Wednesday, March 09, 2005

'S' lightly too Mellow Yellow

Hello from the sunshine state!
It's proving a little tricky to get around to writing these entries since I'm undergoing conversion to Mac use, and I'm accessing University of Queensland servers which sometimes 'blog' me in as a completely different person ... which is a little scary. As for getting photos on to this thing, it seems to be a little trickier than it might be on a PC as the Mac doesn't seem to want to run the photo programme thing - why can't I just put a jpeg on? Raaa! All this technology! Why don't computers just have a set of points and some carburettors (or carbies as they call them down here).

Anyway, I shall persevere. On with the Triumph stuff:

After the disappointment with the slushbox Pi in East Brisbane I started making further investigations. It seems there are some great Triumph people out here, just as there are back in the UK. British Auto Care, Greg Tunstall, and the Queensland Triumph Owners Club were all contacted to see if they knew of any cars around that weren't advertised where I'd been searching. And guess what? There were!

Unfortunately, the 2.7, TR5 cam, Datsun driveshaft monster mk2 for sale at $4k (approx. 1,700 GBP) had gone already. I wonder why? However, I smiled as the next car I came across did sound tempting. A yellow 1978 (the year I was born - nice) 2500 S, all standard, but with remote central locking, new A/C and kangaroo blinding halogen headlights. Fortunately this car was located just an hour north of Brisbane at Narangba, close to the Bruce Highway (that name still makes me laugh - "G'day Bruce, meet my brother, Bruce").

Ella agreed we ought to have a look at it on our way back down from her folks' place outside Bundaberg where we were heading for the weekend. So last Friday afternoon I had my first opportunity to do a decent length drive - it takes about four and a half hours to get there from Brisbane. Ella's family are keen motorists so they don't use the main roads much. And now I know why! I had great fun, even in the Subaru Brumby that Ella has (yes, it's a Ute!)

Once off the highway we shot along virtually empty and narrow, undulating, twisty country roads where it was easy to keep the speed up. As much fun as I was having it got better, though. "Ok, slow down a bit we're coming to the gravel". Oh, gravel! What fun! More curvy bits, but this time on gravel! Then occasional bits of tarmac, before 20k sections of dusty red gravel. There would have been little clearance for the GT6 in some places I'm sure, but the Brumby is fine and it would be criminal not to give a saloon a thrashing on those tracks. Even after all the fun of the dusty driving was over the tarmacadamed roads further north were enjoyable enough, nice long fast sweeping corners.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to take Ella's Mum's Subaru Forester XT 2.5 out for a blast as well. Wow, it's quick - it's basically the Impreza with a different shell, and 0-60 in about 6 seconds, even with the dreaded auto. Ella's Dad also said I could have the use of his shed for car maintenance whenever I wanted ... and for shed read hangar.

After a suitably relaxing weekend we came back down to Brisbane on the Monday, and stopped in at Narangba to check out the 2500 S. It turned out that the guy who owned it was an Auto-Anglophile, had married an English woman and actually worked for British Aerospace in England and owned a brand new English 'S' whilst living there. Now he has the saloon and a Stag for sale, to help fund his Piper Cherokee habit. He was very up front and explained that the first to go would be sold, but he wasn't taking offers.

The saloon was in very good condition, no discernible end float on the 100,000 mile original engine, but a set of nasty SUs that I didn't recognise - something about emission regulations. The seats were as new I think, still offering excellent support, and bodywork was almost mint, albeit a little bit Inca for me! Overdrive operated nicely, the gearbox and linkage was as good as I've ever tried, but the engine was lacking some 'oomph' (what cam did they put in the Aussie 'S' I wonder, or was it the carb's?). The springs were a little lacklustre, too, so the ride was a little softer than necessary.

After the test-drive we had coffee and a chat about Triumphs, as the subject of the 10 Countries Run, and the Round Britain Reliability Run came up, and the ladies' eyes began to glaze over as their thoughts shifted to soft furnishings and wall paint colours, the Aussie man popped off to get his copy of the Classic car mag that featured the article on the RBRR and a picture of The Big Red Bus amongst others!

Anyway, despite my obvious infamy, he stuck to his guns and said he wasn't prepared to shift on the money, and as good as the car was, for $5k I reckon I should be able to hold out and find something as good or even with more poke for less. It would have been cool to have had a saloon with remote locking though!

Hmmm, there's a Mk1 Pi in Adelaide ... how much are flights to Adelaide I wonder?

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