#1281. Traffic in my street – part 2

By Pete Guaron | Travel Photography

Apr 26

You can read part 1 of this series here 🙂


Several years ago, I came out of the butcher’s to go to my car, and a rather rough looking teenager saw the oval “country” sticker on the back of my car, proudly proclaiming “F” for France,with the colours of the national flag, of course. He took one look at that, one look at me, and snarled at me “**** off, frog!” (In Aussie gergot,the French are frogs – Italians are dagos – the Greeks and most others are wogs). When I got home and told my wife, she laughed her head off.

So later on I had a T-shirt made, proudly proclaiming that the contents (me) was a “FRENCHIE”, with a great big green & yellow frog on it. Then recently, I walked out of my front door and found this van parked there. I couldn’t help laughing at it! Too funny!


OK – let’s get down to business. This is supposed to be about interesting vehicles, mostly in my own street. It’s amazing what I see parked here! This is just a random sample.


This is one of several Bentleys that turn up here from time to time. One of them belongs to a couple who haven’t bothered gettting married – she’s worth $70 million, apparently, and he’s worth $40 million. They love each other, they have everything they want, and that’s enough. This Bentley however belongs to someone else.

There’s also a Roller hanging around here – several actually, but this one is around here more often than the others.


I’m afraid I lost interest in RR after the Siver Shadow. A very dear friend of mine had one of them – not to show off, but simply because he had lots of long distance driving to do and his Rolls did the trick – made things far easier for him in his old age.

And yes it’s true – you CAN stand a pencil on the dash of a Rolls while you’re driving along. Keith even applied the brakes, and the pencil STILL didn’t fall over! Not that I could ever afford one. Even if I could, I’d never buy one – Keith had a valid reason to. I don’t!

The more recent models don’t impress me half as much. They just conjure up that expression “vulgar, ostentatious display of wealth!” They lack class and style – I think this one in particular is just plain hideous. But comfortable of course. As always.

Next, please!


Just the thing, for a driver (male) who was never able to afford the sports car of his dreams, when young enough to really enjoy it. This one likely belongs to someone who should have chosen a 4-door hatch. I suppose I should accept it’s a paradox – the young can appreciate them but not afford them – the elderly can afford them, but they have a serious image problem if they buy one!

We used to have one living opposite, who at the age of 60 bought a Porsche Boxster. It was really sad – he couldn’t drive the thing for nuts, and the way he used to crash, crunch and grind the gears was unforgiveable.

Speaking of which, this one might be more appropriate.


Some sort of SUV, I seem to recall. And yes, that was genuinely painted on the rear of it, to alert other drivers that they should try to overtake, instead of following it.

How about something from the other side of “the Pond”? – a Lincoln Thunderbird?


Or a Jensen-Healey? (This one belongs to the father of a friend of mine. People in other parts of the world talk about “six degrees of separation”. People here laugh, and say there’s only one, here. Or none at all, maybe!)


This on the other hand – it’s simply outrageous! A Lambo! Or more correctly, Lamborghini Huracan. Top speed, over 300kph. 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds – you’d probably feel more comfortable, wearing a pressurised suit. Why on earth would anyone use one to drive down to my street, just to buy a cup of coffee? In fact, given that the overall Australian vehicle speed limit is only 110 kph, why would anyone buy one at all? Brilliant car – but I think it would be more suitable on a German Autobahn, than the suburb where I live.


Maybe this one makes more sense. A Smart roadster – as best I can work out what the hell it is. Why don’t they put labels on cars, like they do on wine bottles?


One of the world’s all time classic cars! Why? Because with this car, Citroen introduced the world to monocoque construction. This is the famous Citroen Light 15 – also known as the Citroen Traction Avant, because it has front wheel drive.


Front-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension had been established in the mass market by  Auto Union and others some years before. But the Traction Avant pioneered integrating these into a mass-production, crash resistant unitary,  monocoque body. This unitary construction is now used for virtually all car construction.

It was produced for over 20 years, and Citroen sold about 760,000 of them. Huge, for those days!

My opinion is coloured by the bodywork, as much as the suspension etc. With the Light 15, the world was introduced to the idea of monocoque construction. And if it hadn’t been such a roaring success when it finally hit the street, Citroen would have gone broke!

And finally – I HAD to include this. I’m far from being the only “frog” (frenchman) in the district – we even have a french restaurant 50 metres along the street from my front door, now. But the guy who own this lives around the corner, and absolutely treasures it.

The Citroen DS – the greatest car ever made! And it’s not just his opinion. Or mine. Watch this clip, before you drool on the photo


The DS – or “Goddess” – took over from the Light 15 – and flooded the roads of the world. The suspension was like none other.

And the one around the corner (shown below) has the headlights with a further improvement (introduced on 1967) in the form of headlights which tracked with the steering – to point around the corner you were taking, instead of pointing off to the side of the road, like every other car’s headlights. At a guess, I’d say it was made between 1972 and 1975.

Again, a production run of 20 years – but double the sales of its predcessor – almost 1.5 million sold, around the world. Proves what manufacturers can achieve, when they sell things customer want – instead of stuff manufacturers are simply trying to sell. (Bet that resonates, in photographic circles!)


And then of course there’s an almost endless stream of Porsches. My next door neighbour (well actually he lives on the others side of the river – just owns the place next to me) races Porsches at the speedway, has a separate garage for his collection of Porsches a kilometre from his house, and STILL has 2 or 3 garaged at home, as well. No surprise, then, that whenever I show him a photo of a Porsche in this street, he almost always knows the owner!


When I was a kid, the main sports cars were MG’s, Austin-Healey’s and (later) E-type Jaguars. If you’ve never had a ride in an E-type, you should try it some time! I had several MGB’s – loved them, but love is fickle, and I sold them off to get hold of a Morgan. Sorry – no longer have any photos of the Moggie!

But here’s a Healey, instead. Not the Jensen-Healey (above), but an Austin-Healey. An incredible sports car!


A couple more bits of local colour, before heading to some more serious stuff. As I’ve said, this is – after all – a predominantly working class area.


This Goliath was actually a bit of a surprise – a shock, really, even for here. While I’m quite used to cranes pumping concrete all over building sites, and road work machinery resurfacing the roads, and the street filling up with fire engines because the nutcases over the road blew up a gas bottle on a barbecue on their balcony, this one takes the cake.

I’m only giving you the bottom portion of it. It was one hell of a crane. And in the space of less than an hour, it lifted a two-storey prefabricated house into position, off waiting delivery trucks – in two sections, one at a time. Started just after 9:00am – all finished by 11:00, except for the process of removing the wrapping paper from the new house.

This crane was a monster – reaching 40 or 50 metres up into the air. Sadly, I’d need a frame very narrow, very tall to post the whole photo on DS, with most of the page alongside it blank, so it wouldn’t be a very good look.

Anyway, here’s something else to look at instead. I don’t know how popular these were elsewhere, but Australians went nuts over them. The original Morris Mini, in “jeep” format. From the sublime to the ridiculous. A mega-crane to a mini-jeep! It’s real name is “GRUNGE”, but that’s painted on the other side of the engine cover.


In the same vein – an SUV fitted out for a camping weekend, with a collapsible tent stuck to the roof, while the owners shovel all their luggage etc on board. This one appealed to me because it’s fitted with solar panels. There are a number of these rigs in the district, but this one is more tuned into fighting climate change. Ignoring its diesel engine, of course.


And another camping rig. A real “Jeep”, this time.


As you’d all know by now, EV’s are the flavour of the month. God knows how the electricity supply system will cope with demand for recharging all of them. And speaking personally, I’ve decided to defer switching for the time being – started revving up for it 4 years ago, but they’ve been way too expensive (and too big) for me so far, and now I keep reading about the dangers of the lithium ion batteries they run on, bursting into flames and burning down houses.

But they’re there, they’re the future, and they get better all the time. Lately, they’ve been accounting for nearly 7% of all new vehicles on the roads in Australia.

Here’s on early-uptaker – made from 2009 to 2021. The Mitsubishi MiEV.


And the world would be incomplete without Elon Musk’s contribution. One on my side of the street, one on the other side of the street – and to get the second one in the frame, I had to wait until a THIRD Tesla drove past, or it would have blocked the view of the second one. Whoever said “nobody’s going to chuck ICE cars and switch to EVs”?


Another Tesla (a model Y) that often parks here has this sticker on the windscreen.


I can’t help feeling sorry for Nikola Tesla. One of the greatest inventors of his time – “used” by Thomas Edison, who employed him and claimed the credit for one of Tesla’s inventions an improved design for Edison’s DC dynamos. And now, “used” all over again, to sell Musk’s motor vehicles.

I believe he invented the AC electric motor.

And the AC system he championed and improved remains the global standard for power transmission, to this date – 80 years after his death!


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  • Steve Mallett says:


    It’s the Citroens and the Austin Healey for me! My Dad had a DS in the mid sixties after owning a Jag and a Daimler, lovely cars both. But the DS was his favourite and thought it the best car he’d ever owned and continued to drive Citroens for the rest of his life. Some of the later models were of rather dubious quality though.

    A few weeks ago I was in Perth for a couple of days, on my way back to the UK, and took the train to Fremantle for the day. What a wonderful place (if one can make such a judgement after so brief a visit) out on the edge of the world. I loved the feel of the place as well as the architectural visuals. I just didn’t have time to say “Hi” but next time….


    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Steve, if you want to see that video clip, just tap on the picture where the arrow is – it reveals a menu from which you can copy the URL onto another web page, to open the Youtube clip on the DS.

      A few weeks back you would probably have missed me anyway – I was in hospital for a month, and I’ve only been out for a bit under 3 weeks.

      My uncle had a Jag Mark 2, and a friend of mine had a bright red E-type. It wasn’t the V-8, but it performed so well I really didn’t see the point of the V8.

    • Pascal Ravach says:

      Hi Steve,
      For those unfamiliar with the DS, it’s useful to mention that Citroen invented the « pneumatic suspension »… it’s only in the last decades that they abandoned it (never looked for the reason); it was adopted by a Japanese manufacturer much later too for one sport car.
      I find that a fabulous invention, but very personally, as a little boy, I was a few times « sea sick » in the DS! The way it gently oscillated sometimes maybe…
      Still respect the approach a lot, though; and there are many Citroen fan club everywhere, a friend of mine in NH, US, owns a DS19, a DS21,… and the « butcher truck »!

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Aah, Pete,
    special cars… !

    When I lived in Germany in the -70s, I saw a VW Beatle with this text on the side:
    ( in German, though.)
    “I gave my Rolls to my butler.”

    Another Beatle had its front remodeled to look like a Rolls…

    ( In the suburbs you didn’t need a calendar – when everybody was out washing their cars it was Sunday.)
    – – –

    I do remember these old Citroën’s from my childhood in Sweden, the Traction Avant
    was fairly common (with engines from 7 CV to 15 CV).
    It was called “Gangstercittran” because it was common in gangster films – “Gangsterlimousine” in Germany.

    I almost bought a used Porsche 356 once…
    I had a hard time to convince myself that I wanted a practical car and not a toy, not to speak of having to learn to handle it in snow!
    ( Although the Porsche 356 – and the totally different SAAB 96 – were often in the top positions in Swedish winter rallies.)
    – – –

    I do agree on newer Rolls’ looks!
    Really Good looking cars are rare – and beautiful cars even rarer.
    And, I think, the same goes for motorcycles – modern ones all too often have an almost brutal air.

    • Pascal Ravach says:

      Hi Kristian,

      My first car was a Beetle 62! Regretted all my life having sold it (even for 8 times what I paid for it!); in my youth, it was – for us non-rich blokes – either the « Deuch », the Citroen 2CV, either the Beetle… these cars had such a charm!
      To heal the miss, I later purchased a VW Scirocco 79 coupé, designed by Giugiaro)… had a lot of fun with that one 🙂

  • Jon Maxim says:

    I had a Citroen DS 21 Pallas in the early 70s in Canada. They were almost unknown in North America then and stopped being sold by the mid 70s. Everywhere I went in Canada and the US, people would stare at it in incredulity, especially when I broke down in the woods of West Virginia that reminded me of “Deliverance”. I believe they are still talking about the flying saucer that came down and pretended it was a car.

    The hydropneumatic suspension it had is still unmatched in any other car I have driven (and I have driven a really wide range). It was both soft – floating and totally stable – but at the same time it stuck the car to the road like glue in fast cornering. I still wonder why every car has not adopted that suspension. There is a rumour that Charles de Gaulle would not allow Citroen to license it to General Motors. But still…

    • Pete Guaron says:

      Ha ha – well I guess that WV was more familiar with Detroit’s products.

      At times, Charles was “un très mauvais garçon” – for instance, blocking the Brits from the EU for ages, and telling the rest of the EU they’d regret it if they ever let them join. But whatever his faults (and we all have some!), his contribution to France’s history is beyond any price or measure.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Hi Pete,
    Great pics; thanks to show the Healey; I lived in England a few years, even had a company there, drove a Triumph Spitfire and a MG BGT but never noticed that brand!
    I don’t care much for cars (will be hard to believe reading me now, but still true, and you surely make our PJ very happy!), but I owned a couple great ones in the past, when I had to run every month from my head office in Lausanne, Switzerland to one of my distribution companies in Heidelberg, Germany; my preferred was the BMW 535i because of that fabulous 6-in-line atmo, still one of the best motor designed, the way the car « blended » with the driver, and the totally unassuming look… just a « daddy » car, but mine was half-M kitted (Brembo brakes, special suspensions, Gotti rims, Pirelli P700 ultra-low, etc), and left a couple 911 in the rear mirror if needed by the traffic conditions 🙂
    At a (measured!) constant speed of 272 km/h on the German highways, it was faster for these 700 km than taking a taxi, a train, a plain, a train and a taxi! Later Germany forced manufacturer to put 250 km/h limiters on all cars to avoid super-fast driving on the highways 🙂
    About your collection, my fave is the « 0 to 100 » marking :D… good to remind imbecile immature drivers to « get a life » 🙂
    Beside the AC Cobra (UK-USA), the only American car I ever liked is… your T-Bird 🙂
    A period when US designers could follow their fantasy, design cars looking like sci-fi in Popular Magazine, but without – you named it – the present vulgarity and over-the-top show of.
    There was a certain « innocence » then, a childish but untainted approach to the « American Dream » 🙂
    I had planned to rent one (pink with cream seats… oh boy let’s play the LA kitch :D) and drive it on the highway from Frisco to LA, but none was available when I tried 🙂
    Otherwise, the cars that really make me take notice since forever are the Jaguar Type E, the Lamborghini Miura, the Mercedes SL300 and the Aston-Martin DB5 1964.

    • Pete Guaron says:

      The last of my MGBs was the MGB GT, complete with sliding sunroof. One of my father’s friends had an Aston-Martin DB4 and, when he found out my brother had never been in one, drove him home at speeds of up to 100 mph, along suburban streets. You’d get jailed for less, these days!

  • Paul Perton says:

    Light 15 and the DS. I’ll take the latter please. I find it remarkable that Citroen could deliver such fabulous cars and today…

    A fine series of images Pete. Might be a great seed for a book?

    • Pete Guaron says:

      Perhaps – plenty more, too – it’s kind of crazy seeing all these different vehicles flying around the place. Even worse while my buddy had his auto museum in Fremantle, a couple of kilometres from here – some days there were processions of all different types of vehicle, and then the bikies joined, and the people with hot rods. Some days, you could only cross the street at traffic lights! But it won’t be me – I’m not the book writing type – took Pascal ages to talk me into contributing to DS!

  • John Wilson says:

    Pete – A fun read. Reminds me of where I used to live in Richmond, the first suburb south of Vancouver. In the run-up to the Hong-Kong handover a lot of well to do Chinese immigrated to Richmond as a safe haven. Things really got out of hand once the economic boom got going in China and a lot of mainland Chinese started doing the same thing. Richmond became known as Hongcouver. Name any lux brand car and you’ll find it in Richmond, especially BMWs. The largest BMW dealer in North America is not in the US; it’s in Vancouver. It wasn’t unusual for some Asian teenager to maim or kill themself in a lux car; including wiping out a police cruiser policeman included.

    I’m old enough to remember the Light 15 and the DS. They were rare but not unknown when I was growing up in Montreal. But you need a couple of Peugeots to round out the collection. And the Healey was my dream sports car as a teenager; even got to ride in one. The sound of the Healey and the TR6 are still, as far as I’m concerned, the most beautiful engine sound on a car. Somehow the Jensen’s just never did it for me.

    And then there’s the Maserati … made me laugh. Reminded me of the old joke … “Why is there no room in the trunk of an Italian car? Because, that’s where the mechanic lives.”

    Nuff said.

    • Pete Guaron says:

      One of my buddies had the TR4, which was much the same – my intro to Trumpies was one of the schoolmasters, who had a TR2 in BR green – wild!
      Peugeots are in short supply here these days – when I had the Morgan, they were fairly popular, but later they just faded out of the landscape here.

  • Dennis says:

    Senior Frog, easy on us geriatric gear grinders. There’s nothing “sad” about a spring cruz, top down, in a Boxster, no matter who you are, or how fast you don’t go! It took me nearly 70 years to conclude the dream that started at 8 yrs old, with a Porsche Speedster in the hood. I do grind a gear occasionally even with practice in a TR4, Opel GT, Lotus Europia Twincam, MG Midget, 427 Vette, 356 Porsche, Nissan Z, and Mazda MX5. Sad is seeing the end to all this grease and gasoline cacophony coming. Great photos!

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      LOL – wasn’t trying to offend anyone – sorry if I trod on your toes, Dennis. My poster boy for that comment was actually a guy who was chairman of one of our largest companies for years, and when he retired, they asked him what he’d really like, as a farewell present. He chosen a McLaren. And he was 6 feet tall, and weighed the best part of 20 stone.

      They handed the keys to his new car to him, at the farewell dinner. And he was so big that he simply couldn’t possibly EVER squeeze into the passenger’s seat even – let alone the driver’s seat! The back of the seat didn’t go back any further, and the steering wheel blocked his entrance!

      Too silly! We all have to learn to grow old a little bit more gracefully than that!

  • pascaljappy says:

    Pete, Land Cruisers (particularly slightly older models) are considered by many to be the best (small) overlanding vehicles you can find. Simple and durable. Perth and WA are hotspots for overlanding and there is a yearly overlanding show that draws the crowds in Perth. In fact two of the planet’s most eminent overlanding youtubers (Ronny Dahl and Andrew St Pierre White) live in WA. ASPW actually lives about 10 miles North of you. They both worship the Land Cruiser. Jeeps are very capable but nowhere near as reliable or durable. Almost noone uses them for expeditions, as they would be a life-threatening liability. They are more recreational vehicles.

    • Pete Guaron says:

      Oh – I thought that was an email, when I first read it. Yes – to share the thoughts I sent you earlier – jeeps were last considered “robust” around about the time of the Korean War. Land Rovers were, once upon a time – but all my friends who’ve had one made in the last 3 decades have ended up complaining about them too. Land Cruisers have been way out in front for so long that Toyota has established a name for itself in reliability, durability and efficiency.

      And as I mentioned, when telling you I’m sitting on the sidelines waiting, till someone produces an EV that I would actually like to own – my current vehicle is a Toyota. Very happy with it – had a couple of Hondas before that, ended up being fed up with them, the manufacturer and the distributor, and I’ll never buy another one of their products!

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