Nirvana – Holden 202




I first saw Lil’ Smoke sitting behind Coffo’s bus at Echuca. Being a smartarse 16 or 17 year old at the time, I said to John ” nice little boat Coffo, give me a yell if you ever want to sell it”- not being real serious! Well, as luck would have it, a few years later I decided to buy my own boat. I gave John a call to see if he knew of any boats for sale, and guess what? Lil’ Smoke was, and a short time later the boat was mine. It had always been my intention to have a walkaround cockpit and as the boat was a twin cockpit, after a photo session, the saw came out. The bridge deck was removed and full-length coamings put in its place. The bearers were extended and a front floor made up to fill the hole. An engine box was purchased, the ski pole moved down the back and a couple of seats finished things off. This was how the boat was going to stay for a few years before a possible freshen up. Well, that was the plan. After the first session a small bit of rot was noticed in the transom, so one Sunday afternoon I went out into the garage to have a look at it. Before the day was out, the deck and transom had been removed and the freshen up was underway. Firstly the entire inside of the hull was sanded back and repainted. The boat then went to John Bowman who fitted a new deck, dashboard, transom and re-painted the outside of the hull. It all got screwed back together with new steering, cav plate and gauges ready for Christmas. Once the holidays were out of the way, carpet was fitted to the floors and sides, a rear seat made up and the boat dropped off to Carroll Signs. After discussing the colours and style, Max asked what the name was. “Dunno, I’ll get back to you.” A couple of days later, I rang him and told him ‘Nirvana’. The icing on the cake was walking away from the Regatta with a best-presented award. The next few years passed by with the boat only receiving regular maintenance and plenty of work until a collision with a large underwater stump. The impact wrecked the shaft, prop, rudder, and skeg, pushed the prop through the bottom, broke the keel and pulled the coupling off the motor. Even though the boat was taking on water, we were able to get it on the trailer before it sank. The boat went back to John Bowmans for the hull repairs, the other parts repaired or replaced and the boat made it back into the water for Easter and the Regatta, where she won another best presented.
While the boat looked OK, the motor was a slug and was getting tired. An old 202 was bought, the block fully machined, given XU-1 rods, HQ race pistons with everything balanced. I bought a Yella Terra head and roller rockers, ICF electronic dizzy, a wedge cam and a side draught weber. John Coffey modified the sump, made the inlet manifold and the new parts for the exhaust. With the help from the old man, the whole lot was assembled and slotted into the boat.
A number of teething problems were experienced with the new motor, the most notable being a blown head gasket late on the Friday afternoon before last years Regatta. My response was to say, stuff it, put the cover on it and I’ll fix it when I get home. I was promptly told that was bullshit and with the assistance of a number of people, the boat made it into the water the next morning.
While the boat has caused a lot of work, spending of cash and some stress, this has been far outweighed by the enjoyment it has brought. A number of people have helped me out over the years and all these I thank, but a special thanks goes to my father, Laurie Glass and to John Coffey for all the advise and assistance.