This column was originally published in the February/March 1984 issue of Street Machine.
Up around where I live in Sydney there is a proliferation of ‘upmarket’ cars – Ferraris, Porsches, Mercs, etc. Generally they belong to either successful businessmen or businessmen working some sort of successful scam. And yes, they have houses to match their motor cars.
Another popular brand of automobile is the Volvo, but it is the opinion of those in the know that they are owned and driven by divorcees who scored the car as part of their settlement – something to take little Anthony or Rebecca to private school in.
While the drivers of the flash vehicles are pretty well aware of the world around them, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the Swedish taxi brigade. Because of their rather exclusive driving style, Volvo punters make the 45-minute drive home each night very exciting indeed. In Volvo’s defence, though, they did have the courtesy to provide parking lights that automatically come on with the ignition. I’m sure this safety measure wasn’t provided for the occupants of ‘the world’s safest car’ but as a warning to other road users. It gives you the chance to either take the next turn or man your battle stations.
To this end, I figured if I was going to go ‘Volvo hunting’ then I would need the appropriate armament. After all, look what the Bismark did to the British navy in WW2. There was no point in going light weight
To this end, I figured if I was going to go ‘Volvo hunting’ then I would need the appropriate armament. After all, look what the Bismark did to the British navy in WW2. There was no point in going light weight. Cars like Mazdas and Nissans don’t hold up too well in street skirmishes and I sure as hell wasn’t going to subject my beloved ’57 Chevy to such ordeals – even with quick release bull bars! So in an effort to provide the perfect vehicle of war and to prove to most of you that I’m not completely biased toward Chevrolet (even though they do make the best damn cars in the world – always have, always will), I lashed out and bought a 1974 Chrysler by Chrysler.
Before we go any further, I must stress that this fine machine isn’t a tarted-up Valiant, goodness no! It is a Chrysler, and if Walter P. was alive today then this is the car he would be driving to work in. This car has breeding, a heritage and a long bloodline. It also has a 360-cube V8 and more boot space than most of today’s cars allow for their passengers.
To tell you the truth, the Chrysler by Chrysler was a deadset steal. It popped up at the auctions and as soon as the auctioneer declared it had a ‘massive’ 5.9-litre engine, everyone in the hall did everything possible to avoid even looking at the car: “Jesus, Martha, don’t scratch your head, he’ll think you’re bidding!” As a result of this distinct disinterest, the car was knocked down to me for a lousy $1350, but the best was yet to come. It turns out it is a one-owner car with 54,000 kilometres (not miles), has every factory option including six-way power seats, cassette/radio, air, power windows, power steering, plus it is set up for towing! It also has three or four very minor rust spots. The really good thing, though, is that it has bumpers made out of steel and because it is pre-ADR 27a there is no pollution junk smothering the engine
The battle station’s alarm sounded and we took quick evasive action and positioned ourselves behind this lone terrorist, got him in our sights, adjusted speed to ‘contact’ mode and POW! Gave him our best shot right up the chutney. Australia one, Sweden nil.
Battleship Colossus – that’s what I call it – drives like a dream, I really do love it, and it has already proved itself as a fighting machine. Yep, sure enough, a few days after it became mine we were on a routine patrol to work when the enemy – adopting guerrilla tactics – came out of the blue and attempted to stuff Battleship Colossus into a row of parked cars. The battle station’s alarm sounded and we took quick evasive action and positioned ourselves behind this lone terrorist, got him in our sights, adjusted speed to ‘contact’ mode and POW! Gave him our best shot right up the chutney. Australia one, Sweden nil.
When it’s not deflecting wimpy foreign cars, the Chrysler by Chrysler is a very pleasant car to drive. Oh sure, the handling and steering leave a lot to be desired, and you soon get used to people calling you Luigi or asking what compelled you to buy 15 feet of bad taste. But I figure I’ll keep it for as long as I can afford the fuel. Thank you, Walter.