Adelaide Motor Show 2002
Foreword by Brian Vogt

The Motor Show is an annual event, held in the pavilions of the Wayville Showgrounds.  This year, it was open to the public from Wed. 10th to Sun. 14th April inclusive.  Shannons Insurance invited 4 car clubs (Austin Healey Club, Mini Car Club, Austin 7 Car Club and Hillman Car Club) to have displays, with floor space already paid for, and floodlights, fencing & backdrop curtains supplied and in position.  They also offered $500 and a trophy to the club with the best display – which we won!
a Morgan and a Lotus in one pen The Adelaide Motor Show is organized by the Motor Trade Association (MTA), and is therefore mostly about new cars – everything from the affordable little Holden Barina to a AUD$255,000 Ferrari (which was sold at the show).  Other less-common vehicles in the $150,000 league included Porsche, Maserati, Morgan and Lotus.  BMW specially displayed a Z8 (which isn't generally available in Australia, so it had no price tag).  All up, the cars on display were worth over $25 million.

Photo: Lotus Elan (foreground), and Morgan Aero 8.

Amidst all of that, our amateur display (which cost only a few dozen dollars to put together) looked almost as good as many of the professional efforts which cost tens of thousands to install.  That fact was reflected by the hordes of visitors who passed by or stopped for a chat.  As Robert Cain indicates at the close of his article below, the whole display was an excellent team effort which reflects the healthy state of the club.

One Cloudy Friday At The Adelaide Motor Show
Story by Robert Cain
Pictures by Robert Tavener and Robert Cain

It was 1150 hours as I arrived at the Rose Terrace entrance to the Showgrounds, only to find that exhibitors needed to use the Leader Street entrance, but anyway it was easy to see that the crowd was building up outside ready for opening time.  After parking and grabbing my crew bag with 3 cameras (SLR and Digital still cameras and slowly-becoming-ancient camcorder) and a full thermos ready for the marathon stint (only 10 hours) behind the wheel of the Hillman Club stand, I headed in to the Wayville Pavilion to take up battle stations.  Within minutes, my (unbeknownst to me) partner-in-crime, Ern Broughton (EB) arrived and we both proceeded to take still photos of the award winning Hillman Car Club of S.A. inc. Motor Show stand.
full view of the display

By this time it was about 1220 hrs. and the first of the crowds were filtering through.  Our position at the south side of the Wayville Pavilion was at about the furtherest extremity from the entrance so people had to slobber all over the Monaros and other fine machinery before experiencing the best of the show – our stand!!  By this time EB had reminded me that we should give the TV/VCR a whirl to show some Hillman/Rootes videos.  Neither of us knew how to turn the VCR on – it had every button and bell and whistle other than a button that simply said “ON”, so we spat the dummy and went about our other business – removing layers of dust from each vehicle, turning on display lights etc.
It was about that time that EB told me that Peter Tavener was in hospital after taking a nasty turn on the previous Monday night.  It was a bit of a dampener on the occasion for me since a few of us had spent that evening setting up the club stand with Peter and Margaret giving us much support during the night.  He was out of hospital and will be with us on Sunday evening.

Anyway, back to the “action,” maybe I should tell our readers the cars that were on display.  Shall we start with Peter’s very well known ’37 Minx – “Arthur”, followed by President Robert Tavener’s ’66 Gazelle.  Then comes Tam Ludlow’s ’70 Hunter, the ’56 DeLuxe Ute of Ken Kite (fresh from the movie set) and yours truly’s ’68 Imp.
Peter and Margaret Tavener's 1937 Minx Robert and Natalie Tavener's 1966 Gazelle Tamara and Fraser Ludlow’s 1970 Hunter Ken Kite's 1956 DeLuxe Utility Robert Cain's 1968 Imp

(Click on a picture to see an enlargement in the secondary window)

And might I add with just a hint of bias that they truly dazzled!!  To support the cars was a display Imp engine/transaxle assembly which was “created” by Paul Kumnick and me especially for shows e.g. All British Day.  Also, there were various Hillman grilles, various literature, a ’37 Minx lubrication chart, a fine photo spread of Stuart Lisk’s “Mr. Minx” and other displays, all overseen by the club banner, complete with flashing lights on a black curtain backdrop.
I was pleasantly surprised at the number of visitors who were filtering past our display, particularly as this was a week-day and the first lady I spoke to also happened to have experience with an Imp, her mother had one.  I sucked my teeth as the reply came to my question as to whether she had a good or a bad run with the car, considering the Imp’s reputation, and the answer was “we had a very good run!”  “Whew!”
Robert, the Shannons rep came over to introduce himself, and EB and myself had a chat with him, discovering that he was a BMC enthusiast, but we spoke to him anyway.  Then he retired to his area to assemble “show bags” with Shannon’s paraphernalia to hand out.  About this time I had not yet lunched and, on my only trip outside of our boundary, proceeded to grab a burger in the Atrium area.
Upon return, there was an elderly gent, wearing an “Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor” cap (a Yank, I thought) floating around, checking out “Arthur”.  Approaching me, saying in perfect English that he was from a “land faraway” which turned out to be Latvia.  He then went on to relate the story that in 1937 the Latvian Government provided 20 new Minxes, free of charge, to each of 20 vets to replace their horse and cart rigs.  Seems that farm animals are important to the Latvian people, which is why the govt. did it.  Gee, trains are important to this country; why doesn’t the Australian Govt. give me a new car??!!

It suddenly struck me that EB was spending about 95% of his time outside of our fence, acting like a right spectator.  Although he was talking to people about all things Hillman, he said he wasn’t coming “inside” until I let him wear my tee-shirt with the club logo since he wasn’t wearing one.  I told him that it wasn’t smelly enough to change shirts so he was out of luck!  Then along came a man and a lady from the Mitsubishi stand – they liked what they saw, and I told them that since three of the vehicles displayed were built by Chrysler, Australia, which was taken over by Mitsubishi, Hillman parts were sold in “Mitsubishi” bags in the early ‘80s. That kind of gave us something in common!

Another gentleman named Martin, an ex policeman from Folkstone, Kent, said to me that his constabulary used Imps as Panda cars. All they had to do was place a bag of spuds in the “boot” at the front to stop them from sliding off the road whilst cornering in wet weather!  Another man embarrassed both EB and me after asking us about the Hillman SS70 after seeing a badge on Bob Killoran’s badge display.  The man remembers seeing one in the ‘60s but wanted to know more.  After privately discussing whether we should attend some sort of therapy, I said I would find out later.

I spoke to three Scotsmen during the show; one was from Linwood, the location of the factory which built every Imp in existence. He told me that, since its demolition, two fast food restaurants and a supermarket have been built on the site.  Another Scot, Allan, who was part of the “crowd controlling” staff at the showgrounds, said it was good to see the Imp on display, as he used hot Imps in hill climb and sprint events in Aberdeen.  We were standing by my car at the time (as EB was allowing specially interested people inside the fence to show them how something the size of the display engine/transaxle could fit in the stubby rear of an Imp – about 20 people!).  Earlier, EB had opened the door of Ken’s Ute to show off its interior.  That idea proved tremendously popular.  The Hunter and Gazelle drew much attention as onlookers reminisced about the time they or their mum or dad owned one.  A survey was started earlier as to who used to own what.  The results were Hunter- 5; Gazelle- 4; Minx- 6; Imp- 14; Super Minx- 2 (including one for sale).

It was near time (1800hrs) for EB to depart, but I was advised by him and Natalie Tavener’s (NT) father that Robert Tavener (RT) was to join me shortly, which he did.  After telling him about the trouble with the VCR, he then proceeded to press the right button and get that operating and after asking him about the SS70, told me the story behind it, i.e. an Adelaide-only Hillman Minx series 3a with Sunbeam improvements, a kind of “HSV Hillman”.  The mystery solved!  Where is that man, I’ll show him I don’t need therapy!
(Note: HSV = Holden Special Vehicles, a GM subsidiary company which produces limited edition, exclusive versions of Holden passenger cars).

Things were going extra well now that it was after business hours – lots of people visiting our spot.  Plenty of people to talk to, one guy relating how the diff in his Hunter nearly exploded after “slamming back into second during a sideways drift.”  RT later said that this happens after the bolts in the crown wheel come adrift, drop to the bottom of the casing and end up being catapulted out through the back.  Another young man spoke to me and said that his father used to bring home all manner of Hillmans home – Hunters, Imp GTs etc.  My ears pricked up!  Why would he be doing that??  “Simply,” he went on to say, “because Dad was involved in the Quality Control section of Chrysler, firstly at Keswick, and later at Tonsley Park.”  Sounds like someone who could address the club meeting with his experiences.

By this time it was getting late, and RT and NT (her sister and friend) and I were beginning to wind down for the evening.  It was about then that I realized that the only time I sat down during the 10 hour stint was 5 minutes having a cappuccino which EB had kindly bought me around 2pm.  So I was worn out at the end of the night but thoroughly enjoyed my time there and deem it a privilege to be able to take part in such an event and I thank Shannons for the opportunity to have our cars on display.  This sort of thing does not come about very often.  All credit, too, goes to Stuart Lisk and company (Tam, Natalie, Fraser and Robert for their efforts in setting up the display, with the support of Russell Gill, Peter and Margaret Tavener, Brian Vogt and Ken Kite, Stuart, of course, applying his experience from displaying cars at the Hot Rod Show to our stand – and it showed!  Let’s see if they’ll let us do it again next year.  Maybe we will have longer than five minutes to organize things, and with no Hillman National rally in between.
Now, I’m off home to see if I can get a foot rub from my wife – Yeah right!!!

left corner view right corner view
Viewed from the left corner ...... and from the right corner.
(Click on a picture to see an enlargement in the secondary window)

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