Elmer Fudd!

The original Elmer Fudd truck (aka Elmer the Blue)
Our first camping trips were by two-car convoy - Holden Commodore and Hyundai Excel!

Once we bought our trailer we were able to travel further afield (and leave the Hyundai at home!) but it became increasingly clearer that the Commodore wasn't really suitable for going where we wanted to go.  In October 2010, after much deliberation, we bought a "monster truck" so termed by Young Master Vaughan (then aged 5). From the earliest days our new-to-us Landcruiser was known as Elmer Fudd and soon had signage to proclaim that fact.

As we drive along we often see people look at Elmer and read his sign (mouthing the words as they do so). Some smile or laugh and others look a bit stupefied. It is the funniest thing and just doesn't get old!

The best reaction was from a fellow outside one of Cessnock's pubs.  We were stopped at traffic lights and he looked across at us, grinned hugely and started to mime an Elmer Fudd rifle-loading skit - waving us off when the lights changed! 

In more recent times I was parked at Aldi and a lady started talking to me about the sign and the original cartoon.  She had an older sister, Alma (long-deceased), and they used to play together as children.  When the lady I was talking to wanted to be provocative, she would tease her sister by calling her Elmer Fudd! We chatted for a little while and I was pleased our truck and his sign had prompted some happy memories for her.

For a long time, aside from signage and gifting him an awning, we didn't do much to our Fudd truck. Nick installed a second-hand cargo barrier in preparation for our Christmas 2010 Yowah trip - and did some other work at that time also.

Nick changed out the front seats in 2011.  We were far more comfortable as a result of his good work. More recently, he built a rear shelf as a base for our fantastic Thumper (and two Engel fridges).

During his time with us, Elmer required various repairs - at home and while away.  Tis the stuff of family legend.  He lost a wheel in spectacular fashion after our infamous mud spring adventure.  Later that year Nick played bush mechanic at Lightning Ridge to change a very worn universal joint.  That practice paid off cos similar jobs in December were accomplished very smoothly. 

The Fudd truck was given new tyres, in preparation for our big 2014 trip.  He received a wheel alignment too.  Interior-wise we revamped the rear carpet, created a quick-fix rear seat cover and purchased some seat organisers.

In 2015 Nick received Titan drawers in time for Fathers Day and they were successfully fitted, so Elmer looked pretty flash.  The drawers were great for organisation and a big step up from the shelf.  Various other work was done throughout 2016 in the lead-up to our Queensland relocation. All oil leaks were fixed, which involved some major mechanical work. Nick sorted the windows so they finally wound properly and we had new driving lights (including an auto-electrician fitted switch).  We even sourced a second-hand back seat that was in better condition than the one we had, so swapped them over.

Disaster struck a week before we left Victoria. The driver of another 4WD lost concentration on the freeway and ran up the back of us at speed. We were all very lucky. Elmer was damaged but cleared for travel and we made arrangements for insurance assessment once we reached Brisbane. Unfortunately the cost of repair was too great and we fare-welled our brilliant truck in late February.

Elmer Fudd II (aka Elmer the Gold)
Two weeks later we bought another 80s series Landcruiser. Elmer Fudd II is fairly standard - no lift, winch, driving lights, roof-rack, cargo barrier or drawers. He didn't look, sound or feel the same as the original but had traveled considerably less - 182,000km vs the starting 290,200km of Elmer 1, so was a very worthwhile investment. We managed 130,000km of adventures with our first Elmer, so there is plenty of potential for even more with this one!

Nick fitted Elmer's roof-rack regalia in preparation for our new truck's first real adventure with us.  Just that simple change has made a big difference to how we view him.  He even had a bit of tyre trouble on the way out to Dalby - so obviously has inherited some of his predecessor's spirit!

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