Crestline heads to the Beauty Parlour


What a looker, these Ford cars were the must-have of the 50’s.  They still look great. I am hoping for a few chopper shots along the way!  I have the youngest navigator out of all the starters and Jackson (aged 18) is in for the treat of a lifetime.

For the past week Jackson and I have worked long hours on the car was at last taking shape. After a roadtest we decided we do need to upgrade the brakes further.  We have plenty of go but need more stop!

The new twin bag power assist brake system was shipped from the USA and promptly fitted and we have now attached some of the decals today but there are more to come including door numbers.

By Friday the car was ready for a final 1000k workout. The new fuel tank is fitted and during the next drive we will calculate consumption in relation to the fuel gauge reading to be sure we don’t run out of gas at inopportune times.

It was difficult to make the decision to either have air conditioning or power steering.  I went for power steering and I am not sure I got it right. Over the past week it has been around 30-34c (86-93F) and the car ran cool engine wise thanks to the Davies Craig electric radiator fans but it was a sauna inside!

The Sponsors and Suppliers;

Penrite Oils – The Team From Penrite stepped up and supplies all the lubricants…again

Powerlite UK – George Shackleton from Powerlite in the UK made the special 12v starter motor

Performance Ignition Services – Peter Hopkins from Performance Ignition

Services Melbourne made the ignition distributor – well done and works a treat

Motacarb – Craig from Motacarb supplied and tuned the Holley 4 barrel and did the dyno testing – great tuning, goes well.

Tenneco – Trent Smith searched out the great Monroe Shock absorbers and they produce a fantastic ride in the rough with 250kg load in the rear

Davis Craig P/L Melbourne – John Benson sent me the works to convert the 1953 to electric water pump and cooling fan.  Wonderful products.

MD Electrical -Matt Dawson did the electricals, a complete rewire front to back and helped with the mechanicals.

Arundel Cylinder Heads – Troy Dunstan worked ever so hard hand making engine bolt on parts and rebuilding the original tired engine.

Cheapa Auto Oxenford – As always my favourite parts store. Trevor Duncan and staff went out of their way to locate whatever I needed. Thanks guys.

Gold Coast Brakes – Neil worked hard to convert the standard single line brake system to dual line vacuum assist – the 1953 really stops now.

KHA- I have unfinished business with KHA.  I need to grow the Rod Wade Every Day Hero donation from the $61k that is there at the moment by at least another $60k so KHA can order their first Kidney Kamper.  The prototype was built with Vintage Adventurer P/L private funds last June (2014) we now need to raise enough money for KHA to place an order for these wonderful ‘freedom machines’.  PLEASE HELP US.

There were many more that did their bit and helped out wherever they could.

Big thanks to all that helped prep this car for what we hope is an adventure of a lifetime…without drama!  


Time for the next adventure!

Desert RattlerVintage Adventurer Rod Wade is planning an epic 14 day journey across Australia, heading west to east across five of the driest and most inhospitable deserts in a 1929 special built Model A Ford in August 2015.

This is not a race against the clock but an endurance attempt to do what has never been done before in such a vehicle. This will be a wonderful experience and already two very good friends from the USA have booked a seat!

The 1929 Model A Ford will be a specially built machine and final trials of the prototype will commence in early April after Rod returns from competing in the Road to Mandalay Rally at the beginning of March.

To lock the adventure in the trials need to be successful and Rod is more than confident that they will be.  More updates will follow shortly.

Slow going with the Crestline

Progress on the rebuild of the engine for the 1953 Ford being prepped for the RTM rally has been tedious and taking well over the estimated time due to difficulty in obtaining parts.

The engine has been fitted back in to the car and has since come back to my workshop for more adjustments. My good friend Bria at Beaudesert Exhaust has also completed the exhaust system completed.

VA Stateside

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade made a journey back to the USA in October, returning to Hershey where he caught up with good friend and Ocean 2 Ocean supporter Don Snyder as well as engine builder Ora Landis.

(LtoR)  John, Glenn and Don Snyder

(LtoR) John, Glenn and Don Snyder


There was time for a quick browse round the show ground before Rod and wife Nola drove to New Jersey to pay a surprise visit to Ricardo Da Cruz, who helped prep both the Model A and the Plymouth police car at his workshop Joman Autos for the USA challenge in 2013. Nola gave Ricardo a memento of the trip to display in the reception area.

The Joman Auto Team

The Joman Auto Team


Nola and Ricardo and 'Uncle'

Nola and Ricardo and ‘Uncle’

Awarding Times

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade made a presentation to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and Deputy Mayor Donna Gates to say thank you for all of their support in the preparation and completion of the Ocean 2 Ocean Challenge – Australia in June.

Awarding Times with Mayor Tom Tate, Dep Mayor Donna Gates and Rod Wade

Awarding Times with Mayor Tom Tate, Dep Mayor Donna Gates and Rod Wade

Mayor Tom was so excited to hear about Rod’s next adventure The Road To Mandalay as it passes near to Tom’s childhood home. Despite wanting to join Rod on the road, time unfortunately doesn’t allow it so Tom had to settle for a morning in the Ford Model A on the back roads of the Gold Coast.

Ready to Rally

Rod has been working with navigator Jackson Evans on updating and upgrading the 1953 Ford to make it a bit more rally friendly. The excitement begins to grow as rally plates are fitted.

The Crestline

The Crestline

Upgrading of the gauges was a priority, water temp into the engine, water temp out, oil pressure, RPM gauge, a Monit rally meter and a dual power supply with a separate circuit for all the dash operated electrics. One of the real important fitments was the 4-point seat belts and comfortable seating. Note the two spare wheels in the rear.

Rod said: “I am more than impressed with the huge amount of room in this car compared to my normal Model A Ford. I bought a new Stanley tool kit as its compact and has most tools required and hopefully not needed. The fuel cans in the rear are contained and strapped downs so to the de-bog mats and the recovery jack. 60 litres of extra fuel and 20 litres of water is an added 80kg in the rear but with the beefed up suspension and new shock absorbers the balance of the car is perfect.

There will be no more work on the car as I depart in two days for the Hershey Car Show in the USA. Whilst I am away the engine builder will continue to work away on the rebuild. Hand mad inlet and exhaust manifolds are taking quite a bit of time but thus far look pretty good.”

Brakes and a ‘box

The prep on the Crestline is gathering pace – Rod brings us up to date with his two latest mods…

Says Rod “Whilst the engine is out being rebuilt it was time to fit a new steering box, a power steering box.  The off set was that I have had to drop the air conditioning because there was not enough room for all the required pulleys. I would rather run with power steering than with air conditioning. For that we will go with the old proven 2×100 type, two windows down and 100kph!”

With the Ford’s steering set-up sorted, Rod’s now focusing on the brakes. “The original brake system ran a single line from the master cylinder and was not power assist.  This meant that apart from having to push extremely hard on the brake pedal on and off over an 8 hour rally drive and have wrecked calf muscles at the end of the day the single line feed meant that if a line or slave cylinder leaked on any wheel that was it – no brakes!”

The new power assist is a dual line system where the fronts are separate from the backs so at least if one of them develop a leak, Rod will have brakes on at least two wheels…which is a lot better than none.


Preparing the Crestline

With the Road to Mandalay rally only a few months away, Rod’s begun the preparation of his 1953 Ford Crestline in earnest.

The engine and doors have been removed with some upgrades taking place in order to get the car ready for its rally debut.

We’ll have more updates on the Crestline’s progress soon.


Do you want to go on the motoring adventure of a lifetime?

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade is inviting those that are interested in being the navigator in his 1930 Model A Ford in the Peking to Paris Rally 2016 to contact him via email at

All interested persons are asked to fund their own airfares and share part of the entry cost which is negotiable. Advantages will be having proven rally navigational skills and the ability to operate GoPro cameras. Accommodation is twin share. Rod will be at the Hershey Car Show USA October 8-11 2014 and at the UK Classic Motor Show Birmingham UK November 14-16 2014.

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade arrives in Russia on Peking to Paris 2013

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade arrives in Russia on Peking to Paris 2013

The next adventure… The Road to Mandalay

Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade’s next adventure is The Road to Mandalay rally in February 2015. Rod is one of 75 entrants in the rally, organised by the Endurance Rally Association, which is also responsible for the Peking to Paris Rally.

When Rod was considering which car to take on the Road to Mandalay, he went through his garage to choose one but none seemed the right fit so Rod went straight to his favourite cars for sale site in the US – Volo Cars at Volo, not far from Chicago.

There was his RTM rally car –  a 1953 Crestline, a 215 cubic inch 6 cylinder…perfect. Light in the front end with a six cylinder and not an eight. Rod bought it unseen and when it arrived in early May this year he took it for a test drive and it drove like a boat! But the mechanics of it all were quite good but the column shift 3-speed gearbox with overdrive was not geared right for a rally and it needed to be a floor shift anyway.

Rod contacted his mate Mal Wood from Warwick, some 2½hrs away and he said he could do a great 5-speed floor shift gearbox. Sounded great and as it turned out the gearbox will be from a Mustang and he will make an input shaft so the box fits perfectly.

On the way to deliver the Crestline to Mal at Warwick, and with Rod’s navigator for the RTM Jackson Evans from Adelaide following behind in the chase car to bring them back to base, Rod thought he would give the Crestline a try out ascending Cunningham’s Gap, a winding hill climb on the highway and what the…what was that.. as he went around a left hand corner. He pulled over a way up where it was safe and got out and had a look all around the car and did the usual, kick all tyres and all seemed OK.

But it turned out the right hand rear tyre was flat. This was a tuneless tyre on a non-safety rim so it came partially off the rim as Rod limped the car across to the other side of the road to a safe area. They jacked the car up to change the tyre and thus began lesson #1. With a Crestline the rear wheel arches are extremely small so the car has to be jacked up to at least 25 degrees before the wheel can be removed.

This is a very tricky thing to do because when the car is about to be at the right height to remove the wheel all it wants to do is slide sideways!!!

They made it to Mal’s, had a sit in his new Mustang with a huge supercharged engine and 6-speed Tremic box. Lovely car but not a rally car…well not a RTM rally car!

When the Crestline comes back to Rod’ workshop it will be weight loaded with drums of water that will equal the weight of all the gear that the team will carry on the RTM plus more to equal a driver and navigator and weigh the car on the quad scales to see how the weight is transferred to the 4 points and then redo the suspension to change it from handling like a boat to the real deal for rallying.

A few more thanks from Rod…

Apart from the co-driver, support crew and their families (mine too) I would like to give special thanks to Mayor Tom Tate and Deputy Mayor Donna Gates from The Gold Coast City Council and the Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson from the Fremantle City Council.

There was also great support from sponsors and specialists;

Penrite Oil – what magnificent products. A big thank you for the support.
Davies Craig – Electric Water Pump and fan were the key to the success. Thank you John Benson for your support and entertainment along the way.
Williams Global – The best OS shipping agents that I use worldwide.
Antique Tyres – Fantastic rubber, thanks Ben McKinnon Melb.
Austen Ritchie Builders – Thank you Austen for being such a great co-driver and companion.
Cheapa Auto Parts Oxenford – A special thanks to Trevor Duncan and the team for the advice and assistance given during the preparation.
Beaudesert Exhaust – What a beautiful noise from that superb system fitted only days before we departed. The engine breathed just right.
MD Auto Electrical – All worked perfectly, thanks to Matt Dawson.
Graffiti Stickers – Great art work on the vehicles and a special thank you to Gordon and the team.
GoTek7 – The tracker is a great product and allowed families and friends to see exactly where we were at all times on the desk top.
Peter Turner – Local film maker and photographer who went both ways across Australia filming and driving…a sterling job Peter.

A very special thank you to Andrea Seed – Poppyseed Media UK who drove both ways across Australia and produced a YouTube clip within hours of arriving back to base and posted news items to the press worldwide along the way as well as instant posts to Facebook.

Thanks from Rod Wade

Welcome Home Tudor Rose

Welcome Home Tudor Rose

After a sleep in a proper bed after completing a double crossing of Australia in 101hrs I keep redoing the drive and working out just how to do it again and faster and better. I have been over and over in my mind just how to do that and the only way is to go faster to save and bank minutes.

So why did we do so well this time straight up…put that down to the wonderful support crew. I have never experienced such dedication to the cause from people that new jot about what to do and how to do it in real terms the day before we departed.

I will never forget the looks on the faces of the entire crew at the pre-briefing a couple of days before we departed Surfers Paradise as I talked about what they were really getting themselves into.

I was a tad apprehensive after the briefing but I was in for a treat because as it turned out, they were the best support crew anyone could wish for, and frankly without their dedication, thoughtfulness and willingness to do whatever it took to be sure Tudor Rose was ready to go in quickest possible time when we did fuel stops, we wouldn’t have achieved so much.

When the head gasket blew and we needed to do a roadside fix, and quick, I experienced an amazing spectacle as the support crew went into action. This was their first ever real look at the mechanicals of a 1930’s engine. What I envisaged to take many hours was over in quick time as everyone did their bit to see that at every second I had in my hand the spanner I needed. My tools had been rearranged on a piece of carpet on the ground like surgical instruments…and they were exactly that.

Austen as a co-driver was far better than any I have ever had and I give the biggest thanks to him for his constant support.

The fuel stops worked like a Swiss watch, everyone did their bit and more. I was able to just get out of the car go to the rest rooms and come back to the car to find it ready to go. It has never been like that before and I knew that there was every chance that the Ocean2Ocean OZ Challenge was going to be the success that it has been.

With the mechanical difficulties that we had we needed to top up the spares bin with more parts. The crew were quickly on the job at 1am in the morning putting together a ‘source’ list of possible suppliers because we needed a spare head for the engine (just in case) head gaskets, water outlet neck (short) plus other odd bods. We had those in quick time starting from 6am and had them in the van at Fremantle ready for the return journey across Australia. That is how good the crew were and how good the people were.

So what do I say even though I know it is far from enough, but THANK YOU CREW, CAMERAMAN AND THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I MET ALONG THE WAY.



Everybody count yourselves in for my next adventure. I may not be able to you all but I will take as many of you as I can…I could never find better people.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA AND THE SPONSORS AND DONORS that tipped into Rod Wade Everyday Hero to donate and contribute to the fund to build the next of the Kidney Kampers.

At the start we were greeted by hampers of fantastic breads and pastries from Devour bakeries and the same when we arrived back. Thank you Daniel and Shaneen.

The o2o OZ and the success that it has been was enhanced by the support that we received along the way from people that we had never met or even knew. Thank you all.


Rod Wade, Vintage Adventurer.


A new world record…

We did it – we set a new World Record for driving from one side of Australia to the other and back again in a pre-war car…in 101 hours, 52 mins and 32 seconds!


Job done, record set!

Job done, record set!

Surfers Paradise, here we come!

The final stretch

We could see the clock ticking nearer to the 100 hours target that we had set ourselves and knew that it was becoming more and more unreachable. The final straw was when the Head on the engine block came loose again and affected the fuel consumption. The Tudor Rose came to a halt just outside of Warren.

It was SupaK to the rescue as the team searched for a service station open at 4am to fill a couple of jerry cans. Thank goodness for the Coles Express service station at Gilgandra which was opened and had one last large jerry can for sale!

Kidney Kamper aka SupaK at the half way across Australia stop

Kidney Kamper aka SupaK at the half way across Australia stop

By the time Tudor Rose got back on the road, we knew we couldn’t make 100 hours – but we were still going to set the best time possible…and family and friends were waiting at the Gold Coast for us.


Kangaroo Chaos!

After leaving Fremantle and the fantastic reception we got there, it was back on the road to Surfers Paradise. We were making good time and crossed the Nullarbor reaching half way where we were met with a glorious sunrise.

Driving at sunrise through the mist on the Nullarbor

Driving at sunrise through the mist on the Nullarbor

Things were going great although no one dared say it out loud (or if they tried they were told to shush!). We were on the stretch to Cobar, which had been the area we had seen most of the kangaroos on the east/west journey, when we got the news that the Vito had been hit by a kangaroo on the road which had left the car disabled.

The Kidney Kamper, now also known as SupaK for its agility on the road and catching up with the Tudor Rose, gathered up all the parts it could carry and now doubled as the support vehicle while the Vito crew waited for a tow.

It was only a few hours later when a kangaroo hit the Tudor Rose but the old girl was unstoppable and Skippy came off worse in that battle.

Frantically to Freo

Our middle-of-the-night breakdowns had put us around four hours behind as the paced slowed to let the engine settle back down again. It was going to be impossible to arrive at the planned 8am and to spend an hour with Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson to celebrate our completing the first leg of the challenge and Josh’s birthday.

Luckily Josh was very understanding when we finally arrived at 11.45am. The Gold Coast sand was deposited on Bathers Beach and the water drained on to the sand before Rod rolled up his trousers and headed for the ocean to replenish his supply for the return journey.

The journey from Surfers Paradise to Fremantle took 51 hours 31 minutes and 7 seconds.

By 12.05pm we were back on the road, armed with a new crew, lots of supplies and thanks to the Ford Model A Restorers Club of WA, plenty of parts for the Tudor Rose if more problems were to arise.


Nightmare on the Nullarbor

On the road

On the road

Day two started well, with good times and miles being racked up as we passed through small towns and villages. The crews found their rhythm and jumped to attention any time its looked like Rod and the Tudor Rose were in trouble. If only they knew what was to come…

After travelling through areas such as Port Augusta and Ceduna, We entered the stunning Nullarbor Plains as the sun set and crossed the WA border. Cue the picture opportunity!

We were doing well as the night took hold until the Tudor Rose suddenly pulled up on the side of the barren land to find the Head Gasket had blown on the car. It was all hands to the pump as parts and tools were pulled out of the various vehicles, torches were held high as Team Vintage Adventurer fired into action. It was an impressive sight to behold as the crew worked together to get the new gasket in place.

Fixing the car in the Nullabor

Fixing the car in the Nullabor

After about 40 minutes, we were back on the road and it seemed we were getting back on track until the car once again pulled up on the road side. Everyone gathered around the engine as Rod discovered the Head itself had cracked and a huge cloud of steam and smoke engulfed Austen.

The race was really on then as the Head was removed from the spare engine, new gaskets were added, nuts and bolts were tightened, water leaks were fixed and just over an hour later, we were on our way again. But the two breakdowns had hit us hard. How would that effect our arrival time in Fremantle…

On the road to Freo

Making tracks

Making tracks

Considering its Australia’s winter, the Esplanade of Surfers Paradise was scorching as Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade began the next instalment of his Ocean 2 Ocean challenges, this time on home soil.

Leaving the soft sand of the Gold Coast at 10am on Tues 3rd June, Rod and his co-driver Austin Ritchie started the first leg of the 9,000km journey in good spirits, heading to the mountains of Queensland before levelling out as they reached the ‘outback’ and into New South Wales.

With 4,500km to cover by approx 8am on Thursday 5th when they arrive at their turning point at Fremantle, Western Australia, there wasn’t much time to enjoy the scenery or the passing kangaroos.

Morree Dialysis Group

Morree Dialysis Group

One highlight that boosted spirits during the long drive was the welcome party at Morree by the local Dialysis group who had a sneak peak at the Kidney Kamper prototype as well. They were thrilled will what they saw and we almost ended up with a stowaway.