|Posted on Sunday, 06 April, 2003 - 14:00: |
I am sorry Elizabeth but Christopher's machine didn't allow me to answer you direct. Actually I think the scene is changing. You would be aware that there has, thanks to a variety of members, been a resurgence of interest in the Club with the genesis of the so called self help groups. I joined the Club over 30 years ago and shortly afterwards found myself throwing together 'The Canberra Contribution' which was inserted into the New South Wales Branch monthly newsletter 'London and Derby'. In its day it was considered relatively radical that I should actually publically discuss the foibles of these cars and I was regarded as some strange loose cannon from Federal Territory that would soon get his comeuppance. On two occasions I was publically scoffed at by professionals who ridiculed some procedure I had written about since they knew an easier way. Needless to say there was no offer to share the knowledge! I was also firmly advised by a very senior and revered member who is now in the next world that what I was doing was 'quite wrong'. The same man publically castigated a then very well known Sydney journalist for his account published in one of the Country's leading motoring journals, of the history of maintenance of his post-war car that seemed to have needed a brake adjustment by the agents at about every half mile (I exagerate slightly). And recently, to digress, I saw a most comprehensive listing of expenses to maintain a very nice 30 year old post-war car that exceed $70,000! I dare say no more less there be a flash and I will be ash!
At the time of joining there had been no Praeclarvm for some 2 years until a most extraordinary edition emerged which prompted the then 'Federal Executive' to do some serious thinking. In a mindless gesture I volunteered to start a new publication with the same name, modelled on the American Club's 'Flying Lady' since I had just returned from that country after a four year posting. The Branches viewed these new pages with considerable scepticism but we soldiered on until some some years later I handed the task to Martin Bennett who has turned my little drab little effort into a very illustrious periodical.
I like to think that these efforts at least retained some members but an owner could hardly be persuaded to join with the promise of a couple of magazines. I have always believed that this same owner wanted at the very least to be able to discuss the antics of his car, where to get it fixed or better still how to fix it. Dealers and their counterparts with few exceptions will understandably respond to maintenance or repair questions with an invitation to drop the car in to them. For many of us this is simply impractical with labour now running at some $500 per day.
Amazingly the aversion to involvement in practical maintenance of the cars is still alive and well but the price of Shadows has now dropped to a level that an enterprising lad can save his unemployment cheques for a while and buy one. But he needs to keep it going and so he is very interested in joining a Club that can advise and help him. The added dividend of course is that he hopefully will save the car from distinction.
Another exciting (?) move is David Gore's quest to amalgamate or at least improve accessablity to the oceans of practical information on the cars together with the burgeoning participation in the international public forums. If the impetus is maintained, hopefully the cars will be retained. Actually I am careless about getting members into the Club other than it does provide some financial base to pursue these goals. What does concern me is that now that no more cars are to me made we should make every effort to preserve what we have and keep track of where these treasures are!