Category Archives: Traveling

ALR Christmas 2016

Sunday December 4th was the Australian Lancia Registers’ Christmas Run and AGM. Organised by Rob and Mark Alsop the destination was Mark & Sue McKibbin’s lovely property in South Gippsland.

This was the Little Blue Car’s first decent outing since the camshaft & rocker gear work see:  We meet at the popular Olive at Loch café, surprisingly in Loch, just off the South Gippsland Highway for a 10am coffee, breakfast and/or morning tea for the long distance travellers and late morning risers.

Everyone seemed to make it to the start with no dramas. Armed with instructions and a map we left Loch just after 11 for the 70 odd kilometre drive through the rolling hills of the once dense forested Strezeleckis, now green with grass for dairy cattle. Crossing the South Gippsland Hwy we headed north to Poowong before taking a right turn towards Ranceby, then left on the C425 (Warragul-Korrumbura Road). With the Bondini B20 leading the way 1070 had no trouble keeping up. After we turned right at Ellinbank I got a little confused as we seemed to deviate a little from the map I had, however we eventually found our way to the McKibbin’s property on time.

Before lunch we had the grand tour of Mark’s garage and his eclectic collection of cars. A 1909 Sizaire et Naudin Mono Cylinder, actually there were two with one only recently arrived, the eBay Austin 7 and his wonderful 1913 Ettore Bugatti designed Peugeot Type TTY Bébé – more can be found about it on Mark’s website: His Lancia Lambda was still on the boat returning from it’s adventures around Europe.

Peugeot Bebe video

A picnic lunch was had on the verandah, where Mark was a little disappointed no one used his BBQ as he had spent a considerable time giving it a special clean but it was a very warm summers day. We had the traditional no fuss ALR AGM presided over by President Robert Bienvenu, timed at 9 minutes! and then on home.

1070 went well, although with a 30 degree day the windows were wound down and she was a little noisy. A quick inspection once home and a couple of things were found, the banjo fitting for the fuel line to the carburettor was a little loose and leaking, and the front left suspension has lost oil its damping oil, again! Oh and another Aprilia gearbox had appeared in the front passenger foot well…


(click on images to view in a larger size)

Vincenzo’s Birthday Run – August 2016

On Sunday August 21st the ALR celebrated Vincenzo Lancia’s 134th birthday (we were a few days early, his birthday is actually the 24th).

Organised again by Marc Bondini some of us meet at The Basin for fortifying coffee before we headed off around the twisty roads of the Dandenong Ranges to our morning tea stop in Yarra Junction. Here we had the joy of inspecting Stuart Murdoch’s wonderful collection of Lancias and other very historic automobiles.

My two favourites were the totally original Fulvia 1.6HF Fanalone and the beautiful Flaminia Touring Convertible. Also there was Marc’s newly restored Aurelia B20, simply stunning.

Lunch was in Gembrook at The Independent, lovely food and great company.

The observant amongst you might have noticed no mention of the blue Aprilia and lack of photos of same. Unfortunately she was sulking in the garage, a hot starting issue has kept her off the road and driven me nuts for the last 2 months, I’ll report when I’ve found the problem. As to the rest of the local Aprilias, Don Hume’s has a nasty noise in the rear, Andrew is flouncing around Europe in the Lambda and Steinfort was on a VSCC run.


(click for full size images)

ALR/VSCC Autumn Leaves Run April 17, 2016

Front cover VSCC

One of my photos made the front cover.

A combined run with the Australian Lancia Register getting together with the Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria.

Organised by the great, and very cunning, Russell Meehan, he picked a route that incorporated some challenging twisty roads and some unsealed tracks in and around Yarra Glen finishing at the Kinglake Pub, in Kinglake!

For me the morning began at 6.30am for the 180km trip to the start at Beasley’s Nursery in Warrandyte. It was cool but clear, watching out for kangaroos and wombats we made the trip at a quick pace, the newly set up front end let us sit a comfortable 100km/h on the Bass Hwy and Monash Fwy, we arrived just before 9am. Time for a coffee and a chat and a look at some of the cars before heading off at 9.30.

Russell had found some interesting, steep and dusty little back roads to Yarra Glen for morning tea. 1070 was performing very well, she only jumped out of 1st gear on a steep rough section.

The route to Kinglake had us zig zagging down little forest tracks through dry and dusty countryside. Evidence of the tragic 2009 bush fires still noticeable in the eucalypts forests. There were plenty of corrugated sections to test for loose connections and let in the dust, I somehow managed to get at the back stuck behind a train of Lambdas. (note to self; next time we are going on unsealed road leave first!)

I think we all managed to make it to the pub for lunch, some took the easy optional sealed road route. Lunch was pleasant in the shade of some autumn trees before I had to head off for the 3 hour trip home back via Toolangi and down the C411 through Healsville, Cockatoo and Pakenham. In all I did 509km, used about 45 litres of unleaded, no oil or water. The front brakes started pulling to the right after some of the rough sections but she had no other problems and with the newly aligned front end we could easily sit on 100km/h where the roads allowed.

The route:

Stage One: Home to Beasley’s Nursery Stage one map

Stage Two: Beasley’s Nursery to Yarra Glen Stage Two Map

Stage Three: Yarra Glen to Kinglake Stage Three Map (Google doesn’t  show Gordon’s Bridge Road connecting to the Melba Hwy)

Stage Four: Kinglake to Home – Stage Four Map


If you want to have a go and follow the route here are the instructions:

Autumn Leaves route notes 2016

On The Front Cover

Front cover

Look who is on the cover of the latest Australian Lancia Register magazine!

Jeff Hill’s award winning photograph from the last Castlemaine Rally and Tour.

It is with great pleasure I announce the winner of the Castlemaine 23 Rally and the Mountain to Surf Tour Photo Competition. Whilst many entries were received, Jeff Hill’s photo of “mingling around an Aprilia” captured the spirit of Castlemaine, the add on Tour and the Australian Lancia Register, which might be described as follows; “Of like-minded people getting together, helping each other.” The fact that all the chaps are colour co-ordinated with the car is a bonus.The photo is of Noel Macwhirter’s Aprilia being admired/discussed by, from the left, Neil Pering (owner of a 2nd series Aprilia), Andrew Cox (owner of a 1st series Aprilia), Ben Courage (owner of a 1st series Aprilia), Paul Tullius, Steve Peterson, John Brenan and Noel Macwhirter (of course the owner of this Aprilia). The chaps are looking serious, hence the caption.

Just to clear things up there was nothing wrong with 1070, we were just having a chat over our early morning coffee at Apollo Bay. And what a fine bunch of bearded, grey haired old buggers we all are!


ALR Retirees Overnight Run

ALR logo

The run was basically in my backyard so 1070 & I had no excuse, even the ancient critter could handle a couple of days inside by himself.

Day One.

Organised by Russell Cayley the first stop was the Caldermeade Farm café for a midday lunch. For me a drive to Leongatha then down the South Gippsland Hwy through Korumburra and on to Caldermeade, a nice little 100 km. The weather was a little grey and very cold, about 10 degrees, with some morning drizzle. Luckily I managed to get past the B Double cattle truck full of very wet cattle without getting covered in you know what. The new front brakes performed very well; on the other hand the diff was noisier than it had been, a job to do next.

For lunch we had about 12 Lancias, a Lambda, my Aprilia, Aurelia B12, Appia 3rd series, 3 Fulvia Coupés, Beta Sedan, Beta HPE, Beta Coupé &  a Monte Carlo.

The Cafe was warm and the food good. Much conversation was had, the Sliding Pillar Rally, trips around Bordeaux, buying Fulvias and Flavia brakes seemed to be the course at my end of the table!

For the afternoon Russell had given us a list of alternate routes and different sights to see. I took a blast down the Bass Hwy, if an Aprilia can actually blast, through Wonthaggi and around the delightful coast road from Cape Paterson to Inverloch. A stop to view the sights and feel the windchill at Eagles Nest, coffee at Inverloch and then on home to Venus Bay, about 205 km in total.

The others headed on to overnight at Meeniyan and dinner at the pub.

Day Two.

An earlier morning start and just a little colder than yesterday. Gloves & jacket is all us hardy Aprilia drivers need to keep the cold at bay, none of these modern heater thingys.

Drizzle, slippery roads and sun glare made driving a little difficult. The mornings destination was Agnes Falls just above Toora, about 70 km from home. The overnighters had a simple run along the South Gippsland Hwy from Meeniyan. With recent rains there was a fair amount of muddy water flowing over the falls.

Next we headed back to Mirboo North and a look at Colin Kiel’s motoring collection. And then lunch just down the road at Cafe Escargot, snails! Little tasteless spongy things, still you have to try them at least once. Finally everyone finished their coffees, backed up and headed on home. All in all a very pleasant two days, good company, about 400 km driving on my very average South Gippsland roads and the Aprilia went very well.


Another report and further photos are on the Australian Lancia Register website:


p.s. Brian Long couldn’t believe that I only had ONE Lancia; he seemed to indicate I should have at least two but preferably four! So all donations of rust free pre 1969 cars will be gratefully accepted, Fulvia, Flaminia, Flavia, Aurelia or Appia, any model. Please contact me with details where I can collect your unwanted Lancias.

FCDC April 26th


The second Fish Creek Drivers Club unofficial Sunday morning get together was held on April 26th. The morning’s destination was the 4Cs Motor Museum in Mirboo North.

It was grey and slightly damp when some of us meet at Meeniyan before the short uphill drive to Mirboo North and a coffee stop at the Inline 4 cafe. On this trip I had been joined the previous night by the Puce Goose team, without the PG itself, and Stainless Stephen, with custodian Andrew driving down from Blackburn in time for an 8am breakfast at Venus Bay, how dedicated is that! But then my bacon & eggs and coffee are unmatched…

The museum is the personal collection of Colin and Maxine Keil and is set up in their old factory site at Mirboo North. Colin gave us a guided tour of his collection filling in details of each car and his growing memorabilia collection. We also got to have look through his rather large collection of mostly Jaguar parts and spare cars. Maxine was most encouraging in trying the get us to take big chunks away with us! The space Colin has available is quite large and as we all know these seem to mystically fill with essential pieces.

The two Aprilias ventured back to Leongatha for lunch at the Rusty Windmill. (which unfortunately has changed hands and was not up to its previous excellent standard). Phil drove 1070 back home. He struggled with double de-clutching, thought the brakes were “wooden’, which is true, and the accelerator needs a stronger return spring. More coffee, a quick look at Andrew’s oil leaks before the visitors headed back to the big smoke. In all a very pleasant little 130 km Sunday drive.

As far as I’m aware the only casualty of the day was Stainless Stephen’s speedo cable. (There is a rumour going around that SS ran out of petrol on the way home!)

Big thanks again to Mark & Sue Alsop and John Poletti. Below are some photos of the day.

Fish Creek Drivers Club

FCDC logo

Mark & Sue Alsop decided to organise a Sunday morning get together of local interesting vehicle enthusiasts in the area. Amazingly 24 cars, and one tractor, turned up. Most of us seemed to be sea/tree changers of a certain age no longer with the needs of the big smoke, but the fresh air and open roads of the country side an ideal sanctuary to run a classic car, plus the opportunity of a big garage/workshop! The coffee from the ‘9 Acres’ café was excellent, the weather nice and cool and some new, and some old, acquaintances were made.

There were around 5 Triumphs, 2 Lancias, a couple of MGs, a single T Model, Corvette, Mercedes, BMW, VW, Holden, Talbot, Jaguar, Mazda, Valiant, Mustang, Ford Capri, an Elfin and some others I missed!

For 1070 it was just a short 30 km run from home in Venus Bay to Fish Creek and of course she went very well.

Below are some photos from the morning.


Broken clutch spring

On the way up to Melbourne last Saturday a clutch spring broke. Here we were merrily bowling along doing 95 km/h on the Pakenham Bypass and suddenly there was a noise from under the car, it sounded a bit like a piece of tin rotating on the prop shaft. A quick stop to check found nothing amiss externally, so we continued on.

After a delightful lunch at Phil and Laurette’s with Andrew Cox and the Burns’es; Mark, Sue, Phil & Leanne, we headed off home. The clutch had a bit more judder than normal but there didn’t seem to be much wrong. 60 km into the trip, just after Lang Lang, I hit a large bump and the tin screeching noise came back, however this time it continued after I’d stopped and only went away when the engine was turned off. Oh dear! I had a strong suspicion what it might be, even so I still got out and checked under the car, poked around the rear drive shafts and, of course, burnt my arm on the exhaust pipe! Why do I continue to do such stupid things?

The Aprilia started again without any protest or noises. I had 100 km to go, so with the absolute minimum use of the clutch and as few gear changes as possible, we got home. The next morning removing the inspection cover from the gearbox revealed one broken spring, and one very bent one. A careful inspection showed up no other damage, the broken piece had jammed in the bent spring which probably saved the day??

Bent clutch spring

Bent clutch spring

broken spring pieces and bent spring

broken spring pieces and bent spring

Early clutch

Early clutch

The reason I think the spring broke started back in 2007 when the clutch bearing and the clutch seized, see here for the full story

At the time I only replaced the one broken spring, but I now think the rest might have been stressed a little too much? But then again I have done over 12,000 km in the meantime, so maybe it is something else? I have a collection of used springs amongst the spares but this time have decided to find some new ones. I’ve emailed the normal suppliers of new parts in Europe and tried to contact a number of local spring manufactures.

As of 9/1/14 I have not heard back from any of the parts suppliers and only one local reply, I think the rest are still on their post Christmas break. The one quote so far is for $38 ea, and I need six. This is not going to be cheap, but we’ll see what info I get in the next week or so.

One good thing at least when I do get the springs, I won’t have to remove the engine & gearbox to replace them, it can be done from underneath through the inspection hole.

Update 1/2/14.

Still struggling to get a quote. There seems to be a problem sourcing 4.8 mm dia wire locally. Joe had some made up in Queensland a few years ago so I’m working with them to see what they did. I can get some new ones from the UK, so that might be the best option, will see how we go next week.

Update 16/2/14

After getting a quote from Whelans Springs for around $60 per spring, they could source 4.8mm dia wire, I’d asked Omicon if they had any. They replied they had 6 springs that they ‘thought’ were new so I finished up ordering from them. They arrived last Friday and if they are new I’m the proverbial monkeys uncle! After cleaning the rust and muck off them I tried them out. The clutch had an extremely light pedal, in fact so light the springs were obviously totally worn and useless, they’ll be going back. Never again from them.

Update 17/2/14

Visited Whelans in Bayswater to order 12 new springs, very expensive for a small number. Will wait to test them for a year or so and see if anyone wants some, could get the price down to $20ea for an order of 100!

Update 14/3/14

Still waiting on the Whelans, promised 2 weeks now four! Fitted another set of used ones I had to get me by.

Update 3/4/14

Finally collected the new springs from Whelans on Tuesday. Had to round off the ends with the Dremel so they would fit into the holes in the pressure plate correctly. So far they seem to work fine, about the right amount of pedal pressure but only time will tell how they last.


New silicon chrome 4.8mm dia springs

New silicon chrome 4.8mm dia springs

Fitted to clutch

Fitted to clutch

The First Long Drive.

After I had collected my Aprilia from the Melbourne docks in January 2007 I stored the car for the next five months.

I was living 400 kilometres away in East Gippsland, we were in the middle of a record drought and large bush fires were threatening the district, on top of this were the remnants of the mental breakdown I’d suffered in 2003. The only place I could find to store the car was Harewood, a property near Koo Wee Rup I had bought with my now ex-wife in the early 1990s and still in her hands. We took the Aprilia down there and left it under cover in the machinery shed. That 90km trip down the South Gippsland Hwy went without any issues. The only known problems were the speedo being a bit erratic and difficulty selecting second gear.

It’s now early June, winter in these latitudes. I got another unregistered vehicle permit from VicRoads. My brother gave me lift back down to Harewood to collect the car and bring her up to W Tree. When I arrived and tried to start her the battery was flat but a quick jump start, you can jump start 6 volt cars with a 12 volt battery just don’t have any lights on and do it quickly, got her running. It was late evening and too dark to risk taking a run out onto the highway, so ten minutes running up and down the drive had to do.

7:00am Tuesday 5th June
Get ready to start the 350km journey. Another jump start, then 300 metres down the drive to the highway. She’s running very rough, it’s a cold dim dawn. I have to go left for a few hundred metres on the divided highway do a U turn and head east. Halfway up the crossover she stalls. Nothing in the battery yet. A slight panic, there’s not a soul in sight. The crossover has a slight gradient, select reverse, roll down a bit and she bump starts, relief.

Off we go, running on two and half cylinders, a few kilometres to the first turn. Approaching the intersection, select third, foot on brake, nothing, major panic, pump the brake pedal and we slow. We make it through a few small towns without disaster. Then as I’m approaching a slightly up hill round-a-bout with a steep bridge on the exit, with a bloody Holden Commodore right up my bum, we have to slow, pump the pedal, then select second, crunch crunch, in the middle of all this out from the side walks a family of Wood Ducks, Mum, Dad and half a dozen ducklings, by some total miracle we miss them, get around the roundabout and up the bridge.

On to Pakenham and find a service station that has a slope. Fill her up and she starts easily. The rest of the journey was relatively uneventful. She started to run on all four cylinders, could sit comfortably on 100km/h, I think. By this time the speedo had stopped working, a total pain when going through the town of Sale, were there are nine speed limit changes at school times and I had no idea how fast I was going, just followed the car in front. To show how good these little cars are, what would normally be a four hour journey in a modern just took five, complete with no brakes, no second gear, my first time driving a non-synchromesh gearbox and an extra couple of nervous loo stops.

At Harewood, April 2007

At Harewood, April 2007

5th June 2007. Stratford. Coffee break

5th June 2007. Stratford. Coffee break

Frosty June morning at W Tree.

Frosty June morning at W Tree.

My property at W Tree. Just a little remote!

My property at W Tree. Just a little remote!