President's Report - August 2002

Greetings All,

Our club mechanic, Bill McNamee arrived back from Europe recently, and three days later he was back "on the job". One of his first tasks was to get my 505 back on the road. Two months ago, I boasted (in this column) that, having had my cars serviced immediately before Bill left, I was in for a trouble free run until he returned. How wrong could I be! Within days, the ignition went dead on the 505, easily defeating my feeble attempts to resurrect it.

Happily, it took Bill about 10 minutes to diagnose the problem - a rogue wire with a bad contact on the starter motor. Interestingly, I'd checked for loose wires myself, and actually managed to start the car (once!), presumably by unknowingly jiggling the offending wire. Although I love my 505, I must say that I miss the simplicity, and space under the bonnet, of the older pugs.

Having had to do a few working-day trips to Sydney recently, I've driven a few different rental cars. First there was a 4 cylinder Camry, pleasant, but underpowered and lacking character. Next came an absolutely awful Falcon - a bit more grunty than the Camry, but over-sensitive in the steering, and a complete basket case in the electrical department. For example, the electric window on the driver's door refused to wind up, and I had to drive back from Sydney (at night) with the window down. Also the three useful looking buttons on the steering wheel, labelled 'seek', 'vol+' and 'vol-', presumably for the radio, actually changed the display on the odometer!

The rental-car people were sympathetic, and the next week I was upgraded to a Magna, which was by far the superior car of the three. Not a pug, mind you, but not bad. Cruise control and a good sound system go a long way towards better Hume Highway commuting. Needless to say, I'm enjoying driving my 505 again, despite its miscellaneous rattles and squeaks.

By popular demand, I've invited Dennis Backhouse, from Woden Tyre and Exhaust, to speak at the next club night. Many of you will remember that Dennis talked tyres to us last year, and we virtually had to eject members to allow him to leave. This time Dennis will give us an update on Michelins, and also tell us about the range of exhaust systems on offer for Peugeots. See you at the Italo-Australian Club at 8 pm on Tuesday 27th.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad


Lionising!

The editor has had cause to travel to McLaren Vale recently, taking in the fabulous sights of the Great Ocean Road along the way - even if it was blowing a gale and raining! He made the trip in a hired 4-cylinder Camry and can only echo Brad Pillans' comments in his column this month about the blandness of the car. However, it is solid and workmanlike and, in the development of this car a few years ago, shows the benefit of Toyota purportedly using 405s as their benchmark. This Toyota is a vast improvement on his first Toyota experience - a 1963 shovel-nosed Corona 1500 which was just plain awful in the handling, braking, ride and performance stakes.

While in McLaren Vale he caught up with winemaker Hugh Hamilton. Not only does Hugh make fine wines but the Hamilton's are a Peugeot family. Younger daughter Holly has a 505 turbo diesel as her first car, while older daughter Mary drives a 306 - and incidentally, now lives in Canberra.

More and more Canberra 206GTi owners are emerging from the suburbs, having been tagged by a small number of enthusiasts. But there is something uncanny about this particular group of car owners - half of them are named Michael or Michelle. So if you are thinking of buying a GTi, and your name is Michael, then chances are it is meant to be. The 206GTi was the most prevalent model at Canberra's French Car Day, with 8 present. After having started the day with breakfast on Red Hill they drove in cavalcade to the display at Parkes Place. More drives are being organised for later in the year, so if you are interest in joining in, e-mail ACT206GTI@hotmail.com.

The way Richard Burns has begun his career this year in the Peugeot 206 World Rally Car, you'd think he been driving one all his life. But, alas, it appears the 206 and his 607 company car are only 'tools of the trade'. Still, he is a car enthusiast and has quite a garage. He has a Porsche 911 Turbo in the UK, a Mercedes ML55 in Andorra, and a Chevy Camaro for the summer months. Just in case, he has a spare Subaru Impreza RB5 and a Mitsubishi Evo. He may yet learn to love the Peugeot.

Peugeot has launched an amusing new TV commercial for its 206 small car in Britain and Europe, which might be aired in Australia. The commercial, which has achieved near-cult status after being circulated on email, features an old Hindustan Ambassador (basically an Indian-built version of a Morris Oxford) that gets transformed into a battered-looking 206 replica (courtesy of an elephant and a sledgehammer) by a young Indian man who dreams of owning one and using it to impress the girls. "We're seriously looking at using the ad here, but we haven't made a decision yet," said Peugeot Australia spokesman Mathew McAuley. "It might need some slight modifications, without changing the essence of it. But if we can make it work for Australia, we'd love to use it." You can view the ad here. It's a hoot. There's also a hilarious Hyundai ad set in France that's worth tracking down - not to mention the Budweiser light beer video.