The West

Idle Torque: Bonding experience
Restoring this 1947 Bristol 401 would cost the earth, but less ambitious car projects can bring lasting rewards for the relationships between fathers and sons. Picture: Alex Forrest

Restoring an old car at home can result in more than just a big lump of shiny metal when the job's done. Almost always, this is the more costly route compared with buying the equivalent car already restored and, for many, the pre-restored option works well.

Someone else has done the hard yards and there's just the open road and mostly trouble-free motoring ahead. However, like fishing and going to the footy, fixing an old car is one of the classic father-son activities.

So with tomorrow being dedicated to fathers everywhere having their socks and jocks replenished, I asked an expert about how dads and kids fixing old cars can also fix other things.

David Cutler, spokesman for Relationships Australia, said men tended to communicate better when they were doing something unrelated to what they were talking about.

He said that when working on a project such as restoring an old car, fathers and sons could solve problems together, and fathers had the opportunity to treat their sons as equals.

"We know that working alongside dad in that kind of situation, with dad giving attention and special time to their son, is very important in terms of self-confidence and self-worth," Mr Cutler said.

Overall, there were fewer rites of passage for boys these days, but learning how to fix a car was one.

"It's a skill that they're going to have forever, and to say that they learnt it with their dad is very special," Mr Cutler said.

"Most of all, it's about getting out there and talking together, to natter away about things and laugh over our mistakes."

Sounds like a great reason to buy an old car.


Buying an old car is exactly what about 27 people did at Shannons' Melbourne auction on Monday night. Among the cars purchased were the 1974 Tatra 603 and 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider I mentioned here three weeks ago.

The Tatra sold for a low $10,000, well under its estimate of $14,000-$18,000. The Alfa did the opposite, selling for way over its $24,000 maximum estimate, eventually reaching a lofty $38,000 - too much for one of these.


Father’s Day Hot Rod Show,
St Patrick’s Primary School, Fremantle, 10am-4pm.
Phone 0417 767 566.
Shannons One-Day Classic Rally, Perth and surrounds.
Koorda Car Show, Koorda.
Phone 0429 080 258.
MG Car Club 50th Anniversary, Open Day at 112 Hardy Road, Bayswater, 10am-2pm.
Phone 0411 789 434.
Corvettes of WA, Bindoon Cruise. Phone 0407 812 233 or visit
Great Southern Street Machine Association, Supercruise and Show ’n’ Shine.
Midwest Show ’n’ Shine.
Phone 0418 939 285 or visit
GM Muscle Car Heaven, Cannington Greyhounds track.
Phone 0410 437 136 or visit
Como Rotary Club Car Show, Wesley College, entry from Angelo Street.
Phone 9386 6597 or email
Holden Car Club Show ’n’ Shine, Stirling Square, Guildford. Phone 0415 353 994.
All Austin Day, Stirling Square, Guildford, 10am-4pm.
Phone 9390 5310.

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