A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


FE UTE 1959

First cars and lack of money,  Bobby, my cousin had left Nailsworth Technical school to join the Army, as an Apprentice Electrician, the Holden FE utility was his first car.  When he was about to take his Christmas holiday a low life (apologies to other Low-lifes ), stole his Holiday Pay.  Bobby drove his FE home from Puckapunyal to Enfield, trying to enjoy his leave while tidying his ute with very limited spending money. 

Every boy with their first car wants a hot-sounding exhaust.  Pipes needed replacing, Uncle Jim was the man, he could fix anything with his Uncle Jim skills, being able to turn his hands to any task in his famous shed.  A shed full of equipment and a collection of things, things that will come in handy any day now.

I was at home pottering around in the shed when Bobby walked in with a request for help to give his exhaust system a sportier sound and a hotted-up look.  Sure, I have this side pipe from an International truck that should look just the ticket, by poking it out under the side of the body just in front of the rear wheel. 

We needed Uncle Jim’s Oxy welding plant, so into the Ute and around to Uncle Jim’s to borrow the Oxy.  No worries bring it back when you’re finished.  Back at home in the carport we cut off the excellent replica of originally manufactured exhaust tailpipe that Uncle Jim had just finished earlier in the day, got to work welding the you beaut side pipe on.  In no time at all we had done a ‘bonzer’ job after loading up the Oxy trolley, laying it down wheel first in the back of the Ute and tailgate down. 

We jumped in and drove off to Uncle Jim’s place.  So impressed with the job we had done Bobby couldn’t wait to give her a burst to hear what a sweet sound it would make. 

Brrrumm, Brumm burble, crash bang tinkle, tinkle, then the screech of the brakes we came to a stop, looking back we could see the Oxy set laying on the road a few yards behind the ute. 

Oh, darn!  The gauges!  Both sets had broken off the cylinders and were a shattered mangled wreck of them former selves.  Tentatively we loaded the Oxy back into the Ute and closing the tailgate, “shutting the gate after the horse had bolted” we drove around to Uncle Jim’s and with huge embarrassment and apologized all around we told him our tail of woe. 

Uncle Jim was a man that nothing could phase him, with a smile in his voice, a voice of understanding and reason, he said “that’s OK, bring them back when you have got them fixed, CIG in Thebarton is the place to take them, good oh lads”. Thanks Uncle!

During 1964 FJ Holden I almost bought

Having considered the FJ when looking for that first car, fantasized about driving one and writing it off in a boy’s own style.  It was not to be.  I had approached a very cool FJ, mild street custom, lowered, 13-inch rims (all the go in the ’60s),179 Red motor, was sitting outside Aunger speed shop in Franklin Street. 

Aunger Speed Shop was the place to go for your hot-up bits and accessories. 

The owner and his mate were standing there I made a one-time offer to buy his pride and joy but alas he said NO and I moved on from that dream.  Always a dreamer!

Anyways, it was very apparent that Holdens were rust buckets, the FJs were only painted on the outside with no additional rust treatments suffering rust badly.  Well, that’s my story.

Johnnie Horan a second year Mechanic apprentice was customizing his FJ, with a duel headlights front,

photo below similar to his efforts, well yes.

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