Restorer winds back the clock
SINK INTO the red leather seat of Greg Watson’s 1956 Plymouth Cranbrook utility and you might think it’s come straight off the showroom floor.
The smell of new leather, shiny chrome fittings and immaculate paintwork are impressive even to non-car lovers.
To collectors of vintage vehicles the restored features have a beauty all their own and to Greg Watson the car is a labour of love.
Pulled out of a friend’s paddock three years ago, the Plymouth was a rusted out shell that was in dire need of some TLC – either that, or the wrecking yard.
“It was in very bad condition, so bad that we actually fell through the floor of it,” he said.
But despite sitting in the paddock for 30 to 40 years, the engine only needed a decent clean-up and a splash of petrol to start purring.
Mr Watson spent three years restoring the car to its original beauty.
“I always had a love for old cars but this was the first one I’d restored,” he said.
“It was very painstaking work but restoring a car gives you a better insight into the vehicle, rather than if you just drive it.”
“My greatest ambition now is to drive it to Perth and back across the Nullarbor.”
His love for cars blossomed at a young age but Greg Watson couldn’t always afford to nurture his passion.
As a child he would collect old car bodies and sell the scrap metal to help his family make ends meet.
At 15 he bought a 1951 Chevy ute but it had to go after he crashed it.
When he grew up and grew older and still loved the cars he started a little collection.
Sitting in the garages of his Maryborough home are a restored 1940 Dodge sedan and a 1929 Pontiac coupe.
A little less pretty are the 1942 Ford Jailbar truck and a 1960 Zephyr ute. Those are projects for another day.
Now retired, Mr Watson has the time to spend tinkering in the garage and his wife Jeanne has time to cruise around in the finished product.
And one day, hopefully not too soon, the cars will get passed on to the younger generation.
“I wanted to get five old cars so I could give one each to the grandchildren.”
They might have to wait a few years yet.