Harry Wild about
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.