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Clyde Classic takes over Nelligen with exhaust fumes, passion & history

Elise Searson 5 August 2019

Daren Jones with his Best in Show winner, Ford Falcon XA GT Coupe. Photo: Elise Searson

The sun was shining, the smell of exhaust was in the air and the passion for all things motorised intoxicated the river village of Nelligen over the weekend. The Clyde River Classic car, bike and boat show attracted a bunch of colourful characters nursing self-confessed “car issues”. 

After buying his car ‘Big Red’ from a mate 12 years ago and doing it up, Daren Jones’ Ford Falcon XA GT Coupe comes from a small run of 868 made in Australia and won best in show, “It was sold originally in Canberra,” Darren says.

Tania Gulson says she’s never been jealous of another woman before her partner’s car ‘Big Red’ stole the lime light. After a couple thousand hours labour and many more dollars ($90,000) to match it’s easy to see why the birth of this car baby became Tania’s competition for time with Daren.

Tania Gulson with Daisy. Photo: Elise Searson

“Daren’s car has gotta be a girl, it’s given me so many dramas,” Tania says. “We both have car issues.”

Tania’s 1970 Pontiac 40/400 was the tow car during her dad’s racing career.  “My dad got it in 71 off the original owner, I grew up in this car, well I got taller, not sure if I grew up.  I’m with my dad in this car, it feels like he is still alive.”

Conversation surrounding cars between the Queanbeyan couple remains strictly divided with the agreement of disagreement between Ford and Holden. So much so they go for Sunday drives in seperate cars.

“We both love driving our cars, we drive to the same destination but in our own cars,” Tania says.

Owner of The Old Steam Packet Hotel Mark Bennett with his daughter Chloe. Photo: Elise Searson

Nelligen came to life on Saturday with 300 cars on show and thousands of car lovers perusing the streets lined with automobile history. Most of the car owners arrived from local car clubs including Moruya, Ulladulla and Bungendore.  Organiser Mark Bennett was ecstatic with the success of the inaugural event. “It’s a great turn out, there’ll most definitely be more shows here in years to come.”

With multiple owners and tales to tell each vehicle resembles a history book on wheels – holding memories of time, place and family.

Peter Marshall from Tuross Head. Photo: Elise Searson

Peter Marshall’s passion for classic bikes started after a ride on his friends 1942 Harley when he was 19.

“At the time I couldn’t afford one but I said one day I’m going to own one. When my dad passed away I inherited his bike which I sold to fund my first old Harley and spent 12 months restoring it than the passion really kicked in. That one ride that guy gave me has ended up costing a lot over the years,” Peter says.

Peter owns four classic bikes including the prestigious and Best in Show winner ‘Indian Chief’ – “It was $28,000 off eBay, I thought it was really cheap but it wasn’t running like I thought. I then sent it to a guy in Gosford to restore who had it for three years and charged me $75,000 to get it up to what it should’ve been when I bought it.

1939 Indian Chief, awarded Best in Show. Photo: Elise Searson

“I think about who owned the Indian before me and where It’s been, it’s a bit of the joy of owning it. I know this 1939 is one of only 39 Indians sold in Australia and it belonged to an old gentleman in Mansfield than a guy bought it in the 80’s and I got it off him. You’re also buying the history of the bike,” Peter says.

From midday, the cars convoyed their way into Batemans Bay returning to Nelligen’s Steampacket Hotel where the show awards were announced and the party kicked on. A full list of the category winners can be found on the Bungendore Car Club’s Facebook page.

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