GARAGE GURUS OUR SHED, OUR CARS, OUR STORIES
AFTER DRIVING a white ’68 HK Holden Belmont through the 1970s, my dad bought a caramel-brown Chrysler Sigma GL wagon brand-new in May 1979.
My memory of his beaming bearded smile after collecting it from Sydney’s Purnell Bros Chrysler, where my Uncle Ray sold cars, is as clear as if it was yesterday.
Three years later, the first issue of Modern MOTOR magazine I ever bought with my paper-run money featured the then-new GJ Sigma silhouetted in outback dust and the words Sigma Stormtrooper on the cover.
All that, in an aroundabout way, is why I now own a beige 1982 Mitsubishi Sigma SE sedan!
As usual, Morley was involved. One gloomy, rainy, boring winter’s night, I spied the Sigma in an on-line ad. The description revealed little more than the kays (a low 91,000km) and the fact it was un-registered… In fact, the ad didn’t even show a photograph of the car. But it was very sharply priced and within a cooee of Morley’s home so, lured by a beery bribe, he agreed to check it out. He phoned the next morning blabbering about the Sigma’s condition and if I didn’t buy it, he would!
I contacted the seller, Mike. Being interstate, I wanted to ask if it was possible to pay now and collect later…? Mike said he was happy to have it stay in his backyard until I could collect it in a few weeks. The $100 deposit that Morley gave him was as good as a handshake until I could fly to Melbourne, kiss the princess and drive her home.
Mike told me the Sigma had been his late dad’s car and had been dormant in a garage for six years.
Yep, this Sigma was a fair-dinkum shed find!
Mike explained it needed a battery and a fuel pump
but he was sure that with a little tinkering and new tyres it would drive across the country. I bought a brand-new fuel pump and had it delivered to Morley’s; the required new battery and tyres could wait until I arrived in Melbourne three weeks later.
So one crisp, fine Tuesday a few weeks later, Morley and I installed a just-bought battery, splashed-in some fresh petrol and cranked the slumbering Sigma into life. After driving it to Morley’s workshop, I changed the possibly decade-old oil, replaced all the coolant hoses and fuel lines, checked the brakes, replaced the windscreen wipers, had four new tyres fitted at a local tyre shop, fiddled with some other stuff and then drove 900km home on a Victorian unregistered vehicle permit, laughing the whole way!