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A tribute to the great bombs of Moresby


Luxury! I BOUGHT AN OLD BOMB in Port Moresby four years ago. It cost K5,000 (around $2,000).

It was a Nissan Sunny station wagon, registered and street legal - and I needed transport. The aircon didn't work, so we drove around with all the windows and the rear door open.

We had a few prangs, needed much bush mechanic work to keep it on the road and broke down many times - once to be surrounded by raskols whom belying their reputation, helped me get it going again.

We managed trips to Bomana and Sogeri, down the coast near Loloata, and north of Gerehu to Hanuabada.

We managed to cram in 14 people (babies and dogs excluded) for a trip to church. Not just any church; a Lutheran church up a 30 degree slope on a mountain at Morata (behind the University of PNG).

We got to the top - it was worthy of a hill climb and a tribute to Nissan engineering.

Well that was a few years ago. We gave the car to some relos to make the best use of it when we left, and told them we might have need of it when we returned. Which we just have.

It was located on bricks at Seven Mile, bereft of wheels, and in dubious condition. Strangely, the fog lights still work. And there are great arguments about ownership. Did we leave it with uncle X or brother Y? Where have the wheels gone? Who took the back seats? Who will pay for the repairs to get it back on the road? Is it registered? (I had a good offer for a fake rego certificate).

We drove this car to 17 Mile for a wedding on the banks of the Brown River. It was lovely. But the bridesmaids wore western make-up, which I always thought denigrated their natural Melanesian beauty.

And I took one of my friends home to 19 Mile at night after a Christmas party when he'd had a bit too much too drink. So this is a historic bloody car!

There must be many interesting old vehicles in and around Moresby. At independence the Governor-General was given a Rolls Royce by the UK. Whatever happened to this brave and historical car?


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Peter Kranz

Unfortunately the old Nissan Sunny station-wagon was no real match for the pot holes of Moresby.

We tried some adaption to the local conditions and fitted oversize tyres. The bush mechanics hadn't reckoned on the clearance of the wheel arches, so we had to bend these outwards with a crowbar so we could actually go around corners.

This was OK until we carried ten passengers to church. Then the shocks went. We bounced up and down like a fair ride at the Sydney show (there are worse analogies), then decided to fit heavy duty shocks. This worked for a while until the one of the rear leaf springs broke. Try going through a metre deep pothole with about half a ton of weight in the back!

We fossicked some larger springs from a car yard, and the poor old sunny looked like a mini monster truck. Very impressive, but not very practical. The extra weight buggered the brakes.

And the radiator sprung a few holes - easily repaired temporarily with chewing gum (ironically called PK). But the dry season heat melted this after a few hours. I used to carry plastic bottles filled with water to replenish the radiator for a few more kilometres.

But the poor old thing finally died, and I realised why Toyota Hilux's are so popular IN PNG. They seem to be indestructible. Pot-holes and hill climbs in ENB, the off-road obstacle course that is Lae, the flooded roads of Tabubil, and the road-blocks and hold-ups in Moresby (you just charge through and hope for the best), Buka roads (enough said) - Hilux's just still seem to keep going.

Jeeps and Land rovers just ain't in it.

Interestingly Mangi Mosbi the First had a ride in the old Nissan when we took him home as a piglet. I think he rather liked it - he stuck his head out the window and squealed with delight when I went round a corner too fast.

Must have looked rather impressive - the Nissan mini-monster truck bearing down on you, with all windows and rear door open, steam issuing from the radiator, horn wailing and a Pig squealing out the window.

Bugger the rascals!

Happy days!

Peter Kranz

I didn't realise there were Austin 7's in PNG!

A 1929 Chummy is commemorated on a PNG stamp from 1994. In fact PNG Post did a whole series of stamps featuring cars with connections to PNG.

This one was shipped to Lae and airlifted to Wau in the '30's on a Junkers tri-motor - "the first airlift of a car anywhere in the world" -


And there's a photo of the operation too -


Keith Wall

There was a Daimler Sovereign and a Daimler Regal at the National Museum annex at Gordons when I departed in 2004. Probably these are the vehicles that you refer to.

The Sovereign is almost a "poor mans" Rolls, but still a beautiful vehicle. Both cars were basically operational, given a wash and battery and a bit of fuel.

I think from memory the cars last appeared during the tenth anniversary of Independence celebrations.

A real shame, as both vehicles should be kept in a controlled climate such as the museum, and not just in a tin shed.

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