Words and images by Paul Hollingworth.
In September 2007, I took my newly acquired classic car, Doris, on a Motafrenz trip to Castlemaine. Here is the story from the day which first appeared in Cruise Control, 14(05), 12-13.
Doris is a 1956 Daimler Conquest, and like her namesake (my mother), she is a lady who has seen better days – although, maybe, not as many people have taken a ride in the Daimler…(just kidding mum!!) The Castlemaine trip was the first Motafrenz event that Doris had been on. A lot of interest was shown to her at our meeting place at the zoo, and she picked up two more passengers. So in hop Anthony, James, Peter and me. I turn the key and press the starter button, and ooops!! nothing!!! Doris’ battery clamp was loose and a little corroded. So out get all the boys, off comes the back seat (where the battery is located), out comes the Vaseline, and out comes Gordon’s spanner. While I slather the terminal with Vaseline (from my bedroom), Anthony tightens the nuts, back seat goes back in, starter button pushed, broooom, and we’re away!!
Now, according to Doris’ paperwork, the ”new ” Daimler Conquest can be driven at “40, 50 or 60 [mph] in whisper quiet luxury”. If that was the case, those days are long gone – or perhaps Britons were deaf in the 1950s (all that bombing in the 1940s, you know), either way, in 2007 Doris is a noisy old crone which makes having a pleasant Sunday chat in her a little like whispering on a Saturday night at the Peel! Although talking was the least of my worries as the temperature gauge slowly crept up, and up, and up – and I was only going 50 mph!! It finally got to the point where poor old Doris needed a drink – not a G and T as befitting a lady of her vintage, but some plain old water. We pulled over on the freeway and while Doris was having a rest and a drink, I had a pee.
After Doris was sufficiently rested, we headed off again, Castlemaine was only 40 minutes away. To digress for a moment – it should be noted that the correct way to pronounce Castlemaine, the one in Victoria at least, is to have the “a” sound as it does in “apple” and not as it sounds in “arse-endof-the-world”. The latter pronunciation is for the northern states and pratts, the former for well-educated and sexy people like me…
We got to the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens – eventually – after our event leader, Leigh, got us lost in the town, to have a lovely picnic/barbecue lunch. The weather was divine and the company was too! More interest was shown to Doris, what a showoff, and it was suggested that the radiator cap was faulty and the two hefty boys in the back seat were adding to her “hotness”. So it was decided to ditch Peter and James for the return trip. Before we ditched them though, we were off to see “Buda”. Another old house in the bush – it was suggested that instead of Motafrenz always driving to the middle-of-nowhere to see an old house full of grandma’s things we should just go and visit Gordon in Carlton! After “Buda” we had shopping and coffee in town – it started to rain.
Doris was happy to be getting back home and with the lighter load and cooler weather she did not need anything more to drink. I dropped her off at West Footscray, picked up Etienne (my smart car) and went off to Oriental Spirit for din-dins.