As I mentioned in my first post from this race meeting, the cars on display were fantastic, with some real rarities on show including some that I only noticed when looking through the photos weeks afterward! Cars of all varieties, trucks, tractors, caravans and even speed boats were all featured on the oval area on the inside of the turn 5 sweeper. Let’s have a look around…
Here is the back of the series 1 short wheelbase Land Rover, showing the PTO-driven winch which would have been an important part of its promotion as a multi-purpose farm vehicle. I remember my grandfather had a belt-driven saw that he used to cut timber for the wood-fired stove in their farm house; he used a tractor to power the saw blade that was at least 30″ diameter.
This photo taken into the sun isn’t great, but shows the display of mostly Ferguson tractors and a couple of the Massey Fergusons that were the result of the merger with Massey Harris. Ed Stembridge wrote about these tractors in his article on the almost-identical Ford N-series.
This Massey Ferguson 35 stood out for its cabin, which was obviously a rarity. I’m not sure whether it was fitted in period or as part of the restoration to make it suitable for traveling – there is a sticker above the windscreen from a trip to Cape York, the northern-most point of Australia – 2,350 miles or so from Winton. A long way in a tractor to be sure! Note the very tall rear tyres, which would help increase road speed.
Next door was this 1948 Fordson E27N, with an ingenious method of making it able to drive on sealed surfaces without damage, while still keeping the original steel wheels.
Now onto the caravans! Or travel trailers in US-ese. These have become more popular over the last few years, and I thought that our North American readers in particular might appreciate the Mercedes-Benz C-class wagon tow car. I didn’t actually check which model it was, but it could be a C200 or C250 petrol (1.8L turbo) or diesel (2.1L turbo) – at least I can rule out the C63 wagon that is also sold here! Other people go for more period-correct tow cars.
Like many other things, caravans got bigger and better as demand evolved and also the typical family car got bigger too.
Almost all possible variations on caravans from the 1950-1960s were on display – timber, aluminium and fibreglass construction. I don’t think that the Airstream-type was very popular in Australia, and it makes sense that dual axles were not common in this era either.
This Holden Brougham and Globe Trotter van have come all the way from Western Australia! Paul has touched on this model in the past, and I have some more photos of this car to come. Note the 1993-ish Ford Fairlane next door, that is a spiritual successor.
Some caravanners have a good sense of humour!
This 1999 Ford Fairmont wagon doesn’t pre-date the SUV era, but is one of the best tow cars you could want. This one has the 4.0L OHC inline six, with its strong low-end torque, a 4-speed auto and live axle located by leaf springs. Due to the wagon’s popularity with Telstra telecomms company in particular, there was a ‘load carrying’ setup with a revised spring pack. Tow capacity was 2,300 kg or just over 5,000 lb. There was an optional 5.0 V8 that was even more durable as well as having 10% more torque.
I really liked this Propert folding caravan, shown here in closed mode. They were built from about 1952-1972 in Vaucluse, Sydney. Closed it is 6 foot long (excluding the drawbar) and wide, and about 5’3″ tall, with a weight of 550lb – it was designed for 1950s 4 cylinder cars.
And here, actually 2 years ago, towed by an even older ute (1928 Studebaker), open! The height is now 8 feet. I have seen pictures with the rear section of roof raised, hinged from the join you can see running across the roof, for even better headroom. The floor is quite low thanks to a forged steel drop axle.
Here is a shot of the interior, note the slot behind the cupboard to allow another section of wall to slide behind it.
These folding picnic chairs bring back memories, as does the card table outside the caravan in the background.
Time for a change of pace! Here is a White 4000 and International-Harvester 3070A ‘Eagle’.
I couldn’t get great shots of the interiors, but here they are; the White is on the left. Both gear levers have air-operated controls, presumably for 2-speed diffs but the IH has a second one too – perhaps an overdrive?
Here is the 903 Cummins in the 3070A, which I think would originally have been non-turbo and rated at 250 horsepower.
And the bogie-drive rear end. This marked IH Australia’s proper entry into the long-haul transport market here, even if the Kenworths and Macks would comfortably out-perform it – I dare say the cost difference was significant.
There was one of Ventura Busline’s historic fleet on show, a 1980s Leyland Tiger. Apparently after 25 years commercial buses have to have a fairly extensive (and expensive) inspection that effectively prices them off the road.
A Chevrolet Silverado might be common as muck in the States and there are a reasonable number of them out here, but they are by no means numerous, and after previous posts I thought it was important to…
… get a photo of the interior! It looks like a pretty decent mirror image conversion, and while things don’t look perfect fit and finish-wise I dare say it would be hard to tell what was due to the conversion and what because of Chevrolet!
I’m going to cheat with some photos from last year for the boats, I think the display was pretty similar and I was aware of not having enough time on the day.
As with every type of vehicle there are a variety of types, starting with this small racing skiff. The photo board showed a pair of photos, from the original era and recently post-restoration of this boat running with only the propeller in the water. The less wetted surface, the faster! The hull is formed from steam-bent, diagonally laid ply.
Here is the engine – a Standard Vanguard 2-litre 4 cylinder (as also seen in Triumph sports cars and Ferguson tractors!) that has been heavily modified. It has 4 Amal motorcycle carburettors, and the ignition magneto was sourced from a Massey Ferguson hay baler!
Hiding behind the straight-out exhausts and triple Weber carbs is a Holden 186 engine.
Another great old timber speed boat. The home-made truss-type trailers are pretty interesting in themselves.
This time a Ford Falcon six with some significant head modifications to eliminate the original cast-in manifold. It runs fuel injection plus a fairly gnarly exhaust.
One last boat – this time with a V8 that would have become necessary to stay competitive as they became available. Years ago I worked with a guy who raced a boat running a Keith Black big block; I remember him saying “the Chevy 350 might go ok in a car, but in a boat it is only good for a family or social ski boat”.
This mid-50s Ford F-500 was amazingly restored – far too nice to work now.
Here is the 272 Y-block which shows how well it was presented, only some fuel stains show it gets driven. Another spectator asked me about the exhaust crossover pipe; considering that both manifolds have an exhaust downpipe I can only assume it was easier to leave the crossover in place – can anyone tell us “why is it so?”
I must admit I skipped over the late-70s F-350 to look at this 1930-ish Dodge. This is typical of the era when a truck would have been sold with the bonnet and cowl, a seat and the tray, and not necessarily any form of cabin at all. The most that you could say about this one is that it woulld keep the rain off – so long as you were on the downwind side anyway.
Harking back to a previous truck post, this one had a couple of old milk churns and a metal trunk in the back.
I will stop for now with this 1948 Chevrolet tipper, which is very similar to they type used during World War 2. One easy difference to pick is the ‘normal’ front mudguard compared to the military trucks having a much larger wheel arch cut out. Oh, and the chrome trim! More next week!
Further Reading from this show: