DAVE GREENE

VICTORIA

STORY SIMON MAJOR

WE ALL know that person whose head is jammed so full of cool car ideas that it’d be a damnnear travesty for them not to own as many as possible. Dave Greene from Melbourne is one bloke giving this concept a good nudge, and although his more recent passion is for the Chrysler marque, he is far from being a one-eyed Mopar maniac. In fact, he doesn’t commit to any form of brand allegiance, as the following slice of his car life will attest.

01: THIS HR Holden Premier was Dave’s first car in 1977. “It was the very last of the 1967 models and was a bit of an odd-bod really – my grandfather bought it brand new and it came delivered with 14-inch HK wheels, HK front discs and a 12-bolt rear end,” Dave recalls. “My mum inherited the car when my grandad passed away, and when I was 16 I took it for a sneaky drive. Well, I crashed it, so Dad made me buy it off them for $800. We fixed the car in time to get my licence at 18.” A 186S donk, X2 dash cluster and Opel four-speed were common HR fare, and Dave added a lowering job, reversed chromies, a twin system with Chevy dump pipes, centre roof aerial and the obligatory SAAS steering wheel to get it up to acceptable P-plate spec.

02: YOU have to love an early Beetle, and Dave’s 1963 model sported all of the cool gear – twin carbs for the 1200 flat-four, a Scat exhaust, flared guards – but it was the interior that was the pièce de résistance. Dave worked for VDO at the time, so the custom aluminium dash panel was fitted with every conceivable gauge, and how awesome is that Grant chain steering wheel? “A mate got me that in England,” Dave explains. “It was a bitch of a thing on a hot day.”

03: BURNOUT legend John Peterson was getting around town in his black MkIII Zephyr in the early 80s, and Dave decided he needed one of his own. “I idolised that car,” he says of John’s beast. “I had huge plans for my stocker MkII, but didn’t have the wallet to match. It was such a slug to drive that I ended up swapping it for a Triumph 2000; that was another mistake!”

04: THE need for eight cylinders was now weighing heavily on Dave’s mind, so he forked out $700 for this VC Valiant sedan in 1981. It was a factory V8 car sporting the 273 engine and floor-shift auto, and was quickly treated to a letterbox scoop from Arcadipane and more twin Chevy dump pipes that dropped behind the rear wheels. Red oxide primer was quickly blown over the white to help disguise it from the cops – too many burnouts – but old habits die hard, and it wasn’t long before they had their eyes peeled for a red oxide VC instead!

05: WHEN Dave was 16 he knew a guy with a silver XP coupe. “It was running a 289, Thrush sidepipes, radiused rear guards and chromies with bullet centres,” he says. “It was a big influence on me, because it was different to all of the usual hotted-up Monaros and XR-XY Falcons people drove. It stuck with me, so I bought this stock XP Falcon wagon and a 289-powered XR Fairmont and merged the two – the engine, C4 and an eight-inch were slotted in, along with a diff-dumper twin system and a set of 12-slotters. It was resprayed silver; however, the engine bay was finished in, er, ‘period-correct’ chicken shit [aka colour fleck – Ed.]. It was just a fun car that looked cool and sounded the goods.”

06: THIS neat XA Fairmont was a nicely specced GS model running a 250 six with the 2V head, backed by a C4 trans. “My mate’s dad bought it brand new; then my brother bought it and wrecked it,” Dave explains. “I grabbed it off him, added a decent cam and exhaust and then repainted it.” With lowered suspension all ’round and later rolling on Globe rims, the XA made for a tidy streeter. The GT driving lights and grille were the perfect finishing touch and were bought brand new from Dave’s local Ford dealer!

07: DAVE’S VF Valiant hardtop was a tidy cruiser that went through a transformation of sorts. The original slant-six was swapped out for a grumpy Hemi 265, and the car was brought down closer to terra firma using CRS dropped spindles and reset rear leaf springs with reversed eyes. Rack-and-pinion steering helped modernise its road manners, while the VF front clip was later replaced with VE guards, a modified radiator support and inner panels as part of a 1968 Dodge Dart conversion. It was sold in 2015 to make way for his current 1970 Dart.

08: DAVE stuck with Chrysler with this CM Valiant sedan, which started life as a K11-coded Mildura police car. “I took two years off work to deal with cancer in 2009 – this was my daily for two years while I was crook – and then when I started working again I pulled it off the road and went nuts with the build.” The big Aussie four-door was drastically lowered over 17-inch Cragars and featured a Brazilian shave of all door handles, badges, wipers and mirrors. All panel seams were welded to enhance the smooth look, before being lavished in factory Spinnaker White with gold pearl. An E49-spec Hemi 265 engine got the big girl moving, but after five years of fun, Dave sold it on.

09: A DABBLE in two-wheelers for Dave was never going to be anything ‘ordinary’, and this 2001 Harley-Davidson Road King fitted the bill nicely. It ran a worked 108-cube motor with an S&S Cycle carb, while custom paint and a mix of lowered and Air Ride suspension sorted its look. A combo of 21-inch and 18-inch billet wheels, along with four 6x9 speakers and an amp in the bags, were the icing on the cake. But the bike didn’t stick around for long: “I bought it from a guy that imported it as an ex-show bike from the US; I sold it because I never rode it; however, I stood around drinking beer next to it a lot,” Dave laughs.

10: HAVING already had a go at a US conversion to his VF hardtop, Dave decided to go the whole hog with the purchase of his current 1970 Dodge Dart. “It runs a killer 318/392 stroker engine combo by Con Sagiaris at Pro Race Engines, backed by a built 904 Torqueflite fronted with a 3800 stall,” Dave says. “A Ford 8¾-inch LSD rear end runs disc brakes and 3.55 gears, and it rolls on 15x6 and 17x8 Cragar S/S rims. The plan is to successfully drive it to Mopar Mayhem and Mopar Sunday later this year, having lunched a camshaft when attempting that same trip back in 2017. I turn 58 in April, and still love cars. I’ve never owned a standard car; every one of them is modified. I’m definitely no purist either – I love cars that are different. When I’m driving better my Dart feeling.” it’s like I’m s 18 years old again; there’s no better feeling.