DONNA Sim has been into cars since she was about six years old.
Her older brother Tony – or TC, as he’s known – used to take her to car shows and the Castlereagh drags. She even decorated her high school textbooks with pages from Street Machine. “Girls at school had pictures of surfers; I had Street Machine!” she laughs. These days Donna is no slouch with the spanners, but she would rather keep her hands clean and enjoy a cruise in her tidy ’72 HQ Belmont.
A Datsun 180B four-speed. I had it for two years.
Initially I started learning to drive with Dad in his truck, standing beside him and changing gears.
Then TC taught me to listen to the motor and call the gear changes. Dad had a Charger and a Ford LTD. I was always helping Dad and TC work on their cars. I learned to get my hands dirty very early. TC had a ’74 HQ van with a Statesman front end and a tilt front. He taught me to love and respect cars.
I was 19. Dad’s uncle Billy sold it to me as he was getting too old for a manual. It cost me $1800. It was my everyday car for – goodness me – 15 years. I remember panicking when I first saw the three-on-the-tree, but my brother sat beside me and showed me the knack. And that was it, I was off!
She’s still original. No air, so in summer she gets a little hot! I had a little surface rust tidied about nine years ago. Nothing has been done to the engine, although I did have to put new steering in and she has had a new clutch. I gave the paint a touch-up about five years ago. I’ve gotta thank Drenno at Car Paint & Design, J&J Autos and Frank and Anthony Tedesco.
My brother and I were into rock ’n’ roll dancing; we used to teach and whatnot. Five of us went to Alexandria and Rockdale six nights a week in the Belmont and had some really good times. Those days it was the Parramatta Road all the way – no motorways then. I always kept the HQ’s rotor button in my handbag when I left the car. I’d park, open the bonnet, lift the dizzy cap and remove the rotor, close the bonnet and fit the Club Lock, then off we’d go for a roaring night. I’ve got a killswitch now, but I still use the Club Lock.
Actually, meeting my husband Steve is the best [memory]. He was out with his mates and they were shocked when I pulled up in the Quey.
Steve rode a Harley, and there was never any thought of me allowing anyone else to take the tiller. Love me, love my Quey is my motto! s