I'm a pretty lucky guy. For a kid who grew up in Perth, Western Australia; the most isolated major city in world, I consider it a huge privilidge to live in work in the U.S.A. and especially to work in a job that I love. Film and Television. Now, it's not all free coffee and steak and lobster for lunch, ok, some days it is, but there are still some days I pinch myself and say with no hint of sarcasm, "Livin' the Dream!!"
I've had the good fortune of working with some very big name actors and if you really care, look me up on IMDB, but the one actor who I've always wanted to work with and haven't yet, is Eric Bana. Not just because he's an Aussie and not because I think he's a bloody good actor, but because he's a total and utter Petrolhead!!!
A couple of years ago he released a move called "Love the Beast" which is really about the relationship between his family and friends and how much of that is tied together by his "Beast", a 1975 XB Falcon coupe. It's about one mans relationship with his car and what that can mean to him and the people around him. If your a car person, you'll love it, there is some truly awesome footage shot at the Targa Tasmania road rally event in Tasmania and some footage of totally hot cars.
If your not a car person, by this I mean someone who couldn't tell the difference between a Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III and a Kia Sorrento, but are in a relationship with someone who is, you should watch this film!!!!! I've never seen a film that explained the way a person can fell about their car and the importance that it can have in their life as well as this film. Watch this film and maybe you'll get it, it really gets into the psychology of it. It's also nice to see Eric in an everyday setting hanging out with his mates and following his passion. There are some very raw, human moments in the film and it gives you an insight to Eric's "real" life and passion. The film is available to watch instantly on Netflix. Watch it!!
So, what does this have to do with the picture above?? That's my "Beast", the Original. A 1975 Ford Falcon XB "John Goss Special". I was 19, had a crap job but was making enough money to convince my bank manager to loan me the $6000 to buy the car. He must have liked me, I was dating his daughter!! This was 1993, so that was a lot of money at the time for a 19 year old kid with a low paying job, but I got it and it was mine!!
I didn't realize it at the time, but the the John Goss Special was a limited edition build of 400 cars (some say 600 or 800, there is some debate and no records exist at Ford) that was built to celebrate John Goss' win at the 1974 Hardie Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst. Apart from the unique paint, it was a povo pack Falcon with a 2V 302 Cleveland, single rail 4 speed and a Borg Warner 35 rear end. Nothing super special, but put fat tires and a decent sounding exhaust on and you had an instant beast!!! It drove nice, went fast(ish) and I looked bloody cool driving it. I'd get home from work on friday afternoon and wash and polish the car before heading to Freo to cruise the strip.
It was the car that first helped me develop my passion for cars and for working on cars. I'd take vacations from my job to work on the car. A week here to re-paint the blue side stripes, a week there to cut out some rusty panel and weld in a new one. My mates would come over and we'd pull the engine and work on it, then put it back in. I learned to change a clutch, actually I went through three of them in two years and if you've ever tried to change a 10.5" twin plate clutch, you'll know what a pain that is!! There was actually one occasion where my arm got stuck under the gearbox and Mum had to use a star picket to lever it off me.
All of this was done in Mum and Dad's driveway. I had NO idea what I was doing, but I loved it and I learnt a hell of a lot. I didn't really have a lot of tools either, a small socket set and a couple screwdrivers and adjustable spanners and whatever Dad could lend me. I hope whoever owns the car now doesn't curse me too much because I'm sure I did some pretty rough work back then.
A few years later, I discovered motorcycles and boy, do they go really fast. The coupe sat in the driveway more and more. I was also playing in bands at the time and it's really hard to lift a Marshall 4X12 into a car with a high/ small boot. I ended up selling the car for $6500 to a young kid and his Dad and bought an XD station wagon for $1500 that was a really awesome reliable "band beater" for the next six years.
I missed the Goss though. If you've ever seen Mad Max there's the scene at the beginning before the first car chase where they reveal Max for the first time. It's a great piece of cinema. "Side profile of dark haired handsome actor, closeup of hand on steering wheel, closeup of hand turning key, closeup of warning lights on dash, cut to exhaust pipe as engine roars to life and settle's into lumpy idle." Check it out on youtube, but I lived that scene every day for three years and it was awesome!!
That car is gone, but I still have the pictures, the memories and the lessons learned, but it goes to show what effect an inanimate object can have on your life. To give you an idea of that impact, 20 years later I can still remember the VIN, JG65RU50897K. You still out there mate???