Management Team Senior Coordinator – Eric Glas
For as long as I can remember I have always loved old cars. When my parents and five siblings emigrated from Holland back in 1981, we were collected from the airport in two separate vehicles – one was a HQ Holden Ute, the other was a HZ Station Wagon.
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The smell of old Holden seared into my memory and is one of my first memories as a five-year-old on Australian soil and instantly returns whenever I get into an old Holden.
Our family’s first Australian car and my Dad’s pride and joy was an XY Falcon Station Wagon complete with red interior – red vinyl seats, red door skins, red steering wheel, red dash, red vinyl floors, red hood lining, red everywhere!
I remember hot sunny days climbing in and scalding my legs on the hot vinyl seats. For over 15 years, that car did everything for us – my Dad used it to pull down trees, to get to work and to cart the family. The XY was in my family for most of my childhood, and 15 years of hard working reliability is hard to find – especially in a Ford!!! (I’m a bit partial to Holden’s…)
In my late teens my older brother bought a 1976 Leyland Mini, LS 1275. He drove it like he’d stolen it, which was a shame, because it was an excellent example of a cleanly restored and beautiful little car. I instantly fell in love with everything Mini – the way it handled, the direct steering, those tiny ten-inch wheels, its simple mechanics and lack of frills make it one of the most iconic cars ever built.
There is something about these old cars that the new ‘plastic cars’ will never quite achieve. These aren’t heartless machines intended to be traded in as soon as they got to 150,000km. People used to hang onto the family car until it was either dead or so rusty that it could no longer be deemed safe.
These machines took on a life and character of their own, no two were exactly alike, and each one had slightly different attitude on how to get started on a cold, frosty morning. The family car held memories of beach trips and breakdowns, singalongs and backseat bickering – the car was a family member in every sense of the word.
These days I would love to own even more old cars than I do, (since my teens I have owned more than 80 cars) but the budget and time have restricted me to owning only four or five at a time! My 1962 Mini currently takes pride of place in my shed, and still needs a bit done to restore her to her former glory and I hope to have it back on the road within the next year. Whenever money gets tight we think about selling her, but then my kids scream ‘NO, you can’t sell the Mini!’, and I too am forced to recognise that this old car is now a part of the family.