President's Report - July 2005

Greetings All,

To finish last month's story of the trip (by Landcruiser) to Darwin: Having returned to Alice Springs we had planned to head east along the Plenty Highway to Boulia and then home via Birdsville, Innamincka and Tibooburra.  Sadly, heavy rain made the Plenty Highway impassable and we were forced to retreat south to Coober Pedy, where we decided to cut the trip short and head for home via Port Augusta, Broken Hill and Cobar.  Innamincka will await another trip...

Back in Canberra, at the June club meeting, we were treated to an excellent talk by Andrew Gough who described how he had set up his VW Golf to run on vegetable oil. Basically his car has two fuel tanks, one for the vegie oil, and one for normal diesel fuel. However, because vegie oil is more viscous than diesel, it needs to be heated before it reaches the fuel injector pump. Andrew has done this by passing hot coolant from the engine cooling system through pipes that heat the oil in the fuel tank, along the fuel lines and in the fuel filter. Andrew is an engineer, but the project would not be beyond any mechanically-minded person with a desire to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel.

The annual Bastille Day Dinner was held on Saturday 16 July at the Italo-Australian Club, where thirty club members and guests enjoyed a French-style meal to celebrate the French national day. After canapes and champagne there followed a stirring rendition of La Marseillaise, though our singing was less than spectacular. Eating and drinking was interspersed with quiz questions, with Ross Phillips and Peter Browning winning the major prizes of a bottle of French wine and a Peugeot beanie, respectively.

The highlight of the night was our after-dinner speaker, Geoff Boyd, who regaled us with stories of his early Peugeot adventures, including creative engineering feats to get an assortment of 203s and 403s through the then stringent, annual ACT rego checks at the Dickson vehicle testing station, and even more creative engineering feats on his two yellow 203s that he rallied in the early seventies (culminating in 1974 when Geoff and co-driver, Alan Cummine won the ACT rally championship).

After some months of looking, Sue and I have bought a white 2001 306HDI, which will take our Pug fleet to five cars. Since we only have a four-car garage, one car will have to find another home. As yet we are undecided whether it will be the 405SRI, the 505GTI Exec or the 203 station wagon.

There will be no club meeting this month, but next month we will return to the Italo-Australian club where Colin Handley will talk about his recent Central Australian trip in a brace of 404s.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad