BLOWIN’ GAS­KETS

> A CAR MAG­A­ZINE COL­UMN TURNED A TEENAGED SIMO INTO AN AM­A­TEUR AU­TO­MO­TIVE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Street Machine - - Contents -

WE’VE been hav­ing a se­ri­ous spring clean at home re­cently, and I came across th­ese two pho­tos (op­po­site page), which have quite a back-story.

As a teen in the mid-80s, I used to pore over car mag­a­zines. Street Ma­chine’s Plankkman and Wayne & Vicky were great reg­u­lar fea­tures, but my favourite was Kelly’s Kol­umn (yes, both with a K) in the now long-de­funct Street & Cus­tom mag­a­zine; I’d read it re­li­giously and re­peat­edly.

Paul Kelly was al­ready a leg­end of the Aussie cus­tom scene 30 years ago and a stal­wart for pe­riod builds of the 50s, 60s and 70s – styles that were quickly los­ing favour as we edged to­wards the stock-bod­ied bore­dom of the 90s through to now.

Paul’s col­umn and sto­ries in­tro­duced me to Aussie cus­tom pi­o­neers such as Dale Fisher, as well as many ground-break­ing Aus­tralian cus­tom cars, most of which were built well be­fore my time.

This in­ter­est saw me reg­u­larly pedal my BMX to Mar­riott’s book ex­change at Ash­grove, Bris­bane, where they sold cheap copies of 1960s Aus­tralian Hot Rod and Aus­tralian Hot

Rod­ding Re­view mag­a­zines. For un­der 10 bucks I’d fill a back­pack and pedal home to im­merse my­self in cars from two decades ear­lier.

One of Paul’s columns that re­ally trig­gered some­thing in me was about how as a young bloke with a Box Brownie cam­era he’d poke and prod his way around the neigh­bour­hood tak­ing pho­tos of wrecked and aban­doned cars – or projects in the works – of­ten through cracks in gates or over fences, mark­ing their place in time I guess.

I’d not long been given a fully au­to­matic cam­era by my folks and I knew of some wrecks, so around 1988 my good mate Pete Jones and I headed off on an ad­ven­ture to ex­plore the mas­sive horse pad­docks and bush near Hilder Road State School at The Gap.

We were well fa­mil­iar with this area; a few years ear­lier we’d been part of a posse of kids who built the coolest BMX track on va­cant land across from th­ese pad­docks at the cor­ner of Hilder and Kaloma Roads. Kids from all walks of life and schools banded to­gether with shov­els and picks build­ing berms and jumps, forg­ing new friend­ships over hard yakka. Of course by 1985 that track was mown down for houses, and our grass­roots so­cial net­work never re­cov­ered.

But I di­gress; Pete and I hid our BMXS in the lan­tana that sur­rounded the pad­docks and we fol­lowed the horse tracks in on foot. We found this Mor­rie ute and an early Main­line – I swear

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