President's Report - October/November 2009

Greetings All,

French Car Day was held at the Telopea School fete on Saturday 7 November. Organised by Barry McAdie, from the Renault Owners Car Club, it proved to be a popular event for both participants and spectators alike. Hot sunny weather is much preferable to cold sunny weather that was typical of FCD when we held it in July. The fete also provided a readymade crowd for admiring the cars. I forgot to count the cars, but there were about a dozen Peugeots and more Citroens and Renaults, for a total of around 50 cars. Shannons sponsored the event and trophies were awarded for best car of each marque as well as overall best car.

Melrose Automobiles also kindly donated Peugeot merchandise for best Pug, which, I confess, was won by yours truly for the black 203 (which is actually owned by my wife, Sue). When it comes to car displays, it seems that a good old car will always beat a good new car! Unfortunately, I had let the 203 sit in the garage for a few months too long and the batteries (it has two six volt batteries) had died. Two new batteries, on the morning of the fete, set me back more than $270 - ouch. I'll remember to keep the batteries charged in future.

Meanwhile, on the home front, gardening has been the main activity over recent weekends - our native garden was on display on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme. Part of our final garden landscaping involved making a visitors' car-parking space which required a bit of jackhammer work (thanks to Glen Bryden for the loan of the jackhammer), then levelling and topping with crushed granite.

The 505 has been parked in this space over the past few months, but one recent morning it refused to start. Turning the ignition key provoked a noise from fuel pump, but not a whisper from the starter motor. The battery was fully charged and there were no obvious loose wires, so I rang the NRMA. When the young NRMA guy arrived he quickly discovered that no power was reaching the starter, but could not easily diagnose the exact cause. When he asked me to sound the horn, I thought he was getting distracted, but this turned out to be inspirational. He ran a wire from the horn to the starter motor and I was able to start the car by pushing the horn button! Once started, the car was driven to Bill McNamee who found the problem immediately - a worn out relay (the one that prevents the car from being started in any other gears besides Park and Neutral).

Meanwhile, Sue's 306 suffered a slow-leak puncture and another $30 left the wallet in the blink of an eyelid. I'm always amazed at how a screw can cause a puncture, but when I removed the tyre, there was a screw neatly embedded in the centre of the tread. Sue took the tyre to Woden Tyre & Exhaust and when I picked it up I met the new owner, Carl Botha. Dennis Backhouse, the previous owner, had obviously mentioned that a number of PAC members were frequent clients and Carl has taken this onboard. So, expect to receive the same good service under the new management.

Our next club meeting will be at the Canberra Services Club at 8 pm on Tuesday 24 November at 8 pm, with dinner from 7 pm. My apology, in advance, as I will be in New Zealand that week. Our next club social activity will be a Christmas BBQ, held jointly with the ROCC as part of their French Car Drive, on Sunday 6 December, at Lake Ginninderra. Meet at Macdermott Place, off Joynton Smith Drive, at 6 pm. The club will provide the meat, bread and salad. You bring drinks and Christmas goodies.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

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