President's Report - February 2014

Greetings All,

Welcome to another club year. I hope that you all enjoyed a safe and happy Christmas-New Year break.

I don’t know about you, but my summer holiday went far too quickly. I had planned to get a few home jobs done, like cleaning out the garage and doing a bit of house painting, but it was not to be. With the extreme heat that we have had in the past two months, my energy for ‘big jobs’ was very low, and watering the garden was about the limit of my endeavours.

We are down one car this week after someone ran into the back of our 306 recently. It happened in a very common situation – stopped at an intersection, waiting for a break in the traffic, when the person behind you decides that it’s time to go, but you haven’t moved! The towbar took most of the impact, but the bumper was bent as well; other body panels were completely unaffected. The car was still very driveable, fortunately, but this week it’s at Hume Body Works, being repaired.

Getting the car to HBW was a bit of a saga in itself – first our insurance company (APIA) sent me to their own repair company, but the job was too complicated, so they asked me to leave the car with them so they could arrange quotes from other repairers. The offer was a bit like a valet service – give them the car and in a couple of weeks I would get it back, good as new. “No way” I said. “We need our car as a daily drive and I want to minimise the time it is off the road”. So I kept the car, and obtained two quotes, myself, which were then submitted to APIA for assessment. I’ve had work done by HBW before, so I was pleased when APIA accepted their quote. Our 306 is insured for $5700, so it was touch and go whether it would be repaired or written off. Perhaps it was fortunate that the accident was not our fault and APIA could claim from the other bloke’s company. Who knows? Anyway, by organising my own quotes and dealing direct with the repairer, I have minimised the time that the car is out of action.

The accident closely followed another incident with the 306. I had noticed a bit of a noise, varying with engine speed, on my way into work, but I was running late for a meeting, so I parked the car and hurried off. After the meeting, I started the car and backed out of my parking space – the noise was louder (but not excessive), the alternator light was on, the power steering had stopped working and there was a burning smell from under the bonnet. An apprehensive look under the bonnet revealed a piece of bent metal caught in the main belt. I rang Bill for advice and he suggested that I drive the car slowly to his place (a 20 minute drive from where I was). Sadly the car stopped a few hundred metres from his house and refused to start, so I rang Bill again and we unceremoniously towed the car to his place. Later inspection revealed a disintegrating crankshaft pulley (the source of the bent metal, above) which had caused the timing belt to jump a few teeth, resulting in bent rockers (but no valve damage). So, having spent several hundred dollars to get this job done, you can see why I was hoping that the 306 could be repaired after the accident.

Then just to add insult to injury, two other things happened. First, I had a flat tyre while driving the 306 home after picking it up from Bill – the tyre was unrepairable, so I had to fork out for a new Michelin. Then our 508 needed new discs and pads on the rear wheels – after only 50,000 km, but apparently standard wear on the 508 according to Melrose Peugeot – and another several hundred dollars went on the credit card! Just a reminder that our first big club event of the year will be the annual Wheels exhibition in Kings Park (near the Carillion) from 9 am to 3 pm on Sunday 16 March. All club members are invited to display a vehicle. Intending participants should arrive between 8 and 8.45 am.

Our first club meeting for 2014 will be held at the Weston Club on Tuesday 25 February at 8 pm, with dinner and drinks from 7 pm. Being the first meeting of the year, I encourage you all to come along and get the year off to a flying start.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad