Eureka, the Purvis is coming

January 08, 2018

Echuca resident Peter Curtain and his Purvis Eureka F4. Peter will coordinate a Purvis Eureka convention in Echuca this October.

ECHUCA-MOAMA’S reputation as the place for car clubs to hold national conventions continues to build with yet another distinctive make revving along the Murray River this October.

While the Buick and Chevrolet clubs inundated the twin towns in 2017, this year it’s the turn of the Purvis Eureka Car Club of Australia.

The Purvis Eureka was a kit car built in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s.

It was based on the Nova kit car design in England and was brought down under after Australian Allan Purvis saw the design while on holiday in the UK in 1971.

After a few modifications and a rebadging to Eureka (in recognition for the fighting spirit of gold miners of the 1854 Eureka Stockade Rebellion), Purvis unveiled his kit car at the Melbourne Car Show in March 1974.

The car’s sleek look and radical canopy door which lifted up to allow driver and passenger to slide into their seats made the Purvis Eureka the talk of the town.

Comprising a fibreglass body placed over a Volkswagen chassis, about 720 of the kit cars were built. Of these, less than 100 are estimated to be still in driveable condition today.

The Purvis Eureka Car Club of Australia has about 60 members and organisers are hoping for a good turnout of vehicles at the club’s AGM in Echuca-Moama later this year.

Event co-ordinator Peter Curtain said the gathering would be a good representation of what’s left on the road.

‘‘We have members in Perth, a South Australian contingent, a fair few down Gippsland way and a good showing on the northern coast of NSW and in Queensland,’’ he said.

Mr Curtain said Echuca-Moama was an ideal central location to host a gathering of the Purvis Eureka.

‘‘We’ve had the event in Mildura a few times which was a great location and good for the South Australians to get to,’’ he said.

‘‘But it was harder for Queensland and NSW members, and even the Gippsland members at the opposite end of the state.’’

The club also held several AGMs in Bathurst the weekend following the supercars race and in Coffs Harbour.

Mr Curtain said staging the event in Echuca suited ‘‘most members than not’’.

‘‘If Echuca proves popular, we might look to get it here on a recurring basis, even biennially,’’ he said.

He said the club wanted to promote it as a family event.

‘‘We want to base it in and around the Port area so wives who may not be interested can go shopping or do other things in town while the kids can head to the playground.

‘‘There’s also the chance to jump on the paddlesteamers, an experience you wouldn’t get in somewhere like Coffs Harbour.’’

Mr Curtain said the Purvis Eureka was ‘‘something different and pretty iconic’’.

‘‘It was basically a VW Beetle and you ripped the top off and put this straight on,’’ he said.

‘‘Some have Mazda rotary 13B and Subaru engines in them but most still run on the VW type one motor.

‘‘It wasn’t a hugely fast vehicle. It was built more for show rather than as a racing car.’’

Mr Curtain said Purvis Eureka owners loved to work on their cars.

‘‘No two are identical,’’ he said.

‘‘The interiors and motors are all customised. They look fantastic and are a budget machine.

‘‘A kit sold for $3500 when Allan Purvis was building them and now they can sell for anywhere between $12,000 to $25,000.’’

Club members are expected to be based at the Sportslander Motor Inn for the event.

The AGM will be held from October 19-22 with a Show ‘n’ Shine planned in the Port of Echuca on the Saturday between 9am and 1pm.

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