Friday, 6 March 2020

Motoring Nostalgia

This popped up in my Youtube feed.

It was posted by kiapenna1 who was advertising the car for sale.

He/she was successful in that exercise, as it has been sold.

I'm posting it because the car in the video is almost identical to the first car I owned. Back in 1966 I bought a 1956 Volkswagen 1200 from a used car dealer in Caloundra. I had saved my earnings from holiday jobs such as tobacco picking and delivering mail.

From memory, it set me back two hundred pounds. I have no idea whether that was good value or not, but it was unmarked, rust free, and it was just what I was looking for as a student teacher needing basic transport.

Looking back on it, I had no strong preference for make or model at age 19. I had learned to drive on a Morris 850 which belonged to my cousin, and passed my (rudimentary) licence test in my father's EJ Holden.

On the whole, it was a reliable car, although it chewed up a differential bearing not long after I acquired it, which drained my meagre savings.

I used it initially to drive daily to teachers' college, and weekly to drive the 70kms home to Landsborough most weekends. Post graduation, it took me home to Texas (Queensland - not USA) and to teaching appointments, first at Inglewood, and then Goondiwindi.

It came to grief halfway through my first year at Goondiwindi when it put a valve through a piston, as a consequence of the cooling fins on one of the cylinder heads being clogged with dried mud after an adventure in a flooded creek.

The only surviving photo. Note the indicators on the door pillars.

I put a long motor (out of a Kombi) in it, and drove it until I traded it on another Volkswagen, a 62 model, after a month or two.

The second beetle was OK, but it somehow lacked the mystique of the first one. They are a remarkable piece of engineering.

This US model differs in the positioning of the steering wheel, the presence of bumper overriders, and the parking lights and indicator setup. My car had pop-out trafficators, which I replaced with indicators mounted in the door pillars. where the trafficators had been. They worked OK.

The car in the video is exactly the same colour.

Beetles continue to have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020


I was reunited with an old friend yesterday.

This friend weighs 51 tons on the old imperial system, and served in Vietnam in 1970.

On 22nd April that year, we encountered a bunker system at grid reference 574685.               .

After an attempt at assaulting the system, during which 4 platoon took one KIA and one WIA, the CO called in artillery support, US air support, and a light fire team.

Later on the day, a troop of tanks was introduced into the contact, but because of the thick scrub, they didn't arrive until dusk, and weren't in position to assault the system in daylight. The tank in the video (callsign 33 Bravo) was one of them.

Combining infantry and armour at night was not a good idea, so the assault was postponed until first light the next day.

The tanks certainly did the job, using canister rounds, which cleared the vegetation, and allowed a passage into the system which was destroyed by the tanks driving on to the overhead cover and grinding their tracks on it until it collapsed.

There were four bodies in the system, which had apparently acted as a hospital.

Most likely, the bulk of the occupants decamped under cover of darkness. It probably had housed forty or so.

Without the tanks, the outcome may well have been very different.

It was interesting to see and hear this beast again - a very large and noisy blast from the past.

Apologies for the quality of the video.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...