…or in this case a 100km drive back from Mandurah
So after shaking hands with the reluctant seller Natasha, I then tackled the next rather pertinent problems…how was I going to get this thing from it’s garage in Mandurah to my home in Bunbury over 100km’s away. Additionally, where was I going to park it up while I slowly got it back to a condition where it could be drivable?
The solution to the first problem was a car trailer, something I had had no experience in using but I guess there’s a first time for everything right? Keeping in mind I had an immobile car with a flat tire and no brakes, I was able to source a trailer with a rather impressive winch hanging off the front of it, and through my growing list of Valiant contacts managed to rustle up a spare tire and wheel to change out the flat. A week later I was in the Commodore, stepdaughter riding shotgun and a trailer bringing up the rear, all set for bringing my baby home.
Getting it on the trailer was a breeze with the winch. I simply wrapped the end of the winch chain around the enormous K frame, from which you could have dragged the Queen Mary into dry dock. In the process I was nicely covered from the elbows down in 40 years of oil and dirt. That left the job of tying it down. I’d had nightmares for the last week of my (albeit rusty) pride and joy ending up on it’s roof somewhere down the highway after coming off the trailer. I placed old tires in front of the front wheels, then tied the car on by wrapping 3 tonne tie down straps around a front tire and tying it backwards, and a back tyre and tying it forwards on opposite sides. I’ve heard this is the best way to go about it as it allows the car to ride on it’s suspension. I left the winch hooked up tight to the K frame (despite the hire guy specifically telling me not to do that as it might harm the winch ratchet. Hell if that got damaged I’d buy him the $10 part, I wanted the extra tie down point), as well as tying a spiderweb of ropes aft from the diff housing and forward from the K frame. Whatever I did worked as it stayed on the trailer solid as a rock while the 6.0L V8 in my commodore warbled along all the way home like the trailer wasn’t even there.
First job at home base was cleaning a hole in the shed for the new acquisition to live, a quite challenging task which required the removal of several moving boxes filled with got knows what. Whatever it was had generally had 2 moves without being unpacked and so was deemed expendable, to the tip it went. The Val now had a cosy little space in my shed, with millimetres of breathing room fore and aft and barely a foot either side. Working on it was going to be tight, I steeled myself for the inevitable task of rolling her out every time I wanted to do one of the million tasks that would need tackling. I was going to have to get her running soon, or end up with legs like Arnie from pushing it in and out on a regular basis.
It was time to get to work….