--- THE HUNTER ODYSSEY ---
CENTRAL AUSTRALIA TRIP
Kapunda-Burra-Pt Augusta-Pimba 515km (overnight) -Woomera-Glendambo
This trip was originally organized by Victorian club "Rootes Group CC of Victoria"
The list of participants was extensive, however the club, after all the groundwork and organisation, decided to pull out. As I had already part paid the club for this trip, I was eventually refunded the monies already paid, I was advised that a few other participants from NSW were still going to Central Australia. We got together via email, and put our itinerary together.
As I had 3 Hillman Hunter 660 Royal cars, I decided that I would put a 5 speed Toyota gearbox, a Ford 3.50:1 diff and a "hot" motor into this 660, primarily for the trip, and to see how the combination of engine, trans and drive train went. (plus I wanted to do 100 mph in a HUNTER on the NT roads, as there is no speed limits on most of the roads there!!)
I fitted vented disks and matching calipers onto the front hubs, Ford Capri model. unknown. They were a direct replacement, so that was an easy improvement
My engine bores were honed, and fitted with BMW pistons, valves were replaced with larger nissan ones, A mild race cam and 2 45DCOE side draught weber carbies were fitted, I also put a set of headers on my engine too. My brother-in-law made up a copper vacuum balance pipe. An electric fuel pump was put in series with the original unit.
Another MAJOR improvement was to put a Series II 1984 Nissan Bluebird dizzy on the engine!
OH HELL, did this HUNTER GO or what!
Very impressed with the "enhancements", and the power! quite astonishing!
The wheel bearings all received a re-greasing
An electric fan with thermostatic control was installed, and the Metal fan was removed from the waterpump.
My HF radio, a new MP3 player, Mobile phone car kit, Acer laptop and my GPS unit were also installed for the trip.
It was the morning of August 27, that I made to short drive north, from Kapunda (where I lived at the time) to Burra, an old copper mining town here in South Australia where I made initial contact with the other participants of our NT trip.
(Nissan Patrol-Support vehicle)
Series III Hillman Minx
Hillman Hunter 660 royal (My car)
Hillman Hunter HE Safari station wagon.
Austin 1800 Utility (Australian built)
Valiant VG pacer 245
R/T 4 Valiant Charger
After a brief meeting, shaking of hands etc, Those of us that were present, backed our cars to the curb for a "photo shoot" here in Burra. After the meeting and pictures, I left the others, of whom were going to look around Burra before heading north to Port Augusta, . I planned to meet them when they arrived later that afternoon.
It gave me a chance to catch up with several relatives that live in and near Port Augusta
OK, so this is the layout of the Stuart Highway.. should not take too long.......
Time to leave Port Augusta, So I wait for the others to "catch up" it was after midday that the other cars made the path onto the Stuart Highway at Port Augusta West.
The Black "thing" on the rear of my Hunter is a High Frequency radio antenna, I was able to keep in contact with friends both in Australia and around the world whilst driving.I have an unrestricted amateur radio license, and my callsign is VK5PO. I learnt from long trips years ago, that having my mobile radio setup, makes the distance shorter, 'cos there is ALWAYS someone that wants to chat on the AR bands.
We got into a convoy configuration for the 200km drive to Pimba where we planned to overnight. The accommodation at "Spuds" roadhouse was a bit short (well, NO luxury!) in the luxury stakes, but it was cheap, and as I was going to spend $149 at Yulara a night I was happy with it this cheap place to kip.
The morning after...the night before, finds all of our cars still there, including Fred Diwells HE Safari with it's "fast" green stripes!!
These pictures show the flat and desolate country that is characteristic of the area around this part of SA. Leaving Pimba, we all decided to make the short drive into the "space capital" of Australia, so onto the interesting town of Woomera it was:
As depicted, Woomera is overflowing with Military vehicles, rockets, canons, airplanes and the like. Well worth the look. This area was the heartbeat of military testing of rockets, Aircraft, reconnaissance vehicles etc. There were heaps of "Yanks" stationed here also. I can still remember seeing left-hand drive "pickups and micro-buses" in 1980 when I was up here!
All of us decided to drive to the Federal Governments Immigration centre on the outskirts of Woomera. These centres have been dividing the community since the inception of this sort of incarceration for illegal immigrants and visa defaulters etc. The road leading to the centre, was shut due to heavy vehicles. We got within several hundred metres. Woomera's immigration centre is now closed down, but another was built near Pt. Augusta (Baxter) to take its place.
Leaving Woomera, we continue on our way to our next stop...Glendambo.. Destination: Coober Pedy
DISTANCE TRAVELED today = 515 KM
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Pictures taken with a Kodak DC3800 (2.1Mp) digital camera
Story and pictures, web design by John F. McRae --GOODWOOD-- South Australia July 2005