DECEMBER EXCURSION – LITHGOW SMALL ARMS MUSEUM

The starting point for this excursion was the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath. Earlier arrivals were soon joined by members and guests filtering through the large entrance doors of the hotel. The leader of the expeditionary force, General Desmond Neville was quietly sucking on a coffee and in a completely relaxed mode as the others arrived. (His horse was conspicuously absent!).

The tables on the Hydro Majestic verandah stated to fill up as twenty members and guests took up their positions. Apart from the usual Z mobiles there was a mixed variety of vehicles – catering for those seeking “comfort more than speed” – as it was a rather lengthy excursion. All up, there were twelve vehicles noted.

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After an appropriate amount of sustenance and the usual “catch up” discussions it was time to start the journey. Craig (being a native of these parts) took the lead and the convoy headed north along the Great Western Highway.

After a journey of approximately half an hour, the convoy turned into Methven Street, Lithgow – home of the Lithgow Small Arms Museum. Having been forewarned of the Z Car invasion (by virtue of pre- booking for 25 people) – there was a museum staff member available to provide an interesting commentary on the Museum and its past and present activities. The Lithgow Arms Factory had been responsible for supplying the Australian army with a variety of weapons during the Second World War – including rifles and Bren guns. Its machine shops are still producing a variety of products currently, including the Steyr AUG assault rifle /light machine carbine for our military forces.

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There was an interesting display of weapons on the ground floor of the Museum. This included guns, a display of knives and a particularly vicious looking Sunbeam Mixmaster! The party then gravitated to the first floor where all the “good stuff” was being displayed. This was a “gun fancier’s heaven”. Magnificent handguns of all shapes and sizes – “Dirty Harry type “ 44 magnums, 357 magnums, Lugers , 45’s, dueling pistols, miniature guns etc. , etc.

In the middle of the floor was a very large Chinese heavy machine gun, with other machine guns scattered throughout the exhibits. There was an extensive display of rifles of different vintages , and some of the members recognized rifles they had trained with in their youth– such as .303’s (school cadets) and SLRs (military reserve) etc.

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Some time was spent perusing the fairly numerous exhibits, with mobile phones being actively utilized for photographing the more interesting firearms.

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It was now time to head off for lunch at the Tarana Hotel at the quaint Tarana Township. Craig took the convoy on a more scenic route than the original planned route. This involved travelling along Diamond Swamp Rd and then onto Sodwalls Rd and ultimately Mutton Falls Rd, Main Street and the Tarana Hotel.

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Prior booking allowed for outside undercover dining (appreciated – as the temperature was getting close to 30 degrees C). This was in contrast to our last visit when the temperature was three degrees C!

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After a pleasant lunch and a variety of discussions, group members gave their farewells and started slipping away to get started on the long journey home. It had proven to be an interesting and enjoyable day overall with a very good attendance of members and guests.

Many thanks to Des for the original planning of this excursion. (Des had a few health issues previously so Craig and Ray had provided a little assistance with the excursion).

NOVEMBER EXCURSION – MOTORLIFE MUSEUM

Weather good: check!  Sea of interested faces at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar: check! Pick up Barbara, Brian and Brett at the Picton Rd turnoff: check! Stand by for launch: check!

With the now renowned navigation team of Dan and Court at the helm of the convoy it was “go” for the Motorlife excursion. The Z cars straggled out of “Big Daddy’s” with the red 320kw twin turbo leading the way. After a series of quick turns through roundabouts and backstreets the convoy hit the Hume Motorway.

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There was a lot of traffic darting in and out of the convoy along the way, but as it was a straight run at this point in the journey – there was no problems with visibility and keeping in touch with the lead vehicles. After about 36 kms into the trip – the Picton Road, Wilton turnoff presented itself and the convoy entered the slip road.

Now, to find Barbara, Brian and Brett!

Brian, Barbara and Brett had managed to move into the fast moving traffic flow a couple of cars ahead of the convoy – and were spotted by the leading cars. This was a more expedient solution than trying to join the convoy from the rear.

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It was a fairly free flowing run towards Wollongong at this point, and the convoy, overall was making good time. Proceeding to the Kanahooka Road off ramp at Brownsville led the convoy finally to the Darkes Road location of the Motorlife Museum.

Ray had tried, prior to the excursion date to negotiate the entry fee to the Museum in light of the envisaged number of Z car members attending – but the price was fixed at $15 per head for groups. The previous $10 entrance fee for NRMA members was also no longer available.

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The Motorlife Museum is really unique in having a substantial range of rare and exotic motor vehicles spanning decades of motoring. Some of the “later models” was an FX and FJ Holden approximately 67 and 64 years old respectively.

It was noted that the John Lennon mannequin had been shifted from its original position in the MGA convertible (two years ago) to a park bench in the museum. Must be some valid reason!

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There are a lot of displays – so a good two hours can be spent to thoroughly examine the exhibits. As well as the motor vehicles, there are displays of vintage typewriters, telephones and other memorabilia of the different eras.

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After a few photo sessions and a comprehensive examination of the exhibits, it was time to head off for lunch at the nearby Dapto Leagues Club. The club was moderately busy, so it was fortunate that Ray had booked for 25 members and guests. Two large tables had been provided, so there was adequate room for all.

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Meals were well priced and the service proved to be excellent with meals rapidly being delivered a short time after ordering. Also, pleasingly, the standard of the meals was excellent.

The excursion had proven to be very successful. The final numbers were 17 cars and 21 members and guests which was an excellent response. Overall, a pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable day – which is really what the Z Car Club of Sydney endeavours to achieve with its monthly excursions.

OCTOBER EXCURSION – GOULBURN EXTRAVAGANZA

Arriving at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar at Casula it was pleasing to see a good number of members in attendance. After a few cappuccinos and some catching up conversations – it was time to hit the road.

With Courtney navigating, the convoy arrived at the Hume Motorway at around 8.20am. First stop was the Mittagong RSL – a 45 minute run.

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Meeting up with Brian, Brett, Barbara and Jamie (who had gone on ahead to the Mittagong RSL) – the final number of members and guests attending totaled 17. This was a good turnout in light of the “iffy” weather and a number of previous cancellations.

Brett was congratulated on his immaculate 300ZX Z32 twin turbo (spotted in the Mittagong RSL carpark). Although there had been no mods to the engine, the rest of the vehicle with numerous modifications to the bodywork and interior was outstanding. And, yes, it did have the essential Ferrari tail lights!

Members filed into the Mittagong RSL Club for morning tea – which consisted of cappuccinos and other coffees with freshly baked cakes.

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Around 11.00am, after suitable refurbishment, the club members made their way back to their trusty Zeds and headed down Bessemer Street back to the Hume Motorway. It was decided to make the first point of call in Goulburn the Rocky Hill War Museum and have lunch afterwards.

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Situated in Memorial Road, Goulburn this quaint little museum is simply packed with war memorabilia and well worth a visit. From uniforms to a host of different rifles of various vintages and nationalities, samurai type swords, mortars, grenades and machine guns. There was a very interesting range of hand-held anti-tank weapons (some resembling elephant guns) – one could only imagine what the recoil would have been like!guns

 

The Rocky Hill Lookout was nearby, and some of the more adventurous of the group ascended the hill to take in the view – which was both breathtaking and a bit unsettling for those who don’t birds eyelike heights.

The next stop was the Goulburn Workers’ Club for lunch.

It was difficult to get a precise number of member vehicles attending the excursion as there was a number of the group disappearing and then catching up at various stages. However, an estimate was eleven vehicles.

The Goulburn Workers’ Club proved to be a rather pleasant and popular environment . After placing orders at the counter, meals were served at the table by the staff (none of those annoying buzzers – where you have to pick up your own meals). All meals were reasonably priced, of good quality and served promptly.

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It was approaching 2.30pm , and as some of the members had a considerable distance to travel to get back home – it was decided not to make the original planned trip to Wakefield Park Raceway ( part of the original excursion plan) as this would add another 40-45 minutes to the excursion timeframe.

Congratulations to Courtney and Daniel for planning this interesting excursion, and particularly to Courtney for adding her great navigational skills to the journey to ensure a trouble free cruise.    

SEPTEMBER EXCURSION – GANNONS

 It was pleasing to see the whole Z car group had arrived on time and were expertly parked – even though the line of Z cars seemed to be facing the wrong way i.e. rumps out!

The members had excelled themselves again by providing a fantastic amount of effort in the preparation of their vehicles which fairly sparkled under the early morning sun.

The fourteen vehicles and twenty five members and guests was an excellent turnout.

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As usual, The Lions Club had sponsored and organised a very interesting and entertaining event with numerous displays. The large volume of vehicles on display was equally impressive with a variety of rare marques. Although there appears to be a penchant for FB Holdens – seems to be larger numbers of these vehicles each year (Is someone breeding them?)

As members wandered around the various rides and exhibits – it was also pleasing to discover that the food stalls provided light meals of an impressive standard (this is not notable at most car shows).

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Around midday, the two judges (trying to hang onto the paperwork in the freshening winds) faced the challenges of performing the judging of the Z Car Club of Sydney’s Show and Shine.

This was going to prove a somewhat difficult task as all cars were presented in a similar impeccable manner except for a few standout vehicles. A number of cars were separated by a couple of points – so the scoring was extremely close.

The final results and winners of each category were as follows:

Z31 Std                                   Barry Godfrey

260Z Std                                 Brad Twyman

260Z 2+2 Std                          James Henderson

240Z Std                                 John Wakeling

240Z Highly Mod                   John Wakeling

370Z Std                                 Ray Marsh

370Z Mod                               Craig Tebbet

350Z Std                                 Des Neville

Z32 TT Std                             Courtney Marsh

Best Non Z (Datsun 260C)    Jamie Gigg

Jamie Gigg (Point Score Officer) then awarded the Club Champion Trophy and the three pennants for the highest point scores.

Club Champion Trophy         Ray Marsh

Distinction Pennant               Jamie Gigg

Credit Pennant                       Brad Twyman

Merit Pennant                         Terry Stevens

It proved to be a very enjoyable day, highlighted by well organised and impressive displays and the usual good humour and friendship of the Z Car Club members who made the effort to participate.

AUGUST EXCURSION – SHANNONS, EASTERN CREEK

In the cold light of the morning the Zedders started accumulating from about 8.00AM in Liberty Road, Huntingwood. The predominant vehicles were 300ZX Z32s. But there was quite a collection of Z cars.

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There were 20 vehicles in total – 19 pure Z vehicles and one substitute vehicle (due to a problem with one of the Zeds). An estimate of the people attending (including guests) was 26. As far as car numbers were concerned – this was probably a record for a Shannons attendance.

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A twirling index finger and a “gentleman start your engines” prompt motivated the “pilots” of the Z sportscars to stretch sideways and slide into the cockpits of their various machines. The convoy moved onto Peter Brock Drive and headed towards Gate D. Moving ever so slowly down the hill (due to the large amount of vehicles from the other car clubs as well as the large Z car convoy) the Zedders finally reached the “showbag men”.

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Then followed a somewhat inspirational moment. The mantle of the “world’s worst navigator” had for a brief moment in time slipped him into second place , as a zedder leading the convoy ( who shall remain nameless ) got lost inside area D. This became apparent as the incoming zedders met the out coming zedders as a large “u turn” was needed to get back on track.

James commented that every time he followed someone who appeared to know where they were going – he got lost! Better break out that GPS again, James! Ultimately, after safely parking the convoy in two rows in the requisite designated spot – things were looking good.

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The display cars from the various marques stretched nearly to the horizon – which meant a lot of walking. Terry and Ray attempted to get some coffee from the “ice cream and drinks” van – only to find the door closed and the driver taking off in the opposite direction. But, Shannons is an enthusiast’s dream with so many rare cars on display that bring back childhood memories.

One can only marvel at the time, energy and copious amounts of money spent to rejuvenate these cars. Although one has fond memories of their father owning these vehicles, a vast number of them are really very ordinary cars that were really nothing special in their prime. But one has to admire the care and patience, the sourcing of rare parts and the time and money spent to restore them by the particular enthusiast.

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At 11.30AM it was time to line up for a stint on the racetrack. After about twenty minutes, the gates were opened onto the race track and the cars siphoned forwards with anticipation. However, up the front was a highly illuminated “pace car”.

For half the first lap the speedos were locked on 78kms/hr. (just shy of the requisite max of 80kms/hr.) due to the cars in front. Then something strange occurred. All of a sudden, all the cars in front seemed to disappear and yes, that was three figures showing on the speedo!

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The Zedders zoomed round the track as proper sportscars should! All too soon the Zeds were waved off the track – and back to the area D parking area. This would have to rate as the most enjoyable time on the track ever!

Although a little out of the way – the position in area D did made it easy to exit safely with minimal traffic.

Overall, a very enjoyable day with a record number of cars and a vast array of different marques on display. Coupled with a memorable time on the track – one of the better Shannons excursions.

JULY EXCURSION – XMAS IN JULY – THE CHALET AT MEDLOW BATH

  The group of Zedders was warmly greeted by Mein Host, David and offered a complementary drink on arrival.

There was however, limited space around the fireplace so it was a case of “first in – best dressed!”, however the dining room was fairly warm in any case.

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What a difference from the Xmas in July three years ago!

No black snow or extreme weather conditions enroute to Medlow Bath – just a little cooler than Sydney – and the Chalet was nicely heated in any case.

There was exactly double the attendees this time around with a solid attendance of 24 Zedders and their guests.

The Zedders perused the antiques and paintings on display and checked out the views over the outside courtyard.

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Dinner was getting ready to be served so the Zedders took their places at the various tables.

The main course consisted of Turkey Breast and Leg Ham with lovely fresh vegetables. Bread rolls and butter were also supplied.

This was followed by traditional Christmas pudding and home-made custard.

Tea and freshly brewed coffee completed the meal.

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Jamie and Joanne decided to be somewhat adventurous and stay the night at the Chalet and had a very pleasant night with an excellent continental breakfast the following morning (as advised to members later).

The rest of the group headed for home after a very enjoyable day.

Many thanks to Craig for organising this excursion.

JUNE EXCURSION – TOWRADGI BEACH

First stop was Big Daddy’s Burger Bar (Homemakers Centre) at Casula. The weather was fresh (which is a euphemism for pretty cold) – however the sun was struggling to come out – which was a good sign.

While waiting for the stragglers, it was time to enjoy a cup of coffee and for the more adventurous a mini- breakfast. Ultimately, fifteen cars arrived along with 23 members and guests. Amongst the group was a pair of extremely rare Nissan vehicles. A Nissan Mercedes Benz and a Nissan Kharmann Ghia!

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At 9.30am the convoy started trickling out of Big Daddy’s and heading towards the next stop – which was Appin Park, outside the Appin Hotel. Some vehicles deviated slightly from the proscribed route which meant different arrival times – but all arrived safely within about fifteen minutes of each other.

After a short break, the convoy hit Appin Road and followed it through to Baden Powell Drive enroute to the Cataract Dam. The rather minute parking area was completely filled by the Z car entourage.

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For those who hadn’t been to the dam for a while they were reminded of the excellent views and the huge “water spout” at the base pumping out copious amounts of water – quite spectacular. After an extended photo session and a final viewing session – the convoy started to depart (probably to the relief of other visitors trying to find a parking spot).

The Southern Gateway Centre was the next stop in the itinerary. Some of the party had a coffee while others walked around to enjoy the excellent views.

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A quick skim through the available travel brochures was a reminder of what the Wollongong area and its environs had to offer for the tourist.

Next stop was the big one – the Towradgi Beach Hotel. The convoy moved off smartly (a bit too smartly for some of the tail enders!).

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The “world’s worst navigator” found himself leading a group of three other vehicles and no sign of the rest of the convoy. Stumbling on (no point in using the 370Z’s out of date sat nav!) there was a valiant attempt made to pretend that he knew where he was going.

Scanning the written instructions – yes – there is Towradgi Beach – where’s the rockpool? – for that matter where is the hotel?

Stop circling and pull over! Fortunately James came to the rescue with a GPS that worked! Manfully taking the lead he negotiated the route and the remnants of the convoy arrived safely at the Towradgi Hotel.

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The hotel was very popular (i.e. crowded) so there was a wait for food and sustenance (read stiff drink!). However the meals were of a good standard and reasonably priced.

Everyone who attended enjoyed this interesting excursion. The meticulous planning by Brad and Darrelle made a significant difference in ensuring that everything worked properly and ensured a successful outcome.

SPENCER LUNCH – SUNDAY 20 MAY 2018

Patrons at Maccas Thornleigh didn’t know which way to look when the Z cars and a similar era of Fords rolled in to the carpark. It was like going to a car show without the cost of admission.

Coincidentally both clubs departed around the same time to set off on the days adventure. Some of Henrys best and our Jap classics fighting to get out of the carpark. The beastie V8 Falcons V’s the classic beauty of the Z cars.

First stop, the old toll gates at Berowra where a photo opportunity was taken. Then a pleasant drive up the pacific Hwy. I’m sure these roads would have brought back memories of pre-freeway Christmas and long weekend traffic jams for some members, but today it was more of a pleasant drive along some picturesque winding roads.

Our Pie in the sky stop included spectacular views of the Hawkesbury river with the opportunity for a coffee. It was now like being at a Motorbike show keeping the bike enthusiasts in the club occupied.

We were underway again over the old Brooklyn bridge winding up to Mount White, Calga and through the Glenworth Valley on to peats Ridge and mangrove Mountain. We then started the decent to our lunch destination at Spencer.

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What a hidden Gem, The Spencer General Store. This place is really unique! A shop on the shores of the Hawkesbury river in what is a fairly remote destination which sells everything from a can of deodorant to a delicious restaurant quality meal and alcohol? It felt a little strange (but good) carrying a bottle of cold wine and glasses out of the store and across the road to the seating provided next to the river or on the wharf.

The meals were served quickly and also transported across the road by the store staff to our tables. The shop owner also came over with a heartfelt thank you to the Zedders for their business and for visiting the Spencer General store in a way that a Chef/owner would do at a high-class expensive city restaurant!  Wow, what a great host.

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After soaking up what was left of the sun we all departed for home where for some the adventure continued with a ferry crossing back over the Hawkesbury.

Thanks to all who attended and to Andrew and Esther for organising a great day. We appreciate you enlightening the Z group about this little piece of paradise where many of us will return to in the future.

APRIL EXCURSION – ROBERTSON HERITAGE CAR SHOW

Because of the scattered locations of the Z Car members it was decided to go directly to Robertson independently to save travelling time and distance. Seemed straight forward enough, but for some reason, Robertson could have been located on the moon, for the almost total lack of signposting. When there was any “Robertson” indication signs – they were so miniscule as to be almost invisible. This resulted in a variety of arrival times. The “world’s worst navigator” was probably the next to last to arrive.

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Expecting there would be ample car parking spaces for the exhibition cars (as informed by the organisers) – it was a shock to find cars queuing at the entrance. When inside the grounds, car parking was found to be at a premium (due in part to a degree of encroachment by the public taking up valuable car spaces). After paying the “gold coin” donation, Ray found it necessary to drive to the end of the park and re- enter due to no observable parking on the first pass. Ultimately, a car space was found – fortunately among some of the Z car members. Other members were scattered at various locations through the display area.

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Z car members progressively joined the expanding group of members and guests and started catching up. The weather was starting to get rather hot and humid – even though it was still mid-morning.

There was a huge variety of cars on display. Noted was an E type Jaguar , various Ferraris , a number of Austin Healeys – including the rarer three litre versions. Rolls Royce’s and a particularly stand out early model Cortina resplendent in purple iridescent paintwork. Most of the cars showed evidence of expensive restoration and were a credit to their owners. At the other end of the spectrum was a rusted out VW Kombi Van – restoration anyone?

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Old fashioned machinery was also on display. These consisted of various single cylinder engines which could be used as automatic pumping systems or to power saws etc. Most dated from the early nineteen hundreds.

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It was nearing midday and Des and Eileen led the way to the Robertson Bowling Club which was located close by. It was quite a pleasant environment and a lot cooler than outside. Food was of good quality and very well priced (e.g. Barramundi and chips – $12).

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Within a short period of time, the club started to fill up, so the Z car members had to find separate tables (and rather quickly). Numbers of Z car members, guests and vehicles had to be estimated, because everyone had been scattered at the outset – and not everyone had made it to the Bowling Club.

A rough estimate was 20 members and guests and twelve vehicles.

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Everyone who attended had an interesting laid back kind of day in a very pleasant (if somewhat crowded environment). The vast array of rare cars and other displays made it an enjoyable time for all those who attended.

March Excursion- Zedders in the Shire Tour

Well, for two months in a row we have been reminded that you can do all the planning in the world, but you can’t control the weather.

After the February ‘Near death experience’ endured on the path to Canberra, the 18th of March would ensure that if your car had not dried out by now, it would certainly be toasted by the end of the day.

Members and guests gathered at the MacDonald’s Heathcote meeting point at the designated time to enjoy a coffee and catch up. You could be forgiven for thinking that the weather forecasters may have got it wrong as there was still a slight crispness about in the air. It seems that this is a popular meeting point for all heading south and the normal parking problems were encountered.

It was quickly 10.15 and time for a briefing to hand out the running sheet which included some last-minute changes and a questionnaire to add a little twist to the day. The forecast of 40-degree temperatures and hot winds meant a total fire ban and consequently the Woronora Dam was closed for the day. Plan B would be needed.

Getting out of the MacDonald’s carpark would prove harder than getting in but eventually we were all underway in an unorderly fashion. Like a Good Shepherd, President Craig got the convoy in order by pulling over once we reached the more secluded Old Princes Highway. What a sight it was, a great formation of 240’s, 260’s, 280’s, 350’s, 370’s, a 260C, a modern and even a welcome guest in a VW Carmen Ghia.

The Red 260c lead the convoy down Lawrence Hargrave drive taking in some spectacular views of the ocean road on our way to the Scarborough Hotel. Not in the original plan but the diversion apart from the parking chaos was welcomed and celebrated with a drink overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean.

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The next stop was to head back up the hill to the Stanwell Tops Lookout, about a 15-minute run. Again, it was a little difficult to park but luckily, we had planned for this and a few chose the overflow parking a little walk up the road.

Apart from taking in the beautiful views it was also time for the questionnaire to come out as members were keen to share in the massive prizes up for grabs. Rather like ants running from one end of the lookout to the other to get the right answers.

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It was time again to move on for our drive through the winding roads of the National Park. We were not the only ones enjoying the drive with various other groups passing through including the V8 Holden ute club, Lexus and various top down convertibles. Had we been a little earlier we would have also passed the Sydney Datsun Club on their run to the Robertson in the Southern highlands, which is our destination for the April Run.

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As expected the little Village of Bundeena with its busy main street was always going to be a quick stop due to parking issues. Have I mentioned any parking issues so far? We chose to live dangerously by lining up along the wharf road which featured the beautiful Bundeena beach as a backdrop to display the cars. With no Parking Rangers in sight we had just enough time to have a quick look around, take a few pics and collect the last few answers required to be in the running for the Sheet Station prize on offer!

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A little more traffic chaos getting off the wharf but within a few minutes we were in the air-conditioned comfort of the Bundeena Bowlo and all had been forgotten. The Bowlo was an unexpected surprise with cold drinks and good food. We were accommodated nicely with good seating and quick service.

Congratulations to John and Kay who took out first prize with a perfect 10 out of 10, with Craig and Maddy taking out 2nd place.

In summary attendance was good with 26 members and guests and 13 cars. To all participants especially the ‘un air conditioned’ owners thank you for making the effort to get out and about in the heatwave conditions. The temperatures encountered on the day would scare many old car owners away but not the mighty Z car club!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the April event in the southern Highlands where I’m sure you will have no parking problems and much cooler temperatures.

Cheers Jamie.