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Ducking those flood road blues

John Summers, 76, and wife Naomi head into the Noosa River for the Boathouse floating restaurant in their vintage amphibious military vehicle.
John Summers, 76, and wife Naomi head into the Noosa River for the Boathouse floating restaurant in their vintage amphibious military vehicle. Geoff Potter

RECENT downpours have kept a lot of motorists off the road, but rain is just the excuse John Summers needs to go for a drive, err ... cruise.

Mr Summers made the most of the extra water in the Noosa River last week to drive his vintage military amphibious vehicle from Tewantin to the Boathouse floating restaurant and bar at Noosaville.

"I only use it in freshwater, not saltwater, so after the big rains is the perfect time to put it in," he said.

Mr Summers, 76, bought the 1943 Ford GPA from a second-hand car yard in 1967, after ogling one on a neighbour's farm in South Australia.

"I thought it would be a useful thing to get away on the weekends camping," he said.

He and his wife, Naomi, had only been married a year, but the marriage survived both the Ford and the camping trips.

Two years ago, Mr Summers and his wife made a two-week, 310km journey down the Murray River in the Ford with a group of similar vehicles.

He estimated there were only about 20 of the vehicles in Australia, making his purchase "in a fit of madness" 47 years ago a good investment.

"It's become quite a collector's item," he said.

The vehicles were built for use during the Second World War and were sold by the army in 1946. It is fairly simple and similar to a Jeep, with a few additions, such as a propeller and bilge pump.

With a top speed of 8kmh, cruising is best done downstream, and after pulling in at the Boathouse, the Summers drove home.

Mr Summers is planning another river ramble later this year, but not with his wife.

She'll be in Bali with a friend.

Topics:  floods motorists noosa rain weather


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