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from Waynes Word on Web, 15.10.09

Quirky things they are, these foreign imports to our land, yet so familiar to our culture you couldn’t imagine growing up without being in one of them, now and again. They are sort of up there, on the iconic scale, with Chinese food and French brandy. I had the “privilege” of spending quite an amount of time in this older model with no seatbelts, headrests, radiator or engine under the bonnet (that’s the hood for any American readers). As an added extra, if you hit a bit of a bump in a corner, the door would spring open and that’s very exciting if you don’t have a seatbelt.

They came standard with conventional tyres, which were also quite exciting when you were attempting a quick stop in the rain; considering there is no weight over the front end. But never the less with a few modifications like radials, a sandbags worth of gear in the “trunk” and some rope for the doors, I bravely travelled from Queensland to the snow fields of New South Wales for some early season skiing. Because winter began halfway there, I stopped at Coffs Harbour and wired the heater on full. This was the only time this extra was ever used and remained on till the return a week later and I must report, it all worked perfectly.

On the way up, and into the mountains where snow begun, the other cars were pulling over to fit chains to their tyres but not us we motored on all the way to the top car park and the chalet where we were booked in. It snowed that night and didn’t stop for the whole seven days. We all got snowed in and had to wait for the roads to be cleared before the cars could be dug out. Now, in the meantime, you get quite close to the people who are cabin bound and in this case it was about six four wheel drive loads of wealthier types than I was not use to hob knobbing with.

Anyway, as conversations go, things got around to arguing over which brand of 4WD was best suited for the type of conditions we were experiencing and I had to bite my tongue because technically, I didn’t have a 4WD. It was eventually decided it would be solved by a race to the bottom on the day all the cars would be dug out and I never did find out who won, because I was half way back to Queensland by the time they had thawed out their frozen engines and adjusted their chains.


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