MArch Taylor’s FX Holden ute is a rural NSW resurrection story. But rather than being a random farm find it knocked on the door to the bulge or buyout, this old Holden has been in the Taylor family for decades.
“We believe it was sold new in Temora,” according to Oberon local Mark. The biggest clue is the stenciled signwriting near the front door – a 1950s legal requirement for the Rego to list the ute’s carrying capacity – mentioning the ‘Cruise’ family name and the town of ‘Temora’. It is a grain crop and stock country. “She would have been a humdinger back in the day!”
The other owner of the ute was Mark’s grandparents. “It was used to be used, and one day my grandfather was herding sheep and the thing caught fire,” Mark laughs. He used the shirt off his back to put out the fire, then hoofed it home to get another car, and then headed back to the paddock to put the sheep where they needed to be.
And the FX ute stayed where the damn thing caught fire for a few more decades, enduring rain, drought and flood until Mark decided to do something with the old family heirloom in the early 2000s. .
“It took us a weekend to dig it out,” says Mark. “It had flooded a few times so it was in trouble.”
With the ute home, Mark had a choice: restore it to something close to original, or “go a little silly,” as he put it. “You can see which way we went!”
These days the Holden ute sits on a forged chassis and has an alloy, carby 5.7-litre LS1 V8, TH400 and is nine inches narrower. That’s why the ute can fulfill the marque’s ambitions to pile on the fun in its car at events like Smyrnats, Candos and Kitad.
“At first I had a Holden five-litre,” says Mark. “But I thought it might be a little heavy in the nose. So I used the LS instead.
Bought second-hand as a ‘ready-to-run’ powerplant, the LS V8 revealed a terrifying secret when the heads were removed for a precautionary look.
“It had a broken nut on the top of one of the pistons,” laughs Mark. “It was fortunate that we opened it because there were a lot of Slastics as well.”
Now that it’s finished, the car is a great all-round cruiser and skidder and a heap of fun.
“It puts a smile on my face!” smiles Marcus, who often works seven days a week. He is a member of Junkers CC, a group of like-minded crazies scattered around North Vic and central western NSW who flock to as many events as possible to relax and have fun.
“There are about 15 of these cars. All similar styles and looks,” Mark explains. “Although we don’t all make it to all the events, many of us get together as often as possible.”