Our first Breakfast Club for the winter season was well attended despite it being in the middle of a long weekend and the threat of isolated showers. I’d decided to give the Bugeye an airing no matter what the conditions, but I knew as soon as I turned on the ignition and heard a solitary fuel pump tick, that the car didn’t appreciate being awoken and had other ideas. The battery refused to provide enough smoke to turn the starter motor, so the jump-start kit was hooked up and she burst into life. Whilst all this is happening, our excitable hound is running around barking madly because a car is moving and it’s 7:30am on a quiet Sunday morning. The first attempt to get through the gate failed because the ancient 15amp generator hadn’t pumped enough smoke into the battery to keep the ignition and fuel pump working. After another jump start and more frenzied barking, the car was left to run at a fast idle for a few minutes before disconnecting the life support and aiming again for the gate. This time we made it down the drive and peace returned to the normally tranquil rural environs. The run into Warragul was extended to take in Bona Vista, Nilma and Rokeby in the hope that there would be enough battery power generated and stored in that run, to restart the beast a couple of hours later for the drive home. The Bugeye was roofless of course, so it was a bracing drive along roads still damp from the overnight rain. We blasted along deserted backroads, cut through icy-cold fog banks that misted up mirrors and both sides of the windscreen and burst out into bright sunshine where all visibility disappearing with the glare.
On arrival at Woolies’ car park I realised that there are others just as mad as I. There were roofless MGs , Austin Healeys, Jaguars and Triumphs as well as several vintage roadsters all braving the elements without weather protection. I parked in the row of red sports cars and gingerly turned off the ignition. The regulars were there as usual in their much loved classic cars, but once again we had the opportunity to welcome and admire the classics of several newcomers, one family with a very original-looking Mini 850, another gentleman in a beautiful Healey 100/4 that he’d owned since the 1970s. Club Member Ray Gymer debuted his recently purchased GT3 Porsche which will share a stable with his well-known bright green 911. Geoff Carr showed off the new and very black paint job on his Corvette, and unless I am very much mistaken, John Fitzpatrick’s magnificent aero-engined Sunbeam had been transformed from white to a spiffing British Racing Green emblazoned with the Union Jack.
It’s interesting to see how the various makes and models assemble each month in the car park. There’s no pre-organisation, and it pretty much a random ‘park-where-you-can’ system; but occasionally you find patterns or complementary pairings of similar models together, such as the race-bred Lotus Cortina and XU1 Torana, then there are the radical contrasts like the old upright pre-war Dodge next to a rakish Ferrari. No matter what your taste in things automobile, there’s always things to see and people to chat with at these monthly gatherings. I didn’t count numbers this month, but there must have been at least 50 vehicles present, and the Bugeye started up first pull of the starter – saving me the embarrassment of asking for a push start.
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