Koala Park to Everlast

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

“I grew up in the Hills District (of Syd­ney) just down from the Koala Park in West Pen­nant Hills, where as a kid I used to work as a tour guide on week­ends,” re­mem­bers Bill O’Brien today. “I also had a job at the Maglite Bat­tery fac­tory af­ter school mak­ing bat­ter­ies. My par­ents split up when I was 15. One stayed in Syd­ney and the other moved to Tasmania, so I moved to Can­berra! I worked hard for three years, sav­ing up enough to start my own busi­ness and away I went.” That busi­ness was the Everlast Bat­tery Ser­vice, which made au­to­mo­tive bat­ter­ies. Af­ter two years of suc­cess­ful trad­ing he was bought by the big­gest player Ex­ide and be­came one of their dis­trib­u­tors. It evolved into Everlast Au­to­mo­tive Ser­vices, run­ning tow trucks, smash re­pairs (cars and trucks) and gen­eral ser­vic­ing work­shops. In time Everlast would be­come the big­gest in­de­pen­dent au­to­mo­tive busi­ness in Can­berra, em­ploy­ing over a hun­dred peo­ple. By the early 1970s O’Brien had the means to dab­ble in mo­tor rac­ing.

“I started off at the Tralee Speed­way in an XP Fal­con coupe with trick McGee fuel in­jec­tion,” O’Brien re­calls of his time on Can­berra’s clay oval. “It was the fastest six cylin­der car at Tralee. I used to pass Mus­tangs up the main straight! We raced at Liver­pool and went as far as Toowoomba. I did this for about six or seven years.”

Like many oth­ers who just their teeth on clay, O’Brien soon found him­self drawn to big-time cir­cuit rac­ing.

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