OCTOBER EXCURSION – GRAND PACIFIC DRIVE AND CLUB THIRROUL

The day started well with optimistic weather forecasts – but the great unknown is always the consideration of who will turn up for the cruise. Not to worry! By the time Robyn and Ray arrived there was already a good number of cars parked outside Big Daddy’s. As coffee and extras were being consumed, numbers started to swell. There was a mixed bag of vehicles amongst the Z mobiles including the bright red Jensen Healey and the Austin Healey 3000. Michael (potential member) had brought his rather interesting two tone 370Z roadster which he had recently purchased. Ray had decided (with the tyre issues of his 370Z on the last excursion) to bring his non Z white sedan while awaiting the purchase of a new set of tyres for the “Z”.

Coffee and small talk (suspended for now) it was time to hit the road. The excursion maps had been planned in two parts in order that the Grand Pacific Drive with its superb views could be part of the journey. Merely inputting Club Thirroul into the GPS would result in a direct route to Club Thirroul bypassing the more scenic route.

There was a bit of a scramble to get out of the Big Daddy’s environs with its narrow street access. This resulted in the Zedders having to queue up for several minutes. Ray (who was supposed to be leading the convoy) got swallowed up in the traffic jam and was second last in the queue. Des, fortunately, leading the convoy, pulled over on Parkers Farm Pl and allowed Ray to resume the lead. Turning onto the Camden Valley Way the convoy hit the tricky M5 turnoff within a few hundred metres, and, inevitably the vast majority of the convoy didn’t manage to get through. Slow to 70kms/hr and hope the convoy catches up on the M5 before the Heathcote Rd slip road. Not happening! Despite Ray slowing up there was no sign of the convoy. Ray finally managed to find a safe spot to pull over on Heathcote Rd. He, Robyn and Barry then patiently waited for the convoy to catch up. There they are! Flashing lights and horns had no effect – the convoy didn’t slow down and went storming past leaving Ray and Barry far behind. That went well!! Ultimately the convoy was sighted some time later perched on the cliff overlooking Thirroul taking photos and admiring the view. Ray and Robyn decided to continue down Grand Pacific Drive ahead of the convoy to ensure that Club Thirroul had made all the necessary booking arrangements for the Z Car Club. They slowed to take photos on the way down and take in the great scenery.

Arriving at Club Thirroul, Ray spoke to the Manager and was taken to the conference room. A bit of reorganisation of the furniture would ensure that everyone was seated comfortably and comply with Covd-19 restrictions. All done. Now wait for the Zedders to arrive. The conference room was quickly filled with Z car club members – head count was 31 with 20 cars belonging to our members in the car park. The Z car members fortunately had the conference room to themselves. Club Thirroul did a great job of getting meals to members expediently, in spite of the large numbers present. Prices were considerably cheaper than most clubs and the food was of a good standard. The Club Thirroul photographer asked if he could take photos of our group for the Club Thirroul Facebook page. Members filed outside and were photographed with their cars.

This was a fitting end to a very enjoyable, successful and well attended excursion.

SEPTEMBER EXCURSION – ST ALBANS & THE SETTLERS ARMS INN

Like the previous aborted St Albans excursion earlier in 2020, weather was not entirely promising. Frequent showers were apparent from early morning and the grey skies looked a bit menacing.

However, life is all about challenges, so ignore the conditions and head off to McDonalds at Thornleigh – the first stopping point.

The Z car group were coming from all directions of the compass, but those using the M7 would have found it quite a good run with free flowing traffic and no apparent gendarmerie present.

Right! There it is, the ubiquitous Pennant Hills Road -always cluttered with narrow lanes barely wide enough for the vehicular traffic. Although driving at a moderate rate, Ray and Robyn arrived very early at McDonalds at around 8.20am. They were the first to arrive, and after about forty minutes were still the only Z car people present.

However, people started trickling in after 9.00am and things started to look a bit brighter. David with his unpretentious bright red 370Z roadster plastered with Bridgestone decals from Kurri Kurri, Jake with his very rare 200ZR turbo (which is a variant of the Z31), Emily (potential member) with her Z32 NA and Jordan riding shotgun. Chris and Margo were also welcomed, along with Andrew, Esther and others.

Right! Coffee to energize the group, and then a quick perusal of the aforementioned vehicles. After a catchup and some technical discussions it was time to hit the road. Chris being a native of the Northwest“volunteered” to lead the convoy to the Settlers Arms Inn at St Albans. Winding around the back streets, the cars piled up waiting for the lights on Pennant Hills Road to change. After an inordinate amount of time the lights finally changed but only allowed a few cars through. So much for trying to keep the convoy intact!

Fortunately, Chris managed to pull over on Boundary Road and the convoy was able to reform. The convoy was able to pick up speed and the journey became a bit more enjoyable. However, along the way there was a bit of drama. Ray managed to pick up part of an oil slick and with the water and the oil the 370Z was fishtailing all over the road even at low speeds. The traction control light was continually being illuminated and he was forced into a “granny mode”.

Chris was doing an excellent job of keeping the convoy together but traffic and the ever present “clown drivers” were not making it easy – so the convoy was becoming disjointed. At Galston, Chris decided to pull over in a large cleared space and allow the rest of the convoy to catch up. This gave the Zedders time for a photo shoot and a chance to stretch their legs.

Ultimately, the convoy reformed and took off heading towards Wisemans Ferry. This now allowed the convoy to get up to speed and enjoy the scenery and enjoy the challenge of the twisty bends.

Chris’s part of the convoy surged ahead and correctly arrived at the Webb St Ferry. However, the second group of straggling Zedders took the wrong turn and ended up at the dreaded Wisemans Ferry ( where a perilous dirt road awaited on the other side of the river).Fortunately, realising their mistake they moved out and re-joined the convoy for the correct ferry .

After a short ferry trip, the Zedders entered “boy racer territory” in the form of the St Albans Rd. This is a fantastic 20kms of twisty bends with speeds of 80-100kms/hr which demands concentration and driving skill. With eye-catching scenery thrown in – it is a memorable drive!

Catching up with the “direct drive” members at the Settlers Arms Inn – there was a pleasing total of nineteen people and fourteen cars – which was an excellent result taking the showery weather into the equation. The manager had generously provided the club members with two private rooms which were quickly filled. After ordering, food was served promptly to the Zedders and the meals proved to be of a good standard.

Conversations continued for a number of hours as members were introduced to new members and potential members. Lots of smiles all round proved those attending had really enjoyed the day. The Zedders then straggled out and got in their cars to start the journey (in some cases a long journey) home.

Another successful excursion in spite of the pandemic and its restrictions.

AUGUST EXCURSION – KIAMA DOWNS

Before we start on the details of the cruise, let’s just say this:

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We have now had three successful excursions in 2020 despite the pandemic!

The filtering of members arriving at Big Daddy’s at Casula started turning into a flood. The crowd consisted primarily of long standing and new members, previous members and friends and relatives. A sight to behold!

Among the assembled vehicles was Sam’s 300ZX Z32 twin turbo with thoroughly chromed engine bay and spectacular red duco over customised bodywork. Members braved the strong cold winds for a closer look. There was a lot of catching up to do, so members ordered light snacks washed down by various drinks.

Although route maps had previously been E mailed to members, Ray had got a phone call from Willy and Graham B suggesting a variation on the route. As both these members lived in Dapto – they would be more expert on the area and its environs. Willy and Graham B suggested that they would meet the convoy at Yallah. Lots of wrinkled brows, until one brave member, Des (of Harley Davidson fame – and yes, he does have the jacket!) admitted that he knew where Yallah was (never volunteer, Des!!).

Seizing the opportunity, the “world’s worst navigator” seconded Des to lead the convoy. OK time to move out! Sixteen vehicles snaked out of Big Daddy’s following the blue 370Z. The destination was the Kiama Golf Club situated in Kiama Downs. Hitting the Hume Motorway the vehicles became a bit strung out as cars in a convoy are always prone to –convoy members drive at different speeds and have to manoeuvre around highway traffic. Des did a good job of keeping convoy members in sight despite the prevailing traffic conditions. Yep, there’s the Picton turnoff – did everyone get around safely? No strays! Head towards the M1. What’s that showing on the GPS? Good heavens it’s Yallah! Yallah is situated near Albion Park Rail.

A silver 350Z piloted by Willy, deftly zoomed in front of the lead car of the Z Car convoy to complete the journey to the Kiama Golf Club -.our lunch venue. After a few twists and turns through the back streets of Kiama the golf club in Oxley Ave hove into view. After all the vehicles had been safely parked the club members entered the club to be seated at one booked table and other tables nearby. At this stage a head count indicated 27 people – an excellent turnout. The car park was also filled with 17 vehicles belonging to members.

Service at the Kiama Golf Club was of a high standard where a waitress took drink orders and delivered them back to the tables. Meals were also of a good standard and competitively priced. Conversations at the various tables continued for some hours before members started to give their farewells and depart.

Overall a very enjoyable and successful excursion with an excellent number of interested members and guests in attendance.

Ray

JULY EXCURSION – LITHGOW SMALL ARMS MUSEUM

With the Covid-19 pandemic destroying the club’s plans for proposed excursions in 2020, it has been “a long time between drinks!” And of course, to add to the drama was the forecast of heavy rain. Nevertheless some hardy elements of the Z Car Club membership were determined to press ahead with the excursion plans.

Individual members coming from different locations had to fight their way along the A32 with sleeting rain, fog, slippery roads and speed limits changing almost every km as they progressed towards the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, the first point of call. Stumbling out of their vehicles into the cold and wet environment – the Hydro Majestic stood like a beacon of hope, even if it was a long walk from the carpark.

Once inside, hot coffee and the camaraderie of other members stiffened the resolve to ensure the success of the excursion. New members, Diana and Josh were welcomed and congratulated on their perseverance to attend in the trying conditions. It was now time to undertake the second leg of the journey to the Lithgow Small Arms Museum. Craig, being a native of these parts offered to lead the convoy and suggested that we try a route where Emus might be observed. The convoy bravely headed out into the fog and rain again with members trying to keep track of the car ahead (which was almost invisible in the conditions). After about half an hour’s drive the convoy approached Methven Street where the Museum was located. It was noted that the building opposite the museum still had numerous broken windows (as was the case on our last visit 2 years ago). Not sure what is happening there – ready for demolition perhaps?

The trip to the museum could be rated as Fog 10, Rain 10, and Emus 0

Once inside the foyer of the museum Ray managed to secure the minimal $7 entrance fee for the group (as had previously been negotiated). The museum had been newly renovated with a few new exhibits including golf clubs and spanners!! Huh!! There were a number of different firearms evident on the ground floor (from our previous visit in 2018). Gravitating to the first floor the group observed a wonderful display of rifles, machine guns and hand guns of various calibres. Craig found a .50 calibre revolver which would put the “Dirty Harry .44 magnum” to shame by its huge presence. There were so many interesting and different exhibits that the group spent some time observing and photographing a variety of firearms.

It was now time to move to the next leg of the excursion; lunch at the Lithgow Workmen’s Club (or Workies). It was still raining outside as the members headed off to Tank Street, Lithgow. The Workies club turned out to be a very pleasant environment with a nice ambience and friendly staff. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions the original booking had been pared to a maximum of ten – but members were able to find additional seating. The quality of the meals was of a good standard and reasonably priced. The final total for the day was twelve members and nine cars – which was an exceptional result with the atrocious prevailing weather conditions. And those that had made the effort to attend, really enjoyed the day.

Ray

FEBRUARY EXCURSION – BOWRAL

The aim of the excursion was a visit to the Bradman Museum at Bowral, followed by lunch at the Moss Vale Services Club. Looked straight forward enough but unexpected happenings made the day a little more interesting than intended.

A good crowd of members and guests assembled at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar at Casula. Light breakfasts and other refreshments were ordered prior to the beginning of the journey. Amongst the collection of Z cars was an extremely rare, bright red Jensen Healey. This became a magnet for the rabid car enthusiasts. Opening the bonnet revealed an immaculate engine bay sporting a 2.0L Lotus 907 engine which made 107kws. Because of the light weight, this sports car was capable of 0-100kms/hr in 7.8seconds. This was fantastic performance for the 1970s.

Refreshments and talking over (for now) – it was time to start the journey. Ray, still suffering knee stiffness from the recent surgery, led the charge in the non Z white sedan and headed towards the Hume Motorway. Slipping onto the Old Hume Highway the convoy cruised towards the Bradman Museum situated in Jude St Bowral. Arriving at the Bradman Museum the convoy group was joined by a number of members and guests who had found it more convenient to go directly to Bowral.

The numbers had swelled considerably to an impressively large crowd. However, there was another group of people drawing attention away from our main group. Apparently, a very large St Bernard (look-a-like) dog had managed to wedge itself under the steering wheel as the lady owner got out of the car.

Brett Haines was on his hands and knees, dismantling parts of the seat and other bits in an attempt to extricate this extra-large mammal. He had been at it some time before the convoy arrived. Mmm, could this has been part of a very cunning plan “C”, i.e. if Mum and Dad have both been at the local – let the dog drive home! Ultimately, Brett managed to free the canine, and the Z Car group was able to move into the Bradman Museum.

This is a very impressive museum. Not only does it tell the story of Australian cricket – but it also displays a large part of Australian history itself as cricket has been ongoing in Australia for more than a century. 

There are numerous video and static displays and to take it all in takes at least an hour. There is a small thirty seat theatre which was viewing the story of Australian cricket and its commercialisation by Kerry Packer, which brought cricket in Australia to a whole new level. Despite fierce opposition from the Australian Cricket Board (at the time) Packer persevered and advanced Australian cricket to a much more entertaining experience. Some of the Z Car members and guests viewed this documentary and all found the experience highly informative and interesting.

It was now time for lunch at the Moss Vale Services Club about 10kms away. Unlike the ultra-smooth trip to the Bradman Museum (by the World’s worst navigator) – the last km of the journey to the Moss Vale Services Club went slightly off the rails. The sat nav didn’t state that Yarrawa St Moss Vale was divided by a railway line and instead of turning right the convoy followed “the leader” straight ahead. Coming to an abrupt halt, the convoy did a “u” turn and finally arrived at the Club.

It was pleasing to see that the numbers of members and guests exceeded the booked 25 places. At least one extra chair had to be found. The final total was estimated to be 27 with eighteen cars in attendance.

Consistent with previous dining experiences at this club; meals were excellent and well-priced. Likewise, liquor was well-priced and of a good standard (try and beat a quality Semillon Sauvignon Blanc for $13 a bottle!).

The excursion proved to have all the right ingredients for success – excellent company, good drive, interesting venue and a great dining experience to round off the day.

DECEMBER EXCURSION – “KANGA KLIMAX” KANGAROO VALLEY

This was the final Z Car Club excursion for 2019 . A group of “hardy perennials” turned up at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar at Casula , rubbing their eyes and sucking on a random assortment of coffees and a few snacks.

The ultimate cruise destination was to be the Pioneer Village situated in the Kangaroo Valley. 

After the usual catchup , it was time to start the journey. This particular excursion was not without a few idiosynchrasies however.

After recent knee surgery , Ray was unable to drive and Robyn was to lead the charge in her VF Calais V with Ray as the encumbent passenger.

As Robyn was about to enter the Hume Motorway , she noticed a few Z cars on her left flank and watched them get onto the motorway.

She soon lost sight of this Z car group and assumed they were some distance ahead . In order to catch up to the convoy she powered on, using the reserves of the 210kw engine. Mm, still no sign of the convoy!

She arrived at the first point of call – the Mittagong RSL (for a morning tea stop) . And she and Ray were alone. 

In actual fact the convoy was kms behind !

After about 15 minutes , convoy members started filtering in to the RSL.

The teabreak took longer than expected and the group were now running about half an hour late.

Saddle up , move out ! 

The convoy hit Bessemer St, Bowral Rd, Bong Bong Rd and then Kangaloon Rd.

Sliding into the quaint sounding “sheepwash Rd”, this was then followed by Nowra Rd.

Everyone in the group was thoroughly enjoying the drive, but failed to notice that the convoy had disintegrated. It appears that some of the group had become particularly creative with their navigation and were all taking different routes to the Pioneer Village at Kangaroo Valley.

Finally arriving at the Pioneer Village, albeit at differing times – the group assembled and managed to secure the reduced $5 per head entrance fee.

The Pioneer Village comprises a number of very interesting historical buildings and some of the trades equipment that was relevant for the time. Antique radios and other household equipment was also in evidence. There was a lot to see , but the heat and very sticky flies (present at the time) tended to shorten the visit, which was unfortunate.

This is quite an impressive club, with a relaxing environment and a great well priced cuisine with multiple choices. A pre-booked table personalised the occasion.

It was now time (as we were running a little late) to head off to the Moss Vale Services Club in Argyle St, Moss Vale. This was approximately a half hour run from the Pioneer Village.

In summary , the excursion proved to be very enjoyable and successful with 20 people attending supported by 14 cars.

NOVEMBER EXCURSION – BATHURST CHALLENGE

The Bathurst Challenge was held from 28th November 2019 until 1st December 2019. This event , organised by the Queensland branch of the Z Car Club attracted a vast number of car enthusiasts.

The attraction for a lot of enthusiasts was the chance to drive their private vehicles (whether standard or modified) on the challenging 6.2km Mount Panorama circuit.

The Z Car Club of Sydney was ably represented by Craig , Jaimie , Vince , John Wakeling, John Hewett and Andrew and his son , William.

Craig, Andrew and William also fulfilled official duties trackside over a period of three days of the event.

There was a large number of expensive exotic vehicles which included Lamborghinis, Audi R8s , McLarens and Porsches – which later formed the basis of the GT3 class.

There was an initial “meet and greet” family night which helped to set the right tone for the gathering.

One of the highlights of the event was a complimentary dinner provided by Nissan on Saturday night – which was particularly appreciated by the Bathurst Challenge attendees. This was held in the Bathurst Museum.

Apart from the owners of the private vehicles trying their prowess at Mount Panorama , the GT3 racing provided plenty of excitement. The GT3 class was ultimately won by a McLaren , but failed to set a new lap record.

On the Saturday night Craig was rewarded ( by an extensive/expensive modification to his suspension) by receiving a trophy for his modified Nissan 370Z.

Everyone from the Sydney Z Car Club who attended the Bathurst Challenge thoroughly enjoyed the event.

The only hiccup was when William (Andrew’s son) inadvertently burnt out the clutch on Andrew’s newly acquired 240Z. (? Obviously coming out of his pocket money for the next couple of years!!)

OCTOBER EXCURSION – ZEDFEST (DAMFEST)

On the morning of 20th October , John W, Darrelle and Brad would have been having the same thoughts as all Z Car Club members who have planned excursion events in the past – will those members who committed to attending actually turn up and on time ? will the event go smoothly ? how many things will go wrong?

Fortunately, the meticulous planning and effort by all three ensured that this significant event progressed exactly to plan.

The convoy was formed at Greendale Rd , Wallacia from 7.30am . There was an almost endless stream of Datsun/Nissan Z vehicles arriving at the venue, from 240Zs to the latest 370Zs. As the numbers steadily increased , the Z cars were taking up large sections of the main thoroughfare as well as the side streets. Crowds of members, their families and guests were swelling across the footpaths to several people deep. A very impressive sight to the elated organisers of the event.

John W welcomed those in attendance and thanked Darrelle and Brad for their support and their significant efforts in helping him to organise the event. Craig introduced himself and the Executive Committee of the Z Car Club of Sydney and also welcomed members , their families and guests.

As the event had specific deadlines , the Z cars were then organised into different categories prior to attendance at the main Warragamba Dam venue.

All of the 240Zs were organised into a specific group, together with specific groups for 260Zs, 280Zs, 300Zs , 350Zs and 370Zs. The plan was to lead off with the 350Zs and 370Zs , and this group would be followed by the other categories at short intervals. This was to facilitate parking within the Warragamba Dam display area.

The convoy left Wallacia at just after 8.00am and headed towards Warragamba Dam.

With the significant number of vehicles involved – parking of the Z cars in their specific categories took some considerable time at the Warragamba Dam site . Some cars had to be reparked to ensure sufficient room for those last to enter the parking area.

What a sight ! There were 47 Z cars in total – all groomed to an exceptional standard of presentation. It was going to make the selection process for the presentation of awards by the judges very difficult indeed !

A specific stall had been set up to enable the sale of 50th anniversary and Z car club badges as well as other memorabilia. This was staffed by members of the Z Car Club of Sydney on a rotational basis.

The 50th Anniversary Z Car display was the most prominent and easily filled its role as the feature presentation. Also noted was a number of vintage hotrods, some FX Holdens and a few Fords and other scattered marques. There was also a collection of motorcycles, in a separate display close to the entrance of the parking area.

A number of stalls within the grounds were selling good quality hot foods , while others were selling a range of drinks including freshly squeezed juices (these were greatly appreciated as the weather had morphed into a rather humid day). There were also a few stalls selling memorabilia and car parts.

Judging of the various categories of Z cars took place using separate judges for each particular category. The outstanding presentation of the various cars made the judges job extremely difficult (this in some instances literally came down to a grease mark or a few bits of dust in the interior).

At this time John W gave a brief speech to thank all those attending as well as a special thanks to Darrelle and Brad for all their efforts in making the event so successful. Craig followed this up with a special thanks to John W (with the able assistance of Kaye) for the overall co-ordination of the event.

It was now time to cut a Z Car anniversary cake that had been baked by Kaye especially for the event. This was rather unique in having a banana flavoured end and a coconut end to cater for individual tastes.

Following this it was time to present The Z Car Club awards.

Craig presented the individual car awards while Jamie was responsible (as Point Score Officer) in presenting the Z Car Club’s point score awards.

SEPTEMBER EXCURSION – BEROWRA WATERS

A muddy sky and a few light showers of rain heralded the dawn – but we Zedders are made of sterner stuff!  As with previous northern excursions, members would be coming from all points of the compass. A South Western convoy and a North Western convoy would be complemented by some “direct entry” stragglers with an ETA of 11.00am at the Berowra Waters venue.

After an intense study of the provided Google maps it was noted that the South Western convoy could avoid the ferry trip entirely. With the ferry’s rather limited capacity, the “sea voyage” could be avoided and time could be optimised. With previous memories of very narrow winding roads, peppered with bicycles, and a long wait for the ferry – this wouldn’t be a bad thing!

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Des’s newly acquired 370Z’s satnav was being temperamental and would not accept the street address for the Berowra Waters venue (we later found out that Bay Street had been inputted rather than Bay Rd). However, he bravely volunteered to be the chief navigator for the South Western convoy sans satnav.

The South Western convoy left Big Daddy’s (Casula) at around 9.30am. From Camden Valley Way there was a bit of a scramble getting all the Zedders into the correct lane for the M7 take off point. However, the journey proceeded smoothly after this.

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At the Norwest Boulevarde exit, Windsor Rd and Showground Rd the provided Google maps proved to be entirely accurate. There are numerous exits to right and left within short distances on this journey, and without reliable maps or satnav – it can become a little tricky.

However, Des did an impeccable job of navigation and the convoy arrived safely at the Berowra Waters Fish Café at around 10.50am. The South Western convoy members found parking spaces on the large raised concrete platform to the left of the ground level parking area.

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As the South Western convoy members proceeded onto the balcony of the Fish Café, Andrew (from the North Western convoy) was noted cobbling a number of tables together to cater for the envisaged numbers of members and guests.

This was fortunate, as a large number of Zedders were started to flood into the eatery. Although the weather was still a little overcast, the fantastic views over the bay with its vast numbers of moored boats was rather spectacular.

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Members had brought wives and family members, and the numbers had swelled to an excellent twenty five, complemented by fourteen cars. Amongst the guests, a hairy-chested individual was noted. This was “Rox, the wonder dog” (sponsored by Anthony and Emily) – a rather large German shepherd.

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Because of the large numbers of people, there was a wait for meals to be served. But the reputation of the Fish Café proved to be correct -the meals were not only reasonably priced but were also of an excellent standard.

Some members who owned 240Zs had managed to secure spots in the limited parking area on the roof of the restaurant and created a “mini display” to further advertise October’s “Zedfest”. Andrew displayed his newly acquired immaculate white 240Z, along with John W’s two 240Zs and Michael and Brad’s 240Zs amongst the group. Andrew commented to Ray that when he purchased the 240Z he hadn’t realised that it had a hand throttle. This had provided a very interesting moment when he tried to pull up with the hand throttle half engaged!

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Because of the early start, members and guests were in no hurry to leave and conversations continued for some hours. This was complimented by the excellent views and occasional visits to the bottle shop at the corner of the Fish Café.  The Berowra Waters Fish Café provides a very pleasant environment with magnificent views and an excellent cuisine.

With the great turnout of enthusiastic members and guests the excursion proved to be extremely successful –  and the feedback indicated that everyone who attended enjoyed the day.

– Ray

AUGUST EXCURSION – SHANNONS, EASTERN CREEK

Pre-bookings ensured that we had twenty vehicles lining up on Liberty Road at Huntingwood. The only difference this time was that we had managed to negotiate four highly sought after spots on pitlane for three lucky owners of 240Zs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 240Z. John W supplying a standard 240Z and a rally version of the 240Z, Vince, a standard 240Z and Brad/Darrelle with their newly rebuilt 240Z.

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With all present and accounted for and tickets secured, the convoy started moving off at approximately 8.30am , heading towards Gate A to ensure that the “pitlane cars” were in place on time.

Approaching Gate A, there was the inevitable traffic jam comprising numerous vehicles constituting a variety of different marques, trying to get through the gateway from different directions. Ultimately, the Z car convoy made it through the gate (albeit with a bit of cross-pollination with other marques as they intersected with the convoy).

The main body of the Z car convoy peeled off to Area E, while the cars designated for the pitlane continued on through the tunnel to be guided to their pitlane positions.

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Area E being the smallest designated area meant that vehicles had to be parked with a little more precision. Ray found himself in the “Jowett camp” and had to shift.  After all the Z cars had been “bedded in”, it was noted that the main display area was a considerable distance away – not so great for the “walking wounded” amongst the group. However, there were some facilities close by – including a toilet block and coffee.

After perusing the available vehicles in Area E, it was time for the more adventurous to commence the trek to the main display areas. This consisted of the second wave as some members had already disappeared. With Robyn (of the Spanish Camino 800kms walk fame) leading the way – albeit very quickly, a small knot of members were in pursuit – heading towards the distant tunnel and ultimately the main display areas.

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However, on exiting the gate to Area E, a sign was noted indicating that a bus was available. After waiting for about ten minutes the group was about to take off, when the bus suddenly arrived. Clambering aboard, the Zedders made their way to the unoccupied seats. The bus lurched to a start prematurely (as all bus drivers manage to do), throwing the unseated Zedders backwards – shaken but not stirred!

On arrival at the main display area, the group split to view the different marques – some gravitating towards the Ferrari exhibition – others to the Lotus stand as well as the numerous other vehicles on display.

Those reaching the pitlane were treated to a wonderful display of some of Australia’s finest vehicles. To the far right was the Z Car Club of Sydney’s offering of the four chosen 240Zs to further enhance the 50th anniversary of the 240Z. John W was observed busily handing out flyers to any interested observers.

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After a considerable time of circling around the different displays of numerous marques, some of the group decided to return to Area E as the time for the “run on the track” was approaching.

Mmm, no bus! Oh well – start walking! The narrow path back necessitated climbing up the rise to allow access to people coming the other way, which made the return journey a little tiresome. With some people stopping dead in their tracks to answer their mobile phones and hence blocking travel in both directions – also didn’t help.

However, safely back to Area E – the Zedders prepared for the highlight of the day – the run on the racetrack! Sitting in a queue to enter the track area for twenty five minutes didn’t quite dampen the enthusiasm.

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However, it was all downhill from there. With the glorious memories of the scintillating run on the track in 2018 still fresh in the minds of the passionate Zedders, the Zedders were presented with a “bog slow” run with mind boggling speeds of 60-70kms/hr (occasionally) and traffic jams – necessitating more braking than accelerating!

It was now early afternoon, and some of the Zedders started heading towards the exit. It had been an interesting day with members able to observe the numerous and rare vehicles on display and enjoy the general good natured camaraderie of our group. There will be further recognition and enhancement of the 50th anniversary of the 240Z in the activities planned for October and November this year.

– Ray