Sun sets on Motor Mania but Kerry’s life is just revving up
THE sun has almost set on Kerry Frank’s Motor Mania, which was once chock-a-block with Holden car shells.
The once-bristling site lies almost empty, with the exception of a smattering of spare parts.
It won’t be long before a buyer swoops in and the residential sprawl of Deebing Creek continues, unaffected by Kerry’s tenure in the suburb.
Forty-four years is a long time to do anything.
He forged his links with Holden aged 23 and never looked back.
When Kerry started out there was nothing but a shed, a slab and a “bloody telephone on the floor”.
“I’ve always been a Holden man doing repairs and bits and pieces and then people started asking me for spare parts,” he said.
“In the old days, we did the short-circuit racing up at Toowoomba and Echo Valley, we got involved.
“I happened to have bits and pieces everywhere, I had a few cars out the back and one thing led to another I started selling them.
“They say ‘Give Kerry a ring, if he doesn’t have it, he’ll know someone who has’.”
Kerry’s garage is a cave of wonders when it comes to Holden parts.
Gearboxes, big block engines, exhausts, suspension systems, wishbones, doorhandles, even a Mazda 6 for some reason, all litter his yard – all with a purpose in mind.
So deep is his knowledge of Holden spare parts, he knows what model bumper and bracket can be moulded and bent to fit another so it looks just like the original.
“They used to call me the ‘Holden guru’ back in the olden days – ‘Kerry’s the man, what he says will be right’.
“When you work on them, drive them, fix them, pull them apart, you get to know what fits what.
“I’ve got stuff at home; I’m going to downsize, semi-retire and just operate from home on the internet on eBay and Gumtree and that sort of thing.
Heading into retirement, Kerry appeared sceptical.
He is old school, from a generation who worked at the first age they could, doing anything to make a buck.
“I’ve always worked all my life doing things... my first job was packing saw dust at Kruger’s Sawmill.
“Then I worked for Tickles, then RT Edwards delivering fridges, that was a bit hard, they were a bit heavy, then I got called into national service.”
His mechanic career grew from there; all self taught.
“I worked with cars at home at my mum’s place in Booval, selling car parts on the front footpath,” he said.
He moved to a friend’s shed that had a lean-to pegged out the side which is where he really kicked off his own business.
“I had about 10 cars there… wherever I went, I had all these Holden cars with spare parts.
“My dad passed away and my mum said it was best that I buy a place of my own so I could make my own mess and noise because everywhere I went people followed me.
“She knew this was where I was going with my life.
“Then we looked around for somewhere to buy; we found this place here and I bought the place for $16,000.
“ When I came out here, there was just a bloody telephone on the floor, there was nothing here, nothing.”
“It’s always been my life,” he said.
“I’m passionate, passionate, I get teary, sometimes I sit down… it’s just me – this has been my whole life, I’ve always been a Holden man.”
YOU SHOULD NEVER MEET YOUR HEROES...
KERRY’S got everything you could ever need for a Holden, so it’s only natural that he would bump into a personal hero of his, and the poster boy for the brand: Peter Brock.
But whether it was the old saying ‘you should never meet your heroes’ manifest or just bad luck, Kerry never got to meet Brocky while he was racing in Ipswich.
“Peter Brock nearly came here one day after some wheel nuts, he was racing at Queensland Raceway and someone had pinched the wheel nuts off one of their Commodore cars, they had a special wheel nut,” Kerry recalled.
But whether or not Brockie actually turned up, Kerry doesn’t know, he thinks his pit crew might have popped down on his behalf – he might have even been incognito.
“Could you imagine if Peter Brock came down here – you’d be beside yourself,” he laughed.