Easily Beats it to Mount Victoria
Researched and contributed by BCCA Historian, Eric North from the Lithgow Mercury 8th October 1929
The “Caves Express” left Sydney at nine minutes past eight on Friday morning and arrived at Mount Victoria at 10.35 a.m. It left on the return journey at 11.07 a.m arriving in Sydney at 1.30p.m. The trial was carried off without a hitch. This train revolutionises travel to the mountains resorts.
Mr Norman “Wizard” Smith, motoring editor of the Sunday Times seized the opportunity of this trial trip to race the train on both journeys. He easily out distanced it both ways, a remarkable performance when it is considered the train at one point reached 64 miles per hour.
“Wizard” Smith’s trip from Sydney to Mount Victoria, took one hour 41 minutes and the return journey was accomplished in one hour 54 minutes. He used a stock model 1930 Buick sedan kindly lent him by Mr. Boyd Edkins, head of Boyd Edkins Ltd.
The car is new, has not been properly run in, and is in no sense of the word a racing car. It is exactly as sold to the public. In view of the newness, Mr. Smith never exceeded 60 miles an hour and as he did not want to “rev it up” in second gear, he did the whole journey in top. His time included slow moving traffic out of the city and it took 23 minutes to reach the turn off at Parramatta, he slowed off through every town and hamlet and “took no risks” with traffic laws.
He simply kept going and except for the fact that “Wizard” Smith can negotiate corners and curves at speeds that would be unsafe for less experienced drivers, the ordinary tourist in a Buick sedan could have put up the same times
Mr Smith was waiting on the platform at Mount Victoria for the “Caves Express” when she arrived and was entertained along with the press representatives at morning tea by railway officials. They were enthusiastic about the run which is not competitive with the “Caves Express” carrying big volume traffic.
While awaiting the train Mr. Smith demonstrated the new car to several prominent local residents running them some distance down Mount Victoria Pass.
On his return journey he made a stop of nearly 15 minutes at Don Harkness’ works on Parramatta Road where his “mystery car” is nearing completion.
Historians note: The new machine referred to in the original article would probably have been the ANZAC, a Rolls Royce 18.7 litre aircraft engined monster mounted on a Cadillac limousine chassis onto which was was mounted a streamlined racing car body. He used this car in his attempts on the 10 mile speed records in Australia and New Zealand.
Posted 02/2004