The National Rally at Wollongong was Leonie and my first chance to enter any Jaguar rally as we had hoped the car would be ready for Tasmanian Rally. This was not to be as we simply run out of time to have it ready. I purchased my 1986 Daimler Series-3 Double Six in December 2011 from a Mr Geoff Valentine of Margate with 109,000 klms on the speedo, as it had some Tasmanian history mainly because it was purchased new by the Tasmanian Government from Terry Hickey Autos, Hobart in February 1987 for use by Sir Phillip Bennett, the then Governor of Tasmania.

The car required a major engine overhaul along with a major brake system overhaul along with other minor repairs; the car was garaged at Ron Leach’s place at Otago Bay and Allister Shoobridge undertook this major operation of rebuild and Cleve Allan and myself spent many hours cleaning parts. The first week after completion was spent clocking up approximately 900 klms running the engine in and attending to minor problems that cropped up, as I had not had the car on the road before undertaking the repairs. In the second week we changed the engine oil and filter plus carried out minor adjustments and also had the aircon regassed,

We travelled in convoy to Devonport with Ron and Christine Leach with their E- type and Allister Shoobridge and Faye Duffy with their 300 Series Daimler. We arrived at Devonport around 4-00pm refuelled, and were joined by Picton and Christina Hay with their E- type and we had an evening meal together before we boarded the Spirit for Melbourne.

Next morning we were off the boat at 6-25am (still dark) with Ron leading the way. I managed to stay on Ron’s bumper bar but we lost Allister and Picton. We stopped at a Shell roadhouse about 15 minutes north of Melbourne on the Hume Highway and waited for Allister and Picton to arrive. After breakfast, we all headed up the Hume to meet up with Lyndon and Jill Dickenson; Lee and Lorraine Hudson in Albury for lunch.

By the time we reached Albury the temperature must have been around 40 degrees (it was hot) especially in my car with the V12 engine emitting all its heat as well. After lunch we set off for Binalong in NSW for our overnight stop on this section Ron’s E type started to have fuel problems, we stopped several times to try and fix the problem which in the end turned out to be a faulty fuel pump.

We eventually arrived at the Binalong motel around 7-30pm with Ron and Chris arriving at around 9-00pm after replacing the fuel pump, it was a long day for us all after travelling around 600 klms plus on the day.

The next day Thursday 28th March it was off to a local car museum to be joined by Mark and Hazel Wheatley and Leon and Heather Ranson. Cleve & Jill, Des & Jenni and Rod & Anne were also supposed to have joined us but they had also had car dramas the previous day and decided not to backtrack but continue onto our destination. This was then followed by a short run of about 250 klms via the Macquarie Pass into Wollongong.

Friday 29th was spent looking for a car wash with Ron and Lyndon (that’s another story) The rest of the day was spent cleaning the car ready for the Concours’ on Saturday.

2013_national_14Saturday the weather was brilliant and we made our way to the judging area, not having had any previous knowledge of a Jaguar Concours’ I was unsure what to expect from the judging system, but was pleasantly surprised when our car won a bronze trophy at the presentation dinner on Sunday night which also included an amazing show by the “3 Waiters”.

On Monday we left in convoy with Des & Jenni, Cleve & Jill, Allister & Faye, Rod & Anne staying overnight at Lake Tabourie just south of Ulladulla and then to Merimbula in NSW, and two nights each at Lakes Entrance where we were joined by Lyndon and Jill Dickenson and Dale and Gail Pearce. The next morning we did some minor maintenance on several cars and in the afternoon we all did a cruise on the Gippsland Lakes. Friday morning we had a photo shoot with the cars with Helen at Lazy Acre log cabin park where we stayed then we departed for Phillip Island in Victoria for a two night stay, returning to Melbourne on Sunday 8th to get the boat home.

Leonie and I had a wonderful trip in the company of some “old” and new friends, and a lot of fun was had by all. We really enjoyed our first Rally, which was very well run. We were very lucky with the weather, not one wet day and we had no problems with the car at all, I would like to thank Ron for allowing me to garage my car at his place and Allister for doing the rebuild on the engine plus all the other work he carried out, and Cleve for helping me with the cleaning of all the engine parts. This is what good Club members are all about, people helping people with the same interests.

 – Harry Bluett 

You can find a selection of pictures from the 2013 National Rally in our Galleries.