It’s all An­gelo’s fault. Our graphic artist and res­i­dent train-spot­ter had heard that the Lost in the 50s Amer­i­can car mu­seum in New­cas­tle was about to shut down for good and sell off its col­lec­tion. This was big news. Not only was the col­lec­tion prob­a­bly the largest of its kind in the coun­try, with over 100 cars in the f leet, but it was very high qual­ity. Any time you wan­dered in, it had at least 60 ab­so­lute gems on dis­play as the owner slowly ro­tated through the f leet.

Owner Glen Jen­nings is a long-term col­lec­tor who be­came a mu­seum owner when he de­cided he had to find a pur­pose-built shed for his cars, which at the time were scat­tered across sev­eral dif­fer­ent sites. The for­mer brew­ery which now houses the col­lec­tion was per­fect, but he’s reached a point in his life where it’s time to move on.

So that set the timeline – we had to get there be­fore the place changed and was set up for the Oc­to­ber auc­tion. One thing led to an­other. Per­haps we could drop in on the Gos­ford mu­seum on the way through. Oh, and then there was the huge Shannons Syd­ney Clas­sic run at East­ern Creek race­way (sorry, Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park…) by the Coun­cil of Mo­tor Clubs.

Well, that nailed down the start­ing point: the week­end of Au­gust 12. So where else? Bathurst’s mo­tor rac­ing cen­tre at Mount Panorama was an ob­vi­ous choice. And why not drop into the Holden mu­seum at Echuca, on the NSW/Vic bor­der? Then, on the fi­nal scoot home, we could drop by

the Shep­par­ton Mo­tor Mu­seum and see what they were up to. We had a plan.

And the wheels? The mighty Kingswood of course – a chrome bumper car was es­sen­tial equip­ment for this sort of trip and the old girl was per­fectly ca­pa­ble of hack­ing the 2300km round trip.

Of course prepa­ra­tion is ev­ery­thing and I’m no­to­ri­ously slack on that front. I had how­ever treated it to a new bat­tery and topped up all the f lu­ids. Hardly a com­pre­hen­sive ef­fort, but with a ba­sic tool­kit in the boot and el deluxo road­side cover, we’d be right.

With New South Wales de­clared com­pletely in drought, we of course copped rain pretty much the whole way from Mel­bourne through to Bowral. Sadly our ac­cep­tance as rain gods was de­layed, as it was nowhere near enough wa­ter and seemed mainly con­cen­trated on the Hume High­way.

For those of you haven’t yet made it to the Syd­ney Clas­sic, can we sug­gest you fix that next year? It was well worth the drive up from Melb.


With well over 1000 cars on show, the event had a huge amount of en­erg y. Clubs got to do cruise laps of the track, and there was re­ally in­ter­est­ing tackle from just about ev­ery corner of the globe. An­gelo and I spent most of our time spot­ting fu­ture fea­ture cars, in­clud­ing a cou­ple of dead certs for cover sto­ries.

The or­gan­is­ers of the Syd­ney event de­serve a ma­jor pat on the back for it. En­try costs are mod­est and there was plenty to do and see. Plus, it’s a great venue for this style of show.

Next day was the north­ern-most goal for the trip – New­cas­tle. Our host Glen was clearly in love with his toys. For a cou­ple of hours he pulled us from one end of the build­ing to the other, tak­ing the wraps off cars (the place was closed) and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­lat­ing their his­tory and why he liked them. It’s not hard to imag­ine that auc­tion week­end will be a tough one for him.

Un­like chil­dren, you’re al­lowed to have favourites when it comes to cars, so which ones are his? “If I was only al­lowed to keep one, it would be the 1958 Bon­neville hard­top. For me it’s the heart and soul of what my col­lec­tion is all about. It was a long process for me to get it and it will be with me a long long time.

“In ad­di­tion to that, I have a 1961 Chrysler Im­pe­rial coupe. It was never re­ally a ques­tion with those cars. I al­ways knew they would stay with me.

“And if I was go­ing to keep four or five cars, why not vary the theme a bit? I have a beau­ti­ful 1963 Corvette split win­dow, so then I have the sports car as well as the two cruis­ers.

“Next, most likely it would be the big old 1957 Cadil­lac Biar­ritz, for a con­vert­ible.

“And last of all is an odd choice, a 1963 Chev y Cor­vair Green­brier wagon, which is like a lit­tle surf wagon – it looks like a lunch box on wheels. That’s the one I’m go­ing to put the kids’ seats in, throw the Mal­ibu on the roof and just go and have fun with.

“That’s it. Ev­ery­thing else is go­ing to end up in some­one else’s garage, and that would be a good thing.”

Driv­ing over the moun­tains (well, hills, re­ally) to Bathurst is al­ways a treat. For An­gelo, it was his first op­por­tu­nity to drive a lap of the track, so he was tasked with set­ting the in­au­gu­ral 1979 Kingswood lap record. I think it can be mea­sured with a sun­dial, but we sped up the video a lit­tle, which gave the Face­book co­hort (see #kingswood­coun­try­tour) some­thing to chew over.

Have you scoped the Na­tional Mo­tor Rac­ing Mu­seum yet? You must. The col­lec­tion of course turns over from time to time, but it has re­mark­able va­ri­ety to it. Maybe we walked in ex­pect­ing to see a few nice race cars, but there is in fact a wealth of au­dio vis­ual ma­te­rial and a strong story line be­hind sev­eral of the dis­plays. There are even one or two sur­prises for mo­tor­cy­cle nuts, such as Wayne Gard­ner’s 1987


Honda NSR500. Yep, that bike.

It was a solid day’s drive down to Echuca – our fi­nal overnight stop – and the run partly down the Newell high­lighted the coun­try out that way re­ally is as dry as the prover­bial chip. The road it­self re­ally needs some money thrown at it. And have you no­ticed the num­ber of car­a­vans and camper trail­ers out there? Jeez, it seems like no one has a house any­more!

The plain looks on the out­side of the Na­tional Holden Mu­seum are de­cep­tive. It may not be the Smith­so­nian when it comes to pre­sen­ta­tion, but this is a place with real depth and re­sources. You can in fact dis­cover much of the Holden story by walk­ing through the place and watch­ing some of the vids. We also liked the odd ‘Easter egg’ here and there such as a Com­modore styling buck or Mar­i­lyn the soft-top Monaro con­cept.

Of course Graeme and crew at Shep­par­ton Mo­tor­ing Mu­seum had been fol­low­ing our Face­book an­tics, so it would have been a bit em­bar­rass­ing if we’d bur­bled past and not dropped in to say hello. As al­ways, there was a bunch of cars there that we hadn’t eye­balled be­fore, in­clud­ing a pretty nice line-up of Brit iron.

What re­ally got out at­ten­tion though is the fund­ing be­ing raised to put a gi­ant truck mu­seum be­hind the ex­ist­ing car build­ing. It’s seen as a lo­cal em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tor and should be big­ger than the prover­bial Ben Hur.

Nat­u­rally Mel­bourne wel­comed us back with a drift of rain – al­ways good to be home.

Here’s the thing: it was proof (if you needed it) that un­der­tak­ing a big trip in a car that’s over 40 years old is not only pos­si­ble, but great fun. The Kingswood has had a bit of ef­fort put it into it over time, so the 253 V8 hummed along, the Tri­matic was fine for the high­way and over­all it was a com­fort­able and re­li­able ride.

Sure, some old car stuff hap­pened. We had to tighten up a cou­ple of wheel nuts, and tighten down the top of the car­bu­ret­tor at one stage. Nei­ther job took more than 15 min­utes. The thing about do­ing it in an old car is you do ac­tu­ally have to drive the thing and you’re some­how more en­gaged with what’s go­ing on around you.

Plus, you meet in­stant friends, like Mark the owner of the old States­man who was also vis­it­ing Bathurst. Or the name­less folk at cof­fee stops along the way who want to chat about the Holden/Fal­con/Valiant/what­ever they used to have back in the day.

Re­ally, if you’ve got an old car that’s sit­ting semi-re­tired in the shed, think about fir­ing it up and head­ing for the hori­zon. It’s a hell of a way to travel…

RIGHT An­other Brock mount, the BMW M3.

BE­LOW Aus­tralia’s mo­tor­sport holy grail.

ABOVE The Kingswood made it to the top of Mt Panorama.

RIGHT The Com­modore Group C ‘Big Banger’ of Bathurst King Peter Brock.

ABOVE Yes that’s right, a 9846 orig­i­nal mile Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal.RIGHT A match made in heaven, well, for any 80s child.

TOP Brocky’s first V8 Bathurst win­ner.

BE­LOW If you love Hold­ens, head to Echuca.

TOP Shep­par­ton has some tasty ma­chines on dis­play.

ABOVE Nearly home.

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