Looking over my Brother John’s shoulder when I could, I found it fascinating how he pulled engines to bits and re-assembled them in relatively a short time. I could not understand how you could pull things to bits and then they would go again. After John disappeared and went to VIETNAM, there was very little for me to do. I found an opportunity when I met a gentleman by the name of Frank Madelina Snr. Frank Snr was the owner of Goldfields Motor Wreckers in Kalgoorlie. Frank took me to the BOULDER Speedway each week in his tow truck on the proviso I remained in the truck at all times for Safety. An offer that remained intact for almost three seasons. I had to find something to keep me occupied. At the age of 14, I purchased a MKII Zephyr Ute from one of John’s friends (Graham SYNOTT from Esperance), it was totally stuffed with a shot diff, no first and third gears and bald tyres – cost was $50. I learnt how to drive in this car and enjoyed many good country miles in her. All was good in them days as the POLICE or the Road Traffic Authority as it was called then and never came to our neck of the woods in East Kalgoorlie. I became a Butchers Apprentice and when the boss found out I could drive, he asked me to collect all the Beef and Sheep from the Kalgoorlie Marshalling Yards in his former Army Truck, a 1944 Chevrolet Maple Leaf Truck. I was only 15. By the time late 1971 came around, I had accrued 8 cars in Mum’s backyard, 2 very rare Renaults, FC Holden Sedan, FC Station Wagon and several other Zephyr’s. September 1971 saw me making application join the Royal Australian Navy to follow Brothers Footsteps. Early 1972 saw me join the service but missed VIETNAM by months. Brother John and I never service together. My first car after obtaining a drivers Licence was a XR Falcon (WA rego UFH 465) but it was a dud, always overheated and let me down every time I travelled between Fremantle (then HMAS LEEUWIN) and Kalgoorlie. I purchased the car from the old AUTOWAYS dealerships in Fremantle. After letting the vehicle go to repossession, I purchased a 1974 HQ 4 Door MONARO Tangerine and Lone O’Ranger (WA Rego XDD150 – I still retain these plates today) this car was a joy to drive and regretted the day I had to sell her for an upcoming wedding in 1977. Over the next 28 years and with a heavy involvement with the NAVY, I was unable to carry out my hobby of having a small car collection. In 2003 I found another 1974 HQ 4 Door Monaro Tangerine and Lone O’Ranger in Fremantle in a sad state but worth every dollar. I asked Brother John to accompany me to view the vehicle; this in turn rekindled the love of the car and vehicle restoration as a whole. In 2006 I found a 1973 HQ Windowless Panel Van in Fremantle and the passion was reignited. From here came the 1970 HG Holden Premier and the list grew. Today the list has slightly expanded to include 2 x 48-215, 3 x FJ (ute and sedans), EJ Station Wagon, HD Premier Sedan, HD Station Wagon and FE Sedan. Over the coming weeks, I will be picking up a FJ Ute from a farmer nearby and an FE Sedan from Southern Cross. I also have my sights on a FJ Windowless Panel Van. Currently I am in the progression of retirement and setting up a display in Kellerberrin with my Brother. Displays are changed every 6- 8 weeks to maintain interest in the town. The workshop is a former Holden Dealership “DOWDING Motors” which commenced trading on July 31 1937 and concluded business in March 2004. John and Val Galvin purchased the business but could not secure the GMH dealership/franchise and traded as a garage only. The Marek Brothers then secured the property in 2010 to base their restoring operation.
John has always maintained an interest in Motor Vehicle. A quietly spoken and charismatic gentleman, John purchased his first car after returning home to Kalgoorlie from VIETNAM in 1967. Originally the vehicle was from NSW, a two tone FC Holden Sedan (NSW rego – BVL136). His first attempt at modifying the car was twin carbies and extractors with no mufflers. John purchased all the necessary tools to do the job himself. This attempt was by no means a failure and he grew with confidence. After being home for a few weeks the FC went into a Panel shop in Kalgoorlie to be customised. He sent monies home each month for the work to be done expecting it to be completed on his return. During this time, John was against posted to VIETNAM and was absent from home for close to 12 months. As I was at High School (Eastern Goldfields High) and across the road from the Panel Shop, I noticed the car sitting in the yard for months on end. John was not too amused when I told him and the car was recovered to be turned into a Speedway vehicle. When I found out I recovered the vehicle from the new owners in an attempt to resurrect her. When Brother John returned from VIETNAM for the second time he purchased a 1965 HD Holden Premier (WA rego – CG 356), modified it with twin carbies and headers (X2) and for extra performance, 7″ chrome wheels with Aquajet Tyres. After some modifications and a test run to Esperance, he took the car to PINK Lakes for some flat running. Speeds recorded suggested 106 MPH of which he was happy with that result. From here John fixed other friends vehicles all from reading manuals and playing with engines, all through trial and error but no failures. In 1971, John had a crack at rally driving in his HK Holden Premier when he was offered sponsorship through City Motors Scarborough (CM-S) on Scarborough Beach Road Osborne Park WA. CM-S later becomes NORTH City HOLDEN. In the latter half of 1971 John was posted to SYDNEY NSW and discharged from the NAVY after 10 years service. His next position was General Motors HOLDEN (GMH) when he was working on the HQ and HJ assembly lines at PAGEWOOD NSW. His car now is a PURR-PULL HQ Holden Panel van with XU1 Running Gear. After a few years John managed to obtain a senior or mature apprenticeship with ROLLS ROYCE in Sydney. During his apprenticeship (4 years), he restored a AUSTIN 16HP to its original status and called her “Lady Penelope”. On completion of his apprenticeship, John returned to WA and continued with his love for the humble automobile either restoring or modifying Celica’s Jaguars or other Holden’s. A Yellow FJ Ute named “Dormant” remains his favourite. Current John has two projects on the go being a 1954 FJ Holden sedan with VN shortened diff, modified front cross member from Albert Panizza, HX or P76 Disc Brakes, VN steering and with possibly a VS Supercharged V6 and a 1950 FX Sedan presented in original condition. It is expected the FX will be completed in the coming months and registered in 2012.