On agreeing with Barry to take part in this adventure the first thing was to look for a car. Straight on to Ebay where there were a number of older Peugeots for sale. A likely candidate was a 1980’s 504.
On the basis of it’s low kilometres (+/- 80,000) and the fact that it had a history as an Historic Rally Car I elected to purchase it. The only problem was that it was in Ballarat, some 3500Kms away. After some chat with the then current owner and on the basis that it would pass a roadworthy and be serviced prior to me picking it up, we came to a deal and the car was mine.
Rather than first fly to Melbourne and then have to find my way to Ballarat I had my sister Monique (god bless her soul) and her husband Andy pick it up for me. A couple of weeks later a friend (Stephen Mahr) and myself flew to Melbourne to pick up the little darling and drive it back to Perth.
On first sight the car looked really good; and I had been assured by a Peugeot mechanic in Ballarat that it was a real beauty.
On the way to Adelaide we passed the ‘Pink Galah’
The first inkling that all was not as it should be was the car overheating in Adelaide. Not too worry we picked some additional coolant and we were on our way again. It soon became obvious that pushing it made the temperature climb so we kept an eye on the temperature gauge and kept it at a steady pace.
During the course of 3500 KMs we also came across:
The Giant Koala:
The Kangaroo was a bit of an old favourite as a couple of years ago I passed this way with my son Donovan as we played the Nullarbor Golf Course; the longest golf course in the world, covering 1000kms between Ceduna in the east across the Nullarbor to Kalgoorlie. Each roadhouse has one ‘hole’. Just behind and to the left of the Kangaroo is one of those ‘holes’. Here I sent a golf ball straight down the middle (a near perfect shot) that both Donovan and I thought had landed on the ‘green’. Imagine our surprise when we couldn’t find the ball even though we hunted for it for a long time. We reckon either a magpie (who are known to steal golf balls in these parts – believe it or not) or a hungry wombat stole it out of the hole. We will never know but I for one believe it was a ‘hole in one’.
We finally made it to Perth 3500Kms and five days later. On closer inspection the cause of the overheating became obvious. A badly leaking heater hose (it was totally perished when I touched it) and a rotten radiator including top and bottom tanks. We were Oh So Lucky not too have broken down on the Nullarbor. We could have ended up like this old fellow we found near one of the Roadhouses.
Once home these ‘little’ problems were soon fixed. In addition the following service was carried out:
– New radiator
– New coolant hoses
– New exhaust
– Replaced the alloy wheels with steelies (cracks in alloys make them worthless whereas steel wheels can be repaired)
– New tyres
– Replacement door hinges, handles & locking mechanism
– Replacement boot lock
And last but not least had fixed the braking problem that was causing the brakes to grab quite violently when driving in reverse.
Thanks to the following people who helped me prepare my car for this epic journey: Gordon Horst (overall check on the car), Natrad (radiator), RAC (vehicle inspection), Charlie at Canningvale Auto Service (did a marvellous job on a new exhaust), Mike at Hi Tech Brake & Clutch Services (brake hoses and roadworthy certificate), Kevin at Armadale Tyres (new tyres), Bob Jane T-Marts (wheel balancing), Kmart (wheel alignment), Van at Midas (who finally found and fixed the brake problem). John Brockman, Pugwreck and Basil van Dongen provided much needed and difficult to source parts.
Modifications done to the car included: Wider mirrors, a duel battery for the accessories, a cooler/warmer (rather than a full fridge), a GPS (Garmin 52LM), a UHF radio and last but not least a forward facing camera (to use as a de facto passenger as basically with our Right Hand Drive cars we will be traveling on the wrong side of the road for all of the journey).