Car of the Month for December 2016
Mac Rugala’s Chev Impala Two Door Coupe
In 1964 our family departed Bathurst where we lived and travelled by ship named ‘Seven Seas’ to the US. We arrived in the US in May and travelled to Chicago where dad’s niece lived. After a few weeks we travelled to Cleveland where mum and dad had close friends. It is there that dad bought the Chev, an Impala, a two door coupe, white body, red interior.
I remember first seeing it on the showroom floor – dad loved it from the moment he saw it and it drew me to it like a magnet; big, bright, in my eyes just fantastic. I was only 17, I remember driving it from the showroom to where we lived.
The weather was getting colder, soon it would snow, and when it did the snow was treated with salt.
Dad’s Chevy was never going to travel on that and so it was decided we would travel to LA in preparation of returning to Australia. I felt on top of the world driving it from Cleveland all the way on Route 66 to LA, the words to the song of that title by the Rolling Stones, constantly on my mind.
We settled in LA where I attended school for a little while before departing. The Chev was a magnet, no problem drawing school friends cruising Sunset and Hollywood Blvds, Pasadena, Malibu, places I had only heard of in songs; I could almost say, ‘I drove my Chevy to the levy’. But it all had to come to an end, return passage was booked, I drove the Chev to San Francisco where it was put on the ‘Orsova’ and onto Australia.
We arrived in Sydney in December. Left hand drives could only be registered in S.A and the A.C.T, the A.C.T was closer and so it was on to Canberra. Lucy and I married in 1967, the Chev was our ‘wedding car’. And in January 2017 it will also be so for my daughter’s wedding in Newcastle.
Dad passed away in 1993, the Chev remained garaged at the family home in Curtin, seldomly driven. Mum did not drive and with her passing in 2005 the Chev was even less driven. It was sad seeing it deteriorate.
I decided that was not good enough, it needed to be restored to its original self where it gave our family, particularly dad, so much pride. And that is what I did, as close to the original as possible; no lowering, no wide tyres, no mags, no noisy stereos, no turbos, no fancy mod-cons.
My Chevy has a lot of history, it’s been there and done that. And now as I cruise the streets, my beautiful wife beside me, feeling younger than what my years show, it is still a magnet getting plenty of looks and thumbs up. And it makes me feel great, pride, not ego, ahh hell, maybe just ‘a little’ ego.
Car of the Month for August 2016
Steve Cole’s 1962 S series Valiant
I bought an S series Valiant four years ago. It is my 12th now and the third I have restored and brought back from the graveyard. I bought my first one at age 21 (me, not the car, it was only 16!). I guess I have seen quite a few of the 10,000 S series made during 1962.
The S series was a stopgap model. Chrysler tested the market with the R series in March and the market loved their performance, comfort and driveability. Chrysler continued the knock down kit builds (fully imported kits) with the S series during 1962 after the 1000 odd R series kits were completed and sold. Local Valiant production commenced with the AP5 model in 1963 which although using some imported parts was manufactured locally and local content built quickly from 1963 on.
Today the R and S series are the most sought after of the early Valiants. It’s because of their relative rarity and unique looks and performance.
The Alpine white exterior with white sidewall tires and chrome wheel trims all look the part. I took these photos on a sunny Sunday at Googong Dam, hope you like them.
I have had fun getting this 55 year old girl back on the road where she belongs but I decided to sell the S series and to focus on my Chrysler marine collection, and try to get my Chrysler ute going.
Car of the Month for July 2016
Marshall McCarron’s 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
The SLC is a grand touring roadster manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. ‘SL’ derives from the German Sportlich-Leicht and first applied to the 300 SL, the famous “Gullwing” with its upward-opening doors. And the ‘C’ of course is coupé, the two-door car body style with a permanently attached fixed roof and the 450 is the V 8 M117 4520cc engine. Marshall McCarron bought this fine example in 1979, as a 2-year-old import from South Africa – for the sum of $35,000, from a guy who had bought out 3! Registering it in Queensland was a bit tricky with dozens of ADRs to comply with – OK, except for the side intrusion bars, which had to be retro-fitted, but finally given the OK by Q Roads, with the S/African police report, and so cleared the way for it to be a daily driver in Marshall’s work for many years. During that time, it covered big distances regularly between Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and beyond.The SLC is a grand touring roadster manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. ‘SL’ derives from the German Sportlich-Leicht and first applied to the 300 SL, the famous “Gullwing” with its upward-opening doors. And the ‘C’ of course is coupé, the two-door car body style with a permanently attached fixed roof and the 450 is the V 8 M117 4520cc engine. Marshall McCarron bought this fine example in 1979, as a 2-year-old import from South Africa – for the sum of $35,000, from a guy who had bought out 3! Registering it in Queensland was a bit tricky with dozens of ADRs to comply with – OK, except for the side intrusion bars, which had to be retro-fitted, but finally given the OK by Q Roads, with the S/African police report, and so cleared the way for it to be a daily driver in Marshall’s work for many years. During that time, it covered big distances regularly between Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and beyond.
Car of the Month for June 2016
Terry Davis’s 1936 FORD Delux 3.61 V8
Ford had set up shop in Geelong in the 20s, the 1st major car manufacturer in Australia, as an out-post of Ford Canada. Ford Australia’s first products were Model Ts assembled from CKD kits out of Windsor Ontario. The mid to late 30s saw major shift in the Aussie Ford car manufacturing and market with important changes to Ford. Now past the Model T and Model A, Ford competed rather well with GM-Holden (Holden having nearly gone belly up after the Depression) for the sales lead. New styling, a new engine, and changes overall to ride and appearance made these Fords very popular.
Car (Boat) of the Month for May 2016
Steve Cole’s Chrysler Conqueror 105
This year’s COTM, was a special one for Steve and I, as Steve was about to take the first Chrysler that could actual go ON the Murray, a 1978 restored 16ft Chrysler Conqueror, with a Chrysler 140 HP Outboard, named “Hey Charger”
Joining the Chrysler Marine team was Steve’s Valiant S series, that he was planning to sell at COTM. On the day of our departure, the S series decided that it didn’t want to go to Albury to be sold, and locked the gearbox into 2nd gear (I swear these old cars are possessed)
This is where the Hunter came to the rescue. I checked the oil and water and took off to Albury in the Hunter, following the Charger, towing the Conqueror. It was a hassle free trip to Albury. Both the Charger and Hunter performed very well.
The next day at the show, the organises setup the Charger and the boat in a prime location. Needless to say the boat attracted a lot of attention. Steve was so busy fielding questions, and talking to people, he didn’t get to see most of the other cars at the show.
In the afternoon we heading out to the Ettamogah pub for a Charger photo shoot. It was great to see so many Chargers in one spot. Steve’s charger and boat were again given a prime location for the photo shoot.
After the photo shoot, we hung around and chewed the fat for a while. Spoke to a guy who owned and original E49 Charger, that had been restored to concourse condition. He told us he’d paid $170,000 for it. What a bargain !
Later in the afternoon we headed back to the Hume Weir where we launched Hey Charger for her maiden voyage. I have to say, that I held my breath as Steve cranked over the engine. After about 10 seconds of cranking the mighty two stroke fired into life. Steve manoeuvred the boat into deeper water and took off. After a couple of splutters the boat was up and planing beautifully. WOW, the first Chrysler on the Murray was off and running. In the words of Dale Kerrigan “If there is one thing Steve loved more than serenity, it was a two stroke engine at full throttle.”
That night we headed into town, for the unofficial Chrysler cruise night. For me, watching the local law enforcement pulling over people who had left their brains at home, makes the night complete. It’s a great night to catch up with old friends and talk all things MOPAR.
On Sunday we returned to the show, where we setup in the same spot as the day before. On this day, Steve was able to check out some of the great Chryslers on display, however the interest in the boat still kept him fairly occupied. We headed back to Canberra just after lunch. Another trouble free journey. We were both home before dark.
COTM is a great event for any Chrysler enthusiast. Hopefully I’ll be there in 2018 with my Charger J
Story by Paul Anderson
Car of the Month for April 2016
Simon Braun’s 1963 Mk 1 MGB
“Maggie The MG”
Why buy an MG? When I was growing up in the UK, my Uncle Fred worked for Smiths Industries and over time he owned a selection of sports cars – MG, Morgan, Triumph etc. Whenever he came to visit I would always get to go for a drive with him. Top down in an MGB racing around the country lanes of Wales with an RAF officers’ hat on to keep the 1970s hair style in some sort of shape was great fun. MG owners included The Queen, Prince Charles, Roy Orbison; and Joanna Lumley had a lovely yellow MBGT in “The Avengers”
The car was built on 30/31 July 1963 at the MG Factory in Abingdon and was one of the last cars to be exported to Australia assembled; it was dispatched on 2 August 1963. The Certificate of Authenticity shows her lineage. The car has a few additional features: she has a low compression engine; it came with a rear compartment cushion (which cannot be used as a seat as the car can only legally carry two people), headlight flasher kit and pack away “red” hood. She was originally Tartan Red.
“Since buying Maggie, I have discovered you need a lot of time patience and, above all, a sense of humour.”
Car of the Month for March 2016
Bruce McCarron’s 1953 MG TD
William Richard Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield GBE CH FRS (1877-1963) started life in humble surrounds, apprenticed to a bicycle sales and repair business at age 15, then 9 months later started his own business which grew to become the famous Morris group. Later founder of Morris Motors Limited and is remembered as the founder of the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuffield Trust and Nuffield College, Oxford. Cecil Kimber started the MG Car Company Limited in the 1920s as a sales promotion sideline within Morris’s Oxford city retail sales and service business. MG produced saloons and coupés and its famous open wheeler sports cars. Morris Motors Limited was started in 1935 – going public in 1936. Morris then merged with Austin to form The British Motor Corporation Limited in 1952. Which is one year before this MG TD was first registered. When his UN things came to a halt, Bruce decided to buy it as a present to himself and in a week the car was in a container and on its way to Majors Creek. For its age it has extremely low mileage and the condition is excellent, probably helped because it was in a showroom for 15 years. Log books and service history, as well as the original technical book are there too.
“The shipping from Denmark cost $3k, but the customs and charges in Australia were well over $6k. $580 just to get it out of its container! Ouch!!!“
Car of the Month for January/February 2016
John and Ronda Cornwell’s 1955 FJ Holden Business Sedan
John Cornwell’s father had owned both an FX and FJ Holden utes. Then John and Ronda came to own a 1955 FJ Holden Business Sedan in 1983 when an elderly aunty of John’s workmate had it up for sale after owning it quite a few years, but it needed complete resto. So John completely stripped the car and the paintwork back to the raw metal. Surprise, surprise – he found only a few minor dents and no rust at all. It was then repainted in the original colour: paint number 253-16209, Lithgow cream; while the interior upholstery was completed by a family friend.
Then the Gunna family came to stay for a while: Gunna do this, Gunna do that; so the FJ stayed like that until Melanie, John and Ronda’s daughter, asked if she could use the car for her wedding in 1992. That ended the Gunnas and John got stuck in again to complete a full front clip off to overhaul of the front-end, brakes and a tune-up of the engine. Not much work was need before it was ready for rego and it passed the roadworthy inspection with flying colours for full registration. It was given licence plate “FJ755”. Needless to say Melanie daughter looked beautiful in the car her father had restored and John and Ronda were as pleased and as proud of their daughter as of the FJ!
Some of the technical features that distinguish John and Ronda’s FJ Business sedan (Style FJ 217, Body – Sydney 2783; Sub-Frame: 5-11-560-Sydney; built: 7 month, 1955) are: Rubber mats, front and back. Painted seat base rear. Heavy Duty Springs. Taxi Bar mounted Pillar to Pillar across the rear of the front seat. Door pulls on all four doors. Two light switches for interior light. The interior light has a switch on it as well as the right hand centre door.