It’s All True – What They Say About Australia

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Particularly if they are talking about old Australian racing cars.

Once you pass the three-mile limit out of Southhampton, Le Havre, or Los Angeles and head for the Southern Hemisphere you are allowed to take off some of your pre-conceptions and store them in your luggage. You will not need them for the sea voyage and no-one on shore in Australia or New Zealand wants to handle them. Just dress comfortably and be prepared to see it all.

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Thus the car in this post. The obvious clues say it is from Northam in Western Australia and it has been on the old Caversham motor race circuit in the Swan Valley. It was once a Chevrolet, and may still be, for all we can tell. It is blue. There are four wheels contacting the ground and two more available on the sides. Beyond this you must make your own judgements.

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I think it is a special built on the chassis of a 30’s Chevrolet. I can’t guess whether it once had a coupe, sedan, or ute body, but all that has remained of the housings are the radiator shell, cowl and bonnet. Perhaps the builder found it in this bare condition and then let the imagination loose on it.

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The design owes much to imagination – and to the shapes of 1930’s sedans, 1920’s speedsters. and 1910’s aircraft. I should not be surprised to see those two ring-shaped cowling at the rear surmounted by Lewis gun rings. They would make a wonderful accessory for Saturday night in downtown Northam.

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I cannot praise the builder enough for the use of canvas over wood formers to make the boat-tail body. The workmanship is superb and the design is bizarre in the best possible way. The canvas mud-guards held in place by cord and stays add the final touch – nautical I should say. I would not be surprised to see the vehicle fitted with red and green navigation lights and a steam siren.

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Was it an old-time racer? Is it a fantasy of old time racing? Is it a Steampunk family excursion car? Is there too much spare time down on the old farm? I cannot say – but I am glad that I got to see this sort of thing. It is the art of the amateur mechanic at its best. Australia has people like this all over the place – suburbs as well as country – and it is to the credit of the country that they can think outside the box every day.

 

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