A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

Family picnic in the hills, the silver Nissan Patrol in the background Carolyn’s brother’s new car.


We were in need of a family car, the Camira a spacious 5 seater with a huge boot at a very good price, and a dealer willing to trade the L300 bus.  The family car, we drove that car everywhere, covering 200,000 Km of relatively trouble-free motoring. 

Comfortable, underpowered but if you suck your foot down it would go and go. 

The most notable trip, 1988 drive to Brisbane for the World Expo.  Three days up, two weeks in Queensland and 3 days plus back.  Trouble-free motoring, “Carabunga”, as the Ninja Turtles’ would say. 

Sarah our daughter inherited the Camira, her girlfriends and her drove it all over enjoying the freedom of motoring to explore the world


Lesson learned about Timing belts, do not try to get that extra 1000 Km out of the belt, change it when the manufacturer recommends.  Our first belt eventually snapped a couple of teeth off and the engine ‘no go’, fortunately, it did not bend any valves in the process.  

I did become very apt at changing belts without having to strip the engine down, a practice perfected with the need to change camshafts.  The single overhead camshaft was the weak point of the engine, it would ware quite quickly and the last 3 camshafts were only lasting 60,000 Km before the clacking valve noise was louder than the radio.

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