CRWZZN

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Crwzzn, indeed. And this is the sort of crwzzn that I thoroughly approve of – not only can you go for a burger in this rod, but you can go for sheets of plywood and bags of cement at Bunnings or a weekend down at Margaret River with equal ease. You’ll spend more on petrol than you would do with the Hyundai hatch but you’ll get far more done.

Melbourne in January is notorious for being Melbourne in January. You can count on weather. It will be too hot, cold, wet, windy, humid, and Wednesday all at the same time. People from Sydney go to Melbourne just to be uncomfortable and loud about it*. We from Western Australia go there to get whatever the weather was like last week at home. The Victorians just carry water bottles and parkas wherever they go and apply them as needed throughout the day.

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The Mercury was high on this particular Saturday. And wide and low as well. And turquoise, which surprisingly enough was a factory colour. Of course there were different bumpers on this one from those on the assembly line, and different mirrors and tail lights as well, but the overall impression with CRWZZN is of a stock van.

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These were not common in Australia – and for that matter not as common as you’d think in the Canada of my youth. Don’t know why – the basic design is gloriously big and roomy for the 50’s and the engines, chassis, and drive trains were beefy enough to make these good farm and industrial haulers. I often wondered at the way Ford or GM dealerships divided up what would be sold in Canada and the USA – the offerings were sometimes segregated on national lines and further parcelled out into different models for different provinces or states. I’ll bet they would have sold anything to anybody willing to have it freighted across the country but there were only a few showroom offering for each brand.

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Well, this Merc made it to Melbourne and picked up a rolled pan job at the back, a channel iron bumper at the front, and a tow hitch. I would imaging the tow ball stops most moped riders from trying to crash into the centre of the van but I would still be nervous about the flanks of the vehicle – BTW I admire the use of that channel for the front. Also admire the decision to paint it body colour rather than trying to make a chrome slab out of it. Channel, angle, and H-beam is exactly what it looks it – industrial steel. You can rarely make it look like a streamlined design feature. Better to capitalise upon what it does and admit what it is.

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The hand? Well, let’s face it. What would a hot rod show be without the eyeballs, coffins, Rat Fink decals. or skull motifs. The desire for them sets in early in the pre-teen and continues on for decades. Most of them are either removable or repaintable whenever a car changes hands so little harm is done. There have been worse…

* Melbourne people go to Sydney to be uncomfortable and sullen…

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