A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

Pictured with the sportier GSR wheels & custom pin striping, in Bahamas Grove

1999

Lancer GLX 5 door Hatchback

The Camira was still hanging-in there at about this time, when suddenly Donald and Jacqui offered us their Mitsubishi Lancer GLX 5 door hatch back. 

The price was too good to resist and I even thought we should probably offer more. However, Donald suggested it was fair price, as the car had done in excess of 230,000km.  It was running well but it was 10 years old.  

Well the Lancer was better than running well, it was actually a great little car.  And I became a hatchback owner.  So much more versatile than a sedan, without the family car image of the station wagon.  Versatile, with all the carrying space of a wagon; and I loved wagons.  

The Lancer with its 1500cc motor 5 speed gearbox did everything I ever asked of it without a fuss.  

Towing trailers

Nic was competing in Pedal Prix for his school at around this time and we were always fundraising. One of the other boys’ fathers had connections with Peters Ice Creams and we were always going to events to sell ice creams from a mobile ice cream cat.

Well the Lancer wall called into action.  We would tow a small trailer from event to event, which allowed us to move the ice cream cart to various different venues.

Selling ice creams was actually a very rewarding activity that provided us with some funny memories, some much valued fundraising and some general life experience for the boys (as they sold the ice creams). 

One of the best activities was when where the Lancer showed it towing prowess through the Adelaide hills.  It was the opening the Adelaide Hills Heysen Tunnels, and we had the rights to sell ice cream at the public launch event. 

Waves after wave of visitors walked up and down the tunnels, and the boys sold thousands of dollars of ice creams – as the weather was just perfect. 

Towing the TR4a body, pictured in Bahamas Grove.

A maintenance free car

The Lancer never missed a beat. It took many longer road trips, including runs to Melbourne and down to the South East of the state.  It was a maintenance free car, which was a contrast to the Camera; which required continual servicing and repairs. 

There was this on time, when I didn’t pay enough attention to the gearbox oil levels.  

After the run to Melbourne I thought the diff bearings were a little noisy or a little loose.  The diff had this kind of ‘growl’ to it.  So, on closer inspection I discovered there was only a teaspoon of oil in the differential. 

I was truck with a decision. What to do? I didn’t want to part with the trusty Lancer and I had no money for a replacement car.  Well I had the local Mitsubishi (friendly) wrecker, replace the diff and clutch. 

A run about for Nic

A little further down the track, it came time to upgrade the Lancer. It had served us well, clocking up around 320,000 kms.

I actually passed it onto our son Nicholas, who continued to use the Lancer as a cheap runabout, in lieu of the thirstier HR (which he preferred to use on weekends).

Nicholas found the Lancer only lasted another year or two, and 20,000 km, before the clutch began seriously slipping and it was time to say goodbye; he traded it in against his Black Holden Astra.

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