The Vice – Regal Rod

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I think the Governor of Western Australia is secretly a hot rodder. There is no other explanation for keeping a black car in the Australian summer – particularly if it’s an older one with a vertical grille. And fat tyres. And an overstuffed interior.

She did do a bit of a cleanup on it for the Government House Open Day – the Mexican blankets were taken off and the Macca’s wrappers and empty tinnies were cleaned out of the back seat. But you could see the tell-tale signs of rodderdom; discrete striping down the side, special hubcaps, and a custom licence plate. Driving spotties too.

I note that she is also keeping the old sticker on the LHS of the windscreen – probably nostalgia because they don’t issue them any more with new car rego. I can’t say I am sorry to see them go. It was always a pain to try to stick a wet paper towel along the inside of the screen long enough to soften the old sticker. It would either fall off and make a mess of the dash or dry up in the WA summer heat.

Even if you did succeed in leaving it on long enough the blasted sticker never actually came off in one piece – you always ended up trying to scrape the last vestiges off and the bits went into the carpet. Then when you put the new one back on ( all that effort to do the same thing again ) you always got it a bit skewed and had to motor round for a year with a wonky coloured patch distracting your left eye. Good riddance.

I didn’t get to pop the bonnet on the roller because security was hovering but I reckon there is a lot of chrome under there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Her Excellency had an exhaust cutout fitted with a control cable through to the back seat. When she wants to cruise on Saturday night round the cappuccino strip in Freo she probably has her chauffeur gun it just past Hungry Jacks and she pops the cutout to scare the sitters.

Well, I would…

Rust Never Sleeps

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I also suspect that Bill never sleeps. If he isn’t doing some fabulous weathering work on a scale model he is probably thinking up new techniques.

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The Rolls Royce that you saw in black and white is really too good to keep hidden – here it is in gloriously horrible colour. Like Mae West, it started life as pure as snow but eventually drifted…

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The kit that it was to begin with must have been very expensive. By the time he saw it, enough bits had been purloined to cancel out completing it as a pristine showroom car. So Bill weathered it a little…

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Of course the daunting thing about seeing a model done this way is the perfection of the effect. You just cannot stop looking at the detail of it. In a way it’s a little frightening to those of us with less skill and artistry. The thought of trying the same is like a painter lobbing up in front of ” The Laughing Cavalier ” with a watercolour set and a sheet of typing paper…

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Still, Bill is the best kind of scale modeller – he was prepared to tell me some of the secrets to that rust finish, and he was so clear and sensible in the explanation that I am going to try it on a small scale on one of my die-cast cars. I’m hoping for warmer spring weather to get to the paint shed. I can hardly wait.

Rust = Lust.

 

The Used Car Market – A Cautionary Tale

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Well sir, you want to keep your wits about you these days. You never can tell when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

I called in at a place in Cannington this afternoon to look at the cars. This chap…called himself ” Bill “* …was right there next to the old wooden fence. Said he had gotten a good deal on a Rolls Royce. Would I like to take a look…?

Well, of course you would jump at a chance like that. How many times in your life do you get to see a Rolls Royce? And if the price was right to start with…

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Well, I knew I should have been suspicious when he said it was a bit of a ” fixer-upper “. I’ve had experience with British motor cars before when the owners have told me that they need a little garage work. I remember trying to buy a small English sports car in the mid 1980’s and answering a couple of dozen advertisements in the ” SUNDAY TIMES “. I went out to see Austin-Healey Sprites and Triumph Spitfires and various models of MG. Some of ’em looked fine on the outside but then you looked under the bonnet and they started to look like lunchtime in the Lucas factory…wires everywhere. The owners were all insistent that I inspect the log books and garage receipts so that I would be impressed by how good the cars were. When you see a loose-leaf binder overstuffed with repair receipts it tells you something alright – it tells you that the mechanical device you are looking at needs to be repaired constantly, and that you will be the next fool that pours his purse into the petrol tank…

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I eventually concluded that buying a small sports car was asking for trouble…indeed paying for it. I went off and sought other ways to be unhappy.

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Okay, back to Cannington this afternoon. Fortunately I took my Fujifilm X-T10 along with me, though I seem to have left it on the black and white setting after the last boudoir shot. I need to put an orange tag on the camera strap to alert me to this so I do not shoot the wrong setting in future. In any case the accompanying photos will let you see what a shocking state this car has gotten into.

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I am surprised that this sort of thing does not attract police attention. We are always bombarded with safety advice about not falling prey to scams, but what is to protect the innocent car enthusiast from this sort of thing?

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I made my excuses and left, clutching my wallet tight to my hip pocket as I went. I will take particular care not to be taken in again. This sort of small-scale fraud is the sort of thing that gives used-car dealing a bad name.

  • Obviously an alias…probably named William.