Harry Wild about

Australian Muscle Car - - News -

Our

is­sue #90 story on rally en­thu­si­ast An­thony Ed­wards’ replica HDT Repco Round Aus­tralia Trial ser­vice van prompted AMC reader, Steve Jak­setic, to drop us a line with images of his own trib­ute panel van – ‘Harry’.

Jak­setic’s van, named af­ter leg­endary Holden Dealer Team chief Harry Firth, has an en­tirely dif­fer­ent pur­pose to Ed­wards’ ver­sion. While An­thony’s van is a metic­u­lously pre­sented replica that dou­bles as an ac­tual ser­vice van when he goes bush help­ing out ral­ly­ing mates to­day, Steve’s is his ev­ery­day work ve­hi­cle.

“I orig­i­nally planned to run it in char­ity bashes,” Jak­setic ex­plains, “as it seemed the per­fect fit – a rally trib­ute to be used in ral­lies. Un­for­tu­nately, my em­ploy­ment cir­cum­stances changed in late 2013 and the bash idea was put to rest. I then de­cided to con­tinue with the plan of build­ing ‘Harry’ as an ev­ery­day driver and work van to help build the pro­file of a new busi­ness ven­ture. The build took me six months (full-time) and whilst he’s not an ex­act trib­ute, he cer­tainly looks the part and gets lots of at­ten­tion as I travel the coun­try­side scroung­ing around on farms and look­ing for trea­sures which we then re­sell from our Al­bury­based antiques and col­lecta­bles shop.”

That shop is Aussie Man­tiques and Col­lecta­bles – an­other AMC! – where vis­i­tors can buy items as di­verse as Phan­tom comics, Rail­way Ho­tel sig­nage (well, there’s one in every town), anvils, vin­tage lanterns, 1950s nudie play­ing cards, beer-tap tops and many, many more ob­scure items of pop­u­lar cul­ture. Un­sur­pris­ingly, count­less items of au­to­mo­bilia can be found at the Guinea Street, Al­bury shop and its Face­book page – oil com­pany pro­mo­tional para­pher­na­lia, those Robert Coady-painted Holden plates, car mag­a­zines and books, hub­caps, model cars, you name it.

Harry is much more than a golden Holden retriever, though. He’s a key part of “Aussie Scrounger” Steve’s mar­ket­ing plan. The Marl­bo­roflavoured liv­ery helps draw at­ten­tion to the busi­ness “as well as tick the box of be­ing an Aussie icon,” Steve con­tin­ues. “Per­son­ally I think I have the best com­pany car on the planet and one that has proven a re­li­able work­horse even though it’s four decades old.

“I can as­sure you Harry is not wrapped in cot­ton balls ei­ther. I’ve trav­elled rough out­back roads that even sup­posed ‘tough as nails’ four­wheel drives strug­gle on.

“Run­ning the ever-re­li­able 253 and Tri­matic, I’ve trav­elled over 60,000 kilo­me­tres in two years and the paint­work shows it! I can’t com­plain though, it’s re­ally ticked every box and I just love driv­ing it, whether it’s to the cor­ner store or if need be, Cameron’s Cor­ner.”

Cameron’s Cor­ner, of course, is the point at which the states of Queens­land, New South Wales and South Aus­tralia meet.

“Then there is the an­nual trip to Win­ton and Bathurst tow­ing the HDT-liv­er­ied caravan, so he re­ally earns his keep both from a busi­ness and per­sonal per­spec­tive. His build has been doc­u­mented via a ded­i­cated Face­book page ‘1979 HDT Holden Ser­vice Crew Trib­ute Panel Van’ with con­tin­ued reg­u­lar ac­tion post up­dates oc­cur­ring,” says Steve proudly.

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