Me and my motor
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.’’