DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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Corowa 2011.
Year of the British and European Vehicles.

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"The year of the British and European Vehicles" promised to bring some interesting and rarely seen vehicles. It was almost immediately nicknamed as
"The year of the Landfill and Towed Vehicle"
Landfill = Landrover
Towed = Unreliable British made
This was due to the number of Land Rovers that attended.
The weather was again kind to us and we had a little rain and some cloud. It didn't get above roughly 27 degrees Centigrade.
The following article is my experience of Corowa, it is by no means representative of anyone else's experience or a comprehensive record of all the vehicles that were there. A web search for pictures of Corowa 2011 will turn up quite a few sites of photo galleries.

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The official count of ex-military vehicles registered as attending was 193 this year last I heard, which was no where near last year's record of 266 (Year of the Jeep). Given the theme for last year and the turn out, I think that this year's turn out was pleasingly large. As in recent years, the main site was Ball Caravan Park with the Airport allocated to the "heavies". I have noted a pattern appearing in that it is no longer a case of anyone with armour or/and large trucks having to be at the airport, but also those associated with that part of the hobby are also camping there. An example being I noticed quite a few armour enthusiasts and owners who although only in normal cars this year, were camped there.
Doubtless the meals at the jump shack are a big part of the attraction.

There was a pristine FV-436 and nice variety of wheeled armour - Vixen, 1 x Saladin, 3 x White Scout Cars, 2 x Saracens and 2 x Ferrets. As to amphibious vehicles (the original purpose of locating the event at Corowa) there were 3 Amphibious jeeps, a Stalwart but no DUKWs.

For my 4th year of Corowa I was finally able to take an MV, a Kettenkrad that I imported partially restored in 2008 and have been working on pretty much ever since. Organising and designing a suitable trailer - Kettenkrad's are a real problem to tie down without damaging them - took quite some time and effort and was the main reason I did not succeed in bringing it to last year's event.

We intended to have a mini family holiday before arriving at Corowa on the Tuesday, so as the family got to do something other than "green stuff" as my wife refers to MVs. To say I was stressed out to begin with is not an exaggeration. A new untested trailer, with expensive rare KK on board, 900km or so till first overnight and family on board all made for a tense drive. There was the issue of whether or not the trailer would be a good tow or go wild on us. As it turned out it travelled very nicely. The bloke who built it knew his stuff.

We discovered later on in Shepparton that it appears the new electric trailer brakes bedded in much more than I had expected. Both of us got caught by tapping the brake pedal, Fran when she thought someone had failed to give way to her and myself with a pedestrian who appeared to be about to bolt in front of me. Result was a trailer brake lock up - I think the impulse befuddles the brake controller. With me that got the attention of seemingly 1/2 the population of Shepparton. So after adjusting the brake controller we made mental notes to push rather than tap the brake. This includes when disengaging the cruise control so as there are no spectacular lock ups at 100km/h!

In Bendigo we did some family stuff and took my son to the Top Gear road show in Melbourne. The actual display was quite good especially the back up performers, including a very spectacular cars-on-fire-trailing- burning-tyre-tracks stunt and a young bloke riding a stunt bike all over an all terrain digger. However the surrounding outdoor displays at the venue were not of the same calibre. The tone deaf males with vans that are effectively huge stereos on wheels was deafening, annoying and pointless. The bass ruined any enjoyment of the outside displays. One tent we were in had the following:
1) DJ - I have no idea why, given point 2 below.
2) Far too loud music on a loop tape that never varied.
3) Audio superimposed over that of a car race.
4) Public announcements overriding the above
and the constant roar of unmuffled exhausts of high performance engines on the near by display circuit.

It was audio chaos and not the least bit enjoyable.

We arrived at Corowa on the Tuesday arvo. By the time we checked in at accom, went to the Supermarket etc it was too late to unload, so left that to the next day. As in previous years, there are always familiar faces at the Safeway (Woolworths) as most people appear to stock up once they arrive in Corowa - which no doubt helps the Corowa economy.
Wednesday morning came and it was time to head for Ball Park and unload, I came in for some attention due to the strange shape of the covered load on my trailer. Manfred (Kuebelwagen owner) was all but salivating in anticipation and urging me to get a move on as the KK was very well wrapped and tied down. Fortunately the KK behaved, but gave its usual prolonged cranking performance before it would fire up.

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Unloading


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With Manfred's Kuebelwagen.


I think I ended up doing about 50km all up on it. There was rides on the riverside tracks and also a combined photo shoot with the "German" collectors. A number of laps around the caravan park, just for the fun of it and also on several occasions to locate my son (who I allowed freedom of the place as long as he didn't go down to the river without an adult).

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A nice mix for the photo shoot.


One bloke also volunteered to get fuel for me if I needed it and provide towing if the KK misbehaved. Luckily I didn't need to call him but the offer was appreciated - thanks Ian E.

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A speed hump sign inside Ball Park takes on a new identity. Wheels inside the tracks would have looked better.


A number of people made a deliberate point of thanking me for taking it and said how pleased they were to see it, which was nice of them. I can only conclude that they are aware of just how much goes on behind the scenes in order to take a vehicle to Corowa.
There were a few who made negative comments....... Obtaining a KK took me effectively 10 years, a lot of saving and a lot of effort - jealousy is an ugly thing.

I traded a ride on my KK for a drive of a WW2 jeep, the last time I drove a jeep was 30 years ago - what happens when your interests lie in the "heavy" (armour) end of the hobby - the jeep owner is also an armour owner - thanks "Halftrack Peter".
The owners of the FV-436 offered me a ride on it and it was most interesting to study it and compare it to the M113. Other than layout there isn't really that much difference in handling and performance. The owners took the opportunity to use their vehicle rather than have it sit immobile. There was several times I was at Ball Park and heard the distinctive whine, squeak and clatter as it moved along the riverside track. Anyone who has been to Beltring will be familiar with the near constant tracked vehicle sounds emanating from the arena there.
Those who take the heavy vehicles and armoured vehicles to Corowa do so at considerable expense and I think do not get appropriate recognition. Of the 2 tracked armour rides I have had at Corowa in the last 4 years I succeeded in forcing some fuel money onto one owner but was unsuccessful in doing so with the FV-436 owners - thanks fellas.

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FV-436 which is the command version of the standard FV-432 APC.

The first couple of days I noted that even when I was not close by, people would look at the KK and photograph it, some would lean on it and discuss it, but nobody climbed on it. Then on the Thursday, I was told that people were climbing on it. I take great care not to drag my boots over the fuel tanks when getting on and off as I don't want the paint damaged. The paint is nitro-cellulose and cannot be matched any more as it is no longer in use anywhere in the world. A re-paint will mean loss of the fine stencilled instructions on the engine cover and the painstakingly sign written instructions on the rear sides.
Most of the time, I was within sight, but at a distance and only being out of sight when having to find my son or go to the loo.
So from then on, it meant I could not roam and would have to guard it.

I missed out on going to the informal mud romp (my own fault) that seems to be becoming an unlisted event. But did get to hear all about it and now have the pictures.

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FV-436 clearing hazards from the off road area.


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FV-436 towing out Mark and his huge Mack when it got bogged.


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Yep, broke it!


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It is a mystery how so little water did so much damage.


Saturday with the street parade and swap meet brought about the usual conundrum, but for different reasons this year.
1) It is a long distance and I suspected I may have had some track bearings that were still tight. I could do without seized links in the middle of the parade.
2) Having to stand guard once at the airport to prevent unauthorised climb ons, meant I couldn't go over to the swap meet.
3) A migraine coming on.
So off I toddled to the swap meet, borderline migraine and eventually had to give it away and spend about 5 hours flat on my back.
This meant I missed out on the Saturday afternoon wind down. I managed to make it to Ball Park about 6.30pm and was surprised at how many people had departed, quite an exodus in fact. This is a pity as the Saturday afternoons are a good socialising opportunity and are informal and laid back compared to the Saturday morning hurly burly. The afternoon exodus was much greater this year than what I have seen in previous years, nobody I talked to could explain why. It could be a result of the economic times with people having taken the minimum amount of time off work that they could and needing to get back home to make work on the Monday morning.

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A "Guy" Quad Ant - probably the only one of its type in Australia.
The name "Ant" is one of the oddest MV names, it would be interesting
to find out the reason behind it.


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A nice White Scout Car.


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A Marmon-Herrington artillery tractor and gun set.


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The ammo limber.


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25 pdr Field Gun - note the additional set of chains in green
sleeving for safety around the turntable.


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Amphibious Jeep exiting the lagoon at Ball Park.


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Rick Cove's WW1 Albion and something British.


As we were leaving town on the Sunday morning we had to give way at the roundabout closest to Ball Park to a Stalwart, which was the first I had seen of it at the event. The crew were wearing helmets and green army type clothing and looked the part. I am told that the owner drove it from Geelong, which is no small feat in a Stalwart!

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Stalwart.


As I had an MV at Corowa this year I registered with KVE (the organising body). Below is a picture of what is included in the pack that is handed out to each registrant.
This year the pack included a vehicle prize voting form, programme, some discount vouchers for nearby businesses, a map of how to get to some of the scheduled locations, a Murray Region map, vehicle insurance advertising, a cling wrap cutter (will come in handy), large sticker, info about the Corowa remailer and a very nice metal plaque.

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Registration Pack.
Towing nearly 2 tonnes all the way to Corowa and back was a new experience for us and quite a learning event. We readily made from home to Bendigo in one day, but on the return from Corowa found that by the time we made Mildura we both were of the opinion we could not safely continue so overnighted there. On thinking about it we can only conclude that sleeping in strange beds does not provide the same amount of rest as in our own and thus we wore out sooner on the return journey.

As the Kettenkrad experience required most of my time and attention most of the photos that appear in this article are not mine and were provided by Rick S. and Jan T. My thanks to them.

Here is the list of attending vehicles registered with KVE:

    UK
Humber 1 ton
Vauxhall sedan
49 x Landrovers
Bedford Ql
2 x Ferret Scout Car
Saladin Armoured Car
FV 436
Norton Motorcycle & Side car
BSA Motorcycle
2 x BSA Motorcycle
Guy Quad Ant
Welbike
Leyland Moke
Vixen
Triumph Motorcycle
BSA B40 motorcycle
Fordson (exRAAF fire truck)
Albion A10
3 x Austin Champ
Stalwart
2 x Saracen
    European
Kettenkrad
3 x BMW Sidecar
Volkswagen
Kübelwagen
2 x Unimog
3 xHaflinger
Pinzgauer
3 x Zündapp motorcycle & Sidecar
Swiss bicycle
    Other
International Tipper
International AS-120
Ford Marmon-Herrington 3a with Limber and 25 pounder
Nash Car
Willys M38
Mack NM6
HUMVEE
Kaiser Wrecker
Dodge T211 ½ ton pickup
    Other

Ford F100 Ambulance
Fargo Truck
International F1
Chev Yankee Joe
International A16 Tractor
International Acco
Dodge Command Car
Dodge T215 Carryall
Total of 193"small"
    Other
3 x White Scout Car
3 x Studebaker US6
62 x Jeep
3 x GPA
5 x Blitz
5 x Dodge Weapons Carrier
Yamaha Motorcycle
2 x Dodge M37
Indian 344 Motorcycle
Chev Long Range Dessert Group Truck
    Non-military
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Sedan
Vanguard Phase 3 Sedan

That's it for 2011.

 

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