The pre-Xmas run to the Axedale Pub and environs saw the much awaited debut of Squatter Tim's Crossley. He had bought the car as a collection of mechanical bits from The Bennet, put them all together and built the body in its entirety from sheets of aluminium. The only panels that came with the car were some guards and the bonnet sides.
A nice little touch is the radiator mascot. The Squatter assures me that the figurine was modelled after his wife, and the view from the driver's seat means that thoughts of home are never far from his mind, no matter how far away he is.
Pre-New Year's Eve Pissup and AGM
It is accepted procedure within the Ferals that the AGM last no longer than 60 seconds, and this year was no exception, with The Feral Public Officer achieving a personal best of 47.84 seconds. The only time 60 seconds has been exceeded was in 2007, when the FPO dropped his (full) can of beer, after reading the annual accounts, and it had to be rapidly rescued from under a trailer. Even then the AGM came in in under 90 seconds.
The Ferals have an adjunct Club, called the Odds'n Sods which sorta explains itself considering the Ferals are size sensitive.
Pictured at the pissup is the aforementioned O'nS member Bennet with his 1929 Morris. As coincidence would have it, this radiator mascot was also modelled after his wife, shortly before she flew the coop. The large mascot with its ample wings has a considerable retardation effect on the car, much like the Missus had on The Bennet.
He keeps it there, not so much as to remember, but so as to fucking well not forget.
The hard word had been put on Helen The Hup (nee The Bruce) to organise a day event. And so she did, and told all and sundry to get prepared to leave the Guilly Pub at 1.00pm sharp on the Sat'day Arvo. She learnt a lesson in herding cats that day.
Some arrived at midday, some dribbled in during the hour, the Brickie, and Robbo,(who had said they'd be there at midday) dribbled in by 1.30. Fowl Andrew had been retarded by the sudden, and unexpected popping up of pubs along the way, and texted in his progress, but finally arrived about 2.00pm. Then it was a problem to get all of the punters to sinc their drinks before we got away about 2.30pm. Normal shit really.
The turn-up was good. At last count, before the alcofog set in, I counted about 8 cars.
It was especially nice to see that the Ghostly Gaudi Of Guildford, Wayne was there (see http://feralsportscarclub.net/Wayne.html )
Wayne don't say a lot, but he's deep and shy, and been hanging out to do the dirt with us. If he got either the Isotta Fraschini or the Steyr, or the Delage, or any of the other cars he's got mouldering, together, he'd be a shoe-in for membership, despite our size restrictions. We parked him in with Deaf John in the A7 Pram so he could feel the breeze.
The usual punters were there, Hobbit and Hup in the Essex Suitcase, Brickie in the Nash, Wolf and HMI in the Huddo Ladies Lounge, Robbo in the Ply-mouth, Deaf John in the Pram, Fowl Andrew and Jabba in the Ford "B Model" Ute,, and also O'nS member Stuey plus many and their dogs in the ex-Brickie Dodge Ute, and Stork and Alison in the Chev Truck.
A few passengers also came along for the ride Chrissie, Tex and Phoebe, and the Hup's sister Pinky.
Stuey's Dodge suffers from a complaint common to cars owned by the Brickie, past and present: fuel problems, and was in fact the car celebrated in a poem presented in http://feralsportscarclub.net/BrickieOration.html The problems have not been sorted out, but, in true feral style, a "temporary" fix has been done: A plastic drum on the cowl in front of the windscreen gravity feeds fuel directly to the carby. As Stuey pointed out, it also has an inbuilt fuel guage. Methinks this "temporary" fix will have a long life.
The Hup had worked out a very nice run in the bush around Guildford, which included some good steep hills and rough tracks which all of the cars breezed up, because that is, after all, the conditions they were built for, and which is why they have such very low first gears.
The glorious weather, neither too hot or too cold, and the nature of the company, meant there were many stops for refreshments, and it was soon obvious that only a fraction of the planned track would be driven. But this did not matter, we'll do the rest some other time.
At one particular stop, we parked a hundred yards or so from a camping area which was inhabited by a large number of people who were celebrating three different kid's birthdays. Within minutes we were surrounded by adults and a whole horde of kids who crawled all over the cars, which we did not mind, because, what could they do to the cars which we had not done a hundred times worse? One thing led to another, and soon we were asked to give the kids a ride. No worries, be a pleasure.
This said, 11 young children piled into the Hobbit's Essex, and off he went, without any other adults. This must be some kind of record.
On discussing the matter later we thought: "Shit! Those parents must be very trusting to let their kids go off with a total stranger like that!"
After a few more rides were given, we decided we'd had enough, and headed back to Guildford to have a BBQ, but not before Fowl Andrew, in a display of high speed reversing, crashed into the Huddo. Fowl Andrew is fond of saying: "It's all good fun, till someone loses an eye." Considering the velocity of the B Model, and the thump that was felt and heard, we were amazed that the only damage was the loss of a lens.
After that, it was onto the BBQ, and eventually home, a nice day's entertainment.
Earlier in 2011, three Ferals went to Tassie, and on the second day, a curious incident occurred, which is here described by Helen The Hup:
The trip to Launceston nearly ended in the first Total Care rescue!
Moseying along when 2 tons of Feralmobile dives to the side of the road, a very distressed driver leaps out and gets down on hands and knees, peering up from under the car is the announcement,
"I think it's bad! I think it's the diff! It made a terrible banging and then a grinding noise as we pulled up! Do you think I'II make it in to town?"
Andrew of the Fowl is standing back, head down, arms crossed, just shakes his head and gives his learned opinion, "Dunno, Mate"
We continue on, with the support vehicle nervously following, hoping to avoid any foreign objects that may be spat from the under-carriage of the maimed Feral.
Successfully arriving into town a very sheepish driver slinks from his car-"There's been a miss-diagnosis- I think I need to replace a table leg"
"What!!???", comes the cry from the rest of the party.
"The diff seems fine; I think it was just the table banging on the side of the car"
Tail between his legs he slinks back into his car, takes off in a cloud of embarrassment, in search of the nearest hardware.
Ho, ho, ho, ha,ha,ha. A week of : "You're lucky it didn't put a leg out!"
A week later, on the last day, after a wonderful gallop through the east of Tassie, down to Hobart, and on the way back, the card table struck again.
We were in the dead centre of the island on the Plain of Tiers, and stopped to take some pics. The Hobbit and the Hup had taken off ahead, put the Huddo into gear and took off. Nothing but a graunching noise. Checked the card table. It soon became obvious that we had done an axle or a diff.
Crappy Optus phone did not work, so we flagged down a car going north to tell H&H where we were. Then a most beautifully mud spattered Range Rover stopped, and the 3 guys had the latest Telstra phone, so we called Total Care.
H&H came back, and, while we waited, we cooked some lunch on the front of the Huddo. We had barely finished,(about 3/4 of an hour) when the truck arrived! This is in the middle of the island, miles from anywhere, a wilderness! We had also picked up about a dozen curious travellers along the way, so it was a social gathering that greeted the tow truck driver, who was also very interested. You don't get a lot of that sort of thing in the middle of Tassie.
So with a lot of fanfare,and thousands of pictures taken, the Huddo was loaded onto the truck to go to Devonport to meet the same ferry we were to board that night.
We continued on with H&H, drank some beer, and generally were feeling pretty good.
The Fowl Andrew and Barb met up with us in Devonport and informed us that they had seen the Huddo being loaded.(They had stayed in the North during the week owing to an enormous oil usage in the Ford which made any long travel ecologically and economically unwise.)
We disembarked in Melbourne and saw the car being towed off the ferry with wharfies taking turns to be photographed in it, which was OK by us.
Drove back to Central Victoria, and half an hour later, the truck arrived with the Huddo, and he was able to roll it off the truck, directly into the shed, over my pit.
Total Care is just a magic policy to have. The cost? Nothing! They even rang us up to see if we might need a hire car to get back home, which would have also been covered.
And now to the irony of the card table. For a while (a couple of months) the Wolf had noticed a periodic squeek coming from the rear brake drum, and just put it down to either an out of round drum or a wheel with a couple of spokes missing - nothing major. Certainly nothing to cause an investigation and actually do some work. Nosirree.
But what had happened was that the massive half-shaft had cracked, and was working back and forwards, causing the wheel to wobble. Being loaded up to the gunwhales with camping gear for a week just made the situation worse. The wobble increased as the crack widened and caused the card table to rattle against the sides.
It took an hour to get the axle out, and another one bunged in. On examination, the actual fresh metal of the final break was just millimeters in area. The thing had been cracked for years, shown by the rust in the crack, and is a testimony to the great metals they used in the 1920's.
And the moral of the story? In the (almost) words of the great English poet, John Donne: ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE CARD TABLE KNOCKS, IT KNOCKS FOR THEE!