That's My Ride: Neil's not one to idle

ONE OF THE COLLECTION: Neil Barnes with his 1934 Chevrolet Sedan. The flames are courtesy of his graphic designer daughter.
ONE OF THE COLLECTION: Neil Barnes with his 1934 Chevrolet Sedan. The flames are courtesy of his graphic designer daughter. Melanie Keyte

NEIL Barnes isn't one to leave his hotrods gathering dust in the garage, especially not his prized 1934 Chevrolet Sedan.

In the five years he's owned it, the Gatton man's vintage vehicle has seen more than a few kilometres.

"We use this one a lot, even if it's just to run around town," he said.

"We take it down to Coolangatta every year for the Cooly Rocks On festival, to Brisbane, to Tamworth, all over the place.

"We go on runs with the club here too, the Gatton Muscle Car Club.

"That's the good thing about this one, we'll take it anywhere."

Unusually, Mr Barnes said he'd bought the car at the urging of his wife.

"I'd started building a pick-up - I had the cab and the chassis - and my wife came in and asked how long it was going to take me," he recalled.

"I said probably about three to four years, and she told me 'just get rid of it and buy something, will you?'.

"We ended up with this one ultimately because it was the right price."

He's done little work on it thus far except changing the door handles to fit the "old-fashioned style" and plan for a paint job - a deep maroon, his favourite colour.


Those minor adjustments aside, Mr Barnes said he was happy with the old car being somewhat of a mosaic of different parts with a 302 Ford motor and a C4 gearbox.

"I get a lot of comments because it's a Chev with a Ford motor in it," he said.

"It's the opposite way to what everybody else does.

"That's the idea of hotrods though, you build it with what you have."

The car's body also attracts plenty of comments.

"Because a lot of hotrods are fibreglass but this one is the original steel," Mr Barnes said.

One of Mr Barnes' reasons that he loves taking his Chev out is because it's so reliable, though the old-school ride did have some drawbacks.

"We took it to Port Macquarie in January last year and on the way home, it was 47 degrees and of course, it's got no air-conditioning," he said.

"We'd boil getting a few kilometres down the road and have to pull over and stop in the shade.

"I burnt my hands on the steering wheel... ended up with blisters on my fingers.

"It was surprising how many people stopped to ask if we were all right too - one bloke with his kids in the car came back for us with two big bottles of cold water.

"We only made it as far as Grafton before we checked into a motel.

"Had a good weekend though."

Mr Barnes hoped to have the new paint job completed in time for a full show calendar in 2018.

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Topics:  cars chevrolet classic cars gatton muscle car club hotrods thats my ride

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