Who is Fred Ambler?
As I drove into the Fred Ambler Lookout car park for the navigation trial, the thought crossed my mind. There didn’t appear to be any plaques or similar telling the story of Fred, but he must have been a person of stature given the prime piece of real estate that now bears his name. Remembering the first rule of technology Google is your friend! I had to find out.
Maybe he made Mini skirts. However, 13 Minis (cars, not skirts) of all varieties appeared at the starting point for the Murray and Rex show. As we were waiting, a jogger ran up the hill and through the car park. I’ve often wondered why I’ve never seen a jogger smiling. The look of absolute and sheer torture would all change if he tried driving a Mini around the course planned for today. This turned out to be a mini ‘Italian Job’, using the roads around the eastern suburbs, finishing up out towards East Tamaki for a ‘licensed’ coffee. In between, we were sent up and down, around and around, back and forwards and back again, with plenty ‘out of car’ experiences to keep the navigators happy. Our navigators need a pat on the back for their efforts in keeping us on the straight and narrow, or twisty and narrow like today. Their efforts in spotting the answers to the questions should not be undervalued either. I was ‘sans’ navigator today and I lost count of the times I went up and down Paratai Drive. I felt I had to watch the road carefully as my $3,000,000.00 Liability Insurance wouldn’t cover many of the houses, if some unscheduled stop landed me in someone’s Ballroom.
The route took us down to the Point England Reserve, then along the shore into Panmure. Auckland is full of little known treasures like this. With only tree lined reserves between the road and the Tamaki River, views across to Buckland’s Beach and Pakuranga and windsurfers literally flying made this a special part of the trip. The occasional piece of newly sealed road also made for a little bit of fun!
A new activity was put into this event all we were told was that it was a challenge. Upon arrival at the first Challenge Stop we were confronted with a mini head, bucket of spark plugs and a spanner. 4 plugs in, 4 plugs out, as fast as you can. Easy. I’m sure the stop watch was incorrect, as my time seemed to be an eternity and not the 45 odd seconds it took. When driving off from this, I though it was a thoroughly enjoyable little exercise it had been. How often are the simple ideas the best? After pirouetting our way through Buckland’s and Eastern Beaches, it was on to the second challenge. This was take a wheel off and put it back on, just like the McLaren boys do. My efforts will not warrant the attention of the aforementioned team as they would have changed 4 cars in the time it took me to change 1. Still it was a respectable 33 seconds. The finish was not too far away now, and all cars arrived safely, except for a white/black Cooper S that was MIA.
This turned out to be a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and out thanks to Murray and Rex for the organization and implementation of this Nav Trial. The final result was calculated using the number of questions answered correctly and the combined time for the two challenges as a tie breaker.
And what about Fred?
“Ambler & Co Ltd have made men’s and women’s fashion wear to exacting standards ever since the late Fred Ambler sold his first coloured shirts to fashion leaders in the rather conservative society of 1920’s Auckland”.
Spark Plug Challenge: Gavin Agnew
Wheel Challenge: George Brown
1st: Gavin Agnew
2nd:Robin and Karen Greenland
3rd: Karen Preston and Anthony Kite (new members welcome to the club.)