President's Report - May 2002

Greetings All,

As I write, Peugeot is attempting to record its fifth straight victory in the 2002 World Rally Championship. Leading the WRC manufacturers points score by a country mile, Peugeot goes into the Rallye Argentina with Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns also running first and second in the drivers championship. With Pug domination of the WRC looking at least as strong as the Ferrari domination of Formula 1 this year, will Burns be asked to slow down for Gronholm to rack up maximum points?

A few days before Bill McNamee departed for his 3 month Euro-holiday, Bill and I re-installed the dashboard of my 405 - a consequence of having to replace a leaking heater core. After waiting almost 1 month for a new heater pipe from France, the part had still not arrived, so we reluctantly had to use the existing, somewhat corroded pipe, along with the new core that Bill already had in stock.

As described in my column last month, replacing the heater core in a 405 is not for the faint-hearted, because everything in the front of the car has to be removed - centre console, steering wheel (including air-bag), steering column, the whole of the dashboard, and of course a zillion electrical connections. It took Bill and I three hours to dismantle and more than four hours to put it all back, with Haynes manual in hand. The bad news is that we missed at least one electrical connection, so the clock no longer works, and the corroded heater pipe still awaits our attention. The good news is that we think that we may be able to get at the heater pipe without pulling absolutely everything out again!

One other minor annoyance in the 405 also occurred on reassembly - the radio needed a security code to be entered after being removed. Not having owned the car from new, I did not have it, but a quick visit to Melrose Peugeot soon put things right. Sales Manager, Brad Evans, retrieved the code from their Richard Jackson file (I bought the car from Richard a couple of years ago), and I was back on the airwaves!

By the way, have you noticed the ads for the 206CC at Melrose Peugeot? After a long period of short supply, the cute pug flip-top is now in stock again. We are hoping to organise the June club meeting in the Melrose Peugeot showroom, and have one of the Peugeot managers down from Sydney to address the meeting. Not to be missed.

At the meeting this month, our guest speaker will be well known local car dealer, Toby Field, from the House of Cars in Phillip. Would you buy a used car from this man? Come along and decide for yourself, as Toby gives his entertaining views on the used car industry in Canberra. Be there or be square - the Italo-Australian Club at 8 pm on Tuesday 28th.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad


Bill McNamee and Geraldine Butler have safely made it to Europe for their extended road test in a 806. Bill has sent the following email:

Geraldine and I landed as scheduled on Monday morning May 6 and to our surprise both the accompanied and un-accompanied baggage turned up. We spent two days in a campground near Paris and recovered from the trip and further equipped ourselves with bedding, food, drink etc. We then drove 1,400km to the top of Denmark (a place called Hertschals approx. spelling) and took a ferry to the bottom of Norway (Kristiansand). We found a lovely campground a little to the east of Kristiansand and unwound some more and marvelled at the beauty surrounding us.

We left Kristiansand and drove up the highway to Bergen where we are now. This trip took us through some fantastic scenery and involved two ferry crossings and three road tunnels under fjords, 6km, 4km and finally 10km. Norway has some stunning civil engineering especially considering the small population. We are leaving on a cruise to see the rest of the fjords this afternoon. In summary everything is going to plan although a little over-budget because of the high cost of living in Norway. I will write again and give a little more detail and colour of our experiences.

Heidi Hutchison sympathises with Bill, recalling that a friend was horrified to find that a beer in a pub in Norway last year cost more than A$10. Bill and Geraldine's customary evening glass of wine could well be challenged!

Ss you're driving along, concentrating, as you should be on the road and the traffic around you. Something catches your eye; what is it? Well, if you're a young male, you are most likely to be distracted by babes, other cars and sound systems (boom boom boom). And things that cause females to take their eyes off the road are hunks, talking with passengers and shops. I guess you can't fight those natural instincts!

More Peugeot movie cameos: For a split second in the opening scene of the enchanting French movie Amelie, an immaculate 404 is seen cruising down a cobblestone street in Paris. Ahhh! Don't blink or you'll miss it!

A Peugeot 405 owner was not sure whether she really wanted to sell her car when she rang The Pugilist. The problem, she said, was what she would replace it with. She explained that she has an allergic reaction to that cocktail of chemical fumes known as new car smell. Plastics, glues, upholstery, etc all contribute to the mix. It was worse with some makes than others. At a motor show, she only had to put her head inside a car window to experience the bad vibes. She bought the Peugeot only because it didn't give her a reaction. She was lucky to find a new car that had been in stock unsold for many months and there had been time for most of the unkind fumes to disappear. A few days later, she rang again and said she would keep her car.