BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 13th Oct.

Our run of cold, wet and dismal Breakfast Club Sundays at last came to end with our October gathering being held in quite passable Warragul spring sunshine (read as intermittent cloud). The balmy morning conditions of around 6 degrees combined with a lack of wind were enough of an incentive to attract somewhere between 80 and 90 special cars and motorcycles away from their winter hibernation. Your correspondent arrived a little later than usual after noticing the lack of movement after start-up in the Fiat coupe’s Benzina gauge and dropping by a petrol station before the tank ran dry. Nevertheless, at 8am the southern section of the car park, which holds about 30 cars, was full and the adjoining areas were filling fast.

It is estimated that somewhere between 80 and 90 vehicles attended this month’s gathering and as usual there was an eclectic mix of vintage, sports, classic, luxury, daily drivers, motorcycles and Street Rods to attract one’s attention.  It was nice to see three and a half Ferraris (if you count Mike Whitford’s Ferrari-engined Fiat Dino Coupe as a half) together with a Boxster and a couple of 911 Porsches heading the pedigreed sports fraternity. Classic British convertible sports cars also made a welcome return with plenty of Triumphs, MGs, Jaguars, and the odd Healey enjoying the sun’s rays.

As usual, there  were a number of debutantes this month including an early 60’s XL Ford Falcon with sun visor and rear window venation blind, Merv Swingler’s 1950’s Ford F100 tray, a fourth generation Toyota Supra from the turn of the century, a new Toyota 86 in bright blue, several customised Street Rods and Glen Campbell’s recently resurrected, first generation Honda Civic from the 1970s. After having sat unused in the family garage for over 20 years, the little Honda is perhaps not in the same league as Glenn’s M3, but it’s now running sweetly and will soon be sporting Club Permit plates. The value of classic cars can sometimes be in sentimental terms rather than monetary value and we’re happy to see them all at our monthly Breakfast Club gatherings.

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CLUB MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 10th October

With our President and Vice President away on interstate trips, it was left to Ian Maud to run the show this month and as expected, the agenda was dealt with as efficiently as ever. With an attendance of about 50 members and friends seated at tables of ten, the Golf Club caterers tried a new approach to dinner – bringing plates of food to the tables from which the guests served themselves. This seemed to work well and there didn’t seem to be any shortage of food.

The display car on the green carpet was Rod Smith’s 1951 MG TD which prior to his purchase of it about four years ago from Massaro Motors in Morwell, it had been completely restored by the previous owner, Brian Patton from Traralgon. Rod’s presentation about the car included an interesting series of slides showing the MG at various stages throughout this restoration. Repairs were made to many of the panels and the dash and fuel tank were made by hand from scratch. A new steering wheel rim was made from an epoxy mix and fitted to the original hub and spokes assembly, whilst the cast exhaust manifold was painted and then baked in the kitchen oven to achieve the correct finish. There is an extra fuel gauge under the dash, but it always shows full ! 

Other than the chassis, there’s nothing much of the original car left untouched. The 1250cc engine is the correct unit, but it was originally fitted to a Wolseley and the source of many other parts are unknown. The MG came with a heap of spare parts including another engine block, starter motors, generators etc.

Rod is a regular Breakfast Club participant in the MG TD which has now covered about 3000 miles since its restoration. “It’s a fun car to drive and cruises at about 55 mph” says Rod, whose longest journey in the car so far, has been to Bairnsdale and back. The car is in immaculate condition and worthy of an inspection if you missed this opportunity at the Golf Club.

Thank you to Rod for his interesting presentation and for making his car available for our meeting.

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MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 12th September

With over sixty members and guests attending our September meeting it was a shame that the catering fell well short of the mark, leaving little on the buffet for those unlucky enough to be on either of the last two tables. A subsequent meeting held between the Golf Club management and our President, Ron Brooks will have hopefully turned things around in time for our October meeting.

The regular meeting business was conducted efficiently by Ron and his team, however it was disturbing to hear that Ed Denovan was in intensive care at the Alfred Hospital with a fractured skull, ribs and vertebrae after falling from a ladder. It is likely to be quite a while before Ed gets back behind the wheel of his Alfa or Triumph TR6, but we wish him a speedy recovery.

This month’s display car was a magnificent 1952 Ford Customline ‘Single Spinner’ belonging to new club member Brian Autie. Right-hand-drive Customlines were all built in Canada and this ’52 model was the first version to come to Australia. Despite being built for our market, lots of small things were changed once the cars arrived Downunder.

Brian’s car is mechanically original apart from the twin exhausts and it only needed some attention to the brakes and wipers to attain a roadworthy certificate. It is fitted with a 239ci, 110bhp flathead V8 with a manual gearbox. The straight and rust-free bodywork reflects the low 75,000 miles knocked up in its 67 years, but the shiny back enamel paintwork is not original.

Brian says the Customline is happy cruising at around 55 mph, but is hopeful that it will handle better and be more stable in crosswinds with a new set of radial tyres. The current whitewall crossplies look great, but tend to steer wherever they want !

Thanks for bringing your car along Brian, it’s a lovely example of the marque.

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MID-WEEK RUN to GARFIELD HOTEL, Wednesday 18th Sept

“A great sunny day for a drive”, was the general sentiment from forty-five or more enthusiastic club members as they left the cosy confines of The Darnum Stump Tearooms, after a hearty morning tea catch up and chat, to receive route instructions from the Tour Director.

Around twenty-six cars, ancient and modern, from across the classic vehicle community, headed north towards Shady Creek, picking up Old Sale Road to Nilma North. A quick blast up Bloomfield Road, took us to Crossover. Winding along Old Telegraph Road East gave us a pleasant ridge top drive, before heading north again along the wider main road bitumen through Rokeby.

More great West Gippsland farming country was enjoyed on the road to Neerim South, with views over to Mount Baw.

Question:  An observation – Why do some dairy herds face north and others face south?

Turning left onto Jindivick–Neerim South Road, the very long convoy ducked and wove up to Jindivick along Jackson’s Track.

On Jackson’s Track winding down South West along the ridge to Labertouche Creek, we eventually crossed the Princes Highway at the Longwarry North Overpass, then followed Nar Nar Goon- Longwarry Road through Bunyip to our lunch destination – “The Garfield Pub” – and no one had got lost! Great food, excellent service and a warm ambience ensued with a lot of social interaction, and no one seemed in a hurry to leave.

Altogether a great touring day with amazing views, especially for those with a rag top and the wind in their hair!

Thanks again John and Jan, and we all look forwards to the next one.

Sue and Peter Bradley.

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 8th September

Overnight rain left a legacy of puddle-strewn wet roads, and although the temperature hovered around 7 degrees, the cold, gusty south-westerly kept the apparent temperature closer to four. For those who were hoping for a change from the wintry conditions which had characterised the last few Breakfast Club gatherings, it was a disappointing dawn.

Only a fool would drive roofless in such conditions, but of course, your correspondent was up to the challenge. The Bimmer was due for a run, the battery was charged and the smart-arsed electronic componentry was cautiously informing me there was only sufficient fuel for 45 kilometres – and like a neurotic panic merchant, it gave me a countdown all the way into Warragul ! Despite wearing a woolly sheep-skin cap it was a bracing drive, eventually the heater began wafting warm air into the open cabin and the heated seats earnt their keep. Upon arrival at the venue shortly before the appointed hour, it was heartening to see a dozen or more classic and sporting vehicles already in position; drivers, however, were thin on the ground – the lure of warmth, shelter, food and coffee from Frankies or Maccas was seemingly hard to resist.

By 9am the weather was still threatening, but around 40 cars had made the effort to front up. MGBs were very well represented with no less than four BGTs and a couple of roadsters with their roofs securely fitted in the upright position. The Bs were in good company, other cosseted convertibles included a 1940’s Chev tourer, a Beach Buggy (well out of its comfort zone), a 1937 Ford Cabriolet, a couple of Alfa Spiders, a pair of MX5s, Denis Varley’s Healey 100/4,  Peter Walker’s Capri, John Cobbledick’s XJS Cabriolet and of course the roofless Z4 Bimmer. Coupes and sedans supposedly offer a more insulated motoring environment and there was an interesting range of closed cars to admire. Making their debut this month was a recently restored Bolwell Nagari in dark blue, a very tidy bronze and brown XB Falcon GT and Steve and Karen Austen’s Saab 900 Turbo. Others of quirky interest included Ian Maud’s 2.5 litre Riley and Paul Montagnat’s Studebaker Avanti.

Next month’s Breakfast Club is scheduled for Sunday 13th October – the middle of Springtime. By then we must surely be due for a fine, sunny, warm Sunday morning. I hope to see you then.

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 11th August

With over 60mm of rain falling in the last two days and snow flurries on the Strzeleckis, it was a cold, but interesting drive into Warragul passing by flooded paddocks, overflowing streams and occasional patches of submerged bitumen. At our Brekky Club location it was spitting rain and bitterly cold – only 3 degrees at 8am, and my prediction of ample parking being available was entirely accurate. It was not a pleasant morning to spend outdoors, so many of our coterie were happy to patronise Frankies or Maccas in return for some sustenance and warmth.

A couple of sporties in the form of an MX5 (folding hardtop) and a canvas-topped Boxster were the only convertibles on show and they were tightly sealed up with tops in place. It was a morning when many opted for the creature comforts of the modern conveyance, classics of all descriptions being almost outnumbered by those yet to attain their 25-year-old status.

Those oldies that were present reflected the Club’s eclectic nature with  American muscle foes in the form of a ‘65 Mustang and Dave Anderson’s Firebird; Euro sporties from Fiat and MG, together with saloons and family cars from Jaguar, Hillman, Citroen, BMW, Volvo and Peugeot, and then there was the ubiquitous short-wheelbase Landy and of course an ever-popular Mini. It was a small turnout with something like 24 cars on display.

The weather hasn’t been kind to us over winter, with bleak conditions being the norm. Spring is however, just around the corner and we look forward to conditions that will entice more people out in their classic and sporting vehicles on a Sunday morning. Thank you to all who made the effort to attend our August gathering, you truly are enthusiasts.

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