Friday 24th May saw a bevy of Buicks gather at Ginger’s Roadhouse on the Gt Northern Highway. The cars ranged from 1938 to 1976 and all looked pretty dam good in the morning light. A mandatory stop was at Bindoon, about 100 km from Perth. The bakery there makes a great range of pies and pasties, cakes etc. The adjoining park is the perfect place for the Buicks to park. From Bindoon the cars swung left off the highway and proceeded across pastoral land to Moora. There was evidence of some farmers having already seeded although the ground looked pretty dry and the dams were well down for water levels. The lunch stop at Moora was in the park alongside the railway line. Local townspeople drifted across for photo opportunities and chat. We hit the road again, heading west to the coast to Cervantes. The town took its name from an American whaler named after Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes, which was grounded on the coast there. On 29th June 1844 the crew were apparently fishing near Jurien when the weather blew up and the ship was grounded rather than wrecked. It was subsequently auctioned off for salvage. The town has traded on the Spanish name with Madrid Street etc and sculptures featuring Don Quixote tilting at windmills. It is also a stopping off place for the nearby Pinnacles rock formations. Late afternoon saw all the Buicks swing into the motel apart from Steve McLennan’s ‘38 which was having some axle / diff problems and was pushed into place. The management at the motel made us particularly welcome and assured us of new gas bottles in the BBQs. The large pergola held everybody and we all watched as Steve’s Buick was transported back to Perth on a flat bed truck. Although a fairly cool night, most braved the lower temperatures and a fun filled night ensued. Saturday morning and someone had told Events Supremo, Harold Hitchcock about a good coffee van just on the outskirts of town. After driving in two different directions for about 10 km, half of the group headed back to town and the others continued onto Jurien. It turned out that the ghostly van was not on the street that day due to illness. Lunch was at the very popular Lobster Shack. In Western Australia they are called crayfish and I think lobster is just for the tourists. It was certainly a sumptuous lunch indeed. There was a tourist bus there with loads of Japanese, taking pictures of the Buicks. I have often thought it would be a good idea of charge $5 per photo to cover fuel costs. I nearly reversed over one Japanese photographer who stood behind the car taking photos. This could have been awkward. Saturday evening we were booked into the bowling club across the road from the motel. They do a great meal there and a very convivial atmosphere. This evening there was a hypnotist as the evening’s entertainment. This can be hilarious but it needs to be visual to watch people make gooses of themselves. Most of the patrons had to stand along the walls to see what was happening. It was a bit tiresome just listening to the bloke and it seemed interminable. The locals seemed to thoroughly enjoy him though as did most of the Buick people. Sunday breakfast was had, cars were fuelled up. Cars drove down different roads, depending on where you lived. I had a last minute visit to Lake Thetis (a very bumpy gravel road) where there are a collection of stromatolites. These are the oldest living fossils on earth and are World Heritage listed at Cervantes. The name comes from the Greek, meaning layer. They are a one cell organism and are extremely rare. They are close into the shoreline and look like dried out brains in the water. Uneventful drive back home but I pulled into the garage only for my son to advise me that my coolant had all disappeared. Oops! However no damage on inspection. All in all, a thoroughly great long weekend with good food, fun and nice long drives. Article by L M Haime (WA Buicks)
Author Archive | WBP
LAKE PERKOLILLI RED DUST REVIVAL (W.A.) 12TH – 15TH SEPTEMBER 2019
For those who have never heard of Lake Perkolilli and its red dust racing, it is situated 30 kms north east of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The claypan there was known throughout the 1920s and 1930s as one of the best natural race track surfaces in the world and over its life, thousands of racing enthusiasts have raced around its 3.2 kilometre circuit of unique claypan. The lakebed’s hard surface allowed drivers to reach speeds of 200 kmh. After the Lake Perkokilli Centenary of Speed in 2014 was rained out (rain, mud, slush and bogged to the eyeballs), Greg Eastwood and Nic Montagu approached Graeme Cocks to offer assistance to run the 2019 races. The week started with two days of trials after all the entrants had checked their running gear and a lot of minor changes and repairs were seen to be happening. An outstanding range of cars were participating with makes such as Ford, Lagonda, Hudson Terraplane, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevrolet and of course a Buick. The range of vintage motorbikes was equally outstanding. Lounging in his chair some weeks earlier, his lordship asked “how would you like to go to the Perkolilli Races, a lot of our friends are going. We can take the motorhome and stay in comfort?” “That sounds like a nice week away, what is the format for the week?” “Oh” says his lordship, “you will love it, good company, good food, good racing, a lovely shady camping area for you to lay back and enjoy a week away.” Well, the only thing he told the truth about was the good company as a lot of our friends arrived and the ladies enjoyed it as much as I did (ha ha). On arriving, the amount of dust at the entrance road enabled me to see absolutely nothing as it was thick . “Is this what it was going to be like?” I asked. “No” said he, “wait until we get in and set up camp, you will have the big shady trees.” Well the big shady trees turned out to be 25cm high bracken. “Not to worry” said himself “it will be nice once I put the annexe out for you”. And he was right, until the racing started. The cars never stopped and between the dense thick cover of red dust and the heat, I could neither see or breathe and each afternoon he would come back to our motorhome with the biggest ear to ear smile and say “wow, wasn’t that fabulous, maybe we should get ourselves a racer.” On the third day, the heat and dust became so bad I suggested that maybe we should leave! Well his lordship was flabbergasted, he couldn’t believe his ears. “What and miss the finals? I can’t understand you sometimes” he said, opening a cold beer. “Well what about putting the air conditioner on?” With that, he informed me that the dust might block up the air intake and damage the motor, so no air conditioner. Then came the promised good food. Brekkie was bacon and eggs and red dust, lunch was sandwiches and red dust and dinner was chops, steak or sausages and you guessed it, more red dust. I couldn’t thank him enough! Well, the highlight for himself came with the arrival of a 1928 Buick (which was the Eric Armstrong replica) and performed extremely well. Sixty cars and twenty motorbikes competed, of which his lordship informed was absolutely memorable. I was so happy for him. The first product of General Motors to race at Lake Perkolilli was a 25hp Buick raced by Walter Wright in 1915. Jack Wright raced a Buick with an impressive boattail custom body in 1927 and Eric Armstrong raced a cut down Buick in 1928. Rodney Cock’s replica of Eric Armstrong’s Buick has raced several times at Lake Perkolilli in modern time. This car was built by Rob Ferguson-Stewart and Stuart Symes (BOCWA members) and first raced at the Gull Speed Classic in Midland in 1994. The car has the trademark “valve-in-head” motor typical of vintage Buicks. I now know what it means in our wedding vows, that bit about for better or worse. As my grandmother had pointed out, “I bet you wish that you had left that verse out when you got married.” It was a huge week with about 1,000 campers and I estimated about 5,000 people on the last day, being the Sunday. So all you racing and enthusiasts of classic race cars, I certainly would advise you to get there but I would also advise you to explain to your partner, exactly what they are in for. A most memorable trip and I must admit, you wouldn’t meet a nicer bunch of people and this made my trip most enjoyable. Jenny & Steve McLennan (WA Buicks)
John and Sue Bell surprised us at the Echuca 50th Celebration with their recently purchased Buick. Formerly owned by Owen E. Mansford (N.S.W.) Owen purchased this very desirable Buick in 1998 and completed a total strip restoration. Historically, the car was imported into Australia when new and converted to right hand drive, with the first owner being a doctor in the Newcastle area. It remained in the Hunter Region of NSW for most of its working life. Now on the road it is a great presentation of the marque and a beautiful automobile.
WE RECKONED ABOUT 8,000 kms….. By Lois Haime It was at the Christmas Lunch of the Western Australian Buick Club in 2016 that the idea came to me. Some of the blokes were talking about attending the 50th Anniversary of the Buick Club in Australia, to be held at Moama/Echuca in 2017. I had said to Marny Howe, what about it? We should drive across in the Riviera. Marny agreed so we did it. Because most of the blokes were talking about putting their cars on the train, we were more determined to drive. Sunday 1st October 2017 we met up with Steve and Jenny McLennan in their burnt orange ‘74 Century at Mundaring at 7 a.m. After lunch at Southern Cross we were breathalised on the way out of town. The young policeman said to me “does this car get any bigger?” I replied, “only when you try to park it”. The first day was a leisurely 600 km or so through to Boulder where we stayed overnight at the Albion Shamrock Motel, a well-known Buick stopping spot. We fuelled up at Norseman and headed east. During a late afternoon stop at Cocklebiddy we decided to push on to Madura Pass. Big mistake. We had forgotten about Central Time where we were going to come ahead 45 minutes. My fuel gauge had been flopping around as these old gauges do and it suddenly flopped down onto empty and decided to stay there. The sunlight went as quick as switching off the lights and there we were with about 60 km to go, both sides of the road lined with decaying corpses of kangaroos in various states of rottenness. I was the lead car, down to about 30 kmh trying to conserve fuel and keeping an eye on what seemed like dozens of live kangaroos perched on the edge of the road – both sides. My shoulders were tensed up and I’m sure my knuckles were white on the steering wheel, just waiting for one of these roos to cross the road. While keeping an eye on the gauntlet of kangaroos I hadn’t spotted a big dead one which I ran over. This lifted the front of the Riv up and the lights shone up into the trees. I was hoping no bits of the roo were stuck under the car. The lights of Madura were so welcome. The car must have been running on fumes but I wasn’t too concerned as I knew Steve was carrying fuel, however, I really didn’t want to stop and fuel up in this area. On checking in, we found out about the time difference and the fact that the kitchen wasn’t far off closing. Bags were tossed in our rooms and a very satisfying roast of the day was had with a few extremely welcome cold beers. Not bad for a spot which doesn’t have mobile coverage! We took a vow never to be on the road after 5 pm again! The next stop was Nullarbor and then Ceduna. The signpost at Ceduna informed us we were 2,000 km from Perth. We enjoyed a great meal at the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel / Motel which started with the fabulous Coffin Bay oysters. Some rain overnight just put spots on the dusty cars. Wuddina for breakfast and we reached Port Augusta late afternoon. The Buick favourite spot is the Courtyard Motel with the really good Western pub just across the road. Steve was having a spot of trouble with a tyre with a slow leak which he had pumped up in PA. Early morning saw the Buicks driving towards Renmark. South Australian roads seem to get lumpy and goat tracky once off the major roads. We saw some interesting dark green crops which we were later told were fava beans, obviously farmers diversifying here. We seemed to have made good time so we pushed onto Mildura. Steve was familiar with this neck of the woods and directed us to a great motel called the Commodore which was probably the best and cheapest we had stayed in. A young couple there came up and said they had seen my car at Ceduna and wondered where we were going. We had an excellent meal across the road at the hotel plus some really good SA wine. Saturday 7th October and we were in Two Buicks Tyre changing The Buick News Page 11 December 2017 Moama and checking in at the Resort. Great to be able to spot a few Eastern state Buicks already in. The other West Australians were in, only one car having trouble when it got off the train. These meets are a wonderful opportunity to spot familiar cars and faces from previous meets. I met up with a SA driver who recognised my car from 2014 when we had arranged a Meet and Greet in Tanunda for the eastern state cars prior to their heading across the Nullarbor. He had attended the dinner there together with about seven or eight SA Buicks so it was nice that he was in the Buick fold now. His 72 blue Boattail looked so different to the other Boaties because of its distinctive paintwork. The Victorian Club had done a great job of organising the next five days and the catering and touring couldn’t be faulted. I’m sure the everyday programme will be covered fully by other writers. Breathalysed again in Echuca after coming from the car wash. Friday was the Show-and-Shine which wasn’t really. Unfortunately, the area for the cars to park down near the historic Echuca wharf area was very cramped and the cars were either parallel parked or angle parked and were not in their decades as is usually the case. I was one of the last cars in and was directed to the public parking area. Alan had always said that the 11th Commandment was – “Thou shall not park the Riviera in a public parking area”. I whizzed around the corner and parked in a perfect spot in front of a No Parking sign near the ice cream shop. Despite dire predictions of getting fined, this didn’t happen. You have to live on the edge occasionally. The car was safe as patrons from the ice cream shop were busy taking their photos in front of the Buick. Although not a good area for Buicks it was brilliant for people with great pubs, restaurants and shops. Friday night was the Gala Dinner and the venue at the Moama Bowling Club was stunning. A great meal and excellent speeches. Saturday morning, 14 October saw the farewell breakfast well attended and goodbyes being sent. Marny and I considered it had been well worth the trip! Heading north-west we reached Port Augusta that night and Ceduna the next night. At the Quarantine Checkpoint coming out of South Australia, the officer asked were we doing a “Thelma and Louise”. I wouldn’t have minded a dollar for everytime I heard that remark. The sign at the border informs you that Perth is only 1,000 km away. A mere nothing. Coming out of South Australia and heading west we picked up 2 ½ hours as South Australia had gone onto summertime. Thank heavens WA and Queensland don’t get into such nonsense. As it was only early afternoon we pushed on. Thick smoke blanketed the road at Madura coming from a scrub fire to the south. We were concerned about possible closure of the road so put our collective feet down and reached Cocklebiddy. It turned out there had been a control burn which had got away from the firemen (this sounded familiar). While checking in at Cocklebiddy a voice said “I know that car! It used to belong to a brothel owner in Perth”. This was quite true as the original owner had been a lady of the night and had imported it in for her boyfriend in 1972. The bloke was a friend of the bloke who had bought it from her after a falling out with the above mentioned boyfriend. This has happened more than once that the car has been recognised and you can see people wondering about the connection. The next morning there was still a smell of smoke in the air but the sky was much clearer. We headed towards Norseman. Steve’s Century gave a few coughs before we reached there and he stopped to add some fuel to the tank. Taking advantage of being out from under his surveillance and with a sleeping passenger, I decided to give the 455 ci a bit of a go and floored it for a few kilometres. It made me realise that I could have probably done the trip in half the time with double the cost of fuel. Great fun though. The final night, after about 800 km driving that day, we arrived in Southern Cross and stayed at the old Palace Hotel. We had some wonderful meals everywhere we stayed and the Palace didn’t disappoint. The cars attracted attention everywhere we went and I thought afterwards, if I had charged everyone $5 for taking a photo of the car my fuel bill would have been much less. There was some initial apprehension on my part about driving such distances but my security blanket was Steve and Jenny coming along behind me in the Big Orange Buick. Steve filled up the Riviera whenever we stopped and Jenny actually washed it in Echuca. Good driveway service. I noticed Steve’s knees were painful getting down under the Riv’s bumper but felt that at the end of the trip, he had loosened up somewhat so I was glad to have helped him along! We totalled up the mileage and inclusive of tootling around the Echuca area on the day runs, the distance totted up to about 8,000 km. I haven’t add up the fuel bills. These long drives do have their boring bits but it’s great to have a yarn and a laugh when stopping for coffee and nothing beats that first cold beer after a long days driving. Would I do it again, you bet but not just yet. (WA Buicks) Welcoming sign at Cocklebiddy
Thanks Alex this is a really interesting page.
My name is Erica,I am from Oregon. My son is really into cars and trucks. One of his teachers is starting the school year by having the students do a fun project to get them back in the school mindset. I thought this was such a cool idea, and I am helping Alex put together a project on automobile history. Ive been helping him out with his research online, and we really enjoyed your page, http://www.westernbuicks.org/links-archived/ . It had a lot of great information, and I know Alex also really enjoyed checking out your pictures of all the different cars you have on the page. We are going to the World of Speed USA this weekend, which is just south of Portland! Alex is always looking on-line and learning more about different cars, and he showed me this article he found on the early history of the automobile, http://www.partsgeek.com/mmparts/automobiles_of_the_early_20th_century.html . I thought it was a great article, and I think it is great that he is taking something that he loves learning about and translating that into an educational pursuit. I was hoping you could add it to your page, I would love to show Alex. I think he'd be really excited to have been able to contribute a fun and helpful article to your page. Thanks again for the awesome page and help encouraging Alex interest in automobiles! If you're able to add the auto history article to your page, please let me know, I'd love to show him! Have a great day and hope to speak to you soon. Best Wishes, Erica
Wishing everyone a happy and safe break over the Christmas New Year.