READERS’ RIDES

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SHANNON’S TOP RIDES OF THE MONTH

GAVIN POCOCK

1957

AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE FOR A FORD NUT FORD THUNDERBIRD

I lent my Model T to an American gentleman that I’d met when we were in the US in 2003, we drove our Model T from Los Angeles to Detroit for the 100 years of Ford celebration, and he was driving from Longreach to Brisbane. When he came back to Brisbane he said “What do I owe you?” and I said “I don’t want any money but if you ever come across a baby bird (1955-57 model) let me know”. About 18 months went by before he called me up and said he’d found a ’57 that’d been in one family since new, so I made a few inquiries and six weeks later the car was in Australia. It’s a North Hollywood vehicle, I bought it from the son of the original owner who’d been driving it after his father passed in 2004 but had only put 300 miles on it in six years. The father had put the car up on blocks in 1974 until 2004 when the son put it back on the road and it was still registered but was still in a pretty bad state, interior needed work etc., but it was rust-free. When it arrived here I drove it around the block a couple of times then said to my wife, Karen, “The car deserves to be restored”. So the body came off the chassis and I did a full restoration and about 18 months later we were finished. There wasn’t a lot that had to be done mechanically, but I did all the bodywork and prep myself with the final painting done by someone else. It had 18,700 miles on the clock when I picked it up, the son wasn’t sure if it was genuine, but going by things like the diff and the transmission, which were in excellent condition, I think it’s genuine.

Call 13 46 46 for a quote or visit shannons.com.au Expect to pay $40k for entry-level examples with the best asking $70k-plus

BRUCE FIRTH

1969 FORD CORTINA GTL FIRST TIME RESTO GOOD ENOUGH TO SHOW

After spending two weekends of every month playing around with my son’s Formula Vee race car, when he sold it I thought “I gotta have something to fill in my time”.

Then I bought the Cortina from an old bloke down in Hat Head, close to where we were living in Port Macquarie at the time.

Half a dozen people had had a go at fixing it up over the years and it needed a lot of work which I realised from the start. I still thought “this won’t take long and won’t cost much”. Seven years and an undisclosed dollar amount later it was finished.

If the kids keep it for another 40 years it might just recover its costs. I’m a builder by trade so I’d never restored a car like this at all. But I got started anyway.

The biggest disappointment was when my engine builder put the pistons in wrong way around.

I fixed that and worked on the bodywork, cutting out rust everywhere. I ended up welding on a complete rear section from a wreck.

As a GTL it’s actually a bit rare, worth saving as an Australian made car as well.

It has all the Cortina GT bits – bigger brakes front and rear, dual-throat downdraught Weber carburettor, extractors and the close-ratio gearbox with the tall first gear.

The paint turned out so well that my cruiser is almost a show car.

Call 13 46 46 for a quote or visit shannons.com.au Roughies can be had for under $2k, with top shelf examples asking $15k-plus

OLDSMOBILE 1962 JETFIRE -63

ADVERTISED as America’s only production car with a fluid-injected turbocharged engine, Jetfires were built in low numbers making them rare from the start. Examples with intact original drivetrains are extremely scarce.

Please drop us a line at uniquecars@bauertrader. com.au.

MIKE WILSON

1991 ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE GETS MORE ULTIMATE BMW E30

My introduction to the BMW E30 was a 325I convertible I had in the UK and was going to bring over to Australia, but I broke my leg up the top of the French Alps skiing and couldn’t drive so I lent it to my brother-in-law who took off from a green light and got T-boned by a Volvo, writing my car off.

When I came back to Australia I was looking for about five years before I found this one in Sydney. I did the negotiating over the phone and flew down and drove it back up to Brisbane.

I knew I wanted to modify it and saw the S38 engine, from an E34 BMW M5, come up on eBay in Melbourne. So I did my research, bought it, and started the conversion.

It took me a little over 12 months to complete as I had to custom make everything; driveshaft, exhaust, I even did the brake and clutch lines to fit the conversion and save myself some bucks.

My housemate used to laugh at me because the engine was in and out that many times, I had to take the sub-frame out and make it 20mm lower so that the bonnet could shut with that big engine in it.

It’s been on the road about 12 months now but I haven’t used it that much because in summer with the black leather it’s no fun and in the wet it was no fun until I finally got some decent tyres on it. The first three gears just used to go up in smoke when you put the foot down.

I think I’ve balanced it just right. I wanted a mature build not like the thrashed out E30s you see around these days.

Prices vary wildly according to condition, from under $5k to more than $20k.

Call 13 46 46 for a quote or visit shannons.com.au