President's Report - October 2003
Well, it's that time of year again - our very own living treasure, John Nicholas, will chair the next club night at the Italo-Australian Club. As many of you will know, that can only mean one thing - the Annual General Meeting. John, who is a life member of the club and possessing a dry sense of wit, is uniquely qualified to act as master of the ceremonies that embody the cut and thrust of election night. Indeed John has acted as MC at the AGM on most occasions that I can recall in recent years. I also recall how disappointed John was a few years back when the front main bearing finally failed in his much loved (3 bearing) 403. "I'm thinking of writing to Peugeot to complain," he said. "Fancy wearing out after only 30 years!".
Inclement weather kept numbers down at last month's club meeting, so we held over the planned trivia quiz now to be run at the conclusion of the AGM. There will be prizes, of course, so come along, have fun, and be challenged by the questions that Rick Phillips and Jane Turbane have assembled.
Club members were treated to an enjoyable and informative afternoon at Gallagher Wines on Sunday 12th October. We tasted the 2001 chardonnay, and the trophy winning 2001 shiraz, as winemaker Greg Gallagher led the discussion on the relative merits of screw caps versus cork in wine bottles. Needless to say, from this year on, Greg will be putting all Gallagher wines under screw cap. In addition to the excellent wines, we also sampled some of the gourmet cheeses that Greg's wife, Libby, is producing. Our thanks to Greg and Libby for hosting the club.
Our 405 has been off the road for a couple of weeks with a blown head gasket and Bill McNamee has kindly lent us a diesel 504 to get around in. After several years of driving cars with power steering (405 and 505) it's quite a shock to feel the heaviness of the 504. And while the 504 diesel engine was a fine product of its time, compared with modern diesels like the 306HDI, it's a noticeably more noisy and smokey. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by the 504's excellent acceleration and ability to retain speed on hills. Although we are looking forward to the return of the 405, the 504 diesel experience has been quite illuminating.
We hope to finish the year with our tradition Xmas BBQ, early in December. More on that front in the next newsletter. In the meantime we have received an invitation from the PCC NSW to join them at Stafford Park Lavender Farm and winery near Moss Vale on 23rd November - another fine opportunity to mingle with Peugeotphiles from another club.
Keep on Pugging,
Readers may recall that earlier this year their club president dented more than his pride when he jammed his 505 GTi Executive into the back of a stationary Fairlane at the Parkes Way/Kings Avenue roundabout. Although Brad was able to make swift temporary repairs at the time (STi bumper [not the same as the GTi Exec], grille and headlights courtesy of Bill McNamee), the intention was always to get the job done properly through his insurance company, AAMI. After being away fairly frequently in the interim, only now is Brad actively pursuing the repair.
Despite Brad offering to get the repairs done as cheaply as possible through Bill McNamee, AAMI is insistent that the repairs be done (at much greater expense) by one of their own authorised panel beaters (Canberra Body Works). As it happens, the front cross-member is a bit bent (though not affecting the steering), so the panel shop will fix that, rather than hiding it behind the bumper as Bill and I would have done. Having not had an insurance claim in 30 years of driving, Brad is now happily reclaiming some of his long-spent insurance premiums!
For those who missed it, the Canberra Times reported that officials from the Italian Rugby Union team were taking in the delights of the Tidbinbilla area in their Peugeot 307 Break. Thinking they were back home, the driver drifted onto the wrong side of the road, ultimately coming into collision with another vehicle. No serious injuries, thanks to the design of the 307. However, it was left undriveable. The wagon was one of 120 examples of the 307 Break supplied by Peugeot for the World Cup event and which has now gone on sale in Australia. The Break is the other wagon variant of the hatch, without the glass roof of the station wagon.
More discreetly marked are the 20 black Peugeot 607s for VIP transport. The cars were handed over in a ceremony at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay on September 18. Five transporters arrived with a police escort to deliver the 20 cars, which were lined up under black covers in the sunshine along the edge of the quay. An invited crowd of guys in dark suits, boofy big blokes, rugger journos, sports people, volunteers, some pretty girls and, very important, some Scots College football lads with face paint for the important task of pulling the covers off the cars at the appropriate moment.
Peugeot Automobiles Australia chief Rob Dommerson and regional director Philippe Mady said their pieces, football administrators Ross Young and Matt Carroll promised to look after the vehicles - "We won't drive them across the Nullabor" - and then, after welcoming the volunteers back, state tourism minister Sandra Norri gave the signal. The line of Pugs looked fabulous.
Earlier, Peugeot spokesman Mathew McAuley told The Pugilist the World Cup is great opportunity to expose the marque to a much wider audience. The Tourings, sporting alloys, have two-litre 100 kW engines and are a mix of five speeds and Tiptronic autos. They'll sell from $33,190 and will have a diesel model from $31,690. This additional range, along with the more powerful Peugeot 206 GTi 180, also to be shown at the Sydney International Motor Show, is expected to give a good boost to year-end sales figures.
Australian new car sales are booming, but Peugeot, after records in the first six months, saw August fall to 538 units - the low point this year. However, it was Peugeot's first time below 600 units this year and is still regarded as a strong result, with numbers 16 per cent up on last year. To give it another perspective, it is double the 278 August sales of 2001, while the 626 sales the previous August was the top figure for last year. There were 146 Peugeot 206 sales, 58 Peugeot 206 CCs, 297 Peugeot 307s, an improvement to 29 Peugeot 406s, four Peugeot 406 coupes, and four Peugeot 607s.