I HAVENíT mentioned it much in Unique Cars but I own a VB Holden Commodore. I particularly like Commodores; over the past 20 years Iíve owned a VP Holden Calais, a VT HSV Senator, a VT Berlina and as I mentioned recently, Iíve bought a time-warp VN Calais V8 as a Sunday cruiser. Plus, Iíve been lucky enough to have driven dozens more in Wheels and Motor magazine comparisons over the last 20 years.
Anyhow, my VB Ė the first early Commodore Iíve owned Ė needs a bit of work. It sat in a carport for nearly 20 years and although the carby 5-litre V8 purrs like a kitten, the body and trim need lots of work.
I might be able to save the original velour seats by giving them a good scrub, but after many Aussie summers, the dashboard looks like smashed Sao biscuits. There is some rust in the body and there are other bits and pieces missing, too.
So Iím busy with the sometimes frustrating, sometimes heart-breaking task of collecting all the parts I need for its restoration.
Luckily for me, thereís a great Holden wrecking yard near where I live: Classic Oz Wreck.
The owner, Greg, has been helping keep old Holdens alive for years and, being 15 minutesí drive away, is quite handy. Unlike the several fastfood type Ďparts reallocation retail facilitiesí these days where you buy parts over the counter, Gregís is a traditional yard where heíll let you wander in with a handful of tools and disassemble what you need with little risk of getting the wrong part.
The last couple of times Iíve been there, Iíve collected sun visors and good-condition window-edge trims Ė the ones on my car now are dented and damaged Ė and Greg had a great correct-colour dashboard and instrument binnacle hanging up in his warehouse. Sold!
Iím also keeping an eye on some early Commodore Facebook pages and eBay looking for all the bits I need Ė everything from the correct turbine-style alloy wheels to an interior light lense. Plus, Iíve spread the word among a few Commodore-loving mates, too, that Iím on the hunt. Like generations of car restorers over the decades, Iíve embarked on The Great Parts Chase!
And you know what?
Despite the expense ($40 or $50 bucks every now and then doesnít seem like much money, until you add it all up over a few months!) Iím enjoying it. Really enjoying it. Like most car enthusiasts, I have a clear picture in my head of how the finished car will look (itís a restoration to factory specs) but, despite the fact itís been summer, 36 degrees most days and humid like a sauna lately, Iíve found myself almost pining for an hour or two scratching around in Gregís yard Ė even more than the beer I have when I arrive home with my Ďnewí parts. And in my home office, Iím checking for parts on-line even before Iíve opened my emails each morning. Am I becoming an addict?
I reckon chasing the parts and building the car is as much fun as enjoying the drive. What do you reckon?
Let us know your parts-chasing stories at uniquecars@bauertrader. com.au