Penshurst Park or Bust

A procession was held in Hurstville in May 1941 in aid of the wartime Patriotic Fund.  One of the vehicles in the procession, which made its way from Forest Road to Penshurst Park, was this old banger, known as ‘Black Diamond’.  It was well known in Hurstville and was colourfully described in an article in the Propeller (23 December 1937).  It was purchased in the 1930s by Albert Pryor proprietor of the Black Diamond Spare Parts Depot at 47 Forest Road, from an owner in Orange.  Mr Pryor drove it from Orange to Sydney in a leisurely journey of seven and a half hours.  He is presumably the driver with the Panama hat.  The motor-car was a 1905 REO model, which would have been one of the first cars produced by the REO company.  You could hardly call it a speed-wagon.

It had a two-cylinder water cooled engine under the floorboards, and power was transmitted to the rear axle by a single chain.  Brakes were on the rear wheels only.  What could possibly go wrong.  There were no doors, hood or windscreen, but the seats were leather-upholstered.  The headlamps were kerosene, and the horn ‘konked’ by pressing a rubber bulb.  “What a noise it made”, wrote the Propeller reporter, “If every car in Forest Road at the same time made a similar noise – words fail me!”

I wonder if it is still gathering dust in a shed somewhere – a similar car sold at auction at Bonhams last year for $US50,000.

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