Of 50th anniversary cel­e­bra­tion

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

1949 Buick Su­per Woody Sta­tion Wagon

Rick Chin­car­ini’s Buick is a rare car in­deed. Only 1500 Su­per woody wag­ons and 600 road­mas­ters were built in 1949.

Not only that, but this par­tiuclar car has been all around the world — through Europe via the Carpathian Moun­tains into Poland, the Ukraine, south­ern Rus­sia, across the Caspian Sea to Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan and into China.

The car was part of the Around the World in 80 Days Rally which saw 42 en­trants cir­cle the globe in the year 2000.

Rick’s wagon is cov­ered in Chi­nese writ­ing be­cause when Buick was start­ing up man­u­fac­tur­ing in China the car was used for pro­mo­tional pur­poses.

‘‘It’s even been to the Great Wall of China,’’ Rick said.

On ar­rival in Pek­ing (now Bei­jing), the cars were loaded on to an Antonov aircraft which or­gan­is­ers had hired for the rally.

They were flown to Alaska and made their way across the United States to New York City.

From there, it was an­other air­lift op­er­a­tion to Casablanca, Morocco and then along the fringe of the Sa­hara Desert to Tang­ier for a short ferry cross­ing to Spain, on through France and back to the start line in Lon­don.

Con­sid­er­ing what it has gone through, it is in­cred­i­ble the nearly 70-year-old wagon is still run­ning — and in largely orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

Rick, from Mel­bourne, has owned the hand­built car for the past three years.

The pre­vi­ous own­ers were Amer­i­cans Pat and Mary Brooks who drove the car in Around the World rally.

‘‘They were flagged off at the start of the rally by (Bri­tish for­mula one rac­ing driver) Stir­ling Moss at the Tower Bridge in Lon­don,’’ Rick said.

The car has a 248 Straight-8 en­gine and Rick says he is try­ing to keep the car as orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble be­cause of its his­tory.

‘‘The wheels and brakes are from the round the world trip and it’s still got the rally me­ter in it.

‘‘The car­pet is orig­i­nal, the leather seats are 95 per cent orig­i­nal and the wood is 97 per cent orig­i­nal.

‘‘It’s still the orig­i­nal specs from the fac­tory stan­dard car apart from the four-wheel-drive tyres from the rally.’’

Rick’s love for Buicks started when he was in year 9, when he bought his first Buick. ‘‘I’ve still got it — a 1927 Road­ster,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve got five Buicks on the road. They’re just so re­li­able.’’

1930 Road­ster

Hed­ley and Barbara Dear­ling bought their two-door Road­ster off a gen­tle­man who lived 3km around the cor­ner from their home in Toowoomba, Queens­land.

‘‘He was an old guy who had it for 40 years,’’ Hed­ley said.

‘‘I’ve known this car since the 1980s but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be own­ing it one day.’’

The Dear­lings are only the fourth own­ers of the ve­hi­cle.

‘‘The orig­i­nal owner was from Than­g­ool, south of Biloela in Queens­land, and it was a Cap­tain Evans,’’ Barbara said.

‘‘That’s what he called him­self but we don’t know any­thing about him.’’

While a lot of the body of the car is still the same as when they bought it, the Dear­lings have had to per­form a lot of work on the run­ning gear.

‘‘Me­chan­i­cally, ev­ery­thing from the ra­di­a­tor to the rear end has been changed,’’ Hed­ley said.

A school teacher by trade, Hed­ley al­ready owned a Buick Road­ster when he picked this one up.

‘‘The first one came to us by ac­ci­dent out of a pad­dock and I’m still work­ing on it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the same year and model as this one which I got be­cause I thought it would com­pli­ment the one I al­ready had.

‘‘I was get­ting close to re­tire­ment and I was look­ing for a hobby.’’

Although ad­mit­ting to be­ing ‘‘very naive me­chan­i­cally’’, Hed­ley’s restora­tion of the ve­hi­cle has been most im­pres­sive.

The Road­ster has been on some long dis­tances, in­clud­ing to Cairns, Perth and even Ho­bart.

‘‘Even school teach­ers can drive Buicks,’’ Barbara said.

‘‘This is our prin­ci­pal hobby now. We take it on hol­i­days and it’s a so­cial net­work for all the peo­ple we meet. ‘‘The vin­tage car clubs are great clubs and they’re great peo­ple to be with.’’

1910 Buick Model 14B

Ge­orge Gil­lott’s 1910 Road­ster is the old­est Buick in Echuca-Moama for the anniversary cel­e­bra­tions.

It was the old­est in Aus­tralia for many years but Ge­orge has heard of some­one who has im­ported a 1907 ve­hi­cle from the United States. Still, he is pretty happy with the car he owns. ‘‘I’ve had it for 15 years,’’ Ge­orge said of the 14B.

‘‘It orig­i­nally came out from Amer­ica in pieces and a guy called Jim Eisen­hauer had it.

‘‘I bought it off him be­cause he was get­ting too old to keep up with it (the main­te­nance).

‘‘He could have sold it to some­one in Amer­ica but he wanted to see it kept here in Aus­tralia and be used.’’

Ge­orge does use the car, driv­ing it reg­u­larly although it did come down to Echuca-Moama on the back of a trailer from his home in Syd­ney. ‘‘It goes al­right,’’ Ge­orge said. The car is in pretty much the same con­di­tion as when Ge­orge bought it, in­clud­ing the lep­rechaun logo on the side of the car.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing’s pretty good. It’s very re­li­able and Buicks are renowned for that.

‘‘It has a three-litre two-cylin­der en­gine and a two-speed gear­box. It can go from walk­ing speed to 80km/h in top gear.’’

It has kerosene fu­elled side lights and acety­lene gas head­lights but they’re not that ef­fec­tive.

‘‘I can’t see the road with them,’’ Ge­orge said, mean­ing he doesn’t try to drive it at night.

The only real draw­back is the lack of wipers. ‘‘I’d like to have a wind­screen in this weather,’’ Ge­orge said, re­fer­ring to the rain.

Ge­orge Gil­lot and his 1910 Buick Model 14B.

Rick Chin­car­ini and his 1949 Buick Su­per Woody Sta­tion Wagon which com­peted in the Around the World in 80 Days Rally in the year 2000.

Hed­ley and Barbara Dear­ling and their 1930 Buick Road­ster.

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