Street Machine - - Snap Shots -

CAR own­er­ship is a con­cept that can ma­ture along with our lives. What we as­pire to own at an early age can de­vi­ate as our tastes and per­sonal cir­cum­stances change with ever-in­creas­ing fam­ily, time and work com­mit­ments. Si­mon Cole has trav­elled far and wide across our great coun­try, but has al­ways man­aged to own one or three sweet rides at any given time, adapt­ing their form and func­tion to match what­ever ad­ven­tures his life has in store.


HERE’S a sight bound to tug at a few Gen-x heart­strings. “I bought this Dat­sun 1600 as my first car back in 1985,” Si­mon says. “It was a low-mileage thing in pretty good nick and was great fun to fang around. Even with sus­pen­sion that high, I’m sure it saved me from killing my­self, and you couldn’t break it. As for those pants and that hair – well, I only wish I knew how to ex­plain them!”


THIS 1965 Chevro­let was the be­gin­ning of Si­mon’s love af­fair with the Amer­i­can au­to­mo­bile. “I bought the Bel Air in Ade­laide back in 1989, and when work took me to Bris­bane and Dar­win for the next four years it came along too,” he says. “This pic is of me flog­ging it around Hid­den Val­ley race track around 1993. I have lots of awe­some mem­o­ries with that car; one im­promptu latenight trip in­volved me and a mate haul­ing arse from Bris­bane to By­ron Bay in un­der two hours – on the old high­way, mind you. That was highly reck­less be­hav­iour, of course, and there’s a bunch of other sto­ries I could tell you about this car. Sadly, I don’t re­ally think they’re pub­lish­able.”


SI­MON hung onto the Bel Air un­til 1995, when the spirit of ad­ven­ture took hold and it was sold to pur­chase this HZ Holden panel van. He left Dar­win and spent the next six months liv­ing in the van while ex­plor­ing Aus­tralia’s east coast. The 202 and Tri­matic pow­er­house didn’t miss a beat as it tack­led all man­ner of ter­rain, and he soon learnt that if a Kingswood couldn’t make it then you weren’t meant to be there!


AF­TER set­tling back into the daily grind, in 1997 Si­mon bought this pearler of a 1963 Pon­tiac Lau­ren­tian from a mate in Gee­long who was re­lo­cat­ing to the UK. “It drove re­ally well, and we had many miles of fun with it,” he says. “This car in­tro­duced me to the cruis­ing scene, and I think I drove ev­ery­where do­ing about 45km/h! I held onto it for a num­ber of years while other cars came and went, then sold it to my good mate Ge­orge back in 2005, who still owns it to­day.”


ONCE Si­mon sold the Lau­ren­tian, he searched Aus­tralia-wide for a re­place­ment, but noth­ing took his fancy. “Ev­ery­thing was ei­ther over­priced or a piece of garbage or both,” he

says. “So where do you look for an Amer­i­can car? Amer­ica of course! This 1968 Chevy Caprice Cus­tom coupe was the very first thing I bought off ebay. It came from Los An­ge­les, but was a Mas­sachusetts car orig­i­nally so needed some mi­nor rust re­pairs to the floor. Oth­er­wise it was as de­scribed, and only needed min­i­mal work for South Aus­tralian LHD drive rego. It ran a 327 small-block backed by a Turbo 400 and LSD. The bucket-seat in­te­rior was su­per-cool, too, with an air­craft-style floor shift. I loved it.”


SI­MON had just fin­ished the ’68 Caprice when this ’64 Chevy wagon came up for sale lo­cally – al­ways the way. “I wasn’t fi­nan­cial enough to keep both cars, so the Caprice was sold to a bloke in Mel­bourne and I pulled this car out of an Ade­laide shed where it had sat for nine years; it re­ally was love at first sight.” A right-hand-drive, fac­tory nine-seater cruiser with a 350 and a bunch of other cool stuff sounds like the ul­ti­mate truck­ster to me, and Si­mon and fam­ily still drive the wheels off it. Would you be­lieve it was re­stored 25 years ago? It still looks mint!


AN XM Fal­con coupe had long been a bucket-list car for Si­mon, but this one popped up, as al­ways, at the least op­por­tune mo­ment. “Off to the bank I went for a cash in­jec­tion, then dragged this home from a drive­way where it had sat for some time,” he says. “Hav­ing owned a sedan with the same 170-cube six­cylin­der and two-speed For­do­matic driv­e­line, I was fa­mil­iar with this woe­ful com­bi­na­tion, but surely it couldn’t be as bad as I re­mem­bered, could it? Sadly, it was, and be­cause it had lain dor­mant for ages the coupe was un­re­li­able, too. I fixed that prob­lem with a 302 Wind­sor, tricked-up C4, disc brakes and a Cen­tura diff. Man, it hauled arse!”


TEMP­TA­TION raised its head again back in 2014 in the form of a 1957 Chrysler Wind­sor. A mate had al­ready sorted the paint and panel and re­built most of the driv­e­line, but was sell­ing it as an un­fin­ished project. “My wife Emily had restitched the in­te­rior as a swap for the paintjob on her AP6 Re­gal, so we knew it was a good thing. Emily and her fam­ily are re­spon­si­ble for me be­com­ing a diehard Mopar con­vert, so I couldn’t say no to this. The XM was sold and we jammed this be­he­moth into its old car space. It runs a semi-hemi 354 Spit­fire donk with power steer, and was the first year of the Torque­flite trans and tor­sion-bar front sus­pen­sion. It’s an­other fam­ily car we take ev­ery­where. I’m not sure what wires us to be­come car peo­ple, but it’s al­ways been in my blood and looks to have passed down to our three-year-old son, Phoenix, who walks around with var­i­ous cars in his hands at all times. He even says ‘Mopar or no car’ – un­less it’s an Impala wagon of course!”





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