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  #1  
Old 18-01-16, 07:15
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Default GPA wanted in Australia to build Half-Safe Replica

Hi all
I have been contacted by Alex Cullen from the Channel 7 who is a reporter with Sunday Night. Here is his introduction letter. The program are looking at attending our 37th Annual GPA Swim-In so hopefully people will bring along their GPA's this year.

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Dear Enthusiast,

My name is Alex Cullen and I’m a reporter with Sunday Night on channel 7 based in Sydney. We are channel 7’s flagship public affairs program that runs for an hour each week and has an average audience of around 2 million people across Australia. We cover everything from crime to adventure, to sport to human interest stories. I write to you to tell you of a story we are embarking on about the late, great Ben Carlin and his incredible journey around the world in the famous ‘Half-Safe’. Through our story, we hope to give Ben Carlin the recognition he deserves because what he achieved almost defies logic.
By modifying a Ford GPA, he created a vehicle that would circumnavigate the world on a journey that took almost 10 years. It’s also a feat of incredible engineering and ingenuity and this is where you come in. With your help, we are hoping to modify an existing Ford GPA into a replica of the Half-Safe. We want to know how difficult this task was? We want to know if this will work? We want to then launch the vehicle into the ocean and take it into the open ocean. I must also stress that Channel 7 will cover the costs. I understand that Ford GPA’s are quite expensive but if we can find a cheap one, all the better!
We would look to start filming in the first quarter of next year with an airing date of mid next year. This part of the story would involve filming the planning and building process right through to launching into the ocean. I must stress that it does not have to be an exact replica of the ‘Half-Safe’. We envisage it to be a lot like Mythbusters. Obviously without the myth but shot in the same way with a camera following the process from scratch. We would hope to interview those involved in the process too. If this can be done close to Sydney, even better. I know this may be asking a lot but this part of our story could be fascinating and, again, show just how incredible Ben’s achievement was. I have attached the specifications of the Half-Safe which will give you a better idea of the vehicle and what might be involved. I hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

Alex Cullen


Alex Cullen
Twitter: alextcullen
Reporter | Sunday Night


Seven Network (Operations) Limited
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  #2  
Old 18-01-16, 08:01
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Jan, On the Fordbarn forum is a chap in Perth who is actually working on getting Halfsafe running. I assume the same people doing the TV programme have instigated the "getting her running". She is only required to be able to be driven around. Not swim.
I can send the guy a personal message and ask him for some contact details if you need them.
Halfsafe resides at the school north of Perth where Ben Carlin went to school.
(I cannot recall the name of the town.
I have seen a few pictures of Halfsafe taken in the last few weeks and I doubt she would float for long.
I imagine it would be a big undertaking to copy her. She underwent a big rebuild in Birmingham after The Atlantic crossing so has existed in at least one other form than the current (bigger)version.
A man with a dream! .... Crazy. Interesting subject. An amazing and sad story really.
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Old 18-01-16, 08:08
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Halfsafe as she sits
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Old 18-01-16, 08:12
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and a couple more
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Old 18-01-16, 10:25
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Hi Lynn,
We actually had Half Safe attend the Corowa GPA Swim-In in 1999 and it was made roadworthy for the parade, by the late Bob Dimer. I recall Jan driving it across the campsite. There was no way the school would have let it go in the water, it is kept in its own glass fronted building at Guildford Grammar School, WA.

regards, Richard
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Old 18-01-16, 12:01
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Thats the place Richard, where it is in the photos.
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Old 18-01-16, 12:40
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Default Book

If anyone wants to learn about Ben Carlin's epic adventures, then a good starting point - get hold of his book HALF SAFE . There are plenty of used copies around . The book is a first hand story written by the guy himself.

Channel 7 are only interested in ratings . I wouldn't let them or any TV station anywhere near a GPA - they are likely to do horrible stunts with a GPA , even sinking it for the dramatic effect . I wonder if Channel 7 will mention the book and promote it, I very much doubt they will . Mike
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Old 18-01-16, 20:34
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There was another book by Ben Carlin, called "The Other Half of Half-Safe" and published by Guildford Grammar School. It covers the initial journey ending in England, then the period of rebuilding and the continuation of the journey through Europe, Asia, Australia, Japan, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Canada and back to Montreal.
ISBN 0 9598731 1 2
A recommended read.

cheers Richard
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  #9  
Old 18-01-16, 21:51
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Default Ben Carlin and Half Safe

There is a third book titled 'Once a Fool' written by a fellow named Boye De Mente who was co-driver from Tokyo to Alaska after Ben's wife Elinore went home to the states.
It gives a different view of Ben whilst taking nothing away from his abilities as a seaman, navigator and mechanic.
Somewhere there is also a TV program featuring interviews with Ben, possibly by Lowell Thomas and/or National Geographic.
Another program was a segment on the ABC's now defunct 'Can We Help' TV series. This can be viewed on Youtube. Type in Ben Carlin.

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  #10  
Old 18-01-16, 21:52
Richard Coutts-Smith Richard Coutts-Smith is offline
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1955 Newsreel footage of Half Safe swimming near Melbourne, before my time, but I do have a copy of the book signed by the Carlins from that visit. Great story indeed, and amazing to see it at Corowa in '99, no idea it was yellow until then, never showed up in the B/W photos!
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Old 18-01-16, 22:28
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I believe the amphibious versions of the Jeep and the Schwimm command premium prices due to their versatility and novelty. But like the Amphicar, the actual vehicles suffer from the tyranny of engineering and materials, not to mention seasworthiness.

Good luck with the project whoever gets it.

I was going to suggest a VISMOD using a modern chassis and engine ... but the Lady Duck was just such a heavily modified truck cum amphibian and it capsized in the Ottawa River in 2002. Several passengers drowned, the company had to admit negligence and the regulators sucked their chair cushions in through the rectum. A completely avoidable accident.

canada.com/story_print.html?id=ac6318b5-6984-4b28-bd2f-a5de755328ee
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Old 18-01-16, 23:29
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Default The Channel 7 budget must be big!

Quote:
we are hoping to modify an existing Ford GPA into a replica of the Half-Safe. We want to know how difficult this task was? We want to know if this will work? We want to then launch the vehicle into the ocean and take it into the open ocean. I must also stress that Channel 7 will cover the costs. I understand that Ford GPA’s are quite expensive but if we can find a cheap one, all the better!
We would look to start filming in the first quarter of next year with an airing date of mid next year. This part of the story would involve filming the planning and building process right through to launching into the ocean. I must stress that it does not have to be an exact replica of the ‘Half-Safe’.
I hope they have a $100k plus budget to acquire an amphibious Jeep and do the build!
I wouldn't be surprised if they're thinking they can pick one up for a few hundred.
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  #13  
Old 19-01-16, 07:22
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Quite honestly Keith, I think they would be better off scratch building one with a post war Jeep. It would probably save $70k from kick off.
There is so much Carlin modified that mostly all that is left of Halfsafe is the GPW. I say this based only on reading about it.
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Old 19-01-16, 09:00
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It would have to be a very delapitated GPA to be wasted on such a TV program. The GPA community is very conscious of getting most if not all of the wrecks restored to original condition.
Erik Jostad had a GPA for sale with a similar history ("Tortuga" - see http://fordgpa.xsbb.nl/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=814504), which he advertised for €40.000. It was sold and I would not be surprised if it is converted back to mil spec. Another converted GPA in Canada awaits the same fate.

But as with anything jeep, GPA parts are being reproduced. I would advise them to buy the repro parts they need and do their engineering experiment with that.
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Old 19-01-16, 11:11
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Default Half Safe

Half Safe was on display in MYERS department store in Melbourne around 1955 . The Carlins' would do this sort of thing in order to raise much needed funds . I believe Ben was signing copies of the book at the time. I'm not sure if his other half was with him at this point in time.

re: the first book - reading between the lines , he did like his booze and I think his missus became disgruntled and fed up with it all .

Ben Carlin died around the same time as the initial Corowa was held in 1980 . I think he lived out his later years in Birmingham UK , but not sure . Imagine if he had lived longer than the relatively young age he made it to ( 68 ? ) and he made it to a Corowa .

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Last edited by Mike Kelly; 19-01-16 at 11:16.
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Old 19-01-16, 11:28
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Alex recently spoke to Boye De Mente. He is aware of the cost involved and has spoken to a few GPA owners in Australia. I visited the Guildford Grammar School with Bob Dimer a few years after Half-Safe was at Corowa and I had a work colleague whose boyfriend went to the Guildford Grammar School and witnessed the vehicle being pushed into a pool.

When there was a suggestion to have the vehicle over at Corowa for our 20th Annual GPA Swim-In we had to raise funds to cover costs. There were a number of generous military vehicle owners who helped by donating money. Budget also came to the party to help with the transport. Unfortunately Bob Dimer is no longer with us and he did all the mechanical work prior to the trip to make is roadworthy. The vehicle received TV coverage and took part in the parade through Corowa. I feel very honoured to have been given a chance to drive the vehicle and have some appreciation of what some of the journey must have been like. There is no way I would want to go into the water in it.

One thing I would like is to see if we can get it back to Corowa in 2019 for our 40th Year.

In 1999 we received successful confirmation of a new Guinness World Record for 'The largest gathering of Ford GPA amphibious vehicles since the Second world War was 16, at the 20th National GPA Swim-in, organised by Jan Thompson, Maureen Bell, Jennifer Bennie and Roger Ross (all Australia), which took place in Corowa, NSW, Australia on 13th March 1999'.
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IMG_6010.JPG   IMG_6012.JPG  
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Old 21-01-16, 10:22
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Default My experience with Half-Safe.

In 1999, I had the great experience of being allowed by Bob Dimer to drive Half-Safe around Ball Park Caravan Park. Thank you Bob, not too many people have driven a vehicle which has circumnavigated the world mostly under its own steam.

Here are the photos taken that day 13th March 1999.

The line up with Half-Safe as no.1. Have a look at no.2. That is the Wilsons honey-moon vehicle.

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Left 3/4 photo. .

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Check out the driving position and compare the drivers seat position with the previous photo. That is right, right back at the last of the side windows.

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Taken through the rear hatch. It's a long way to the front.

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16 year old son Michael had a ride as well.

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Regards Rick.
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Old 21-01-16, 10:40
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Default Carlin, F.B. (Frederick Benjamin) 1912 - 1981

Here are the covers of the two books by Ben Carlin, 'Half-Safe Across the Atlantic by Jeep" published in 1955, and "The Other Half of Half-Safe" published by the Guildford Grammar School Foundation Inc. in 1989. (ISBN 0 9598731 1 2)

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I have 3 copies of Half-Safe, one for each of my sons and a signed one for me.
Regards Rick
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Old 21-01-16, 11:18
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Default Half-Safe in Melbourne.

A couple of stills from the Pathe film clip.

Not much free board.

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With Elinore and Ben in Melbourne at the bow of Half-Safe.

Regards Rick.
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Old 21-01-16, 13:18
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Thanks Rick for sharing the photos.

Alex Cullen and Channel 7 are going to San Francisco on 15th February and he would like to make contact with a GPA owner over there. I have put a post on MLU to see if there is anyone out there who can help.

I will catch up with Alex and the Channel 7 crew prior to this so we can discuss any questions the crew may have.

I would like to get a list of possible GPA's which may come to Corowa. I have a couple of entries and it would be good to entice a few others along.
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Old 21-01-16, 21:03
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Default Not having read the book.....

..... how did he manage the fuel issues during the long hauls..... even if following a coast line most of the way...... how much could he safely carry or was he refueled???

Just curious

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Old 22-01-16, 01:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Carriere View Post
..... how did he manage the fuel issues during the long hauls..... even if following a coast line most of the way...... how much could he safely carry or was he refueled???

Just curious

Bob C
Hi Bob,
The first part of his round the world trip was across the Atlantic so not much chance of following the coastline. He did tow a fuel reservoir but in the rough seas this caused problems by being turned over. There were extra tanks on board. The book shows a plan of all the extra fitments. Having been all over it, I cannot imagine how awful it would have been He even had to do valve jobs in mid ocean, imagine trying to fit the collets while bobbing about, you would need a few spare ones!!
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Old 22-01-16, 02:17
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Bob, when they left Halifax to go to the Azores, they towed a fuel tank, which at one stage, kept rolling over, twisted up the tow rope and came close to sinking them.
From memory (and this may be wrong) it took 7 weeks to cross the Atlantic.
Between the Azores and the African coast they were hit by a hurricane. Elinore mentions being in 40 and 50 foot high seas. The book is facinating. The stuff they dealt with was amazing. Fumes, Condensation, Fuel blockages, an explosion, everything wet, constantly sea sick, crashing of waves on the hull,being aware Halfesafe could split and sink at any moment, under hull repairs, no where to lay down properly. An endless list of of soul and life destroying things to deal with. They were crazy!
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Old 22-01-16, 02:35
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There was one bit there where they had a fuel blockage in the floating tank.
He couldn't remove the top for fear of loosing it all.
He decided to put in a temp fuel line in the drain plug.
He pressurised the tank a little, rigged up fuel line with a plug cemented to the line. he then went into the water, removed the drain plug, (a little petrol came out as planned) Then, coming up for air once each minute, he spent an hour trying to get the plug in. He states that it was a stabbing effort because the tank was moving so much that he couldn't get the 1/4" plug in and started in the thread. He had a fear of sharks btw, and there were sharks.
I only have the first book, but have read about the rest of the trip as well.
An absolutely fascinating story and an amazing achievement.
A shame I never knew where Halfsafe lived. If I had known, I might have gone to see her while I was in Kalgoorlie.
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Old 22-01-16, 05:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynx42 View Post
A couple of stills from the Pathe film clip.

Not much free board.

Attachment 79099

Attachment 79100

Attachment 79101

With Elinore and Ben in Melbourne at the bow of Half-Safe.

Regards Rick.
They are both smiling for the camera so at least they were still on speaking terms , she must have cleared off just after this movie was done. Apparently she never remarried and she never spoke of the trip to anyone Mike
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Old 25-02-16, 11:20
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A GPA has been sourced and the owner is looking for internal photos to complete the interior. If anyone has some please email them to me: kveinc@optusnet.com.au

I have a few and I am sure there must be others out there.
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Old 08-08-16, 03:12
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Default Half-Safe ready to sail

Half-Safe is ready to sail.

Is there anyone out there who would be able to assist with the following:

Craig Olsen has provided the following update: You may be aware that I have been doing my GPA project as a re-enactment of the Half Safe odyssey. Channel 7 has filmed during 3 days as my GPA has been put together over the last few months. You are probably aware also, that its taken up a most of my spare time. The project is coming to a completion with the final filming in a week or two. This filming will take place off Barrenjoey Heads, possibly on Sunday 14th August, and will go to air soon after the Olympics. I am mechanically challenged, so I am after a co-driver with jeep mechanical wherewith all (preferably GPA experience) to be a back up to get the GPA running if something stalls us. We will have the company of a Ch 7 boat which is doing some filming.

We have built a cabin and an extended bow that fits on to the GPA to replicate Half Safe and of course to help with the GPAs low free board. The cabin has 2 hatches for entry and escape – just like Half Safe. It is planned that the GPA will be launched inside Barrenjoey Heads and then sail through the heads for some breathtaking aerial shots of the vastness of the ocean compared to the tiny GPA.
The trip is for the adventurous and if conditions are adverse, the trip will be postponed as it is safety first of course.
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Old 09-08-16, 07:28
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I had a report from Craig this morning and he has organised a mechanic and another person who is very familiar with GPA's to join him on Sunday. I plan to go and have a look so will post some photos on here after Sunday.
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Old 14-08-16, 13:16
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Default the launch of Half Safe

After reading reports from people who were negative about this project all I can say it has been a great success and will be seen in Sept or October on Channel 7. The program is called Sunday Night. The film crew have been over to the United States and interviewed one of the passengers, went across to the Guildford Grammar School in Perth and drove the original Half Safe and have watched Craig modify the GPA. This afternoon Alex Cullen, the reporter drove the replica into Pittwater and we were able to go out on a boat and watch the entire filming process during the afternoon. Rob, the mechanic did an amazing job to get the vehicle running well and any problems that arose today were quickly sorted out. A Maritime boat came over and checked out what was happening and I ended up being able to have a ride in the water.

I have posted some photos and we should see the vehicle at Corowa in March 2017.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_2394.jpg   IMG_2399.jpg   IMG_2428.jpg   IMG_2432.jpg   IMG_2449.jpg  

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Old 14-08-16, 13:23
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Default more photos of the launch

Here are some more photos of the replica Half Safe
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IMG_2454.jpg   IMG_2467.jpg   IMG_7320.JPG   IMG_7321.JPG   IMG_7323.JPG  

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