I sent a message to Martin Barlow today in a cheeky tribute to our beloved former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.

Martin owns the VQ Caprice, once registered C*2, and used as Hawke's run around mostly for Hawke's personal use.

This magnificent piece of GM-H history displayed at the Statesman Nationals, at the Shepparton Motor Museum, last October.

Martin and his wife travelled to Shepparton from Canberra to attend the Statesman gathering.


He had owned the car since he bought it on 10 September 1994.  It had been purchased as a family car for space. "It's only now that its history is hitting home," Martin said.

It started life as C*2 on 28 March 1991, which was Bob Hawke's and then Paul Keating's personal car (with driver). On 12 June 1992, it became C*1 which was Paul Keating's official car until 26 August 1994 when it was sent to auction when I bought it. It is entirely original as per how it was when I bought it. It was one of 4 Series one VQ's used by the PM in Canberra. two armoured and two non-armoured.

Hawke's passing reminded me of some happenings when I worked in the Australian Army, based at Victoria Barracks, in Sydney.  During his retirement, Mr Hawke often parked his car (he drove it) in the central car park.

I was curious about what he was doing, visiting often.  It turned out that he would walk across the car park, past the parade ground and out the back gate.  At the time, soldiers were still guarding the rear entrance and would salute as Mr Hawke went by.

What he was doing was attending the cricket at the SCG and using the Army car park as a secure place to have his wheels.  Funny.

Another funny story about this car happened on Day Two of last year's Statesman Nationals.  Nationals photographer Jacqui Hayward and I were following Martin and his wife in C*2.

Here's Martin Barlow's photo of C*2 taken today — outside Parliament with flag half-mast

We noticed that he braked very deliberately close to the Cosgrove Golf Club.  What had happened was a fox chasing a snake — lunch — almost ended up in Martin's grill.

The close-encounter made a good story when we all marshalled up at the Devenish Silos.  And it remains a good yarn today and was shared at the luncheon we enjoyed at Dookie pub.

Martin was kind enough when contacted today, to take the old girl out from under its cover and take a photograph with Parliament in the background.

We hope this story brings a few memories back to Stato fans who were at last year's Nats.

After visiting the Shepparton Visitor Centre, in Shepparton, the centre has agreed to help the Statesman Nationals.

It has already listed the event on its online event calendar.  It will also support us by promoting our poster by putting it in its front window before the dates.

It also has about 50 prints of the Nats event for visitors to take away.

The centre is putting together a unique goodie bag for Nats participants, so they can — if they choose — try out some of Shepparton's many and varied attractions.  They will be available for collection at the Shepparton Motor Museum on Saturday 19.

You can see the council's event listing here: Visit Shepparton Events.  If you are looking for things to do, check out the Visit Shepparton Website also (link at the bottom of this page).

The centre is open 7 days a Week at Address: 33-35 Nixon St, Shepparton VIC 3630.


This story is about turning a tragic event into something great.  Dave Miller's recently-purchased WL Caprice suffered a "keying" on all of its panels.  A mongrel had keyed all the doors, front panels, roof, rear quarters and boot.  I was the deliverer of the bad news to Dave, as I had turned up at his place to drop off some boxes for his forthcoming shift.

I noticed the damage after sitting down at a garden table, looking at his car.  Poor Dave didn't take the news well.  But Shannons was receptive to his claim, and they put up an amount of claim which allowed Tatura Panels to work its magic on the old girl.

This weekend was Dave's first outing with the repainted and now polished Odyssey Blue Caprice.  Dave had ordered a very slight tweak of the factory colour and ended up with this magnificent-looking shade.  The boys at Tatura Panels (link at bottom of page) did an amazing job.  The paint is so good it would pass a concours inspection and is definitely better than GM-H pumped out when new.

Nationals photographer Jacqui Hayward put her camera to work out the back of Emerald Bank, where the trees were in an Autumnal mood.  The final shots looked more like a GM-H marketing brochure than just regular photographs.

Great work Jacqui.  Everybody loves the photo, and Dave's car now looks better than new.  You can meet Dave at the Statesman Nationals, 19-20 October, this year.  He is one of the stalwarts involved in the organising of the biggest Statesman Event of the year.

HSCCA Queenslander Stephanie O'Neill is coming to the Statesman Nationals this year.  She and her mob are coming down from Brisbane with this prize-winning WH in pink.  It is spectacular.

We are planning to show this car inside the Shepparton Motor Museum with a couple of other special arrivals.  Last year we had the famous HUDINI and SYKDUP with Mal McLeod's SLEEPER VQ under the roof.  This year should be just as exciting and it's made more so with Stephanie's car travelling down.

She and her partner have been putting in the hours making their car a custom standout and we can't wait to see it in person.  Stephanie also owns a pink Holden Monaro.  That's commitment to GM-H V8s and a striking colour. UPDATE: Stephanie is now unable to attend this year's Nationals.  She has a commitment that takes her out of play but hopes to be at another Nats in the future.