willys Jeep to a V12 Aston Martin Rapide there was something to interest everybody. As usual there were several cars making their debut appearances as well as some that were being offered for sale. A couple of first-timers that particularly caught my attention were Cliff Holton’s stunning British Racing Green, Series 1.5 E-Type Jaguar and a rare little Riley Elf from the 1960’s that was marketed as an up-market version of BMC’s Mini, complete with generic Riley grill, wood-grain dash and an extended boot tacked on the back.

This month vehicles with an English heritage seemed to outnumber all others – with MG, Austin, Leyland, Austin Healey, Triumph, Sunbeam, Jaguar, Morris, Riley, Rolls Royce, Bentley and even a Bayliss-Thomas. There were plenty of German makes and models scattered around – a couple of VW Beetles, Z3 and Z4 BMWs, Mercedes SLs and a pride of Porsches this month including four Boxster’s, a couple of 911s, a Cayman and a 944. Italian marques were less prevalent, but just as spectacular with several Alfas, a Maserati and Mark Sanford’s beautiful mid-engined Lancia Montecarlo. American muscle included a big-block Pontiac Firebird that looked as if it came straight off the set of Smokey and the Bandit, a tidy 50’s Chevy and an early Corvette that sounded magnificent. Several classic Mustangs offered a visual contrast to the single late model offering in an unusual, but very attractive burgundy paint job. A pack of MX5s and a couple of Nissan Z cars flew the flag for Japan and Australian makes were well represented with a range of late and early model Holdens, a couple of Fords and Bob Russell’s VE Valiant.

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OCTOBER MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 11th Oct

With Daylight Saving delaying the onset of darkness until later in the evening, an opportunity now exits for members to bring their special vehicles along and display them outside the Golf Club’s function rooms prior to our monthly meetings getting underway. It was nice to see a typically eclectic display of sports and classic cars lined up there this month whilst their owners soaked up the last of the sun’s rays with a drink on the terrace.

Around 50 members and friends attended this month’s meeting. Dinner was buffet style, but unfortunately it was very poorly catered for, resulting in our members on the last two tables fronting up to virtually empty food serveries and having to make do with the remains of the coleslaw and slices of corned beef – certainly not value for money and very disappointing, especially as it’s not the first time this has happened!

General Business was handled with aplomb by Ray and his conscripts and this led into a presentation by Glenn Campbell centred on his recently acquired 2008 BMW M3 (E92) which was on display in the dining room.  Glenn began by reading a note from his wife Pam, addressed to the Club. She wrote, “My husband has a problem, he doesn’t know when to stop buying new cars …. and, he is aided and abetted in these actions by certain members of this Club! Can you please help?”

The M3 is the most recent manifestation of this problem. Glenn saw the M3 advertised and after a chat with Ray, they took off on a whim to Sydney to check it out. It is a fairly rare 6-speed manual version of the E92 M3 which is powered by a normally-aspirated 4-litre 309kW (414 bhp) V8 that spins to over 8000 rpm. This 10 year-old coupe was in very good condition, fully equipped with a stack of options and showing only 106,000km on the odometer. They bought it on the spot and drove it home the next day via Canberra, Cooma and Cann River, sharing 2-hour stints behind the wheels of both cars.

The M3 is a little bit faster than Glenn’s Porsche 911, which being an auto, doesn’t have the same driver involvement. Both Ray and Glenn agree that the M3 is a very quick and competent car, and it sticks to the road like glue, they love the way the M3 handles, although the active suspension’s three settings of hard, very hard and ridiculous take some getting used to. There is also a programmable “M” button which can be set up for motorsport purposes and Glenn’s intentions may include some track time at some stage in the future.

At almost $200,000 when new, including options and on-road costs, this is one hell-of-a-lot of car. Today you can pick one up for less than $40,000 and if you’re prepared to take the gamble on reliability, do the leg work to find one that’s been well-maintained; it’s a temptation that’s difficult to resist.

 In response to Pam’s concerns, I can only recommend that Glenn continue to regularly attend the self-help group which convenes several times per week at Frankies in Warragul for breakfast therapy sessions.

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PRESIDENT’S 100 – Sunday 30th September

It was always going to be a big ask to gather one hundred of the Club’s classic and sports cars together in one place at the same time, but “President’s 100” sounds so much better than “President’s 50”. There were however, more than one hundred of our members gathered at the Latrobe Airfield, but with everyone wearing high-vis, it looked more like a tradie convention – the car park thankfully reflected a different demographic.

Thirty-five cars departed Shell’s Warragul Roadhouse in a convoy that seemed to stretch out for miles along the lesser-used scenic backroads along our route. Despite the fairly simple convoy instructions of following the car in front and not loosing the one behind, there was the inevitable hiccup mid-field, but very little time was lost and the convoy regrouped on the outskirts of Traralgon. The airfield car park already contained a goodly number of our members’ cars when the convoy arrived – a count later revealed a total of 55 members’ cars and it’s lucky there weren’t too many more otherwise we’d have been spreading out onto the tarmac.

Sporting Register member, Ian Honey, is also a member of one of the aviation clubs based at the Airfield and he was instrumental in inviting us to use the venue which included their clubrooms, kitchen and BBQ. Ray Youlden and Jaime Drysdale had arrived earlier and seemed to be well in control of the food situation, they were turning out sausages and onions faster than Bunnings on a long weekend.

Once lunch was over, Ian took us on a tour of several hangars containing a range of small aircraft belonging to members of the aviation clubs. Apart from the wide range of aircraft types and designs on display, one aspect of the tour that hit home was the enormous amount of space required to store these be-winged things and the issues that must be involved when wishing to take one plane out of a hangar without having to move all the others as well. A hangar that that houses four planes would comfortably accommodate a dozen classic cars!

A big thank you to Ray Youlden, Ian Honey and the members of the aero clubs involved, for hosting this very popular event and giving us an insight into what goes on behind the gates at the Latrobe Airfield.

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MACALISTER RIVER RUN – Sunday 26th August

Departing Warragul prior to picking up some strays in Willow Grove and Tyers, we ended up with about 30 club members and 16 cars – a great turn out on a sunny but crisp day. After following the very back route to Heyfield, a welcome coffee and cake stop was enjoyed.

The run then continued past the half-full Lake Glenmaggie before driving up the tight, twisty turns interspersed with long broad open stretches and river valley vistas, towards Licola. The wattle was showing off, thinking it was early spring and the drive up the Macalister Valley was described by one driver as the “Best drive in Victoria”. By the time we arrived for a late picnic lunch on the banks of the river, the temperature was 19C and still sunny – magnificent.

After lunch most cars ventured a little further up the Wellington River to the “first bridge” where we created a photo opportunity for the fleet of sports and classic cars.

It was difficult to tear ourselves away from such a beautiful part of Gippsland and finally head home. 

Words and pictures by Glenn Campbell

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Pre-’60 run to the GIPPY GOAT – Wednesday 19th Sept.

John & Jan Fowler had set the run up and then John found that he had a funeral to go to, so I got the phone call and a promotion to trip leader.

A small group gathered at the Darnum Stump Tea Rooms for the briefing and after recording names and vehicles the following members took part in the pre-1960’s run. Les and Julia Hurst in their MGTD, Rob and Grace Smith in their MGTD, John Weymouth and Bob Murphy in John’s Sunbeam Alpine, Kevin Perry and Gus in Kevin’s Saab. With me (Gus) navigating for Kevin, we became the lead vehicle. Jan Fowler had brought the maps and was invited to ride with Les Hurst in the TD as his wife Julia was to meet us at the Gippy Goat.

We headed north along Darnum-Shady Creek Rd and then west following various roads to Bloomfield Rd and then south crossing the Highway and moving west again until meeting Korumburra-Warragul Rd where we headed south again. The day was sunny with a cool wind, pace was kept to around 80 or less and the scenery was beautiful. We eventually waggled our way along Hazeldean Rd to end up at the Gippy Goat. A hurried group shot was taken as Rob was keen to get inside (must have been craving for the food).

All of them said the journey was at a good pace and everyone enjoyed the scenic route. When Jan was asked how the trip in the TD was, the response was, Better than the MX5”. (Hmmmm)

Thanks to John & Jan Fowler for organising the run.

Report and photos by Gus Luke.

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MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Country Club – Thursday 13th September

The Gippsland Sporting and Classic Car Register (GSCCR) monthly meeting and dinner at the Drouin Country Club this month featured this 1912 Ford Model T belonging to Bill Formby. Yes, it’s more than 100 years old. Some really cool features to note; starter crankshaft at the front, acetylene lamps and generator (on the running board), planetary gear system, pneumatic tyres but wooden rims, original interior stuffed with horse hair, lots of brass all round, with funky horn on drivers right-hand-side. A lot of materials and components still used today including the use of vanadium steel, but not so much the horse hair. All still running, and the owner actually drove it home that night after a couple bevys…v cool.

Words and photos by Michael Kolody

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