Mid-Week-Run to the “Gippy Goat” – Wednesday 22nd March

On a very windy and blustery day, approximately twelve cars departed for a drive of 74.7 kilometers, or a one hour 12 minute run. John Fowler briefed the drivers before we left Darnum to be careful of fallen branches and limbs. We then proceeded to Bona Vista and Bull Swamp Rd, and then a huge falling branch fell down across Hamiltons Road and just missed Kevin Riley’s Mercedes boot! So, this was the first of many stops to remove large branches from across the road. Then on to Burnt Store Rd and just around the corner we stopped again so that John (who was leading) could move the branch covering the road. 

Then on past Lardner Park, to Drouin South and along the Westernport Road to Invermay West Rd. Along the way here, we encountered some small dogs and many more twigs on the road that we had to dodge around. The wind was extremely strong. We then proceeded along Invermay East Road again stopping several times to clear fallen limbs. The lead drivers managed to clear the road for the tailenders to get through. Sheehans Road to Hunters Road, saw more twigs and branches on the road that had to be cleared. Watching for twigs etc took the enjoyment edge off the tour a little, over what would normally be excellent touring and scenic roads.

From Ellinbank to Cloverlea on the Hazeldean Rd, it was basically clear. After Cloverlea the leaders came to a halt as a large tree had come down across the whole road. This one was too large to be cleared by hand, so a U turn back to the Darnum – Cloverlea Rd and into Darnum, and onto the highway to Yarragon and the ‘Gippy Goat’ on Gordons Rd. Some members had gone directly there.

The wind was still blowing strong and being a pain.  Still in the end, everyone coped with it, and seemed to almost enjoy the ‘challenging’ experience, and it certainly gave everyone something to talk about!

We enjoyed our various enjoyable lunches and our natter with the other club members, in an area specially set up for us on the enclosed Verandah. Thanks to John and Jan Fowler for organising another wonderful Mid-Week-Run.

Submitted by Eddie Hammond and Brain Jolly. Photos by John Fowler.

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March ’round and about.

Alan, Lorraine, David and Claire Richards in their Minis, together with Harry DeGroot in the cream Benz and possibly other Sporting Register members have been participating in this year’s Fly the Flag tour of Western Victoria and parts of S.A.                                     Photos by David Richards

Ian Maud (driving his Toyota MR2 which is after all, a Japanese copy of the Fiat X1/9) and Steve Schmidt (Fiat 124 Coupe) have been competing at the Fiat Nationals held at Winton and Shepparton over 3 days last weekend. Both drivers and cars performed well and won their respective classes in the Sprint event.

David Anderson (Historic Group Sb MGB) was competing at the Phillip Island Classic a couple of weekends ago, but had to forgo the main races later in the weekend due to the bushfire threat around his home at Allambee.  Photos by Phil Barnard

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 11th March

Perfect top-down weather had the convertibles out in force this month with their numbers boosted in no small manner by a pack of MX5s that stopped by on their club run to Walhalla. The Mazda MX5 is a terrific little sports car and seems to have become the modern equivalent to the previous generation’s MGB. Unlike the MX5, the MGB was available in 4, 6 and 8-cylinder versions and there were three different V8 versions and some 4-cylinder models in healthy numbers also at this month’s gathering. Along with the Mazdas and MGs there were topless Triumph TR3s 4s and 6s, a Fiat 124 Spider, Porsche Boxsters, a Z4 Bimmer, AC Cobra, Saab, Lotus 7, Nissan 350Z, Jaguar XJS, Mercedes SLs and a quartet of motorcylces whose owners were enjoying perfect driving and riding conditions.

It is estimated that somewhere between 80 and 90 vehicles were on display this month. It was good to see John Althuizen’s immaculate Ferrari and several sporty coupes from Alfa, Lancia, Porsche and BMW. Amongst a troupe of Minis, Graeme Longhurst’s classic Cooper S and Marg Longmore’s later iteration made an interesting Cooper S comparison. New member John Boland brought along his Beetle and one very tidy Datsun 1000 made its debut appearance this month along with Ray Youlden’s brand-spanking-new Limited Edition Focus RS. There were several older vehicles including a Darracq and Mark McKibbin’s lengthy Lancia Lambda.

American iron was once again well represented as were European sedans and a range of home-grown models.

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A 3-DAY HIGH COUNTRY BLAST – Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th March

Recently, a handful of Sporting Register members and one interloper enjoyed three days of spirited driving encompassing some of the best driving roads our state has to offer. Kevin Riley put together a challenging route that totalled around 1200 kilometres with overnight stays in Bright and Metung.  

The first day saw us heading north from Warragul and driving through Powelltown to Healesville, Kinglake, Flowerdale, Yea, Mansfield, Whitfield and Myrtleford before arriving at our accommodation in Bright. The highlights of this day had to have been the closed road signs we overlooked on the run through the Toolangi State Forest, and the Mansfield / Whitford road which climbs and twists its way over the ranges before steeply descending through several kilometres of sweeping bends and tight corners into Whitfield. Slow traffic spoilt our run through the forests from Nayook to Healesville, but the upside was unexpectedly frugal fuel economy figures akin to that achieved on an economy run.

Day Two was nothing like an economy run, with quite a bit of full throttle work testing the range of our fuel tanks before a welcome refuelling stop in Bruthen on the home stretch to Metung. The morning run began with a blast up the Tawonga Gap road, stopping briefly at the lookout to admire the view before dropping down into the Kiewa Valley and heading for Tallangatta. From there we headed south along the Mitta Mitta River to Mitta Mitta then up over the ranges to our lunch stop in Omeo. After lunch we diverted away from the Omeo Highway a few times taking the less-travelled roads through small towns like Cassilis and Tongio West before re-joining the Highway at Ensay for the run to the coast.

Sometime before dawn on the morning of the final day Glenn Campbell (Porsche 911 Carrera) snuck away and headed home to attend to family matters. The Porsche had been given quite a workout over the mountains and it was quick and agile in twisty stuff. Day 3 didn’t involve any mountain passes, but plenty of twists and turns through the back blocks of Lindenow, Briagolong, Maffra, Heyfield, Toongabbie and Glengarry, where we stopped for lunch and farewelled Rob Morley. Rob lives in Traralgon and is now on a mission to fit some better tyres to his 350SL Merc before the next run! The rest of us continued west through Tyers and Yallourn North, then to Willow Grove where Merv Swingler dropped off the rear of the convoy and turned his new Mustang towards home in Trafalgar. The manual V8 Mustang performed brilliantly on roads that one wouldn’t think suited the big American, the only disappointment with the car, especially for those following in its wake, was its lack of an exhaust note – something that Merv will be looking into.  The three remaining cars continued on down the Old Sale Rd back to home. Ray Youlden’s brand-spanking-new, bright blue, limited edition Focus RS, now has almost 2000 kilometres under its R-spec tyres and should be well and truly run in! The grip this all-wheel-drive turbo hatch has is outstanding and I’m sure that if Ray pushed it hard enough, the rest of us wouldn’t see which way it went! It might be the colour, or the shape of the grill, but the RS does have a tendency to attract and scoop up insects in far greater numbers than any of our other cars – but that’s just another excuse for Ray to give it a wash!

Your correspondent was driving his Z4 Bimmer 35i and spent much of the time following Kevin’s Merc SL55 AMG. The Bimmer didn’t miss a beat and it makes a glorious sound when utilising the twin-turbo, straight six’s full potential. It proved to be the most economical of all the cars in this group, but it can also drink with the best of them when pushed – well perhaps not as much as the AMG! Kev’s supercharged V8 does everything brilliantly, it handles, brakes and accelerates like you would expect a top-shelf Merc to do. Following behind you can watch it ride the road’s imperfections with aplomb, but you can also smell the fuel-rich exhaust when under full load!

It will be a damn shame when cars like these are replaced by electric vehicles, and even worse if autonomous cars and draconian legislation confiscate the enjoyment one derives from physically driving performance vehicles on public roads where they are able to achieve what they were built for.

Thanks for the invitation Kevin.

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MARCH MONTHLY MEETING, Warragul Country Club – Thursday 8th March

At this month’s meeting Paul Mogensen briefly described the series of events leading to the display of his 1958 MGA outside the dining room. It included diagnosing and rectifying a small fuel leak at the fuel tank, rectifying the RHR brake drum dragging and readjustment of the rear brake drum shoes and handbrake cable. Paul went on to mention that he also discovered at mid-afternoon Thursday, that his vehicle’s Club Permit had expired. So in an eleventh hour bid, he rang Mark Mckibbin believing that the other Committee officers would not be available and he had to try and get the paperwork signed.

Mark called by late in the afternoon and with signed paperwork Paul dashed down to VicRoads. At 4.15pm in Warragul, VicRoads unduly advised him that the application for the MGA and another vehicle could not be accepted, as Mark was not an authorised signatory. Bummer! The lesson learned here is to know which vehicle is due for renewal and when.

However, there is more than one way to get a vehicle from Point A to Point B .

With Plan A scuttled, Plan B was engaged which involved getting the car trailer ready and  with help from Paul’s wife Helen who  came home early from work with the tow vehicle, the MGA was eventually transported to the Warragul Country Club.

Paul briefly explained that the design of the MGA came about back in 1951 when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Phillips’ MG TD Le Mans car. A prototype was built but there was a problem with the body sitting too high on the TD chassis, so the chassis was modified, widened, etc and the floor installed at the bottom of the chassis enabling the body to sit lower in the frame.

However, the design was turned down by the Chairman at the time, Leonard Lord,  as he had only 2 weeks before, signed a deal with Donald Healey to produce cars for him.

As time went on and with falling sales of MGs Leonard Lord had a change of heart. The MGA was so different to traditional MG models PA PB TA TB TC TD TF, it was called the MGA and went into production in 1955.

A new engine came into being with the MGA, called the B series. It  replaced the older XPAG units allowing a lower bonnet line than the tradional T series cars. The MGA had no exterior door boot or bonnet handles adding further to its streamlined shape .

Whilst a step up from its predecessor the MG TF, the MGA is no rocket ship. Weighing some 940kg with an engine displacement of 1500 cc when first released, it had a deathly 68 bhp – soon to become 72 bhp. Acceleration tests report a blistering time of 0-60mph in 16 seconds and a top speed of 97.8 mph. Economy was around 26.7 mpg. This compares with the later 1622cc MGA twin cam engine which recorded 0-60 mph time of 9.1 secs, a top speed of 113 mph and 27.6mpg. Production figures for 1958 roadsters were recorded at 368 for the UK market, 349 for the export market and 509 for CKD markets totalling some 14,811 units all up including exports to the USA and Europe. Paul explained that the MGs of the era, being 1920’s pushrod engines, do not have stellar performance, but that’s not what driving them is about. For him, it’s about the driver involvement and being partial to roadsters, it’s about engagement of things outside the vehicle that you notice so much more. It’s the landscape when driving, the smells, the view from the cockpit and the rorty engine and exhaust note. Paul mentioned the price back in the day of a new MGA being around $2700 and an E type Jaguar was around $6400 – knowing what we do now, we would have opted for a shed full of E types

One thing Paul didn’t get to mention was how we are happy to pay $1 for a potato cake at the local fish and chip takeaway, when he used to get them for 2 cents each or 5 for 10 cents. A pie was 8 cents when he was a schoolboy in 1968 and it’s now approx $4, but we would not be happy to pay $100-120k for an MGA, yet E-Type Jaguars are now changing hands at auction regularly in the  $180-200k plus bracket.  Ah! capitalism is truly alive.

Paul Mogensen

Thank you to Keith Trotter for the photos in the gallery below.

 

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VISIT to TRYDELL MOTOR MUSEUM (Guys Hill) – Sunday 25th February

Forty-six members in twenty-two classic and modern cars assembled at the Drouin Bowls Club for the run to the Trydell Motor Museum at Guys Hill. We left Drouin at 10am heading south to Costers Road and down to Modella where we were confronted with roadworks ! The irony is that when Bruce Bluett and I surveyed the route we changed our original plan because of roadworks further down the track at Bayles. (We were obviously destined to drive through roadworks). We drove then along the Koo Wee Rup – Longwarry road to Bayles where the faster drivers could give their beasts a bit of a run led by Ray Murphy in the XK-R. From Bayles into Tynong, then Nar Nar Goon and across the freeway to the Princes Highway and onto the Toomuc Valley Road at Pakenham, heading for the hills. A scenic drive followed along Leppits Road to Upper Beaconsfield, then down to Guys Hill and Trydell where we met up with a further six members. Terry Dowel gave us an interesting talk and Marcia told us how our donation would help the children of Cambodia, before letting us loose to roam the museum looking at the awesome exhibits with cars, motorcycles, signs, packaging, and radios from the past. It even has its own library, picture theatre and retro café upstairs. A truly amazing museum ! At the rear of the building there are another eighteen cars awaiting restoration, they range from a Cadillac Fleetwood to a Ford Prefect ute. Leaving the museum, we arrived at the Cardinia Park Hotel for an enjoyable lunch and some social interaction with other club members. I hope everyone enjoyed their day as much as Bruce and I did.

Words and the first 5 pictures are by John Cobbledick, the photos in the rest of the first 2 galleries are from Phil Barnard and the third gallery is from John Fowler.

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