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Chapter 19

My vehicle history

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My first experience with vehicles was in 1952. My father sent me to a driving school in Notting Hill Gate. The car I learned to drive was an old Austin Seven. I passed the driving test and got my first driving licence.

My father then bought a Vauxhall Velox so we could go touring. We did some long journeys in south west England and I did some of the driving. Later we went on a long tour in Europe and I did some of the driving there as well.

When I was working at Battersea Polytechnic I bought an old Post Office van. I used it to get around London a bit. After some time I and a couple of my mates did a trip from London to John O'Groats in north Scotland and back to London. I did all the driving.

In 1960 I bought a Ford Thames twelve seater van. I used it to go on recording trips in north England including a great trip to the St Bees music festival. When I got married we went touring in north England in the van for our honeymoon. In London we had many party evenings and many people used to beg for lifts home. some quite a long way away.

Eventually I sold the van to avoid this and bought a Morris Thousand Traveller which we used to drive around London and to go to Jean's home town in Shropshire. I had some trouble with the engine and eventually traded it in for another Morris Thousand Traveller. By this time we had two kids and the traveller was able to take the pram and two child seats. On one occasion we travelled a long way to Norfolk and around England with all our childcare gear on board and on the roof rack.

When we left England I sold the Traveller to someone in a nearby suburb.

When we got to Australia I bought a Holden Kingswood station wagon which we used on lots of trips from Newcastle to Sydney and back. When we bought our first house in West Pymble I used it to go to work in North Ryde and to visit the city of Sydney.

When we sold the house and bought another in French's Forest I drove many miles every day to work. One of my experiences was a car sharing arrangement with a colleague who lived close to French's Forest. We used to share the travel to work between us.

When I got a new job in a small company in Pymble I was offered a car lease as a fringe benefit and I sold the Kingswood and leased a Holden Commodore station wagon. After a few changes of jobs I traded it in and bought a Holden Barina which was a rebadged Suzuki Swift which is still in use by one of my sons who lives in Brisbane.

When I retired, we bought a Winnebago Alpine motorhome built on a Mazda T4600 ELWB truck chassis and went on the road as permanent grey nomads. After a few years we decided to add a trailer to the motorhome and carry a new Holden Barina, a rebadged German Opel Corsa. After a trip down the west coast of Australia we realised that the Barina was not capable of doing trips into the bush so we traded it in a bought a four wheel drive Daihatsu Terios which we still own.

I have two stories about the Terios. We visited a friend of mine in Rylstone and has asked us to drive him to the top of his mountain. He was most impressed by the performance of the Terios because his four wheel drive Subaru wagon wouldn't go up the hill and his friends who had big four wheel drives could not do as well as we did. Later on we visited Inskip Point and got stuck in two foot deep sand. I put the fore and aft diff lock on and drove out of the sand with no trouble.

Several years into our grey nomad time we bought a house in Barraba. two years later we sold the motorhome to a friend from the motorhome fraternity. The motorhome had done 150,000 km in the nine and a half years we had lived in it and travelled in it after we bought the house.

We use the Terios for adventure trips and to travel frequently to Tamworth, 100 km away from Barraba, for city shopping and specialist medical treatments. It presently has done 80,000 km. I have discovered that there are a significant number of Terioses in Banaba so I have named them the Barraba Terios Squadron.

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Created: 12/12/10
Author: Robin Chalmers Copyright in all the material on this site is asserted by the author
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