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Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip

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11 months 2 weeks ago #245318 by Lang
Well the next idiocy has started!

I just bought a beautifully restored 1924 BEAN 14 car. Work is proceeding apace for the recreation of Francis Birtle's 1927 first overland from London to Melbourne in the same type of car. If you do not know about Birtles you should.

www.dirtroaddiaries.com.au/historic-motoring/francis-birtles/

I am putting the expedition together with Bev as support vehicle driver and admin officer as usual. We have decided that we should give some kids 18-22 the adventure of their lifetime as co-drivers with me in the BEAN. For historic reasons which will become apparent after reading Birtle's story we will have an Indian London to Istanbul, an Australian Mumbai-to Kolkata and a Canadian Kolkata to Yangon (Rangoon). The three of them will then share the daily driving with me to Singapore and Darwin to Melbourne. We are working with Rotary to select the three kids in each country. As can be imagined they will have to be very special kids to accept an open cockpit in snow across Europe and NT in the height of summer. Complaints and entitlement are not on the agenda. They will also be able to double clutch after a few lessons!

No details as yet but we are on the usual sponsorship/support treadmill to get the operation funded. If you know of somebody who might want to get involved in this historic Australian event let me know, we are not asking for millions. Departure London hoped for the end of the year.

Photos of Birtles original car in the Australian National Museum and mine, now on its way to Brisbane from a museum (and deceased estate) in SA.

More to follow as it comes to hand.





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11 months 2 weeks ago #245319 by Zuffen
Replied by Zuffen on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Your trip will be a lot easier and quicker than old Doug's.

Do you plan on dismantling the car and re-assembling it to stay true to the story?
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11 months 1 week ago - 11 months 1 week ago #245320 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Not sure who Doug is and don't know about any dismantling. Was it another trip?

Zuffen maybe this is what you meant. Crossing the Naga Hills from India to Burma to be the first vehicle ever to drive east out of India. The car has very high first gear like most cars of that era. Birtles removed the wheels and chained the brake drums. Took them two months to drag the car through the jungle up and down near verticle slopes. They (with young Canadian back-packer Percy Stollery who Birtles picked up in Calcutta) nearly died from starvation and malaria. The modern road follows their path exactly and takes two hours.

Last edit: 11 months 1 week ago by Lang.
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11 months 1 week ago #245338 by Zuffen
Replied by Zuffen on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
I may be confusing his trip with (I think?) Dutton.

I know one of those very early efforts required the vehicle to be dismantled and re-assembled.

I think you will have a great experience. I'm jealous.

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11 months 1 week ago - 11 months 1 week ago #245456 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Some more BEAN photos. I have to start putting on all the original stuff like hood, tyre pump, spot lights, bumper bar, long range tank etc.

Here is Birtles leaving Australia House in London October 1927. The girl on the left is Miss Australia, Phyllis Von Allwyn, and Bert Hinkler is on the right. Hinkler flew over Birtles in Burma on his first solo flight to Australia



Last edit: 11 months 1 week ago by Lang.
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11 months 6 days ago #245462 by mammoth
I can see a clock and a speedo. What are all the other gauges?
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11 months 6 days ago #245466 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Don't know, I have not seen it yet. I suspect the original was not so well set up with jewelry.

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11 months 6 days ago #245471 by cobbadog
Also what is that tube thingy runnin g horizontal on the dash?

Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe
Working on more play time.

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11 months 6 days ago #245476 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
That is a dash light
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11 months 5 days ago #245491 by Zuffen
Replied by Zuffen on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
The left hand dial looks like a clock with a moveable rim.

An early travel clock. Porsche 911's had a movable dial on their clocks so you could set the time you planned to be somewhere and then see how you are going against the average speed you've set yourself.
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