This is an "expansion" of a webpage I did many years ago. It has taken me 2 days of solid work to get it this far.
See: Original Link (1998)
My Father introduced me to "Yank Tanks" at a very early age. From my earliest memories of living in Dandenong South.
(From when I was about 4-5 - Maybe 1961/2)
Dad always had a "car" that was distinct from others on the roads. Dad said that the "classy cars" were better looked after. So therefore a much better secondhand purchase.
(Something I have mostly found to be true as well)
Dad didn't like small cars very much. He related them to egg shells and made sure that when I was old enough to drive, I needed to obtain a suitable "solid" car that could "protect me in case of an accident".
The first car I have memory of was a 1950's Ford. I think we originally had a 1949 or 1950 "Single Spinner".
I have a very early childhood memory of this car breaking down while struggling up a seemingly endless hill.
(I dont know where we were)
Something went wrong with the cars gearbox. It was a "traumatic" experience.
(Parents tempers were freyed)
The Single Spinner had been purchased sometime before I was born. By 1962 or 1963 it had become so worn out a decision was made to replace it. So Dad purchased the 1952 Customline. (as seen in the following black and white images)
Dad also had a 1939 Ford 4 door that he was "gunna do up one day". Unfortunately the 39 Ford was "borrowed" by a neighbours boarder. We never saw the car or the boarder again. The 39 was rough. Although he rarely spoke about it. I'm sure Dad felt the loss of the car. Many months later the Queensland police contacted Dad because the 39 Ford was parked in the middle of a bridge. (probably broken down or out of petrol) I dont know how Dad handled the situation. I'm not even sure if the car had been reported as stolen. Knowing my Dad. It probably wasnt.
After checking out a few cars Dad eventually picked the 1952 Ford Customline that I remember was in extremely good condition. Dad took care of his new "pride and joy" until 1964. In 1964 the Customline was traded. However, I don't think Dad wanted to lose that particular car. But my parents had decided to move away to a remote country location Wonthaggi to operate a
general store. As a result they now needed a commercial vehicle for transporting various goods.
So they traded the 1952 Customline for a Brand New Australian made 1964 EH
Holden Panelvan. The EH did many trips from Wonthaggi to Melbourne. My parents seemed to be very busy. Even though I was mostly as school during weekdays. I can remember numerous trips to get stock for the General Store. As far as I can remember, the EH never gave any trouble at all.
1964 EH Holden - This is the Model of Car that ignited the petrol in my blood!
By 1967 we had moved back to Melbourne. Where we rented a house directly opposite the Yarraman Park State School. (which I attended) Yarraman Park is a suburb between Dandenong and Noble Park. Dad happily traded the 1964 EH panelvan on a 1957 210 6 Cylinder 4 door Chevy that he had seen at "Market Motors" in Dandening. (I think Dad paid $1500 for the 57 Chevy) I ended up learning to drive in the 57 Chevy when I got older.
Later we moved to Dandenong North. Dad used to let me take the Chevy quietly up dirt roads from the age of 13 onward. If I spun the tires in the gravel. (on purpose..) Dad would lose some patience with me and want to end the "lesson" early. We always ended up on the back roads between Hallam and Doveton or Behind the Drive Inn on the Princess highway.
Back around this time. I remember asking Dad what he thought was
the BEST car he had ever driven. He answered that it was a 1934
Hudson Terraplane. I dont know anything about these cars. But for some reason Dad considered them "a cut above the rest" of "affordable" cars from that era.
I should mention that my Scottish Grandfather had an early Ford Prefect (with the headlights on the guards) Small little car. It never seemed to be operational. The car ended up literally falling apart due to being out in the weather. It just stayed in Grandmas backyard after Granddad passed away.
When we moved back to Melbourne Dad took a job as a "By-Laws Officer" with the Dandenong City Council. A job he performed for some years. During this period he purchased a Ford Prefect Ute. I can remember that I hated being in the Prefect Ute. It was small. Dusty. Noisy and under powered. (Especially with the thought of a nice 57 Chevy sitting idle in the garage at home, all the dang time)
My other Grandfather died when I was quite young. Grandma used to drive the 1949 Velox Vauxhall into Dandenong well into her 80's before she gave up driving. After that it sat locked up in her garage. When she passed the car ended up at Dads work. (Eiffel Tower Motors.. later Keenan Motors in Dandenong) I could have claimed the Vauxhall as a drive car back then. It needed some minor repairs but was still fully working.
Around 1974 I got my first car. It was an 1964 EH Station Wagon. Unfortunately I never actually got to drive this car. Dad had purchased it for me as a "first car" gift. But I was very young and headstrong back then. I got myself in trouble with the law. Dad sold the EH Wagon to cover the police fine. *sigh
My friend wanted to buy a car. A nice 1968 Jaguar 420G. But he couldn't afford the finance repayments. At the age of 17 I knew no better. So I ended up offered to help him pay for the car. This financial assistance come to an end when my "friend" ended up taking off with my long term (4 years) Girlfriend. lol I leaned a valuable lesson. Don't help a mate steal your girlfriend. lol
I went Adelaide on a 400/4 Honda Motorcycle. But found that I needed a car. One day I went into a local car yard and swapped the Honda motorcycle for a 1964 EH Holden Premier Station Wagon. Funny the way things turn out. I kept the EH for awhile. Replaced the engine in it for $100. Resprayed it with house paint in the garage one night. Put the wrong mag wheels on it. (2 fell off) Eventually I swapped it for a 400/4 Honda motorcycle. So it kinda went full circle.
I finally got my first "Yank Tank" in 1978. It was a 1963 283 Chevy 4
door "Pillared" sedan. I saw for sale in the Adelaide Advertiser Newspaper. The ad said that the serrer had numerous chevys and pontiacs for sale. So Sandor and I went to have a look.. $400 dollars later we drove off in a 1963 Chevy. The car was in great condition except for the rings. The poor old thing blew smoke badly. Luckily the seller was convinced to give us a set of rings and bearings for a 283 chevy small block at no extra charge. I ended up swapping the 1963 Chevy for a Honda Goldwing. See: Lazerzap/Rons Bikes (Still looking for a 1963 image - This is a 1964 Chevy)
In 1979 I bought a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne 307 4 door "Pillared" sedan from the same seller I purchased the 1963 Chevy from. This time I paid $750. The 307 small block chevy engine was in good condition. It took me from South Australia to Victoria. That car only had a small dent over the passenger wheel arch. Apart from that it was almost perfect. (Maybe the interior needed a little attention.) Dad and I pulled the dent mostly out when I visited him one time. Unfortunately I loaned the 1964 Pontiac to a "friend". (never again) This resulted in the car being undrivable from that point. After being
unregistered for some time. The 64 became a problem for me. Being harassed by the local council because it was always parked on the street. Or hastled by the landlord because parking the 1964 Pontiac in my designated carpark
resulted in complaints from other residents. (Carpark too small.. Car too big) So after trying to sell the 64 repeatedly in the Trading Post. I
gave in and wrecked it. The 307 came out. (Now in an LJ Torana)etc etc. The body was dumped out the front of Sims Metals around 1982.
During 1982 I paid $400 for a 1965 327 Chevy 4 door "Pillared"
sedan. It had a damaged front on it. Missing grill. etc etc "Yes I put a 1966 front on a 1965 Chevy" I also put a complete secondhand (black) interior in it from a 1967 Chevy. Everything fitted perfectly - Except the rear door trims. After 12 months or so. I sold the 65 to the same friend who blew up the 64 Pontiac for $700. He did up the 1965 Chevy. Fixed the front and gave it a respray. Looked nice. But the motor was pretty low.
Until getting the 1957 Chevy (and Customline). I hadn't owned another "Yank Tank". A few cars I've owned since then have had the small block V8 chevy engines though. During 1984 I purchased a 1968 307 HK GTS Holden Monaro for $600. I spent heaps on that car. New brakes and suspension. Exhaust system. etc etc. I swapped the powerglide in it for a 4 speed muncie. (The muncie owner was sick of blowing diffs) 1987 I sold the Monaro too cheap. Thats what happens when you loose your drivers licence.
1985 I got a Valiant 245 Charger that I picked up after a swap on a home stereo tape deck. I only owned the Charger for a couple of days. I drove it
once. It was not a very nice car. It was the basement model. I'd only paid $50 for the tape deck as a discontinued model from Tandy Electronics. I was really surprised that I'd been offered a car for it. Although the tape deck was originally worth around $500.
1986 I purchased a 1969 ZB 302W Ford Fairlane for $600. It was a very nice car to drive. I put a set of brand new mags and tyres on it. (that cost as much as the car) The transmission blew up in it on the first night. So I complained to the car yard I got it from. The paid for a second hand transmission from the local car wrecker. But I had to stick it in myself. (In the rain.. in the car park of a service station) 3 Weeks later a friend was interested in swapping his car for it.
So I ended up with a 1971 XY 351W Ford Falcon Panelvan. (with the new
mags and tires and stereo from the Fairlane) I did the Panelvan up over a 6 month period. That's the image of my old Van.. After the crash.. Someone failed to give way to me. Wrote the Van off :( Of course it was AFTER I'd spend thousands on it. A friend offered to let me store the van on his property for free. But 6 months later the same "friend" suddenly informs me I owed him the van for accrued "storage charges". Some crappy friend. I should name him/them.
While waiting for the Panelvan to be finished. In 1986 I bought a 1970 308 Holden Brougham for $2000. I overheated the Brougham a few months later. It got sold for $900 to the brother of my then Girlfriend. (who ended up having heaps of trouble with it and became very unhappy with me.) A short time later, armed with the cash from the sale of the Brougham, I finally finished the XY Van. Unfortunately, 10 days after registering the XY, It was written off by a vehicle that did not give way.
So I purched a 1971 XY 351C Fairmont Sedan for $700 from my friend Leroy. The idea was to swap the running gear out of the Panelvan. I remember that only the front brakes worked. The 9" diffs brakes weren't even connected. But it was a bit rare with it's factory fitted air conditioning. The Cleveland was very low in this car. Very fumy. Unfortunately, the Panelvan to Sedan running gear swap never happened. Long story. Lets just say the Panelvan was basically stolen by my "friend" before I could do the job. I ended up selling the XY Fairmont sedan back to my friend "Leroy" for $700 again and bought a Commodore 64 computer.
Interior if a 1971 Ford XY Fairmont. The Fairmont, Fairmont GS, and Fairmont GT models were equipped with Console, Full Instrument Sports Dashboards, Sports Steering Wheel and other minor trim. Badges etc. External Stripes and decals.
1987 I swapped my computers for a 1974 250 XB Falcon Panelvan.
That thing handled like a dream. It had good suspension all round
with big sway bars fitted. All the door handles were broken. I had to leave it unlocked and climb in and out via the back doors until I fixed them. The indicators were broken. So I tried to take the steering wheel off to fix them. Ended up having to replace the whole steering column. But got it all working ok in the end.
6 months later I'd swapped it for a 1973 XA 302 Fairmont Wagon with a 4 speed manual. I loved how the XA performed. Nice v8 rumble from the twin system. It looked so pretty. Same color as this one. But, It was a total rust bucket. I learned the hard way when I tried to re-register it in NSW. It had all the bits. But the body was completely shot. I should have kept the XB Panel van. It was a bad trade for me. I eventually sold it for wrecking.
After all the bad luck with the cars. I decided to go back to Motorcycles for awhile. See: Lazerzap/Rons Bikes
1988 I purchased a Leyland P76 V8 from my friend Rick for $500. I met
Barbara with that car. Barbara and I did a trip to Canberra. I kept the Leyland P76 sitting unregistered for ages. Finally sold it. It always had a "tick" in the V8 motor from the time I first heard it run. Initially I thought it was terminal with big end problems. But it had been "thrashed" by rick for over 12 months without the noise increasing. So I took a punt on it and it ended up taking us up almost to Brisbane and then back to Canberra.
1988 I made my first 4 cylinder mistake. I purchased a 1969 Cortina 440. "Just to get to work in". The car cost me $300. Was running on 3 cylinders. Unfortunately, it was terminal. I managed to limp it to work for about 3 weeks. In the meantime, I bought another Cortina as a wreck for $100 (had been rolled) that was supposed to have a good engine. I did the engine transplant. One week later the new engine blew up. It threw a rod clean through the side of the block. I was so angry about it. I never went back for the car for over a week and when I did the car was completely trashed from passing vandals. :(
I swapped a motorcycle worth at least $600 for a $250 1968 161 HT Belmont Sedan in 1989. The HT was in extremely good condition except that the motor was smokey. I had decided to travel back to South Australia in the HT. While on the trip to SA a Kangaroo jumped out in front of me and wrote off the Grill, Drivers Headlight, Drivers Guard. So when I got to SA I parked it in a garage with damage and a smokey motor. Swapped the HT Belmont for a Yaesu Radio.
I bought a Renault 16 in 1989 for $50. I never drove it. The motor was in a million pieces. I kinda got scammed into buying it. A friend promised to help me fix it. Apparently he had experience with these engines. However, his help never eventuated. So I eventually sold it for $25 just to get rid of it.
1973 ZF Ford Fairlane 302 V8 3 Speed automatic cost me $1300. Some dude hit the passenger side mudguard with an Iron bar one day going down South Rd. I ended up having to go to court as a witness. I got $50 for the day in court. But never got reimbursed for the damage. Justice? Car was another rusty relic. I ended up with heaps of spare parts and panels for it. Sold the lot for $800
A friend of mine allowed me to pay off a 1972 Jaguar XJ6 for $3500. Another rusty relic with a sick motor. The Jag only lasted 8 months on the road and cost me a fortune in starter motors, electric fuel pumps, and various other things. In the end the motor became terminal. Oil spewing out of the filler under pressure. So I sold it for $2000.
In 1990 I bought a purple 1974 XB 250 4 speed manual GS Fairmont Sedan for $1700. The car had 2 major faults. The 4 speed gear selector would separate from the gearbox. (I had it repaired twice for this same problem) and the Steering was like power steering without any fluid. I had the steering looked at a couple of times. But it never did really come good. So I decided that I'd been ripped off on the XB and was hoping for a direct swap to get rid of it.
6 months later I had swapped it for a 1976 XC 351C Fairmont Sedan. The XC Fairmont had a rusty body. But I enjoyed driving it. I repaired all kinds of things that were wrong with the XC. Exhaust, Brakes, Rust. etc But next thing I have a career opportunity in Sydney. But the XC is rusty and wont pass inspection in NSW. So.
Ended up swapping the XC for a Chrysler by Chrysler 360 V8. It was in really good condition. But the motor needed rings. It was quite smokey when the foot was down. The Chrysler took me to Sydney but it was never registered there. It sat on the front lawn and eventually sold for $500.
1991 I purchased a 1980 XD 351C T bar Automatic Ford Fairmont Wagon. I had that car for a few years.Unfortunately during 1996. I had it lowered when I first got it. It was defected for being too low a couple of years later. "It was a good car.. A bit too modern though.. The plastic rattled.." I wasn't used to hearing plastic squeak and rattle. Sold it to the wreckers for $1000.
In 1996 I purchased another 1980 XD Station Wagon for $1000. This one was a 250 6 Cylinder 3 speed manual. The car was pretty good. But it needed a new clutch. As the clutch was slipping really badly. The body was ok. The paint was ok too.
Swapped the XD station Wagon with the slipping clutch for a 1984 Sigma. 2 litre 4 cylinder 4 speed gearbox. Engine started to miss after a month. Chemiweld down the motor fixed it. Month later it started doing it again. More chemiweld and decided to get rid of it. Started offering it as a swap.
The Sigma was eventually swapped for a 1974 250 4 speed manual XB GS Fairmont Sedan. (Best swap I ever did). The engine was a little smokey. Used a little oil as a result. But took me to Melbourne and back with the Kids to see their Grandparents. Had 12 slotters with good tires. Didn't have the GT dashboard.
In 1997 I swapped the XB 250 GS for a 1982 250 GLX Cortina. The Cortina
was defected that evening. When I looked really closely. The car had a major undiscovered defect. As a result, this car became almost a total loss to me. I ended up selling the defected Cortina to the wreckers for $300.
1998 I bought 1982 model Cortina Station Wagon from a friend for $350. This
car had been stolen and recovered. So I had to do a lot of work to do to it. Interior, dashboard, door handles, windows, engine, starter motor. Only reason I bought it was because the owner let me pay it off. I hated it. Just about everything was wrong with it. I let the original owner buy the car back from me after I had fixed a lot of the problems.
1999 I come into some money and purchased a 1988 3.9 EA Ford Fairmont Ghia for $6000. It was a very high milage car. 300000klms on the clock. Mechanically it was fine. But the on-board computers turned out to be up the $hit. Another example of poor modern engineering. Failed Power Windows, Heating, Cooling, Speedometer, electrical, etc etc I sold the car within 12 months at a huge loss. (don't want to say how cheaply..)
2000 I purchased a 1979 186 HZ Holden Sedan which cost $1100. It was a
dual fuel machine. The old reliable 202 holden red motor on gas. Very cheap to run. I ran this up and down the road till I got sick of having no overtaking power. Cos me for uni-joints. Sold it for $600.
I sold the HZ cheap ($600) to buy a 1971 Ford XY 250 Automatic GS Fairmont Sedan. Which cost... That's right.. $600. Turned out that I knew they guy I bought it from. I knew him from the CB radio. The XY has done some hard miles. I had an accident in it. I did some major damage to a modern car. Um.. What happened to the XY in the accident? Well.. It cost $85 to get the radiator repaired. I still need a mudguard, indicator, and front bumper to fix it properly. But... I'm driving it.. It's kinda on the road again $85 later. That's what I really like about older cars. Cheap to repair. Just like a GTHO Falcon. Well kinda. Right kinda body
and trim. This one isn't a V8. Nor is it in very good condition. Got sold for $600.
1974 Volvo 164. Swapped a SVGA monitor and Video card for it. 6 Cylinder Automatic on Gas. I used to go to "U-Pull-It" in Elizabeth to pickup parts that I needed. I managed to put the Volvo together nicely. It was comfortable to drive. Sold it to a mate who had a thing about Volvos for $1000.
With the $1000 that my mate gave me for the Volvo. I hit the trading post and managed to buy a White EA Ford Falcon. The guy wanted $1600 for it. But he ended up agreeing to $1000. I converted the car to a Fairmont by buying all the relevant bits from "U-Pull-It" (Car Wreckers) in Elizabeth. Used it for awhile till I got the 92 EB Fairmont. Then I Polished it up. Inside and out and sold it for $1700.
1957 Chevrolet 210 6 Cylinder 3 speed manual. Right hand drive "Fischer" (Canadian) body. Mum thought it was about time I took the Chevy. Dad is now in a home. Has been for years. I drove the Chevy back from Melbourne to Adelaide at 45-50 Mph. After about 5 years of randomly registration something went wrong in the engine. (probably needed a full overhaul) Not being financial enough to attempt fixing it. Slowly watching it deteriorate, because I lived too near sea air. I decided one day that Dad wouldn't have liked to see the Chevy slowly deteriorating like this. So I sold it for $20000, paid some big bills, and bought the 1959 Customline.
When the X and I purchased the Greenways General store. We bought a good V8 to clock up some miles with. We got a Black EB Ford Fairmont Ghia V8 4 speed auto dual fuel for $5000. 2 weeks later the transmission blew-up and cost us another $1200. Eventually something went wrong with a head or valve. I kept it for another 12 months and finally sold it for $400.
After having to sell the 1957 Chevy I was feeling like I'd let my Dad down by selling it. So I invested as much as I could spare into another Classic. A 1959 Ford Starmodel Customline. Resprayed, 12 slotters, Fresh 302 Cleveland, Disc brake front end, refurbished interior. It has all the things I would have liked to do to the Chevy if only I'd had the money. Paid $17000 (rust bubbles now need work.. 2 years later)
When the 92 EB Ford started to play up. We were lucky enough to be given $2850 in stimulus payments. (By the Rudd Government) I spend $1750 buying a 1992 VP Commodore Berlina from ebay. The car had low kilometers on the clock but needed to have the drivers mudguard replaced. I got the car from Melbourne and had to drive it back under a permit. The next day I swapped the registration over. (after an inspection)
Most of my vehicles have been Fordssince
1986. I've decided that almost any V8 will do the job... Those
351C's are as much fun as a 350 Chev...
Anyway I hope you enjoy looking at the various images and reading
a little of my life. I am looking to improve this webpage. If
anyone can supply good clean sharp hires images of the same model
vehicles I have talked about on this page. If you have something
you can let me use. Please send it via email. Thanks in