Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Grand Day Out

The Traveller holding Sarah's baloon
 I'm pleased to report that the Traveller behaved perfectly for the trip to MiniFest 2011. Barry, my father-in-law, followed me in my Moke as moral support and emergency tow vehicle. But it wasn't needed. The engine ran even better today, and giving it a run seemed to clear some of the cobwebs out. It was haemorrhaging oil, the exhaust was blowing and there's a lot of interior trim missing so it was noisier than it should have been, but I had a beaming smile as I drove it in. There are a few hills and a steep climb over the bridge, and it did get slowed down by them. I also realiased that I'd forgotten how to drive a 3 synchro gearbox, but they're minor issues.

This was the fifth MiniFest, the Mini Car Club of Tasmania organise the show at the same time every second year, and each time they seem to get bigger and better. The theme for the show is "Any Mini, any condition" but each show seems to have fewer rusty wrecks than the previous one, as they're replaced with shiny restored and original cars. My Traveller scrubbed up OK, but was still one of the worst looking. The paint is an old re-spray and is pretty poor, there are large areas that are flaking off and a lot of visible rust staining (although not much rust).

A nice early 850, in a traditional colour.
Its interesting to look at the cars and see how fashions have changed in restorations. A few years ago it was acceptable to paint Minis in lurid metallic colours, fit big wheels and do horrible things to the interior with weird choices in upholstery, but these days there are many more cars being repainted in their original colours and looking well kept rather than over restored. I like it that way.

The most Travellers ever seen together in Tasmania?
Two other Travellers attended, coincidentally both are green. The woody's owner recently moved to Tasmania from the ACT. It is nominally also a 1961 like mine, although there's precious little left from 1961. It has been re-shelled and fitted with the running gear from a late model injected Rover Cooper. The steel sided Traveller has been converted with all the running gear from an Australian 1275 LS, it seems pretty good mechanically, but I reckon that it really needs to be put right. James, the new owner agrees, but like me probably isn't in a position to rush it!

Mine's the orange one.
The day was unusually hot and being held in a large open area with no shade everyone got lightly toasted. It was great weather for Mokes and about 14 turned out. Barry didn't enjoy driving mine very much. The clutch is almost out of travel and he's not used to cars without power steering anymore.

The show ended with a ceremony to award a large number of trophies and I was pleased to be awarded "The car with the most potential". The guys presenting the trophies did wonder if this was a consolation prize.

MiniFest always ends with a cruise in convoy. In previous years it has been through the city, but this year was out of town on the highway. I'm not sure that it worked terribly well, and we all stopped in a very dubious location for a convoy photo, but it was still good fun. Barry and I took went in the moke, the Traveller's temporary permit didn't cover the convoy and it was further than I wanted to risk driving it.

A portion of the convoy at the photo stop. I was too lazy to walk to the front to try to get it all in.
 All in all it was a very successful event. I had a ball driving the Traveller and there was a lot of interest in it, I was photographed and interviewed by the local paper and I also got a couple of possible sources for a replacement 850 powerunit from the correct period.

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