A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

Ray’s 1934 Pontiac 4-door tourer – it’s actually a 1934 Plymouth, but pretty similar to the Pontiac.


Family Friends’ Cars Growing Up

Family cars of the Pontiac variety, the enjoyment children got from them.

Pontiac Tourer (1934)

Phill and I met through our family church, Saint Phillips. His family car was a 1934 Pontiac Tourer.  A large four-door tourer that was able to accommodate a family of 8.  The best thing about ‘The Tourer’ was the very soft suspension. 

Phill said it had an experimental suspension fitted on that year’s model only.

After church, on Sundays, Phil, I, and other church boys would jump up on the running boards and bounce the Tourer “up and down, up and down”.  We would feel that we were bouncing the wheels off the ground.

The suspension travel would have been 8 to 10 inches all up.

I can picture us kids getting carried away trying to bounce the wheels off the ground.  It was definitely a bit of fun after church and better than some playground apparatus, we imagined.

Sidenote about Ray

I met Ray on a Princess Cruise back in 2011. After meeting him on the cruise, he emailed a photo of his Pontiac, “how neat” I thought.

Another connection with A Life in Cars.

So I forwarded the picture to Phill, and he was suitably impressed commenting, “that’s a very nice car! A good photograph too.” Phill, amongst other things, happens to be a photography enthusiast.

“It was great you were able to meet up with Ray,” Phill commented, helping to rediscover the memory of Phill’s family’s Pontiac.

Pontiac Sedan (1939)

In primary school, I had a friend called Peter and his dad’s car was a 1939 Pontiac Sedan. A car that could accommodate a family 7.

From our family picture album, the Pontiac at Kingston Park Camping Area, where the family friends would gather for the Summer holidays.

I can remember a time we were diving along Islington Road (now Regency Road).  Peter was urging his dad to do 40 MPH, in an area limited to 35. 

As Peter knew, we were quickly approaching a hump in the road, where the road crossed over an effluent channel.

It was one of those spots where you would “bounce” over the hump, only to feel your stomach float up and quickly drop down in a flutter.  This was enough to excite any young boy; just as I would do with my son and his friend years later. 

And sure enough, Peter’s dad would indulge us with a quiet blip of the accelerator, and up and over we would go.  “Oh! To be young again!

I can recall a similar experience, once when I would get to tag along with Peter on his family’s regular Sunday drive, out into the country.  Quite often, the outing would include a mushroom or blackberry picking, when the season permitted.  And this particular day we were touring the hills around Willunga.

On one particularly undulating road, the Pontiac would surge “up” and “down” one steep rise after another; providing that floating stomach thrill.

“How good was that…!” Peter and I exclaimed, “can we do it again?”

Speed up the rise, zoom down.

Speed up the next rise and zoom down again.

The sudden rise of the stomach as we passed over the crests the sudden fall of the stomach as we drove over the undulations.

“Can we do it again? Can we do it again?  Please?  Can we?” we asked Peter’s dad.

Kingston Park Camping area

Looking South, note the massive Pine tree, which is depicted on the Park’s Sticker

Looking North from the entrance, note the Change rooms Ladies to the left Man to the right, and the Toilet adjacent.

Our family would go to Kingston Park Camping Park for part of the Christmas Holidays

What an experience, by day running about the place exploring the park. teaming up with other children, swimming, exploring the rocks to the south Marino Rocks searching for crabs, to the north Seacliff, and the sandhill, with Brighton Beach for the most adventurous. In the evening there would be walking through the water with a light-catching Garfish. A special treat would be the showing of Movie Films at night. We would only be there for a week or two, many other families would be there for all the School Holidays, with the fathers commuting to work by day. Those were the days when life moved at a slower pace and those holidays seemed to go on forever,

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