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1979 Buick LeSabre Estate station wagon
Pictures/owned by Jim Corrigan

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Well, you've got to hear the story on this one!  As told by Jim Corrigan:

Known to all in North American pipe band circles as "The Highland War Wagon" this large, comfortable "land barge" was the mode of transportation for up to 8 drummers and pipers, 8 drums, 2 coolers, uniforms, etc. to most of the highland games in the Eastern United States and Canada. The amazing part of it all is that no one ever ended up in jail! Powered by a smooth 6.6 Litre V8 (that's 403 cu.in. for you south of the border folks) Oldsmobile engine, with 185 HP at 3600 rpm and torque of 320 ft.lbs. at 2000 rpm. This vehicle just loved to run on the highway and floated along best around 125 km/h (80 mph) on cruise - much like a hovercraft.

Purchased by the present owner on May 6th, 1991, it had 155,000 Kms on it then. The speedometer never worked properly and I got sick of repairing it, but a conservative estimate would be now in the 350,000 Km range - the greater majority of it loaded to the teeth and pulling a trailer. Of course, any group of self-respecting musicians had to have a good sound system and we replaced original equipment with an MEI AM/FM Cassette deck with CD adaptor, amplifier and 4 X 100W speakers! It also featured the "DIG PEN" (Don't ask!).

Originally purchased new in Edmonton, Alberta, it was "loaded" and had been repainted to its present copper colour prior to me aquiring it - hence the lack of wood grain panels on the sides and the addition of the non-original black rubber strips on the sides.

There are many hilarious stories this vehicle could tell, but the one that comes to mind is when returning from Bethlehem, Pa. one late September, with the speedo pinned, a NY State Trooper gunned me, turned on his lights to give chase - then just gave up. I feared the worst, but never heard any more. I made it from Bethlehem to Ottawa, Ontario in just under 6 hours! She's a thoroughbred!

Sadly, I have just recently had to "decommission" her as the iron oxide caused by the incessant use of sodium chloride by the Ottawa-Carleton road crews have given her flesh-eating disease!

She is immortalized in a tune called
The Highland War Wagon on the Glengarry Pipe Band CD "We Come To Ceilidh". I'm going to miss her.

Copyright © 1998 Steve Manning. All Rights Reserved
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