The other Tas­man Bridge Holden

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

Forty

years ago, on the night of Jan­uary 5, 1975, the bulk ore car­rier MV Lake Illawarra smashed into Pier 19 of the Tas­man Bridge span­ning the Der­went River in Ho­bart.

The road­way col­lapsed and four cars cross­ing the bridge dropped 110 feet into the wa­ter. Twelve peo­ple died, in­clud­ing seven of the crew aboard the ship.

Film of the dis­as­ter was shown around the world but it was the two cars stranded on top of the bridge that at­tracted the most at­ten­tion. Both had man­aged to stop (just) rest­ing on their chas­sis rails with their front wheels dan­gling over the edge.

The car in the fast lane was a green HQ Monaro GTS owned by Frank and Sylvia Man­ley, who slowly and care­fully es­caped from the car to safety. We fea­tured this Monaro in AMC #38 (on page 26). It is still owned by the Man­leys who have main­tained it in orig­i­nal con­di­tion, ex­cept for the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion cas­ing which bore the brunt of the in­ci­dent.

They dis­played it at the Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum in Launce­s­ton a few years ago.

Re­cently we dis­cov­ered that the sec­ond car on the bridge, a Holden FB sta­tion wagon, is also a sur­vivor. Well, sort of.

The gent who was driv­ing this car that night un­der­stand­ably didn’t want to keep it. He sold it in March 1975 to Robin Tripp who was then work­ing in the same su­per­mar­ket as Sylvia Man­ley.

Soon af­ter Robin bought the car he parked it in front of his fa­ther’s house when a pass­ing mo­torist drove into the back of it.

Dam­age was sub­stan­tial but Robin de­cided to have it re­paired so bought an EK wagon and vir­tu­ally stuck the two to­gether. Now only the front half of this car re­mains from the one that hung over the edge of the Tas­man Bridge.

He had the com­bined unit painted in the orig­i­nal two-tone green FB colours.

He’s since driven this unique ve­hi­cle around Australia four times, even on a trip around the world in 1989/1990. Now based in Queens­land, Robin still drives to the FB/EK Na­tion­als each year.

Per­haps the most dra­matic jour­ney was when he drove it back to Ho­bart in 2004 and took it over the Tas­man Bridge again, nearly thirty years af­ter it its spe­cial mo­ment in Aus­tralian his­tory.

At the South Aus­tralian FB/EK Na­tion­als in 2012.

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