SCoty Baker traveled nearly 4500km to this year’s Red CentreNATS and back in his killer Windsor-powered ’59 Ranchero – with good mate and co-pilot Ross Nevett’s ’42 Harley WLA in the tub!
So you went all the way with that combo, Scotty?
Yes, it was my first time in Red Central and my first time in Alice Springs. Three of us decided to take our vehicles in convoy.
How did you develop Ranchero?
A few months before the event, Rasco found me 302 Windsor. It had been sitting in his partner’s shed, unknown, for nearly 30 years. I bought it, gave it a new timing chain and cover, a kit by Carby, a few new gaskets and a rattle can rebuilt and it ran like a dream! Then another good mate of mine, Daryl Pugh, and I rebuilt the C4 trans. Then another good mate, Steve Manziel and his son Wylie, spent a weekend with me pulling the old six out and fitting the V8, drive-in/drive-out style. It was a great effort by these boys.
What else came along for the ride?
There was a ’59 Ranchi, an AP6 Valiant ute and a ’66 Valiant station wagon. Steve bought the 273 V8 AP6 ute from me six months ago as a basket case, and he just put it together, drove and registered it. It was his idea to take these contradictions to the ‘Nats’. Then Wylie decided he wanted in on the fun and dropped a freshly built 318 into his VC Valiant wagon a few days ago. We went in caravans, camping all the way. Steve’s wife Renee came along too, and cooked up a storm every night.
Many plays on the trip?
We had a surprisingly good trip, but on the first day we had an accident. We met our colleagues at Gunbower at 10am, and off we went. We got to Robinvale and met up with another friend, and the ute went to balance his front wheels as he was shaking a bit. When the toddler was re-tying the wheels at the tire site, he broke two studs. These were not left-handed threads as you might expect. They were on the right hand side.
It’s not really ideal.
The studs for the 1965 Valiant disc brake hubs are a bit harder to find. Our friend runs a local autopro where we were going, so we could get some studs, but they weren’t right. So we tore a beer can into strips, wrapped them around the roots and hit them from behind. And then we welded the broken ones to an old tent peg so they wouldn’t just twist when we finished them. We were able to get back on the road, but lost three hours, so we only got as far as Mildura that day. But other than that, we had trouble free motoring for about 4800 Keys.
What will happen on the way home?
The trouble we encountered on the way back was heavy rain, which we had experienced on the first day as well. Have you seen the roof of the Port Augusta Safeway getting stuck? We passed through Port Augusta that morning, so there was plenty of water.
Did you enjoy RCN?
I liked it; It was a lot of fun. The highlight was the street cruise. We couldn’t believe how local people came out and supported him. It was just amazing, something we had never seen before.