‘Living history’: Iconic ute restored after seven years
FOR more than seven years South Burnett Regional Council's chief executive Mark Pitt has been piecing back together an Australian icon.
Mark's WB Holden ute is finally roadworthy and looks exactly like it did in its original form when it rolled off the showroom in February 1981 at Elizabeth in South Australia.
Working along side Norm Cook from Burnett River Machinery in Gayndah, he said the full restoration was about more than just bringing the ute back to life.
"The car and I did so many miles on the road together," Mark said.
"There are a lot of memories attached to it.
"These models were a thing of their time and the generation they came from.
"For the people who ran General Motors Holden, the commodore became iconic in it's own right," he said.
"You always had the Ford versus Holden rivalry but the cars really represented us in our younger days and they helped define us as a generation."
"It's a time capsule in its own right."
Mark became the second owner of the vehicle in 1987 but ended up taking his beloved ute to his mum and dad's farm for them to use as a run around car in 1995.
Despite the car eventually breaking down and being left on a hill, Mark said he always knew he would one day bring it back to its full glory.
"In 2013 I decided to start the restoration," he said.
"There's not two bolts on this vehicle that haven't been stripped into components and put back together again.
"It was funny because when we found it on the hill, we thought we would have to change the key and the barrels.
"But when dad parked it on the hill, he left the original key in it.
"So the original key survived as did the ignition.
Mark said there were still a few things he wanted to add to the ute including its badges and a visor.
At nearly forty years old, he was pleased to have his ute back in his possession to enjoy with his family.
Since starting the project, Mark said he was surprised how many people owned old holdens or other machinery and was trying to organise some type of meet in the future.
"There are museum who will have similar pieces," he said.
"But this is living history right here.
"You can see it, touch it and drive it."