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Damien's Hot Rods and Wrecking Yard: Classic Restos - Series 45

By Shannons - Published on 03 September 2020

Fletch travels to Leeton in NSW to catch up with Damien Black on his family property. Which, apart from his enthusiast collection of Hot Rods, has a workshop and something most enthusiasts would love to have, a wrecking yard. Damien, a welder by trade and undertaking a second trade in panel beating, is also self-taught in fabrication. Added to this, is his role with Shannons, as the Regional Development Officer for the Griffith region.

Nowadays Damien only does work for mates and people he knows, producing quality work from his shed right here in Leeton. With numerous projects on the go including his brother-in-law’s HJ Holden Ute, right now it has been stripped back to the bare bones, as this is Damien’s preferred method of working. It consists of just the chassis and 3.3 6 cylinder engine that will ultimately become a brand new streetcar.

Another project is an HK Holden Monaro 327 4-speed, found rusted out with no glass. Previously modified with flared guards front & rear, the plan is to bring it back to original factory condition, with extensive bodywork already completed.

Next is a Ford Jailbar Pick Up, a project that had stalled for some time. Damien is helping reinvigorate the project for the owner, starting with the metal fabrication. When completed, the Jailbar will run a BA Falcon Boss V8 engine with all mod cons, electric windows, air-con. Full modernisation of an old farm truck into a new Hot Rod.

A wrecking yard at home is unusual, but not for Damien who he started the collection around 20 years ago and has around 8-10 37/38 Chev’s that he tracked down for various bits and pieces. Toranas were also one of his passions, so whenever he heard about one of them, he would check it out and more often bring it home to his wrecking yard. Over time the collection has come in handy when a certain bracket, screw, moulding or even a piece of trim could often found in the yard. Scrap Drives in the region motivated Damien to collected vehicles and save them from the scrap yards.

From Damien’s collection is a 1927 Chev, originally his grandfather’s which he had restored in his retirement. It has a 4-cylinder engine with 3-speed crash box, with tourer body, which was later converted to an early bucket roadster. This vehicle has substantial sentimental value for Damien and his family as you can appreciate.

Another vehicle is his son’s 1930 Model A Ford Coupe (LHD) that he acquired when he was 17, it’s something to tinker with as he puts it. The car has quite a history, restored in America and used as a display vehicle in a department store for many years. Found by an Australian enthusiast while in the US and shipped to Australia. Because the car hasn’t travelled very much over the years, the mechanicals required some work. But today it is in original condition, just stripped down to go faster and more in the style of the late 40s and 50s Hot Rods.