BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 13th July

Warragul’s Breakfast Club was only for the devoted or foolhardy this month. A cold, gusty westerly wind kept the apparent temperature to around one degree whilst occasional showers of misty drizzle dampened the spirits as well as the assembled classics. The few convertibles that made an appearance were all wearing their soft-tops or hard-tops securely in place.

Twenty-seven sporting, classic or special vehicles is only a fraction of our usual turnout, but totally understandable given the conditions on the day. Of that twenty-seven, almost half were British with three Minis, three Jaguars and a couple of MGBs making up the majority. However, Mercedes topped the league tables this month with four cars, two of which were making their debut appearance at Breakfast Club. One, a large blue sedan sporting very recent Club Permit plates – I apologise for failing to get any additional information on this car – the other being Ray Youlden’s recently acquired 2012 E63 AMG, which replaces both his older E55AMG and his Ford Focus RS hot hatch. Ray obviously feels the need to use up his share of our oil resources as quickly as possible before cars such as this (bi-turbo V8 with around 400Kw and 700Nm of torque), become politically unpalatable.

Also making debut appearances this month were Peter Waghorn’s 1974 Ford LTD in two-tone green, as well as Merv Deppeler’s 2019 Mustang in red, which adds to our club’s growing fleet (or herd) of Pony cars and brings Merv’s stable up to two, having already restored a classic 1966 Mustang coupe.

The weather wasn’t improving, so most participants decided to pull the pin at around 9:30 and headed for somewhere warmer. Unfortunately your correspondent’s choice of transport didn’t have a heater, so it was a rather draughty drive home.

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MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 11th July

It was pleasing to see another healthy turnout of members and friends at this month’s Dinner Meeting, despite a blast of wintry conditions.

Bill Formby brought along his unrestored, brown and gold 1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and managed to navigate it into the dining room without too much trouble. Bill has only owned the car for a few cars, having seen it advertised on whilst he was recuperating in hospital. He discovered later, that the original owner of the Roller was an American film producer named Albert Broccoli who worked mainly in England and was responsible for the 16 James Bond movies made between 1962 and 1987.

The Rolls is adequately powered by a 7-litre V8 driving through a turbo-hydramatic transmission. A beautiful car to drive and the steering is very nice, according to Bill, but it’s not the best in the world. The Cadillac is quieter.

Following the buffet meal, those present formed up into teams with around half a dozen people in each to contest Ian Maud’s Trivia Quiz. It was an entertaining and enlightening event covering everything from Bikinis to Dodecagons. Over five rounds of questions, the lead swung back and forth, but ended up as draw between the two top contenders each scoring 20 points out of a possible 32.

Thank you to both Bill and Ian for the efforts they both put in to the evening’s presentations, it was a great night.

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More than 80 Sporting Register members enjoyed an a la carte meal and birthday cake at Willow Grove’s Duck Inn to celebrate the Club’s twenty-first anniversary this weekend. Our hosts were gracious in finding extra tables and chairs for the half-dozen or so who turned up without booking in, but with events like this, it makes it far easier for all concerned, if members follow the booking protocols – really, it’s not that difficult!

The morning began cold and damp following overnight rain. Participants assembled at the Warragul Woolies’ car park before receiving instructions and being flagged off by our event organiser, Phil Barnard. Being the middle of winter, it was no surprise to see hardtops and soft-tops securely fitted on those convertibles that were participating. The route followed Brandy Creek Road out through Neerim South to Noojee where some grabbed a coffee before continuing east on the Baw Baw Tourist Road towards Icy Creek where they turned right onto the twisty forest road that passes through tall-timber country around Fumina. Your correspondent had found a photographic location along this section of road and managed to capture some shots before the cars broke out into the sunlight again near Hill End on their way to Willow Grove.

Sitting by the roadside on a folding chair in the middle of a rainforest during Gippsland’s winter is probably not most people’s idea of fun, and after enduring a hum-drum parade of Nissan Patrols, Hilux utes and Camrys, it was almost exciting to hear the tuned engine notes of sports cars echoing through the forest as our convoy approached my location. All the drivers seemed to be behaving themselves and treating the road with respect as there were still some damp patches of bitumen beneath the dense overhead leaf canopy. Thirty-one cars took part in the social drive, and they were joined at Willow Grove, by another dozen or so which made their way directly to the Duck Inn. The car park was full to overflowing and it was tremendous to see such a variety of sporting and classic cars being used as they were intended.

Thank you to Phil Barnard for his work in bringing this event to fruition. It was a tremendous turnout and a fitting way to celebrate the Club’s Coming Of Age.

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JUNE MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 13th June

Around forty-five members and friends attended our dinner meeting this month. Table service replaced the usual buffet and we enjoyed either Chicken Kiev or a Seafood Basket with salad, followed by a selection of deserts.

With Ron away this month, Ray Youlden stepped up to chair this meeting and did so with his usual aplomb disposing efficiently of the regular business before introducing Peter Waghorn whose 1969 ZC Fairlane had taken prime position on the dining room floor.

The Z-series Fairlanes, which were introduced in 1967 with the ZA, were Australian-developed, luxury, long-wheelbase versions of the mainstream Falcon. They were built at the Broadmeadows plant north of Melbourne and the ZC like Peter’s, was the second last of the series which ended after the ZD in 1972. Peter has owned the Fairlane for 22 years, but in 2001 he undertook an extensive restoration of the car which included replacing rusted body sections, fitting new sills, a couple of door skins and a full respray in the original Harmony Grey.

According to Peter, the 302ci V8-engined Fairlane drives like a block of flats and you don’t talk about fuel economy. Having rarely driven the car at night, it was a struggle tonight for Peter to remember the switchgear in the dark. Since its restoration, the Fairlane doesn’t get driven in the rain, so I’m not sure if it stayed overnight at the Golf Club or made a dash home between the showers which were present as the meeting wound up. Thank you to Peter for presenting his car so well at this month’s meeting.

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul CBD – Sunday 9th June

The sun was up, but it was barely two degrees when the covers came off the Bugeye.  A twist of the key followed by a sharp pull of the starter knob coaxed the one-litre, A-series into life, no doubt waking any of the neighbours who were enjoying a Sunday morning sleep in. Our 200 metre-long driveway abuts five neighbouring properties, so our comings and goings never pass un-noticed.

The air had a wintry chill about it, but the sky was clear, the roads dry and the forecast fine. As is often my want on such mornings, the longer route into town via Bona Vista and Nilma was chosen to give the car a bit of a run and to enjoy the deserted back roads before the MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lyra) strap on their helmets and hit the streets. The Bugeye was roofless of course, and all was fine until cresting a hill where there was apparently a temperature inversion waiting to instantly turn my windscreen opaque. Visibility went from infinity to zero in a the blink of an eye, the 60-year-old wipers crept across the screen smearing the moisture droplets into tiny arcs of semi-transparency, but without a demister or wipers on the inside of the screen, one had to make do with wiping the glass with the beanie which was previously doing a great job of keeping my ears warm. Meanwhile it became necessary to dramatically reduce speed and navigate with one’s head out in the breeze looking around the side of the windscreen. After another couple of kilometres the atmospheric temperatures balanced out again, making it possible to cease wiping and smearing moisture across alternate sides of the screen. Ah, the joys of classic motoring !

Upon arrival at the Warragul destination and well before the appointed hour, it was surprisingly apparent that others had also made the journey topless.  A genuine Lotus 7, Peter Merigan’s TR4, Mark McKibbin’s Austin 7, Rod Dawes’ Morrie Minor, an MGA and the Bugeye, they all have awkward hoods to erect, if any at all, so except in the most extreme circumstances, drivers often opt to go without. But it’s purely a matter of choice in your your MGB, TR6, Porsche Boxster, Nissan 350Z, SL Mercedes, Ford Capri and suchlike – a few of these arrived roofless, but more departed that way once the sun had taken effect!

It was a strange gathering of vehicles this month. Numbers were down somewhat, to perhaps 60 or 70, but it was dominated by English marques, especially MGs, but also Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Triumphs and Austins, with the odd Morris, Sunbeam, Riley, Bentley, Daimler and Lotus thrown in for good measure. This month there were no Minis or MX5s, only three Mustangs and a similar number of Boxsters. Graeme Hollingsworth rode in on his new motorbike, but Debra elected to drive rather than try the pillion seat.

Most of those making debut appearances this month had a distinct American flavour. A striking early-50’s Chevrolet Loadmaster Cab-over-engine prime mover made a big impression, as did a beautifully restored Ford F-series pickup from around 1948 -52. From the same era we also had a gleaming black and chrome Buick Super Riviera sedan which although quite large, was no match for the length of Richard Rowley’s Chrysler Saratoga or Vinnie Vorkapic’s Ranchero. Unfortunately, the debut appearance by an FJ Holden driven in from Officer, was spoilt by a broken oil pressure gauge line which sprayed oil all over the otherwise immaculate engine bay and left a slick in the car park reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez. Thankfully the owners managed to fashion a repair and were planning to visit a car wash before heading home. Ross McConnell who often graces us with his presence in one of several Bolwells, brought along his R32 Nissan Skyline which I noticed wears Modified Club Permit plates instead of the usual Historic ones. Ross didn’t go into detail, but he hinted that there’d been a lot of work done under that standard exterior.

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MID-WEEK RUN to HOWLERS’ BREWERY, Lang Lang. Wednesday 22nd May

On a beautiful crisp morning without a cloud in the sky, 18 Classic cars and approximately 36 club members met at the well-known Darnum Stump Tea rooms for a coffee, cake and chat – naturally with the obligatory admiration of each other’s prized cars; which can be seen in John’s photos.

John Fowler – our “Organiser Extraordinaire,” briefed us on the route to Howlers Brewery and the rules of the road. On we travelled leaving Darnum at around 11:00 am for our picturesque, winding drive in the warm sunshine through the countryside of West Gippsland following John’s “Silver Bullet” – S-type Jaguar.

We enjoyed the beautiful hills, valleys and roller-coaster roads (especially Sheehan Rd) and were pleased to see the cows grazing on lovely green, but short pastures. The pastures along all the roads we travelled were much the same – green, but short. It has been a tough farming year.

It was great to view the long procession of classic and sports cars in front and behind as we wound along these wonderful roads. Some of the exhaust notes were wonderful to hear as well.

The Main South Rd through Poowong East had a mix of some more open stretches through the lovely valley and some wonderful winding hilly sections – recently resurfaced. Later, another road recently re-surfaced, was Ferriers Rd, along a winding valley up to Nyora through open farmland. We had to be careful of the loose stones on both these sections.

After Nyora, the countryside became less open with a lot of tea-tree like scrub alongside the open winding and flatter roads. We eventually passed the sand-quarries and knew we were getting closer to Lang Lang.

The drive took us about an hour, give or take, arriving at Howlers Brewery and Restaurant in Lang Lang at 12:15 for a refreshing beer, cider, mixed drink or wine, and lunch.

We sat outside in the sunshine or under the umbrellas and chatted enthusiastically as the tasty pub-style meals arrived – which everyone enjoyed. It was all very enjoyable. Our Classic and Sports-cars have brought together a great band of enthusiasts who socialise really well together.

Matt the ‘Brewer’ gave some history of the building. Howlers is in the historic old ES&A Bank building built in 1929 with quality materials – which is why it is still so good today. It was merged with the ANZ bank in 1970 and operated for many years, but has more recently been vacant for some time. Matt and his team renovated the building and opened-up exactly 2 years ago with their own Boutique Beers and Ciders (brewed offsite). The on-site Brewery at the rear will hopefully open-up within the next few weeks. Apparently the 2 major breweries make it very difficult for micro-breweries, so many are banding together for support.

Many of their beers and ciders (which are preservative free) were sampled by the group, and were proclaimed to be top-notch. Many members took some bottles home with them!

Sadly, this was the last midweek drive until we are through the Winter. We were lucky to have such a perfect sunny and warm Autumn day which will see us though until the next event.

Thanks again to John for his efforts throughout the year and a wonderful day.

Submitted by Marja and Richard Morgan with some additional info and photos from John Fowler

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