For August, the monthly MBNSW night drive was back up north. The route started in Windsor, taking the putty Road up to Bull Ridge road, across to the Sackville Ferry, up to the top of Wisemans Ferry road, then to Dural McDonalds down the Old Northern Road. These are all really nice driving roads, with little traffic at night. While the night before had been a big downpour, the weather was great on the day of the drive. We had nine cars on the drive in the end. This is a really good number to keep the group together.
We started at McDonalds Windsor. On the night we had four W124s (My 300TE, two 300Es and a 230E), three W126s (a 380SEC, 380SEL Limo and a 300SEL) , an R107 500SL and a Series 3 Jaguar XJ6. W124s and W126s are generally the mainstay of these drives. It was nice to have the XJ6 along as well. It was a nice example and fresh from a new pair of fuel tanks.
We started out and were able to keep the group together fairly well getting out of Windsor. Most of this road was good driving roads with a few bends rated around 80km/h. Great for a night time cruise.
The first waypoint was Sackville ferry, one of the five car ferries operating in Sydney. Our group of 9 was able to fit onto one ferry, even with a stretched limo. We’ve taken the Berowra ferry a few times on Night Drives. This was our first time on the Sackville Ferry.
After the ferry, the route took us on some of the sweeping corners of Sackville Ferry Road, then Wisemans Ferry road. The 300TE is very nimble on roads like these. On this drive, I had also been trying out some walkie talkies from Ali Express that I plan to use for a longer road trip later in the year. These proved invaluable, as not far down the Old Northern Road, one of the cars broke down.
Even though I was a few Km ahead, the walkie talkies allowed me to turn the first half of the convoy around and go back and see what was going on. The 300SEL had stopped dead. And it hadn’t chosen a very good place to do so. It was in a section just after a corner on the 90km/h section of the Old Northern Road. This section didn’t have a proper shoulder either. We positioned a few cars behind it with hazard lights on, but the big rigs roar through here at night, so it wasn’t an ideal place to be.
The 300SEL would turn over, but the engine would not run. We quickly tried the obvious, such as to bypass the fuel pump relay, with no effect. Somebody had a multi-meter and there was power getting to the fuel pumps, but they didn’t seem to be priming.
At that point, a good Samaritan in a ute stopped. He had a tow strap and offered to take the car to a safer place. We got everything hooked up, and he pulled the 300SEL about two kilometers down the road where there was a very wide shoulder. This was a much safer spot, especially as we expected the car would probably need to be left overnight. Luckily the owner of the 300SEL had come with the owner of the Limo, so a ride home was possible in the limo.
This was our first real breakdown on one of the night drives. We’ve had a few cars pull out due to various issues, but this was the first time a car required a tow. And we expected it would be first time a car would need to be flat-bedded away.
At this point with nothing much else we could do on the side of the Old Northern Road, the rest of the group went to the final destination at McDonalds. Due to the breakdown, it turned out to be quite a late night. When I got home at about 1:30AM, there was a message waiting for me from the driver of the limo. After about 30-40 minutes, the 300SEL had sprung into life, and was driven home without incident. Not only was this great news, but it preserved our record that no car has yet been flat-bedded away from one of the night drives. Despite the breakdown, it was an enjoyable night.
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