We departed Melbourne Friday morning for a leisurely drive to Adelaide with Clive’s 12 loaded on the trailer behind the trusty Commodore. The morning rush was easily negotiated with a quick run through the tunnel. Lunch was at Nhill followed by a short stretch of roadworks that threatened to provide a thin layer of grey mud over everything, but it didn’t.
My recollection of the drive through the Adelaide Hills was gratefully changed with the advent of the tunnel that has removed the infamous “Devils Elbow’ We were soon in the “flats” of Adelaide before we realised. About 1 1 hours after leaving Melbourne we were at the cabin relaxing with a cold beer.
The big day arrives with an early arrival at 6.00am for a good position fhr the start, with several hundred cars there already. The following i hours saw the rest of the field of 1600 arrive. Clive and I wandered around looking at the different cars that were lined up for the start. Never before had we seen such a collection of cars in one place, and all of different standards. There were the concourse entrants that just gleamed to the very original cars that had not been restored at any stage in their lives.
We finally got to depart and the reaction of the Adelaide public has got to be seen to be believed. For the first 4 miles there were people standing on the side of the road waving to the passing procession. There were even people that had set their BBQ’s, tables and chairs out in their front yards or on the nature strip with all the family to watch the passing procession. This sort of reaction was repeated all along the route, we had never seen such a reaction. Every now and again you would hear “it’s a Morris,” shouted out.
Travelling along the Torrens Valley the road was made one way to improve the traffic flow. It was strange travelling on the wrong side of the road. This allowed room for those vehicles that had more performance to pass some of the slower vehicles and keep the traffic moving.
We finally arrived at Birdwood after travelling 34½ miles from the start. The marshals efficiently despatched the cars into the different areas with our destination being the paddock where most of the cars were lined up. Some people unpacked picnic lunches, others bought their lunch from the stalls run by local community groups.
The National Motor Museum provides the grounds for this gathering and is well worth a visit next time you are in Adelaide. There is a heavy Holden influence but this can be attributed to their recent sponsorship to provide a new pavilion.
The concourse vehicles on display were immaculate with further points being awarded for period detail of the occupants, including coins from the year of the vehicles manufacture in some cases. We departed just prior to the concourse winner being announced, for a pleasant drive back to the Caravan Park. Monday saw a quick departure from Adelaide to try and beat the Melboume peak.
The roadworks just prior to Nhill provided a very fine grey mist over any surface 1 metre and below. We arrived back in Oakleigh just before 5.00pm, agreeing that we will do it again in 2 years time.
Clive Jones & Ross Jamieson