WHEN your deep-seated passions are Australiana and cars, it’s likely you’ll combine the two to include some ripper Aussie rides in your collection. Lane Parsons grew up knee-deep in cars thanks to the guidance of his father, Neville (Snap Shots, SM, Jul and Sep ’18), and has been tinkering with all things automotive now for more than 40 years.
01: START ’em young: That’s Lane as a young tacker standing next to his father, Neville, with brothers Derin (coming through the windscreen) and Kim (at the kerb) helping to pull the donk out of this wrecked Morrie van. “That’s how you raise three car-mad boys!” Lane laughs. “Dad used the motor for his convertible after buying the van from an impound lot that was located directly under the Story Bridge in Brisbane. It was in there because of the front end damage, but the roof was stoved in from people dropping bricks onto it from the bridge above.” 02: LANE started his apprenticeship as a greenskeeper at 14 and immediately began saving for his first car. “In 1980, as a 16-yearold, I bought this HT ute off my brother’s mate and built it at home with my dad,” he says. “We dropped in a 186 with a three-on-the-tree and I bought the GTS guards from Kelly’s Wrecking on Brisbane’s north side – wreckers were full of Monaros in those days. I learnt to drive in this ute and kept it for a couple of years before selling it for $2000.”
03: IF THIS isn’t the perfect example of a cool 80s streeter then I don’t know what is: brown satin metallic paint, a bone vinyl roof with a louvre, letterbox scoop, tramps rods and Globelines! “My neighbour had recently bought a big-block Corvette with sidepipes and the works – it was tough-as – so he sold me his HK GTS as a painted but unassembled project. I pieced it back together with a 307 Chev running fuellie heads and extractors, backed by a Saginaw four-speed. It was a great car and I loved the thing, but it got stolen and was found a couple of weeks later at the Gold Coast, partially stripped but totally trashed. I brought it home and cleaned it up, but was pretty disheartened by the whole situation and sold it for $2800.”
04: AFTER the Monaro was recovered and sold, Lane decided to dabble in the van scene, and bought this HR van as a roller in 1983. A warm 192 and four-speed were fitted and he replaced the twin side windows with long single versions. “This van was a really mint car with a great bodyshell, and I drove it everywhere over the next few years,” he says. “It was actually a five-seater that had a fold-down wagon rear bench and Premier front buckets, so it did everything you could want. I ended up selling it in 1985 once I got my FC on the road.”
05: PERSISTENCE paid off for Lane with the purchase off this FC sedan, a car that he has now owned for 33 years! “My dad, brothers and I were always snooping around the streets and people’s yards looking for old cars, and I would regularly pass this FC to and from work. I struck up a friendship with the original owner, Laurie, who was 95 years old and had covered
all of the miles on the clock. I asked him to keep me in mind should he ever want to sell it, and 12 months later he told me to bring $200 and take it home; his son-in-law was hassling him for the car, purely to flip it and make some money. I promised Laurie I would keep the FC and immediately got to work rebuilding it. I took it back a year later, repainted and looking schmick, and took old Laurie for a drive; he literally burst into tears and was just so happy his beloved FC had gone to a good home. I love my grey motors, and this car has a mild 138 with twin carbs and a decent cam. It still has the old three-on-the-tree and is onto its third respray. I usually paint it every decade!”
06: Long-term ownership is in Lane’s DNA nowadays, and this beaut HR sedan has been a part of his fleet since 2006. Bought out of the old paper Trading Post for $4000, the HR was a hottie with a tough 202 running triple SUS and plenty of period coolness. “It went like stink but was always breaking rocker posts; the valvetrain was constantly on edge,” Lane says. “I fitted a mild 179 just to return some reliability, but I still have the old hottie motor here, which I’ll rebuild and fix its issues while I’m at it.” And how tough do 13-inch US Racers still look on early Holdens – Lane’s HR uses a Torana diff to squeeze them under the low arse.
07: LANE’S dad Neville bought this Morris Minor convertible back in 1971 for $20 – the receipt is still in the glovebox – and it sat in his garage on the back-burner for 30 years before he completely rebuilt it. “It still runs the original sidevalve four-cylinder, and he drove it regularly before passing away in 2008,” Lane says. “I get it out now and then and am amazed how he could even drive it. He was a tall guy, so it must have been a tight squeeze!”
08: WHEN it comes to Aussie motoring, Lane is a diehard Holden fan, but he couldn’t pass up this neat AP5 Valiant Safari wagon he spotted as a roadside sale a decade ago. “I was working at Beachmere, north of Brisbane, and made the boss swing around so I could go back and check it out,” he laughs. “The body, paint and interior is pretty much as-is, but the slant donk had a nasty miss so I managed to get it a little cheaper. I brought the car home, sorted the head – it had bent a valve – and have been cruising it ever since. This wagon runs and drives beautifully and smooth and is so comfortable; there really is no comparison to the Holdens and Falcons of that time.”
09: WITH a tidy grey-powered FC streeter under his belt, Lane was keen to hit his local Warwick eighth-mile strip with something tougher, so he built this second two-tone sedan. “I actually bought this car many years ago as a stripped project that was left behind at a rental property,” he says. “It was an eight-year build and runs a hot grey motor with a solid Tighe cam, 12:1 pistons and a 500 Holley, backed by an HQ three-speed and an early Hilux diff – it bolted perfectly to the FC leaf springs! The best I’ve run is a 10.4 at Warwick, but I’d really love to get it down the quarter. It’d be nice to actually wind it out in third gear!” The inscription on the glovebox is in memory of his dad Neville; Snips was Neville’s nickname for many decades, born from the similarity of ‘Parsons’ to ‘parsnips’.