Got a light?
The Katoomba Commer in your June issue brought to mind this photo of my father pumping out his petrol ta nker af ter t he tra iler a x le came adrif t in t he centre of tow n in Hamilton, NZ. The traf f ic cop in front is making sure no one drops any cigarette butts.
Europa (the brand of Petrol) at t he time did not publicise t he fact t hat t heir fuel was imported from Russia. Its advertising slogan was “Clean burning Europa – the petrol with pep”. The inherent danger of t he situation might be t reated a bit dif ferent ly today. Jim Ward, Auckland NZ.
UM, YEAH, I reckon you’re right about the situation warranting a bit more attention these days. Just for starters, you’d have the EPA there in a heartbeat, making sure none of the petrol got into the local waterways, the road would be closed and anything with a pulse would have been evacuated and sent to a crisis assembly facility in the next parish. Oh, and there’d be half a dozen TV news crews there and a few helicopters in the sky.
Maybe somebody can correct me here, but I don’t think we ever got Europa petrol in Australia. And having just looked it up, I can see why: It was a New Zealand brand. Europa was the company started in 1931 and owned by the Todd
family of Dunedin. The stuff was apparently sold through a chain of servos part owned by none other than the New Zealand Farmer’s Union.
And you’re right, it was sourced from Russia because that country was a cheap place to get your petrol back in a time when supply would have been a real problem. BP took a 60 per cent stake in the Europa brand in the 70s and the BP shield finally replaced the Europa logo in about 1989.
By sheer coincidence, I’ve had a bit to do with Russian petrol over the years. Those encounters have involved riding motorbikes across Central Asia and rallying a Porsche Cayenne in a two-week, 7500km rally-raid known as the Transsyberia Rallye which, as the name suggests, took us across Siberia and into Mongolia. So I’ve pumped my share of Ruski gasoline. And I’ve gotta tell you, it smells like no other petrol I’ve ever encountered. You really don’t want to be standing too close to the nozzle when filling up in Russia. The closest description I can give you is that the stuff smells awfully like nail-polish remover (It removes Superglue, okay.) so I’m figuring it’s full of acetone or something similar. Any petro-chemical geniuses out there to help me with this one?
Given the things I’ve eaten at Russian cafes and bistros and the variable quality of domestic vodka, nothing would surprise me when it comes to what they put in their fuel. That said, every engine I’ve pumped it into seemed to run like a good `un, so who knows?
OPPOSITE PAGE Intact electric bowser with tasteful vestigial roof structure – Luxury! We always had to pump it from a 44 by hand.
BELOW The engine bay’s just about up to 180 degrees, Gary. It’s time to whack in the turkey.