Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Cars and Planes and Stuff

Last Sunday was David Hack Classic day in Toowoomba. The uninitiated should check here.

This is always a good day, but this year was amazing, despite GFC, AGW and SFP*.

I took the Mazda along to display it. It’s not vintage, but in my book is a classic. Any machine that’s depreciating more slowly than my Super, is by my definition, a classic.

Besides, you get in for less if you display, and it’s not a bad excuse to sit in the sun, read the papers and talk cars and aeroplanes.

I was surprised at the interest shown in the MX5, although not a lot of it was well-informed. One Gen Y character asked me if it handled well because of the “front wheel drive”, and was more than a little surprised when I pointed out that front engine – rear drive was the configuration.

The variety of machinery displayed was the best I’ve seen anywhere with the possible exception of Birdwood (SA), but there weren’t any aircraft at Birdwood.

Aircraft on display were a range of warbirds including Trojans, a Winjeel, and a number (don’t know the collective noun) of Yaks. Here was a wooden DH Dragon Rapide and there some Tiger Moths. The Aerotec hangar had its usual fantastic display including Guido Zuccoli's Fiat G-59-4B.

The dapper-looking chappie who flew the Winjeel up from Point Cook wasn’t persuaded that this breed of aircraft was used in the artillery spotting role until 1975.

I know it was. This is because the skipper (platoon commander) flew in one doing exactly that when we were training for tropical warfare in the sleet and mist in the Putty area in 1969. As I recall, the aircraft at that time was based at Williamtown. It’s not wonderful in that role, despite being very robust. The low wing and lack of agility don’t help.

I didn’t bother arguing. He came across as a bit like a number of bloggers (usually sharply inclined to the right) who derive their understanding of recent history from doubtful written sources, and place more trust in them than a primary source who has actually lived the real experience.

There was a contingent of Alvis owners, some from the UK, who had flown their cars across. Beautifully crafted cars – and their owners can’t be short of a quid. Maybe the UK isn’t in such a mess after all. The one in the photo has front wheel drive – a rarity in those days, although they didn’t persist with it.

A light tank was displayed that I can't identify. Any ideas?

I also found a 1967 HR Holden. Unremarkable? Perhaps, but I owned one exactly the same colour from 1971 until 1973.
I bought it from my Dad when I got back from Vietnam, and drove it everywhere (including one epic journey from Brisbane to Darwin and Alice Springs in 1972). It never missed a beat.

You could also buy a decent coffee if you were prepared to queue, and the loos were clean. Catering at events like these has come a long way in the last ten years.

Next year I’ll try to talk the MX5 club into a group display. Maybe we can conjure up some sponsorship from the local Mazda distributor.


Boy on a bike said...

A "crash" of Yaks?

Anonymous said...

Well your stories are good RJW, an interesting blog now. Cheers

"Grendel" said...

That Light Tank is (I think) an M3A1 Stuart - 37mm gun. This model and a wide range of variants saw service in many theatres of the 2nd world war and several regional conflicts after that time - they were in use by Australian forces also which might explain its presence here.

1735099 said...

Thanks Grendel.

Graeme said...

I was at 76 Sqn Williamtown when the Winjeels were retired in the mid 90's. They were still performing the Forward Air Control role up until this time. From a maintenance point of view, Winjeels were seen as a pretty good place to be. I doubt aircrew saw it the same way though.

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