In our garage: Max Scholefield's 1954 Australian Mainline Ute

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Making his living on the land Max Scholefield always dreamed of owning a Mainline ute and after years of hard work it’s now become a reality.

Q. Tell us about your car:

A. This is a 1954 Ford Australian manufactured V8 utility.

It is the very last of the side valve V8 engines made by Henry Ford from 1932 to 1954.

It was very, very sought after by farmers and people that did rural pursuits in those years.

If you wanted a heavy-duty workhorse then this was the thing that you bought.

They were well made for their day.

One bloke had two Mainline Utes and had little crates in the back and put his calves in there, so all the back was knocked around with calves’ hooves.

They were beautifully appointed inside, which was unusual in a work vehicle, and they drove along the road very nicely, so people really loved them for that reason.

Q. Tell us about the car’s history:

A. This particular car was owned by a Jim Murphy, I think, in western New South Wales.

He became ill and they parked the car in a shed with the back sticking out and it remained there for about 35 years.

One of the local scrap merchants said, ‘look, I can take that thing off your hands for $20’ and he then advertised it for $2000.

I needed a project and he said it was a good straight car, so down I went with a trailer and picked it up.

Q. What condition was the car in when you got it?

A. It didn't have a skerrick of paint left on it, you could see that it was green, every part was there, but the rust had formed a film all over the car.

There was a lot of green mould or something growing over the top of the car, which had to be removed, but the car was pretty sound.

It took an awful lot of rubbing down and scrubbing down and I had a sandblaster come in and he sandblasted the car.

We primed it using one of the newer model two pack type primers, and we put the car in an open shed and it sat there for probably 10 years in the prime stage.

I'd say, ‘I'm going to do it up one day’.

The one day came and I pulled it down into a little tin shed and started work on it.

For three years, I scrubbed and bashed and pushed and painted it.

But in that period, the engine had locked up, and it is the original side valve motor.

It has been done up by Dolby engine reconditioning and me, but it runs absolutely perfectly.

It's quite a big motor and they did overheat a bit, but a lot of people got away from that by putting bigger bladed fans on and things like that.

Q. What do you love about the car and what made you want to buy it?

A. I think the reason I would have bought this is because being a farmer all my life, I've known many farmers that have owned these.

All the big boys had these things, and I really wanted one.

Eventually, late in life, I was able to find one and get it on the road, so I was up there with the big boys.

I think it's the joy of actually getting out on the road and seeing people respond, that is absolutely magic.

Everyone smiles, everyone waves.

It's just a marvellous thing to go on the road in a restored veteran, vintage or classic car.

Another really good thing about driving a classic, vintage, veteran car is the fact that there's a lot of camaraderie between people in clubs.

It's really great to be with people that know what you're talking about.

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