LAST issue we looked into the early years of Chris Marks’s journey through carhood.
Like many of us, family and work commitments took precedence for Chris for a number of years, but his lust for new projects never waned. This time ’round we join him for the second phase of his life with cars, as he hones his skills tinkering with a variety of new rides. 01: BY THE mid-1990s Chris had moved west to Roma, but returned to Brisbane to swap his HQ ute for this ’65-fronted 1966 Pontiac Parisienne. “The trip back to Roma was a nightmare,” Chris remembers. “The car was ridiculously low and kept grinding its underside on the curvature of the road. It wore the clamps off the transmission cooler hoses, but I managed to do a roadside dodgy by twisting on some fencing wire. It happened again so I limped into a farm and the old bloke took one look at it and just shook his head. He was really helpful though and a really nice fella; he put it up on his hoist so we could fix it properly. It was originally candy apple red but the right side had been sideswiped. I eventually found some replacement doors but was never going to match the colour, so I just started fresh. The blue with flames went on and here it is at a Roma burnout comp doing its thing. I sold it to a bloke who used the 350 and Powerglide as donor running gear for a ’55 Chev.” 02: THE big Poncho made way for a HiLux ute sporting a GS bonnet graft to complement the 289 Windsor conversion. It scored a four-inch lift and 35-inch tyres, with the tray modified to suit by welding in an extra pair of the larger 4WD front guard pressings before refitting the factory guard extensions. Custom flame paint was becoming a trademark for Chris and earning him a bit of a reputation around downtown Roma. He eventually swapped the ’Lux for a wild-looking mud derby car that uses a ’39 Chev sedan body sitting on a 351-powered Land Cruiser chassis; he still owns it today. 03: OLD habits die hard, and nearly 20 years later, while living in Albury-Wodonga, Chris bought this grey HD sedan off his younger brother, Rod. It wasn’t long before Chris got busy on the tools, swapping in an X2-spec 192 and dropping it low over US Racers – just like his old white one (see last issue). “It was the full pov-pack with no heater or demister, which started to wear thin on cold winter mornings,” Chris laughs. “I sold it to buy a mint VQ Statesman, which was such a relief; there were no more beanies needed or towels to wipe the windscreen with that one.” 04: CHRIS scored this VW-based buggy in Wodonga for 500 bucks as the basis for some cheap fun, and whipped up the aluminium guards and cool flame job to suit: “Lucky for
my kids that Dad is a bit of a rough nut, and I’ve always spoiled them by giving them stuff I couldn’t have. They all learnt to drive in this thing and we’d tear around with handheld spotties, all the while nestled in the comfort of Magna seats and marine carpet. We had a ball.” 05: CHRIS’S son Tyrone bought this LH Torana when he was 14 for them to build as a fatherson project. A damaged SL/R kit was sourced cheaply, repaired and fitted before being sprayed in factory Barbados Green. A mild 202 made it P-plate-friendly and Dragway five-spokes were fitted as a final old-school touch. 06: CHRIS bought this VS-fronted VR ute for a daily driver when the family moved to Queensland seven years ago.
“It runs a pretty stout and toughved back sounding 304 with a manual, and the plan was to always build it as a ‘Brute Ute’ replica,” he says. “I found the right body kit and had it well and truly underway when I yearned for something old-school again and swapped it for an HZ ute earlier this year. I still see it driving around my local area though, which gets a little tough sometimes!” 07: THE HZ in question is this purple example running a mild 308 and Trimatic. Chris was messing around with the body and interior and kept seeing splashes of the original Panama Green paint. “It made me curious, so I had a closer look at the compliance plates and then contacted Holden Historical Services, who confirmed it to be a genuine 253, four-speed Sandman ute built in Adelaide. Neither the seller nor myself had any idea, so it’s pretty safe to say that I’m totally stoked.
It deserves to be restored, so I better control myself – my plans for a redneck bullbar and exhaust stacks are well and truly out the window!”