Barry and John
Barry and John
At the beginning of 2008 two of us were discussing cars while John was reading his Classic Car magazine and read out an advertisement asking for entrants to take part in the re-run of the greatest and longest endurance rally of all time the 1968 London to Sydney race, which was won by Andrew Cowan in a Hillman Hunter now a classic car. We decided to enter.
The rally was due to start in November 2008 from London and finish in Sydney on the 10th December but it never did materialise due to Australian quarantine issues they refused to allow cars to proceed into Oz without a two day ‘strip’, to check for seeds, dust and anything else that we are not allowed to import into the country.
So by the time it was cancelled, John and I had bought one Hillman Hunter, already equipped with roll bar! When we received news that the rally had been cancelled, our thoughts turned to how disappointing that was and what to do with a Hillman Hunter and how our enthusiasm to take up this challenge was to be replaced? After some discussion we decided that the answer was to drive to Sydney on our own! So decision made, we made plans to link with a suitable charity, and after much soul searching and advice from within doors, we went for the UK Prostate Cancer Charity because we have both reached that ripe old age when most men need to have that most evasive examination up the bum (or blood tests) to make sure that they are going to live a good long life after 60!
We tried our first Hillman out on one of the Civil Service Motoring Association’s Friday night 100 mile ’12 car event’, around the Cotswolds and it was clear after getting thoroughly lost, removing half the animal night life and finding that half the car might fall apart that we needed to reconsider our vehicle choice. Persevering, we did identify another Hillman Hunter that was said to only have 20,000 miles on the clock and was rust free. Bingo, we had found our car. All that remained to be done was have the car completely stripped down, have the brown vinyl roof removed and have the car totally rebuilt to ready itself for the rigours of a 16,000 mile trip to Oz. A year later our car emerged, looking like the original winner of the 1968 race, which we are now departing in for Sydney on Saturday 27 March 2010, flagged off at 2.30pm by the world famous rally driver of the 60s/70s, Paddy Hopkirk. This has tied in nicely with the last weekend of the Prostate Cancer Charity’s awareness month. So let the great adventure begin - watch this space for updates and photos of our journey and exploits as we journey through France, Italy, Greece and Turkey then on through Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia and into Australia entering at Darwin to complete our final leg to Sydney Opera House. Our trip is expected to take about 100 days and will include our camping exploits, sea passages and any other incidents to be dealt with on the way. I should also add that this is a one car two man project, so we will need to be resourceful throughout our trip