Of 50th anniversary celebration
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.’’
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.