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Author: Subject:  MEMORIES OF A CB OWNER
A.k.a.: Bill Moore
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posted on July 31st, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I just received the attached email which has some great stories from an owner in 1968....

"Just found your very interesting Country Buggy history. Thought you might be interested in my recollections.

I purchased mine in December 1968 through the Launceston, Tas., VW dealership, Kevin Jack Motors. I actually took delivery in Melbourne from a servo. next to the VW factory on Christmas eve, en route to a caving conference at Goolwa south of Adelaide.

My first memory was the disintegration of the fiendish external wiper system during a Melbourne type thunderstorm torrential downpour in a very busy pre Christmas traffic intersection. Imagine looking for the connecting rod in that situation! I quickly decided that any passengers could do without the wiper their side, and never used it!

After attending the caving conference, several of us set off to explore caves on the Nullarbor. By this time I'd added a couple of passengers, whose Beetle had blown up whilst travelling down from Qld. I had a pretty big load of stuff, including a large metal trunk full of food for ten days on the Nullarbor and caving gear. Then add these guys and their stuff!!!! Needless to say, one was perched/balanced on the stuff in the back.

Whilst driving on the sealed section of road before the SA/WA border I discovered that the rear suspension would gradually slip and the rear wheels would become splayed, with the inside top of the tyres fouling the bodywork. This required us to stop every 100 or so km. to bounce on the back to restore the wheels to an upright position! Once we left the sealed road this was no longer a problem, as the corrugations effectively 'bounced' the rear suspension.

Once we hit the Nullarbor proper, and travelled extensively off road I discovered another interesting fact. I had had the factory fit both oil pressure and temperature gauges. This was because of my previous experience with a transporter based 'ute I had toured up to the Alice in June '67. I had had the vehicle serviced in Alice, in preparation for the journey to Darwin. Unfortunately they did not properly replace the oil filler cap, so we (my then future brother-in-law and I) were unaware that the motor was spitting out valuable oil through this tube. We did the crankshaft bearings up near (I think) Aileron and had to limp back to Alice and wait for a new motor to arrive from Adelaide. At that stage I decided that VW motors were probably as much oil cooled as air cooled, so any future VW used in hot / sandy conditions would have oil temp. and pressure gauges installed.

I'm not sure this was such a good idea, as within twenty minutes or so of the start of each day's driving, the oil temp. would be through the roof and the pressure somewhere near sea level! Not much I could do, and certainly not conducive to peace of mind. I did clean both air and oil filters of copious amounts of sand each day. As a result, I decided the return journey would be made during the (slightly) cooler nighttime. Enter Robbie Burns and his often quoted little lines about the plans of mice and men often going 'aglay'. Someone managed to reverse their flat bed truck into my front, taking out my headlights and putting a nice crease in the front panel. As it turned out, this was not such a problem as the Nullarbor had one of its rain episodes and we travelled by day without incident. Indeed the constant splashing through puddles kept the engine nice and cool. The limited slip diff. served well, and we overtook pretty well every other vehicle. I felt sorry for the driver of a front wheel drive Austin 1800, who was unable to get traction up even minor slopes in the wet conditions. We limped back into Adelaide and had the headlamps replaced, but the front panel crease was there to stay! Not really an issue for me, as I'd bought the buggy for bush bashing in Tassie, so it helped to develop the 'profile'!

Once back in Tassie it did extensive journeys with a couple of other buggies and a mate with a Landrover. Most of these journeys resulted in trips to the VW service guys, some to make repairs - others to modify the old girl to better suit my needs. For example, the battery was moved from the location under the rear load platform to sit alongside the engine. I also had the spare wheel mounted on top of the bay it had been it; probably not good for the hinges, but they held up.

My version had the full length hard top, to which I added a tailor-made roof rack for our bushwalking packs. One long weekend trip we travelled from Launceston across the top of Tassie and down the west coast towards Pieman heads. Because fuel supply was a bit questionable at weekends in those days, we filled a couple of jerry cans and located them under the front seats. None of us were smokers!

I had to return to the UK in late June 1970, as my Dad died and I needed to clean up the family farm business. As a result I left the buggy with my then fiance (now wife of nearly 42 years), who continued the bush-bashing trips - at one stage becoming bogged on the isolated west coast with three of her first-year school teacher mates. A local farmer towed them out.
I returned to Tassie in December 1970 to get married. Before leaving for the UK again I reluctantly decided to trade in the buggy as part payment for a new beetle for my new wife to pick up in London. We then returned to the UK for three years to finalise sale of the farm and see a bit of Europe, including a trip to Iceland with our then nine month old son. We took my late father's nearly new Volvo. He'd wanted one for years, and must have had a decent wool cheque only months before he died. By time we'd finished with the Icelandic roads, which made Aussie bush tracks look like autobahns, we'd smashed the front beam axle and put a rock through the clutch housing - which explained some of the noises as we sped back to Reykjavik for the ferry.

I did a review/road test of the buggy for the UK "VW Safer Motoring" magazine. I've got a copy somewhere and can scan it in for you if you'd like a copy.

A couple of years after returning to Tassie in 1973 I discovered the VW agency was using my buggy as their 'run around' toy. I offered to buy it back but Kevin Jack said his team would kill him if he got rid of it.
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posted on July 31st, 2012 at 02:48 PM

great read! thanks for sharing
Custom Title Time!
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posted on July 31st, 2012 at 05:25 PM

Fascinating read. That bloke certainly sounds like he was hard on his cars! Fully loaded and rubbing tyres across the Nullarbor with a brand new car!

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posted on July 31st, 2012 at 08:02 PM

Great story

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posted on August 3rd, 2012 at 08:12 AM

Great insight to taking delivery of a new CB, using it in difficult conditions immediately, and taking note of everything that occurred.
What a CB history, eh??

You need to scare up more Pulitzer CB stories like this one.

Does the owner remember or have documentation supporting the KO number???
Fine tuning the proper daily ratio of Maxwell House to Bacardi 151.........

* Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia !

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