Me and my mo­tor

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - GADGETS & GIZMOS - Mark Hinch­liffe

IF you are a Holden fan, Dud­ley Mone­ment’s four-door back­yard shed is ‘‘ev­ery boy’s dream’’. Not only does it in­clude 18 beau­ti­fully re­stored Hold­ens from the ’50s to ’ 70s, but also mo­tor­ing para­pher­na­lia such as park­ing me­ters, petrol bowsers, fuel and oil ad­ver­tis­ing signs and lights, a col­lec­tion of four Victa ‘‘toe-cut­ter’’ mow­ers and, of course, a well-stocked bar with a fridge made from a Golden Fleece petrol pump.

‘‘We’ve still got a few fin­ish­ing touches to make,’’ says Mone­ment, 71, a semi-re­tired busi­ness­man.

It all be­gan about 18 years ago when he be­gan restor­ing a 1950 FX Holden, like the 1951 model he owned in 1958.

‘‘I al­ways said it was the best car I ever had,’’ Mone­ment says.

He bought the one-owner car for $4000 from the side of the road in north­ern New South Wales.

‘‘I drove it home, but it needed a lot of restor­ing.’’

The restora­tion pas­sion grew over the years un­til he had cars scat­tered over three sheds on dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties that he owned.

Mone­ment be­gan con­sol­i­dat­ing it all in his shed six months ago and now plans to host the oc­ca­sional meet­ing of the FX and FJ Holden Car Club of Queens­land.

His in­ven­tory of cars reads like a Holden fan’s wish list from the ’ 50s through to the ’ 70s and all are in per­fect run­ning or­der.

He has five utes (1951, ’52, 2 x ’53, ’56), three FX sedans (’49 and 2 x ’50), two FJ vans (’55 and ’56, which is the for­mer Light­ning Ridge PMG van), one ’56 FJ sedan, three Monaros (’70, ’71 and ’74), one ’59 FC panel van, two Sand­man panel vans (’75 and ’79) and a highly mod­i­fied 1954 FJ racer.

There is also a ’52 ute that he bought as a wreck for $200 and has con­verted into a camper­van.

Like many of his col­lec­tion, the FJ racer has a name. It’s called Jig­saw be­cause it’s made of many pieces, in­clud­ing bits of Com­modores and even Audis.

Most of the oth­ers are named ac­cord­ing to colour: Cus­tard, Yel­low Devil and Ba­nana. There’s also Dave, af­ter the per­son who be­gan restor­ing it be­fore sell­ing it to Mone­ment.

His favourite is the 1950 FX, al­though his ’49 won grand cham­pion at the na­tional FX and FJ ti­tles in 2008 out of more than 200 cars. The ’49 FX is all orig­i­nal with a 6V elec­tri­cal sys­tem, rag tyres, fab­ric wiring, tin spark plug ends and no blink­ers.

‘‘It’s bet­ter than they came off the Holden assem­bly line,’’ he says.

In front of his wife, Cavil, he says he has lost track of how much he paid to buy the cars or how much it cost to have them re­stored, al­though he re­veals it costs about $3000 just to rechrome an FX or FJ grille.

His an­nual bill for dis­counted con­ces­sional reg­is­tra­tion, alone, is more than $3700.

‘‘The hard-to-get bits are quite ex­pen­sive. An orig­i­nal ra­dio for a HQ is worth $1000 if you can even find one,’’ Mone­ment says.

He also won’t com­ment on what his col­lec­tion is worth, but he has been told his 1970 HG Monaro 350 is worth the most – about $100,000.

Mone­ment says his shed is now full and he will stop col­lect­ing and restor­ing when he has fin­ished mak­ing a dual-cab ute out of an FJ.

‘‘It’s never been done be­fore,’’ he says. ‘‘I hope to show it at the Gold Coast hot rod show in Novem­ber.’’

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