Husband and wife team, Euan and Wilga, is the most experienced team I know for veteran and vintage car motoring in Australia and New Zealand.
In Australia , ‘Veteran’ refers to vehicles with a factory build date earlier than December 31st, 1918. ‘Vintage” refers to those built from January 1st 1919 until December 31st 1930. However in the UK, the classification is ‘Veteran’ up to December 31st, 1904 and then ‘Edwardian’ up to 1918. In USA the terms ‘Brass era ‘ vehicles are prior to 1916 plus one year run on models with subsequent ‘Nickel era ‘ vehicles to the end of 1930.
I have always been fascinated with cars and motoring, particularly old cars, but I was a bit alone as my parents and neighbours were definitely not. I couldn’t wait to get my first car; a Ford Model A, which I owned before I even had my license, much to the distress of my parents.
What was your most enjoyable trip and why?
Our most enjoyable trips have all been in old cars. We took the Vauxhall 23/60 to New Zealand a couple of years ago for the world Vauxhall Rally. Recently we drove the 1910 Scat to a national Veteran Rally in Ipswich and back ( over 2500 kilometres). There the highlight was pulling into a little bush school at Mingoola on the Queensland border and the kids were very welcoming.
Likewise on a Western tour ( Veteran car) we were coerced by the local store owner to call into a central school at Tullibigeal with a similar reception. The travelling to and from a distant rally is almost as good as the rally.
Also in New Zealand the steep Dansey’s Pass was a steep single dirt road clinging to the mountain with blind curves and no guard rails. The scenery was spectacular.
I don’t have many lowlights apart from spending hours or days in the workshop making a part and then finding it doesn’t fit or you have made a design fault and have to do it again. Endless tyre trouble on a rally gets very frustrating.
Best tips? This is mainly for veteran cars.
Always carry enough equipment to change and repair a tyre.
Know how to change a magneto. First make sure the spare one works OK. On the Scat, changing the magneto is difficult as it is a gear driven directly from the timing gear so I have a kit including spare screws ( in case you drop them in the mud beside the car) and a magnet to retrieve said screws when you drop them in the engine pan, plus the puller for a gear and the rubber restraint to hold the gear and the various spanners and screwdrivers.
I also carrying a ‘running away from home’ kit which has things like sealers, lengths of wire, spare split pins, duct tape nuts and bolts, fuel filters and fuel tubing, plus the usual tool stuff.
I also carry a small vice which mounts on the running board which has got me out of trouble a couple of times.
I work to the theory that everybody carries spanners and screwdrivers but very few carry bits of wire etc. to effect temporary repairs. Wilga- ‘he forgot to also mention the baling twine! The old Cockies ( farmers and graziers) could fix anything if they had fencing wire and baling twine. ‘
WILGA is the very patient navigator and wife and is highly organized. She can drive all the vehicles but finds the controls heavy except for the Hupmobile..
I love travelling, the company, scenery and the smell of the bush. (Australian native flora).
Travelling over 3000 kilometres in 22 days in the 1910 Scat to Tasmania for the Veteran Rally and we only put the hood up once. Wonderful scenery and weather.
Navigating with heavy traffic on main roads in a capital city in a storm to catch a ferry. Lowlights are usually associated with pouring rain. And I do remember one time when we were in the little Renault ( no hood) and the heavens opened just as we were leaving the motel and I spent the entire day soaked to the skin. However the worst was last year again in the Renault when we had gearbox trouble after lunch. It was on a desolate road quite late in the afternoon. Euan got a lift back to pick up the trailer while I stayed in the car. The wind became stronger and the sun sank lower and all the other Veterans had well and truly passed by. It was cold and spooky. And I was very pleased to see Euan when he eventually returned.
Always pack for the unexpected with layers of clothing; waterproof and warm.
Pack sunscreen, insect repellant, band aids, Savlon, pure lavender oil ( good for minor infections or just to help you to relax), cheap kitchen paper and Glad Wrap ( thin plastic wrapping) and definitely water bottles. You never know when you’ll be sitting on the side of the road or for how long. Also the car often needs a drink before you do.