Drive It Day/ Old Car Day – Friday 1st September 2017

Drive It Day/ Old Car Day Friday 1st September 2017

It is the first day of spring, a day to celebrate by taking the old car/bike/ truck out for a run, and meet others of like mind at Bethany Reserve. The forecast is looking good, sunny and 22 degrees so the forecaster said!

So, having prepared and loaded up the Rover on Thursday, Sylvia and I headed out the back door at Port Parham at 8.15am, only to be rained upon.

As we headed down Redbanks Road past Mallala the sky looked very forbidding, and Sylvia commented that it was unlikely that there would be much of a turn out in these conditions, and I could not help but agree, the windscreen wipers on the Rover doing their usual feeble job of keeping the water off the screen.

By the time we arrived at Bethany at about 9.45 after collecting the keys to the kitchen at Barossa Council at Nuriootpa, the skies had cleared to some extent and we were welcomed by Brian Cox and some willing helpers who had the warming fire in the shelter well alight.

The first arrivals after us were a Chrysler Royal from NARC at Kadina and a compact Ford Fairlaine towing a compact trailer which it turned out contained a very compact vehicle. More about that later.

As time went on vehicles of all descriptions rolled in from all directions. The “official” count was 190 cars/commercial vehicles and two motorcycles, although it is probable that over 200 older vehicles attended on the day representing over 25 clubs (see listing later). People came from as afar as Strathalbyn, Murray Bridge, the Murray Mallee, Port Pirie, Kadina and Peterborough. Many commented on the large variety of vehicles and that it was good to be involved with people and vehicles outside our normal club experience. Vehicles on display included model T fords from the mid ‘teens’, several vehicles from the 20’s and thirties, through to a late model Holden Monaro and a Ferrari, and in keeping with the recent changes to concessional registration conditions, a couple of road rods. This was not the largest gathering that have had on Old Car Day but the site was comfortably full.

The aforementioned compact trailer contained a reproduction of Henry Fords first car, a quadricycle built by Henry in 1896 using a Kane Pennington two cylinder engine modified by Ford with coil ignition and water cooling. The original vehicle used 8 dry cells to power the ignition system, was push started, and ran without brakes (it is believed Henry pushed on the front wheel with his boots to slow it down!). This reproduction has a crank starter, a modern 12 volt battery and brakes operated by a handle, thus making it somewhat safer than the original.

The quadricycle was demonstrated on the oval and several lucky players got a short ride on it.

The sun shone from 10.30am to 3.30pm and it was a wonderful spring day. After supervising the close down of the site, we headed home, and the rain came down again near Mallala, so we were extremely lucky to have a great day out at Bethany.

Thanks are due to June Kent for supervising the start of the run from Fremont Park. Unfortunately David was unwell and June capably fulfilled the role for both of them, but they were unable to participate in the run. Thanks to Trevor Bellchambers for facilitating the run from Princes Park and providing lots of custom at Lyndoch Bakery. Many participants who were not part of the run commented on the large number of old vehicles in Lyndoch. Bruce Williams and helpers did a great job of directing parking at Bethany, and Mike Osborne and Trevor Bellchambers were on call for First Aid if required (fortunately there has been no call for their services over the years we have been running the event, but it is good to be prepared). Barbara McLellan provided the makings for tea and coffee.

Next year September 1st is on a Saturday, we look forward to you all being there.

Feedback from participants:

  • Great to see many different clubs participating and large variety of vehicles
  • Perhaps we should declare the “be there” time as being a bit earlier, perhaps 11 or 11.30am
  • Could we have the grass cut back further under the trees to make more space for club groupings? (I have tried to get Council to do this without success)
  • Good that there is no commercialisation of the event (food stalls etc). (Note that the Barossa Council has much more stringent conditions for these activities than other councils)

Since the 2018 event will be on a Saturday, it is likely that there will be a higher attendance and this will need to be managed.

  • We only had two parking marshalls out of an expected 5 this year. We will need 5 to ensure that parking of vehicles is at an optimum. We have parked over 300 vehicles on the site in the past without overcrowding, so this needs to be managed.
  • The area allocated for “moderns” this year will need to be reserved for oldies, and moderns will need to be located either on Bethany Road or the back access road.
  • Our policy has been to allow modern vehicles carrying disabled persons onto the site, but it is desirable that they display their disabled notices in future.
  • Perhaps we can get more publicity to the general public through the local papers so that they can come and view what we have to offer.

Participating clubs included (names may not be correct but they give an idea!). Adelaide Hills Auto Club, AMC Rambler Club, Antique Automobile Club, Austin 7 Club, Barossa Car Club, Chev Car Club of SA, Chryser Restorers Club, Early Ford V8 Club, Ford Model T Club, Ford Model A Club, Gawler Veteran Vintage and Classic Vehicle Club, Humber Club, Maitland Auto Preservation Club, MG Car Club, Morris Register, Morris Minor Club, Murray Bridge Auto Club, Murray Mallee Club, Sporting Car Club of SA, Northern Areas Restorers Club (NARC) both Kadina and Kapunda chapters, Rover Car Club of SA, Sporting Car Club of SA, Strathalbyn car club, Vauxhall Car Club, Vintage and Veteran Car Club of SA, Volvo/Saab club, Waikerie Machinery Preservation Society.

Photos by Lorraine East
Quadricycle Photos 2 and 3 – Alvin Jenkin

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