“Dripfeed” NEWSLETTER OF THE BANKS PENINSULA BRANCH OF THE VINTAGE CAR CLUB OF New Zealand (INC) VOLUME 42, No 11 december, 2019 Editor: Michael Williams 10 Selwyn Parade Lyttelton Ph 328 8043, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Club Officers: Craig Keenan 322 1006 Ron Hasell 942 1105
Branch Address: 27 Showgate Ave, ChCh 8042 E-mail: email@example.com Noggin & Natter: 2nd Thursday of the Month • •
Noggin 7.30 pm at the Papanui RSA. Upham Room – enter either from 55 Bellvue Ave or the first entrance on the left on Harewood Road (Papanui / Main North Road) Thursday 12th of December. We look forward to seeing you there. Supper is provided.
From the Editor: This is the last edition of Dripfeed for 2019, and the next edition will come out in February. I’ve continued to enjoy the rôle of editor, and the surprisingly positive comments I continue to get from a wide variety of readers beyond our branch certainly makes it worthwhile. And what has made it even more worthwhile recently is the generous gift by Richard Foster of his full set of Dripfeeds, right from Volume 1 number 1. An absolute goldmine, and they will of course become the official club archives . As benefits a club that takes itself very seriously, these historical documents will be kept in a brown cardboard carton in my study. Amongst this motoring equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls is the original letter explaining why the Banks Peninsula Branch was to be formed, written by an interim committee of Ron Hasell, Julian Loughnan, Doug Barnard and Gavin Bain. And in the spirit of the American Declaration of Independence, it’s signed by fifty people, of whom twelve are still members. Bob Scott was the first chairman, Lindsay Wogan was the first editor, and the first Dripfeed came out in July 1978. After a few issues, certain themes were beginning to come through, and are well worth repeating. Indeed, in the very first issue, under the heading Quote of The Month, the following item came from the VSCC Bulletin. “and Barry Clarke used his Austin Ulster’s windscreen to help it stop by rubbing it on the ground. This displeased the organisers, who said that Barry had had an accident
and must not continue. Barry said he often stopped like that because Austin brakes were not much good”. (I’m simply carrying on a fine old tradition of Austin 7 abuse.) Another heading was “ Lies, Evasions and Half-Truths”, and one or two are notable. From September 1978: “Does anyone remember a chap named Garry Moore? Made quite a stir about the time of the Inaugural Meeting and hasn’t been seen since.” From December 1978: “Ladies a plate, gents bottled goods” From March 1979: “Ted L is working on his MG NA, and hopes to solve the boiling problem” From January 1980: “At the Xmas picnic at Bill Clark’s, the children had a vote and voted Gavin Bain the best racing driver in the VCC” I read in the latest edition of Classic and Sports Car that there was an event called ‘The Festival of the Unexceptional”, and the much coveted Concours d’Lemon was won by a Morris Marina. Most apt. The Branch wishes to express our sympathy to Clive Dodds on the passing of his brother Peter. Welcome to new member Rod McIlrae, who has been hired as a works driver for Rob Cope-Williams’ Lotus 23. Rod is one of the great names in Motorsport, especially in his Mustang back in the good old days. We are still hoping to have a display of cars that raced at the original Wigram circuit, or competed elsewhere during that era, at the Skope Classic at Ruapuna over Waitangi weekend in February. Please get in touch with Ron if you have a suitable car and want to participate. Ron Hasell has entry forms for the annual Dunedin to Brighton Veteran run.
Coming Events New Years Day Picnic 2020, Little River Domain. Our annual picnic is on again from 10.30am, so get there early and stop the Triumph Club from getting the best spot. Beware of massed Fords, MGs, and other grey porridge. Last year there were five real vintage cars so see if we can beat that this year. It’s always a pleasant day for gossip and slander, as well as a jazz band, ice creams, and barbeque food provided by the Little River Fire Brigade. Gold Coin admission.
Veteran Run 18th January 2020
Back Country Excursion 18th January 2020 This excursion which is intended for veteran vehicles only will travel from Hawarden to Whitnow Station and return to Hawarden.
The total distance travelled will be 62 Kms, which includes 46 kms of good unsealed road. If you wish to attend or for information please contact David and Marion Oakley, Ph 021370956 or 03 3087323, email firstname.lastname@example.org Art Deco Weekend, Napier, February 2020 Contacts: STEVE TROTT email@example.com STEVE DONOVAN firstname.lastname@example.org Highland Fling, 24th – 26th of April. This is a new event, organised by the Bay of Plenty branch. It’s based in Taihape, gumboot capital of NZ, and is a sort of North Island version of Irishman Creek. Imitation is the best form of flattery I suppose, and only proper vintage cars are eligible, which is a good start. Mostly shingle and farm tracks, it sounds like a lot of fun. For more information, email email@example.com or phone Kaaren Smylie 021664341 or Alastair Jones 07 5761124.
Past Events Karamea Touring Weekend, November 15-17 November, 2019. Christchurch's Show Weekend became a touring weekend for an intrepid group prepared to tackle the Alps and a long haul over The Bluffs to the End of the Known World – Karamea. Accomodation in Karamea is nowadays plentiful and the abundance of natures' attractions are matched by a growing shed culture, stocked with an abundance of interesting motor vehicles. This meant that should wet weather strike (perish the thought) we could have almost a surfeit of indoor activities to while away the day. On departure day, Friday 15th November, we met at Pukeko Junction, Leithfield, at 0900 hours for a coffee and route instructions (handed out as an illustrated guide) complete with tales to while away the miles. The route was a simple one yielding an approximate distance from Christchurch to Karamea via Lewis Pass, of 280 miles and a return distance via Arthurs Pass of 265 miles but participants were free to detour as they chose (not that many other passes were available to them). The suggested Friday lunch stop was Springs Junction and Greymouth on the Sunday, though roadside picnics amongst the sandflies were also possible; evening meals at Karamea were proposed for Friday at the Karamea Hotel and Saturday at The Last Resort, thus ensuring a degree of sophisticated camaraderie. The early stages took us through the Weka Pass, Waikari and Hurunui Basins, the Waiau Gorge and Hanmer Basin; if navigators were awake (the instructions tended to put them to sleep) then the Taramakau-Hope Fault was noted in the vicinity of Glyn Wye station; this was the focus for the massive 1888 earthquake which allowed Alexander McKay to document for the first time, significant lateral fault movement, a subject which aroused considerable disagreement between geologists for many years. McKay stands on the upthrown side of the Hope-Taramakau Fault near Glyn Wye station; the trace crosses from left to right, the far side having moved to the right (dextral movement) as shown by the offset fenceline. The 7.2 magnitude 'quake occurred 1 September 1888, causing severe damage in Christchurch. Tragically, late Thursday a Christchurch man was killed by a rockfall on the road near O'Sullivans Bridge in the Buller Gorge, at the junction of SH65 and SH6; our route should have followed SH65 north from Springs Junction to this bridge, however this road and the middle section of the Gorge were closed to all traffic as abseilers cleared loose material from the bluffs in this area. We
duly completed our pre-lunch stop at the Alpine Fault in the Marble Hill recreation area, satisfied the inner man (and woman) at the Junction, then were detoured to continue on SH7 northwest over the Rahu Saddle to Reefton; here a mandatory stop took in the secondhand shop on the route north to Inangahua Junction (SH69) where we finally joined the Buller River as it rushed into the lower gorge section which sports the Hawks Crag Breccia, a rock which hosted New Zealand's only uranium strike in 1956. This unusual rock also records another important event – our breakaway from Australia more than 50 million years ago – as well as forming an impressive cliff into which the main road was hewn.
Harold Wellman (“the man who moved mountains”) was, like Alexander McKay, a self-taught geologistand an exceptional thinker. He recognised the full import of the offset river terraces near Marble Hilland elsewhere and proposed 300miles dextral offset along the Alpine Fault; astounding at the time, today no one doubts it. Unfortunately the detour meant we could not access the White Creek Fault a couple of miles west of O'Sullivans Bridge; this fault has moved many times in its history, the most recent being the devastating 17 th June 1929 Murchison earthquake, of magnitude 7.8 – many times stronger than the Darfield 'quake that rocked Christchurch in September 2010. At the time, Canterbury/Westland folk were severely shaken as the Murchison 'quake followed closely on the heels of the magnitude 7.1 Arthurs Pass 'quake of 9th March 1929. We will visit the White Creek Fault another time.
Hodgsons Store in Murchison, takes a nautical lean after the devasting 7.8 magnitude 'quake of 17 June 1929; clearly the building lacked adequate diagonal bracing. The 'quake was centred on the White Creek Fault, 8 miles to the west.
Emerging from the Buller Gorge we stopped briefly in Westport to refuel, then headed nor'east along the narrow coastal plain to turn inland at the Mokihinui; only one of our number stopped off to pay homage to coal-mining in the area; I suspect no one visited the Country and Western Museum, though it may hold hidden delights. Once past these delights, only the dreaded Bluffs lay between us and a whitebait dinner. Settled in to our accomodation at Karamea, we counted from our room, four tui and assorted bellbirds on a pohutukawa a few feet to the north and two fat native pigeons to the south. All travellers were accounted for during drinkies before dinner, and plans were laid for the morrow, on the advice of some locals who averred the arrival of a fine day; they had enjoyed very few in the previous two months. Many chose whitebait for the main course but some were disappointed when their dessert choice, whitebait and icecream, could not be served; Karamea was short on icecream.
Two little treasures; the World's Least Collectible Car (the FSM Niko) stands beside Dripfeed Editor's Most Favoured ReadyReference Car (the Austin Seven). Do not be fooled by the apparent shine on the Niko.
Saturday dawned unclear and the local forecasters were nowhere to be seen. Nature called, with visits such as the Oparara Arches, the Nikau Walk, the Zig-Zag Track and the Big Rimu, but only the brave headed for the end of the road at the Kohaihai; most hovered around Vinnie's café, ducking the lightning, and listening to Radio Karamea (FM, mind you) broadcasting live a local singer/guitarist who was rather enjoyable; her rendition of a James Brown number allowed
injection of the useless information that the Excaliber sports car Brown once owned, now resides in Invercargill in the ownership of a fellow VCC member. The singer, Laura, became quite envious of this near-contact with James Brown. After a spell of thunder and heavy rain an almost break-in-the-weather allowed us to flee the delights of Radio Karamea and head inland towards the gorge of the mighty Karamea River. The sealed road turned to loose metal, narrowed and entered heavy bush, and on we went. At this stage the few who had followed their guide on a previous Westland tour became nervous, recalling a one-way trip, somewhere back of Kumara, down a narrowing track, which eventually turned into a cycle trail through the bush; on that occasion the guides' instructions should have led to a small hydro station. Fortunately a Derby Bentley is quite useful at flattening the brush, so to speak, and we all got out unharmed, apart from the ** which went sideways at some point, being rescued by might and main. But nothing untoward happened; we emerged at Jack's place and he showed us the contents of three sheds, with vehicles which ranged from a terribly fast Audi (all carbon-fibre and glamour and capable of 300+ kph) down to the world's least collectible car (Jack's words) a Polish-built Fiat 126 known as an FSM Niko. He pointed out the paint finish; we suspect it was thrown on from a distance. It seems these came out initially with normal Italian flair and a reasonable engine, but the three million built in Poland began by down-sizing to a more reasonable 249cc engine. Some were sold in Australia – aren't you glad that we separated from them 55 million years ago? Jack also has a very well-finished Model A and a recent acquisition is a Willys-Knight coupé, though it is giving him starting trouble at present. His collection includes everyone's favourite, an Austin Seven (yes, even the Editor loves them, though it is a fairly well-kept secret given away only by his repeated references). And then there is the Lanz Bulldog, which uses the steering wheel for starting (maybe that could be tried with the Willys-Knight), and an Australian-made version of the same sort of thing, a Beetle (VW species), a micro-light which is so under-powered that it can only stay airborne when in ground effect a husky trailersailer….. and so on. We dragged ourselves away from Jack's after admiring his large pet weka and his generating plant; with a head of 50 metres this latter is no trickle-charger and he has it tuned to run very reliably in spite of being a Chinesemade unit (initially). Rebuilt with Karamea do-it-yourself, it was impressive. As was his home-built concrete ford on the road leading further up-gorge. We turned back after an interesting hour and a half; thanks Jack for a fascinating visit. Next on the agenda was a visit to VCC member Ian Hedgman who is restoring a vehicle close to the heart of our Branch's Monte Carlo patron, His Serene Highness – a 1934 Riley Nine Monaco. After examining the hen collection and learning the finer points of chook breeding and triple-yolk laying, the ladies needed no further encouragement to head inside and partake of tea and scones with Ruth, while the chaps went through the Monaco and its pleasures. Currently working on the doors, chassis work will start soon and painting looms closer, followed by upholstery and trimming. When complete it will add interest to the range of cars in Karamea. Our final visit for the afternoon was further south, at Little Wanganui, to see Tony's shed(s); it is enormous, with a sort-of annex, and houses several WWII US army trucks, three jeeps (1942, '44, '47) four Land Rovers, a gaggle of Toyota utes which seem to be breeding quietly as they increase without Tony's assistance, Ferguson tractors by probably the dozen (including a very early one), a range of other tractors and a Daimler Ferret Scout car complete with something like a machine gun (I wonder if it qualifies as a semi-automatic?). Tony was a great host and kept answering questions all the while; all in all it was a super visit. We eventually dragged ourselves away, to do setting-up exercises preparion for another whitebait dinner. As a farmer, Tony has a penchant for tractors and here are just two of the Fergy rebuilds under way; the collection and shed are both extensive. Sunday morning brought the weather expected by some on Saturday, but before departure a couple of us visited the gravesites of Flight Lieutenant Len Chambers DFC (b. Karamea 18 February, 1919, d. 1985) and his wife Lil (b. Canada 1924, d. 2015) in the Karamea cemetery. Len Chambers took part in the successful 1943 Dambusters Raid on the Ruhr dams and received his DFC at BuckinghamPalace; Len later re-trained as a pilot to serve in the Pacific theatre. Known by some as the “Forgotten Dambuster”, Len was one of two New Zealanders in 617 squadron who flew on that famed mission against the Ruhr dams on 16th May 1943; the aircraft flown by Les Munro, the other Kiwi, was hit by flak crossing the enemy coast and returned to base; Len was radio/radar operator in the third Lancaster flown by Mickey Martin. Over the Moehne dam, Leader Gibson went in first but his bouncing bomb,though accurately placed, failed to breach the dam; Hopgood followed but was hit over the lake and began to climb away burning, only to explode in mid-air.
Len's pilot went in but their bomb bounced to the left of centre and again the dam stood. Another Lancaster followed, then another, with Gibson and Martin flying above their comrades, flashing their navigation lights to draw the flak away; finally Len saw the dam crack and break – the Moehne had been breached. Martin turned for home with those who had delivered their bombs and Gibson continued to the next target, the Eder dam, which also was successfully breached. After completing his tours in Wellingtons and Lancasters, Len was sent back to Canada (where he had been initially trained as air gunner/radio operator) for re-training as a pilot; he was then posted back to the Pacific theatre but took with him a young Canadian wife, Lillian, whom he had met during initial training. After the War, Len and Lil returned to his beloved Karamea where he returned to carpentry, but like many aircrew who went through hell repeatedly on such missions, Len suffered ill-health. Many New Zealanders know of Les Munro; few spare a thought for Len Chambers. Len's niece, Marlene Bennetts, recently published a small book telling the story to keep a promise to Lil; it is ISBN 978-0473-35630-9, entitled, “The Forgotten Dambuster”.
We gathered at Market Cross and departed just after the tens of tons of milk tanker/trailer had passed while we stood chatting on the roadside; all managed to run him down before reaching the Bluffs and a pleasant journey was made to Westport where most refuelled. Coffee was taken at Charleston, with some visiting Constant Bay to marvel how sailing vessels could bring gold miners and supplies into the tiny rock-girt bay, little larger than a decent duck-pond. Incidentally it is more than rock-girt for there are reefs within. Travelling on, coal seams on the roadsides told of later miners after black-gold. On we went, following the scenic coastal road with some stopping at Punakaiki and a few entering Greymouth for a late lunch. Since the Omoto slip is on the move again, we were forced to return via Cobden and travel up valley through Taylorville, but at least this allowed a brief stop at the Memorial to miners lost in the several Coast mine disasters; the last (Pike River) seemed such a needless disaster based on the knowledge it was such a gassy coal, and management's almost unbelievable escape plan. A stop here is salutary. The Grey River was crossed at Stillwater and we turned up-valley for Moana, following the Arnold River, however at Blair Road we turned left to visit Jacks Mill School and learn of the impact of teacher Edward Darracott; his teaching of practical subjects to primary boys and girls spread throughout New Zealand. Due to a political protest Sunday in Greymouth (it seems that farmer's are no longer outstanding in their fields but instead are in town vocalising) caretaker Marilyn Smithem arranged for her daughter to open the Historic Bungalow for us and we enjoyed the visit. Due to heavy rains we could not visit the nearby oil seeps (Kotuku) as the creek has to be waded, so the visit must await another day; we returned to the main road and continued through Moana and on to Rotomanu and Inchbonnie, following the Alpine Fault through this section. Crossing the Taramakau to Jacksons we followed the valley of the Taramakau/Hope/Kaikoura Fault, turning off into the Otira Valley at Aitkens; here we crossed the Kelly's Creek Fault and soon after stopped at Otira Hotel for coffee before crossing the Pass. Several of our troop were entertained by the Hotel's surprising collection of antiques and paraphenalia which included some apparently near-tame paradise shellduck mingling with the hens and guinea pigs outside. Once over the Pass we enjoyed a fine drive through the Cass and Broken River basins before the short climb to Porters Pass; a final stop here allowed a brief look at the Porters Pass Fault before descending to the plains and the last stage of our journey home. A good three days and the wet weather gear hardly got wet; in fact gumboots were not seen in action and the toolbox remained closed. Seven cars and seven couples seemed to enjoy the tour so maybe we should plan another? Fulsome report by Ramon Farmer
To all Fiat Tipo 501 and Tipo 503 owners The Fiat Car Club of Victoria (FCCV) is going to habve a new batch of crown wheels and pinions made very early next year. This is the first opportunity to obtain a new gear set since 2000. These will be made in the revised ratio of 4.6:1, as per the two previous batches. Standard is 5.1:1 which is more suited to heavier cars like sedans. The experience of our members is the revised ratio is almost the same as the 501S and better suited to modern traffic and roads.Price; non FCCV membersapprox AUD$640 FOB plus GST. Further details Richard Unkles firstname.lastname@example.org +61 3 9857 9417. Orders only accepted on the basis of payment of deposit AUD$320 in the Club’s account by Friday 20th December 2019. Delivery expected late February. Fiat Car Club od Victoria Inc National Australia Bank Swift Code NATAAU3303M BSB 083277 A/c 525012485
As Citroën and Bentley celebrate their respective centennials, Citroën has, over the 100 years made unconventional, eclectic and innovative cars for the masses, whereas Bentley has made conventional, exclusive and predictable cars for the elite. And as Brockbank so accurately portrays, Citroën is still ahead.