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