President's Report - March 2002
Poachers Pantry on the Nanima Road just north of Hall was the venue for a very enjoyable club outing last month. Our visit included a tour of the smokehouse and a commentary on the preparation of the various smoked delicacies, followed by a wonderful luncheon under the trees. We also sampled the first bottles of Poachers Pantry Pinot Noir - free of charge because they don't yet have a licence to sell it! But watch for the "Wiley Trout" label at your bottleshop in the near future.
Good to see the 404s of Graham Taylor and Mick Garrett alongside my own. Nothing like a country drive in a 404 to bring back great memories (and create some new ones). One of my most memorable country drives in a 404 was back in the seventies, in the front passenger seat with ACT rally champion, Steve Stewart, at the wheel. We drove down the Clyde Mountain to Batemans Bay at rally pace, with Steve resting his right elbow on the window sill all the way- he said it helped him "feel" the car. White-knuckle stuff, but the 404 stayed glued to the road (on Michelins, of course), and as you can see, I lived to tell the tale. However, the experience put me right off pursuing a career as a rally navigator!
Speaking of rallying, what a great start for Peugeot in the World Rally Championship this year. After a 1-2-3 finish in the Rally of Corsica, Peugeot leads the manufacturers points score and Marcus Gronholm is the leading driver. Early days yet, but looking good for a third straight manufacturers championship for the "cockroach on steroids" (as the 206 was described by motoring writer Peter Brewer in the Canberra Times recently). My spies tell me that the French Embassy has done the right thing and bought a 607, perhaps only one of two 607s on the road in Canberra at the moment.
307s are selling well, but don't hold your breath to see too many 206CCs on the road. According to Melrose Peugeot, they are simply unavailable at the moment. This month's club meeting was the first for the year at the Italo-Australian Club in Forrest, at 8 pm on Tuesday the 26th. Come along to catch up on the latest gossip, see the latest magazines from other clubs, or seek advice on technical matters. There will also be an update on Michelin tyres, following the excellent article in last month's magazine by Phillip Bell.
Keep on Pugging,
The corrugations on the way to Poacher's Pantry reminded Michael Hutchison of a story from his childhood, when his family were travelling around Australia in a 504. The 504 handled the roads beautifully, and when they approached the notorious stretch of corrugations that was the road from Alice Springs to Uluru, Michael's dad simply put his foot down. Even with a caravan in tow, the 504 glided over the corrugations at 100km/h, reaching its destination hours before Michael's aunt and uncle in a Toyota Corona. The corrugations shook the poor Corona to pieces, and the car barely survived the rest of the trip. And what about the 504? The radio speakers fell out. So what's the moral of this story? Drive quickly over corrugations? Nope. Just buy a Pug!
The Pugilist in Sydney picked up on the story that we published last month on the incident involving Paul Keating and his 205 GTi. The magazine notes that fellow Labor man Laurie Brereton also drives a 205 GTi, it would seem on the former prime minister's recommendation. Hatchmen indeed!
The Lioniser has heard on the grapevine of a lucky Canberran who got hold of an immaculate 406 coupe for a mere $38,000. The owner, it seems, was rather rich, but felt the need to down-size his Peugeot fleet. The result was the sale of the 406 and a decision to keep the 306 Cabriolet. Oh well, as Malcolm Fraser used to say, life wasn't meant to be easy.
We all know that Peugeot has an impressive list of achievements, but they haven't always been in engineering. Here are some interesting "Peugeot Firsts" that Ewan Kennedy has discovered.
- First petrol car sold
- Jointly won the world's first car race
- First puncture
- First car stolen
- First mass produced small car
- First modern twin-cam, multi-valve engine
- First non-American car to win Indianapolis 500
- First volume-built car with independent front suspension
- First French company to produce a newsletter
- First folding hardtop
- First diesel passenger car
- First production car with an automatic cooling fan.
Do you know of any others?
Recently Peugeot have begun designing their own cars again. Which is the first model not to be designed by Pininfarina since the 203?