Humber Car Club of Victoria for stories on National Rallies and Events,  members cars
and Regalia Sales
Humber Car Club of Victoria for stories on National Rallies and Events,  members cars
and Regalia Sales
Humber Car Club of Victoria for stories on National Rallies and Events,  members cars
and Regalia Sales

Hugh Baker's story of Betsy, a Series IV Super Snipe

When I look at a piece of memorabilia, or something of sentimental value, I may look far beyond the actual object, in such a way one might best describe as a story board. For example I might be looking at a photo of some time long past, and on looking I might be mindful of many other experiences directly and indirectly associated.
The subject of this article is "Betsy", our 1963 Humber Super Snipe Series IV, who shall be the hub (sorry couldn't help myself) of my story board.
It all started in September 1963 when Clyde, my Father in Law, had sold a number of tickets for the Scarborough Gold Coast Art Union lottery number 33. There were a number of prizes to be won, but the number one prize was a dream home in Queensland for the winning ticket holder, and a Humber Super Snipe Series IV, filled with an abundance of other gifts for the person selling the winning ticket.

On the 25th September draw number 33 took place, and as a result the lives of Mick & Ann Moore, and Clyde & Edna Barr (my inlaws) were thrown into temporary turmoil. I can't help but ponder what the atmosphere may have been like, and what I could best glean, was from records I found around Clyde's home.

What we had was a typical average, hard working Australian family, husband wife and two daughters living in the small country town of Sunbury. Clyde and Mick worked just up the road at the Sunbury Mental Hospital. On the evening of the 25th Clyde received the two telegrams from car dealers in Queensland offering him a price for the Humber. "Have client will pay fifteen hundred & ten pounds cash for Humber won Scarborough Art Union please wire reply", was the content of the first telegram, received 3.20pm at the Sunbury Post Office. The other, received at 4.43pm stated the following. :If interested in selling Humber for cash please contact immediate Panton Motors Brisbane Queensland Phone 41302". At this point confirmation from the Art Union had not as yet been received. Look at that telephone number, makes me appreciate how much the population has grown, and how large telecommunication has become.

I would not know quite what would have gone through Clyde's mind, but I'm sure he would have twigged what had happened, but who had the winning ticket would have been the mystery question.
He couldn't 'phone around to all the people he had sold tickets to, that would not make much sense. What would have been more likely is that the holder of the winning ticket would very likely have contacted Clyde, and I am sure that is what would have happened. I say this because Mick Moore was a work mate and very good friend, and I am sure the moment he heard of his good fortune he would have been around to Clyde's house straight away, seeing he lived only two streets away.

The Union did in fact 'phone shortly after the telegrams to enlighten them, and so it was, that by the end of that evening the two couples were celebrating and planning what happens next. You have to appreciate this was big time good fortune in those days for two average Government workers in a small country town. I reckon they would have cracked a couple of VBs, probably had very little sleep that night and would have got up early the next day, Thursday 26th September, with a view to setting their plans in motion.

Later that day they knew they had to pick up "The Herald" in which there would be an article on their surprising win. Besides the article in question, which was on page seven, I found reading the other items on the page, in recent times, also made for interesting reading in my view.

Lets not overlook while Clyde is receiving all this information, Mick Moore is going through a similar experience. Both the men were a little undecided as to what they might do, for Clyde was tempted to sell the car for the cash, but also liked the idea of owning the Humber; while Mick was more certain that he would sell , and use the cash to build a new home in Sunbury.

While the two boys knew by now what was on, the formal notice from the Union Secretary did not arrive until Friday 27th. The content of the letter advised of all the winners of the various levels, and the contact details of the distributor of the Humber situated in Brisbane for Clyde's collection
More correspondence arrived today, one from Doug Panton Motors with an increased offer for the car, and another from Rick's Car Sales indicating their interest in purchasing the car.

The Moore's and the Barr's got together and came up with the idea that as the Barr's have to pick up the car, and by now Clyde was leaning more towards keeping the Humber, and the Moor's need to look at their dream home, why not travel up together. They could not do anything over the weekend, so they planned to go in to Melbourne and book with Ansett-ANA on Monday to arrange the air tickets. In those days one didn't have the luxury of computers let alone internet. One had to visit one of the main agencies of Ansett, in this case Melbourne, where every thing was conducted through teleprinter systems. The tickets advise that you are required to report at least 15 minutes before flight, try that these days.
Having arranged the air tickets, all was set to fly up to Brisbane on the 1st October, ETD Noon, flight 330EL, Seats 6E & 6D. Cost as a matter of interest was 19 pounds & 14 shillings each single. How cute are those air tickets, now you make your booking through an agency, and are given a flight number on an itinerary. When you arrive at the airport you punch in some details from the itinerary into a machine, which allocates you a seat number and a boarding pass. Oh the age of computers, you don't even get to talk to anyone, other than the assistant on hand, to advise how to use the machine.

I also note from the ticket, payment was made by cash, these days I would think 90% would use credit card. Once again a new way of life that may well have its advantages, but these electronic systems can take away the tangible feeling of the occasion.
The secretary of the Art Union did write a letter on the 01/10/63, however by the time the letter arrived the happy winners were already in Brisbane.

By now the adrenalin will really be doing overtime, for the goal is now getting very close. Having disembarked the happy group decide to find themselves a nice place for afternoon tea, where they can try and relax and soak up that sub tropical warm weather.

Afternoon tea over, it was time to get those Greyhound Pacific coach tickets and head off to the Gold Coast. ETD 5.30pm, destination Gold Coast (Mermaid Beach) Caravilla, stop number 50. It's been a pretty hectic day, about 7 hours ago they were in Sunbury and now walking around the neighbourhood in a sub tropical environment. Not too many people in Surfers would have heard of Sunbury, unless they were a cricket fanatic.
It's now the 2nd Sept', and according to the letter one very busy day ahead for the happy group. The moment has come to see this dream home and the Humber. They are shown around the home by Mr Jim Murtha, and according to Edna's letter it was all that was written about it.

After the photograph session for the newspaper, they had to head off to see the Humber which was sitting in the show room in Brisbane. They obviously decided to hire a car from Avis, to travel the 60 mile journey into Brisbane, and to use it to get around to deal with the various legal matters.

Come the end of the day they had dinner together, fish & chips would you believe, and not only that the best ever. That might suggest the frame of mind they were in, for it didn't matter what, life was just that good at the moment.That about wrapped up Wednesday the 2nd, pretty exhausted I would think after all the running around.

Thursday 3rd Sept, last breakfast before picking up the Humber, returning the hired car, and then setting off home.
With respect to the return trip I note a couple of interesting features, such as having to stay a day at Glen Innis while the car underwent it's 500 mile service. One forgets those days when you had to run the car in at a restricted speed, and needless to say the first early mileage service had to be done, as it does these days. The difference here of course was that the service came due during the cars first journey. The other observation I made was that the group had decided to sleep over in the various Travel Lodge & Caravilla Motels, while in Surfers and on their return to Sunbury. To this end Clyde had organised to take with him a copy of the 1963 directory of the Travel Lodge & Caraville Motels, giving pictures and all the details of each motel including the tariffs. Now here is the observation I made which I thought was one hell of a coincident. Clyde's car is a 1963 Super Snipe, moonstone roof & green body. Now look at the far end of the line up of cars parked in the picture on the cover of the directory. In the collection of memorabilia I managed to find, were some napkins from the Travel Lodge, and in the back of the car a vinyl holder to accommodate log book and maps.

This holder had the original maps of the three states they would be travelling through. Obviously from the comments made on a postcard sent from Glenn Innis, Clyde & Edna thought the car was beautiful and were pretty excited about the whole idea of owning such a car. The whole experience was also very different to that of going down the road to purchase your car from the local sales yard as is the norm.
The journey back went without event and all returned sound and safe, Clyde spent some time afterwards showing off his new wheels, and Betsy over the years has become part of the family. She is now the subject of gentle restoration while on the road, but that's another story.

HomeOur Humber StoriesGalleryEventsHelpful HintsMeetingsRegaliaContact usMagazinesMembers
Another web site powered by the Complete Web system.
Complete Web - Grow your business now!