A special thanks to all our supporters on the Road to Mandalay
This was a stock standard engine and the car was an original with less than 90,000 miles on the clock. The engine was rebuilt and a 5 speed Tremec gearbox fitted.
Lubricants – Penrite Oils
Penrite Oils have long been sponsors of my rally cars and again the lubricants they provided were vital to keeping the engine and ancillary components in great shape. I used a premium mineral, 25W-70, high zinc, low detergent engine oil designed specifically for petrol engines and did one oil and filter change at a bit less than 5,000k. All moving parts that required greasing I used two different greases, Penrite Molygrease EP 3% for the universal joints and front end bushes etc. Penrite High Temperature wheel bearing grease for the front wheel bearings. Penrite 10 Tenths Race Coolant which worked exceptionally well in the high heat. Thankyou Penrite for your continuing support over the past 30 years. Time and time again your products have stood up to ‘rally abuse’ and performed above expectation.
Troy Dunstan from Arundel Cylinder Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland, carried out the engine rebuild with finite precision to produce the performance needed. The engine ran superbly and was faultless right to the end even though it was driven to the extreme and beyond. Well done Troy.
Accessories & Necessaries
Trevor & Crew at Cheapa Auto Spares, Oxenford, Queensland – Thank you guys for your never ending advice and assistance throughout the build of the car. No matter what issue I had you guys had the answer. Thank you all.
Mal Wood Automotive from Warwick, Queensland, did the change over from the original 3-speed column shift to the 5-speed Tremec and fitted a modern hydraulic clutch. Not a thing went wrong and the gearbox ratios that were chosen worked well from hill climbs to open roads and real rally tracks. I will be back Mal…thanks.
Matt Dawson from MD Auto Electrical on the Gold Coast did a complete rewire and change from 6 volt to 12 volt and apart from blowing a fuse on the cooling fans when I ran into a ditch and again when I crossed a creek without tuning them off everthing performed perfectly without a hic-cup. Thanks Matt.
John Benson from Davies Craig Melbourne, a huge supporter of my rally drives provided electric fans for the radiator and an electric water pump and again without these components to keep the car cool in the stifling heat of Malaysia and Thailand and in every clogged up city and town along the way we would not have made it to the finish doing as well as we did. Marvellous inbuilt technology. Thanks John, thanks Davies Craig.
Neil from Gold Coast Brakes did a complete brake rebuild and all I had to do was readjust the rears every few days because of the massive descents over mountain ranges and there were many as well as collision avoidance in villages where mopeds emerged from anywhere and without looking!!! The vacuum assist hydraulic set up was perfect. Thanks Neil.
Trent Smith from Tenneco provided me with Monroe Shock absorbers that were just so good that they held the car together through the roughest terrain and on the many tests that we did over some of the most awful roads that the road boss could find and they were really really bad and put many cars off the road but not the Crestline as we literally flogged the car to make up positions lost on day 3 when I put the car into a ditch on a severe right hander after the outside front tyre came off and from that point on we were passengers. The Monroe shocks were the best I have ever used. Thanks Trent.
Rear Leaf Springs
The rear springs actually inverted on the highway when we hit a huge dip at considerable speed and from then on we were 100mm lower!!! When I did an underbody inspection I couldn’t believe what I was looking at…the tail shaft even came up and hit the floor!!
Front Coil Springs
What a fiasco…I had ordered the correct springs from a company in the USA and they told me they had been despatched when they had not so the car was shipped with the original 1953 front coil springs.
I then got in touch with Mike at Eaton Detroit Springs USA and Fedex quickly delivered me two front coil springs 30% stronger than standard but by then the car had been shipped so I carried the springs as hand luggage to Singapore to have them fitted there prior to the rally. Good idea but after trying three recommended garages I could not have them fitted and I didn’t take a set of coil spring compressors so I could not do the job myself and I hate to say it but the new springs are still in the back of the car and the ’53 steered like a boat and road like an angry bronco for the total rally.
Radiator – by Jim Allen from US Radiators
The car had to be shipped with the original radiator and again I carried the new radiator as cargo baggage but didn’t fit it, I just wrapped it well and put it in the back of the car. Three days into the rally with the car in a ditch and a 4wd hauling it out there was a bit of damage that needed to be pulled out with the 4wd and a snatch strap, plus some porta-power work only to find the radiator was cactus and the mechanics tried an emergency repair and that didn’t work.
I told them that I had a brand new spare radiator in the back of the car. There was that moment of silence and the remark ‘really’. The radiator was fitted and three hours after the off we were on our way but finished the day right down the bottom of the list around 34th place because we didn’t make it to the end of that day before maximum lateness time. We made it back to 20th place by the end of the rally but we wrecked the car to the extent that it will take up a corner position in the back of the barn for as long as it shall live.
The ’53 was fitted with 15” rims and tyres which came off my genuine 1988 Plymouth Black and White Police Car and I thought that the size may be hard to obtain during the rally so I took two 16” rims and tyres as spares and that was a good thing because my hunch was right when it came to my size 15” tyres…there were none to be had when I needed them.
Gordon and Lesley Williams from Graffiti Stickers Burleigh Heads Queensland made the decals and stickers for the ’53. Thanks Gordon and thanks Lesley J.