Today I walked out of the "Vicroads" vehicle registration office in Warragul with the correct papers in one hand and my "WF 1928" black and white Victorian number plates in the other to make old Monty a fully road registered vehicle once again after many years of sitting idle, plus I might add that there was a large grin of achievement stamped across my face....
I always said the first place I would drive the Chev to when I got it fully registered was up to the Trafalgar Cemetery with a couple of cold beers, sit, admire the view down the valley and have a quiet one, well that did happen today.
Many thanks must go to each and every one of you that have looked in on this blog from time to time over the last couple of years, it really just started as an idea one night to keep dads memory going, to keep his face up on the computer as it was only a few months after his passing.
I had very simple intentions for this car when I first got it running back in November 2010 as I was completely happy with just getting it started and driving it out of dads workshop and out into the sunlight for a better look, maybe give it a little clean up and then put it over in our signshop and start to workout a few things about it, then drive it occasionally around the block on Sunday mornings, the fact that it was moving again was enough for me and the thought of this dismantling this car into bits and rebuilding everything again was just too big a project get my head around, it sort of hurt just thinking about it at the time being just a novice mechanic who played around with motorcycles.
At the time a source of help and information was dads brother "Digger Fowler" who could confirm a few things about its originality and also that the mileage on the speedo which was showing 10,400 miles was correct, uncle also knew the location of the Hill End farm where dad had brought it from, a trip a few months later we would both take together and locate the property and talk to the neighbour of the original owner, so thanks uncle for your help once again.
After a month or so I started to develop itchy feet as the fascination with the Chev began to take hold and I soon found myself trawling the internet for 1928 vintage car forums and information, I soon built up a friendship on an American Chevrolet site with a bloke 100kms down the road in Melbourne called Ray Dean who had a fully restored 1928 Chevrolet.
Ray at the time was very helpful with discussing any problem that I had with the car and also Ray was a little curious I was later to learn as he was very keen to come out from the city and have a look at this original "barnfind" Chevy with the low mileage that I spoke of, which he did one Sunday morning when I noticed an immaculately restored burgundy and black 28' Chev quietly appeared in our driveway and after the first meeting a very good friendship based on car talking bullshit and Aussie banter soon developed.
Ray I cannot thank you enough mate for your unbelievable knowledge of these old vehicles and for all of your help both with your spare time on weekends with the many hours spent in the resto shed and with your time tracking down and locating parts on the internet., for your support over the phone when things went a little "up shit creek" from time to time and for your encouragement in just keeping the restoration moving forward and getting it finished.
From myself, Lisa, our kids and the Fowler family Ray, thank you very much mate, such a great effort and send me that invoice one day when you remember that you keep talking about.. Cheers Mate
Well that's about it from me, I am hanging up my blog for awhile, I have personally achieved a goal that I dreamt about as a young kid and now I need to step back for a bit and have some Sundays with Lisa and kids who have been great while this all has been going on around them and I love them for helping it happen.
I will post a photo from time to time about any trips that unfold in Monty that we make, but I have done what I wanted to achieve but only in a much shorter time, to be honest when I started I thought maybe it would take 4 or 5 years but not 16 bloody months. I now have a lovely "patina" style vintage car to drive, maintain and get enjoyment from for the rest of my life and I know dad would be very proud and happy with the end result and as true to his word, I stuck to his wishes.
"We'll get it running, but we're not painting it all fancy".
In Memory Of Our Father Wayne Fowler 1939 - 2010
Thank you - Grant Fowler
Dad lasted just 6 weeks & life changed so quickly for us all.
Wayne Montague Fowler was very active, ate healthy, enjoyed people, loved a challenge and looked forward to his yearly month long camping & fishing trips up north in the "Gulf Country" of northern Australia with his brothers and best mate George, 30 trips in total they done over the years, yes dads sudden illness was a big shock to our family, friends and also the local township of Trafalgar where he lived for all his 71 yrs.
One thing I can tell you is that mum was none too happy to see it being taken off the back of the truck and driven into the shed, it cost dad 60 pounds in total to claim his name to the Chev, mum was not too pleased.
Lets just clear one thing up, the name "Monty" how and why?.I have only just started calling the car this over the last month to my wife & kids and the name as stuck, dad didn't call it anything, "Monty" was dads father name "Monty Fowler" and dad was "Montague Wayne Fowler" so I thought why the hell not, it's very fitting and beside he looks like an old "Monty"....
Monty is a 1928 Chevrolet - National Tourer with only 10,400 original miles on the speedo, mechanical it is "all there", only a little rust in the rear body, but 90% of the woodwork and the interior is stuffed but I have time on my hands and a willingness to learn and also a little dream burning away in the back of my head to turn it into a roadworthy, drivable, cute little "Sunday" car that it is......We'll just wait and see.
Yesterday, Tuesday 9th November 2010, I organized a mate to come around to dads workshop and have a go at cranking it over, I tried the weekend before but I'm just a bit hesitant in case I burnt or shorted something out with not knowing what and how to start it but before this happened Uncle Digger who by the way had owned one of these when he was a young fella to roar around the Gippsland hills in told me that the mileage was correct and that it is mechanically "all there" and would turnover easily, he was correct.
Trevor arrived with his toolbox, tested this and that with his electrical gauge and you know some blokes are just a natural with machinery and the way Trevor made his way around an engine block with his head buried right down in amongst layers of grease he reminded me of dad as he rigged up a gravity fed fuel line to bypass the "autovac" fuel system which uncle digger had warned me was trouble, we sorted out the dials and switches on the dash which was all very simple when you have someone that's knows what they are doing.
After about 30 minutes Trevor calls out "Kick it in the guts now Grant", so with me behind the old wooden steering wheel with my bum squashed down on the old metal spring bench seat and looking through the dusty front windscreen I braced myself as I pressed my left foot down on the starter button, it wound over, fired up and jumped to life straight away, we both roared laughing as Trevor looked up from under the bonnet, old "Monty" sat there purring and was idling away so sweetly. We both could not believe how strong and responsive the little 4 cylinder engine was, there was no smoke blowing and as we had the back wheels jacked up off the ground they were turning slowly so Trevor got in and went through all 3 gears, "the gearbox feels nice and tight" he called out, it was just lovely to hear the Chev running again after all these years but this time it will not be parked back up on blocks in the darken workshop, "dad it is staying out of there"
I will keep dads word, mechanically it will be kept running nicely and always on the battery charger so that I can push the starter button anytime and it will "fire up", the body kept as it is "original" and in a state of "patina", the interior well time will tell but reupholstered in an old looking leather finish which I'm not to sure how to achieve this but there are many cluey people around the Gippsland area with vintage vehicles of all types so the contacts are easy to find as over the years I have signwritten and pinstriped many old restored trucks and I am always bumping into these people.
This will be a long term hobby but please do drop by from time to time to have a read or call by the workshop for a chat anytime.
Cheers Grant Fowler