That was very nice of you to reply to my letter of appreciation.
In a long and colourful life I have never written to an author before. I think however that you may have made a mistake in asking a car enthusiast to talk about his car. I promise to be brief! We live in the small village of Cygnet some thirty miles south of Hobart.
The Essex was originally bought by an orchardist in Cygnet in 1929 for his wife.
He kept the car until 1968 when it survived the bush fires which tore through the southern part of Tasmania. By an accident of fate the shed in which it was stored survived, although all the buildings around it were destroyed.
The car was sold and used by a member of the Veteran and Vintage car club of Tasmania for a few years and then just left under his house. We bought the car after some fifteen years of neglect; but fortunately it was dry and had little rust.
We are well retired and working five days a week for a year we brought the car back to life. My dear wife wore her fingers to the bone removing years of accumulated muck and paint. Major engineering work we farmed out, but managed the rest ourselves, including the painting. I’m not sure that Len and Zoe would have approved of some of our work but we did many miles in the car without mishap.
The photograph we sent to you was taken during our annual Gordon Fysh Rally. This is run by our club on the nearest weekend to the London to Brighton in UK.
Shades of your Peking to Paris. We do have a Brighton but have to use Launceston as a stand in for London. I regret bitterly that I sold the car some years ago to make way for another project, but there is a limit to the number of cars I can store.
I can’t resist attaching a couple of photos of the car. Please use my photo if you think that they would be of any interest in the UK.
I have just finished your tale of Melody, and returning from the shops today we stopped to look at a morris minor, split windscreen model, in deplorable state for sale in a paddock – serendipity?