President's Report - April 2002
Plenty of pug news from the Pillan's household this month, some good, some bad.
First the good news: Dennis Backhouse from Woden Tyre & Exhaust had given me advance notice that he was expecting to receive 8 Michelin XZXs (165x15) this month. With XZXs now classified as "classic tyres" by Michelin, they are only available in small batches every few months (and that time is likely to lengthen), so I was keen to get them for the 404. When I went to have them fitted, Dennis told me that he'd been offered "any price" for my tyres by a desperate VW owner! At $123 fitted and balanced, I reckon they were a great buy. Besides, they will last longer than me, given I only do a thousand or so kilometres a year in the 404. Dennis also did the right thing and balanced the tyres on the car. It drives beautifully, of course.
Now the bad news: The heater core in the 405 had failed catastrophically before Christmas. As a stop-gap measure Bill bypassed the heater, but with the imminent arrival of cooler weather, we decided to do the job properly. Bill warned me that it was a 10-hour job to replace the heater core, so I offered to spend a day with him to do it. I don't think I've ever seen Bill consult a Haynes manual in repairing any of my cars before, but the complexity of the job demanded that we flip back and forward to various chapters to make sure we were doing things in the correct sequence. You literally have to dismantle everything in the front of the car - centre console, endless wiring, hidden screws, the whole steering column (including airbag), until finally you can lift out the whole dashboard.
We did the dismantling in record time - just on 3 hours, and extracted the offending (badly holed) item, only to discover a corroded pipe from the engine bay was also in need of replacement. Now the real bad news: the pipe had to be ordered from France - more like a 10-day job than a 10-hour job!
While doing the shopping at Belconnen markets one recent Saturday morning, I spied a black 206CC nearby. Probably only one of two of the hard to get folding-roof 206s registered in the ACT. As luck would have it, the owner, Lindsay Barton, returned to his car as I was loitering. There was no hard sell, but we expect to welcome Lindsay to the club shortly!
Our March club meeting at the Italo-Australian Club was a low key welcome back after the extended Christmas break, with members catching up on the latest gossip, magazines and books. This month's meeting will feature the Club's technical wizard, Bill McNamee himself, in his last appearance before taking an extended European holiday. His will be a must-attend meeting for those wanting to know how, and who to go to, to get their cars serviced in Bill's absence. Don't worry though, folks, Bill has a cunning plan..
Keep on Pugging,
Welcome to two new members, John Herrick and Adam Gerrard. John is rebuilding a 504 TI and previously owned a Volvo. 'It was very well made but didn't like going into corners,' he told the last club meeting. He is building an electronic fuel injection to install when the wonderful Kugelfischer mechanical unit expires. John was previously a member in the 1980s, as was Adam, who now owns a 405 turbo diesel. It has plenty of pull at highway speed, Adam says, but it's not quite as nice as a 504 on the dirt. Good to see both of you back.
The local Peugeot people, Melrose Automobiles, are feeling pretty pleased with pug sales this year. The release of the 307 has stimulated the market, and not just in 307s either - there has also been an upsurge in 206 sales. Interestingly, they tell me that of 40 or so new Pugs sold in the first three months, only 3 went to existing Pug owners - and the most popular trade-in marque? Subaru. Nothing to do with Pugs flogging the Subs in the World Rally Championship, surely!
Andy Russo and John Agnew are both collectors of Peugeot model cars. Andy in fact stocks them. He says that if you can't afford the real thing, buy them in miniature. Andy can help model enthusiasts acquire such gems as a 1907 vintage Peugeot, various 203s including the Decouvrable sedan and station wagon, the 205 GTi and Turbo Rally, a 306 Cabrio, a 403 military ambulance, a 404 Paris taxi, a 404 police car, a 404 ute, 406 coupe and 504 sedan. There are many more that Andy can order. See him at a club meeting or ring him on 02 6262 7768.