Monday, September 26, 2016

A Day at a Local Car Museum

This region that we have chosen in our retirement never ceases to amaze us with its hidden treasures.
Cafes, Restaurants, Shops, Antiques, Vineyards, Festivals and the local amazing country side are some of the discoveries that will take years to explore. One of these hidden treasures filled my Sunday morning this weekend.

Celeste and I joined the Cool Country Classic Car Club of Trentham. Yes, we have our own Car Club. It draws in about 110 members from the surrounding region including places such as Daylesford, Castlemaine, Springhill, Blackwood and Kyneton to name just a handful. Last Sunday we were invited to Ivan Smith's collection in his vast multi-roomed warehouse. It was once the manufacturing plant for VDO automotive instruments until its closure some 30 years ago. Ivan bought the premises with the thought of transferring his bus business to the warehouse but this never happened as he eventually sold the bus company to Dysons as part of their expansion plans into the rural districts. Rumour has it that this may have been the last open day of the museum as Ivan now is in his mid-80s.

Prior to the bus company, Ivan had various car franchise business, one being Dodge/Chrysler/Valiant in Kyneton and this was the beginning of his prized collection. Not only does he have the very first Valiant R-series but also the last Valiant Charger off the production line. Ivan is also a person who shares his good fortune with others, in particular supporting the children of Timor. This he has been doing since his first trip to the region some 20 years ago. On that first trip (many were to follow) Ivan was deeply touched by the poverty of these children, many who became orphans due to the conflict with the Indonesian invading troops.

Back to the tour through Ivan Smith's car museum in Kyneton - I'll let the pictures tell the story.

As we walked through the first rooms we discovered this was not just a car museum. 

Ivan's collection, although predominantly based on his time as a Chrysler Dealer, he also has a passion for very early motorcycles and motor cars.

The Valiant R and S series were for me, the most exciting design of the Marque. It had what I consider a European flair about it. As the Valiant "developed", I think it lost its individuality and took on a look, not with a lot of difference from it's competitors, Holden and Ford.

I actually didn't take further photos of the other Valiants in the collection which may tell you something about my interests in cars. The following photos however did take my interest.

Did I hear you ask me what I considered would be my take home car? 
I certainly like the very first R-Series Valiant, however it was not my favourite. 
It was a toss-up between the aluminium bodied vintage Vauxhall and the lovely Sunbeam Alpine convertible. On reflection, the Sunbeam wins as it would be a more usable car for todays driving.


  1. Great post and fabulous photos. I do love the old cars they have so much more character than they ones of today. Take care D and N

    1. I'm the same with older cars. The trouble is - like you, we've sold too many of our treasures from the past.

  2. wow!!! awesome pictures.. my son will be super excited.. if he sees these pictures..

    1. Thank you for your compliment. Hope to be more consistent with our posts now that I've settled into retirement.


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