Hawkesbury District Independent June 2017 #85 - Page 12

local life my other life: Mark Madden (l) and Shanon Bowman beside the legendary ‘28 Plymouth Tourer. The car hasn’t been restored - it is in the same condition - albeit with a few “wrinkles” - as it came off the assembly line. by Greg Martin who, back in 1975, accompanied his father, Ron, to a vintage car show which was I contacted Bligh Park’s Mark Madden part of the Macquarie Festival at Windsor. to chat to him about his recently purchased “Dad was a keen vintage and historic car vintage car, little realising that the story enthusiast and his passion certainly rubbed would involve a car which puts the story off on me,” Mark explained. of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang in the shade, “Indeed, I remember when I was just six arguably Australia’s greatest adventurer or so and playing on an old wreck of a 1928 and not one, but two love affairs which Plymouth which sat in the back yard of one blossomed after being unrequited for of our elderly neighbours, Cecil Lavender. several decades. “So, I was over-the-moon when Dad Last January Mark and his mate and and I spotted a ‘28 Plymouth Tourer at the side-kick, Shanon Bowman, ventured Macquarie Festival. up to Brunswick Heads to seal the deal “We ended up chatting to the owner on purchasing a 1928 Chrysler Plymouth who turned out to be Phil Gander and it Tourer from Phil Gander who had owned was this chance meeting which many years the vehicle for 60 years. down the track helped persuade Phil into Phil had bought the tourer off Lithgow’s selling the car to me. John Farrel who snapped up the brand- “I had heard about the car being for new vehicle for 140 pounds and eight sale - Phil was 91 and was looking to find shillings straight out of the showroom in his old car a friendly home - so I contacted ‘28. him, told him I had met him back in 1975 During its 60 years under Phil’s and offered him $14,000. ownership, the car, nicknamed “Rattling “Phil told me he had been offered Salvation” raised a tick under $1 million US$28,000 by an American but because for a host of charitable organisations by of that conversation with a little boy back competing umpteen times in all the famous in 1975 and the fact he wanted the car to Australian car rallies, beat an aeroplane remain in Australia, he agreed to sell it to and a motorbike in a round-Australia race me.” and on occasions morphed into a train and That’s one now requited love out of the paddle wheeler. way, now let’s look at the second love affair. That’s right - a train and a paddle A couple of years after John Farrel bought wheeler! the car in 1928, he had a photo taken of Rattling Salvation, which has never the Plymouth with all the family on board. been out of registration for all its 89 years One of the Farrel kids was six-year-old since coming off the production line, daughter Lesley, who nearly two decades has clocked up just over 1,200,000 miles on met young Phil Gander who not only (1,931,213km) - most of it doing the hard married the beautiful young lady but also yakka on outback roads! later managed to persuade John Farrel into That’s circumnavigating Earth at the parting with another member of the family equator on 48 occasions! - the ‘28 Plymouth Tourer. All those miles using the very same Sadly, Phil Gander passed away only 21-horse power, 4-cylinder motor which a few weeks after selling the Plymouth to was placed under the hood back in 1928! Mark. Lesley Gander’s relationship with Phil The first of those initially unrequited was so strong that for 60 years she happily loves involves 53-year-old Mark Madden shared him with his other love! Phil Gander was an absolute legend and his adventuresome spirit endeared him to all who crossed his path. “Phil really was a bloody marvel,” Mark said. “He manufactured rims which he put on the car, lifted her onto the old abandoned Casino to Murwillumbah railway tracks and did his Casey Jones impersonation. “On another occasion, Phil constructed a punt and rigged up the rear wheels to Here’s the grand old car driving a paddler wheeler down the power two paddle wheels Murray River. 12 ISSUE 85 // JUNE 2017 www.hdinews.com.au THE hawkesbury INDEPENDENT