Ford Prefect suffered some unlucky breakdowns... Down Under
- Credit: Clive Dyballt
Clive Dyball's luck ran out when his polished, but unserviced, Ford Prefect ran into problems in the Australian Outback.
After leaving Norwich, in July 1963, bound for Australia, I arrived in Sydney and paid £15, for my first car – a 1954 Ford Prefect.
Following a quick polish – forget about a service – I headed 300 miles up north to Brisbane with no hitches.
After about six weeks there, I was offered employment in Mount Isa, a mining town way up in north-west Queensland.
It was a three-day trip over a very dusty, potholed 'track' – a true test for the suspension – not to mention thick dust, inside and outside the car.
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The main problem, at this stage, was the engine overheating in such high temperatures. I had to keep topping up the radiator with the precious, drinking water I had on board.
On the first day I did not see one vehicle – no RAC out there. I tried do as much driving at night, if possible, but it was not easy because of mosquitoes biting or, during daytime, the flies.
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The second night my luck ran out when I blew the head gasket and found myself in the pitch dark in the middle of nowhere.
However, about three hours later, a road train truck driver stopped and managed to haul me to the next small town.
On the third day, just to break the boredom, I had problems with the gear linkage and was stuck in first gear. I managed to get to the next 'settlement' which had one garage and a mechanic who did a bit of welding so I could, at last, get to Mount Isa.
After 18 months there, I sold my car for £80 – cars were like gold dust there and then used that money to return to Brisbane.. by air!
Tell us about the adventures you had in your first car – email your memories with a picture of the car to email@example.com or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.