GARAGE GURUS RESTO PROS
reasons that restoring cars in Australia is such great fun is the good availability of parts. Our kind-to-steel climate and the fact that many original owners from the 1960s to ’90s saw their family cars as an investment worth maintaining, rather than as a throw-away consumable, means there is an abundance of older cars remaining on the road. The expansive Aussie countryside results in many cars lying in sheds and paddocks, too. It’s all great for car restorers.
But as some of us have discovered, even with diligent searching you can’t always get what you require for a rebuild or restoration.
That’s the situation that Muscle Cars Parts’ founder Robert Zucchelli faced six years ago. “I was looking for parts for my LJ Torana and there really wasn’t much out there,” Robert reckons. That was the lightbulb moment for the life-long car enthusiast: he established Muscle Car Parts.
It’s not Zucchelli’s first venture into automotive industry: he’s parted-out Porsches. “That’s on-hold for a while,” he says brightly, referring to the two shipping containers chock-full of Porsche parts stacked outside his Sydney building. “I’m concentrating on this stuff!
“I’m a car nut,” he continues. “I started when I was 14; I worked at Jack Brabham Ford,” he explains.
For many of us, that early start has led to a career completely with cars, but not
for Rob: “I was away from cars for a while – I worked in construction.”
Initially modest, after a bit of a chat Rob quietly admits that thanks to hard – and smart – work, life has been good to him. That, in turn, is good for his business. He owns the building Muscle Cars Parts occupies so there’s no stress or risk of being kicked-out. Yet unlike some other business people who are in similar privileged positions, Rob remains down-to-earth, hands-on and enthusiastic. In fact, I first met him standing behind a trestle table loaded with his parts talking to show-goers under a gazebo at a local car show one Sunday.
There’s no finger-clicking to summon a staffer to help clear around the brand-new Ford Mustang body-shell we’ve used in these pics.
Instead, Rob simply jumps on the forklift to move a crate of HQ Monaro rear screens out of the way. “I’m a bit like this!” he quips, slapping the side of the LPG-fuelled forklift as it takes a few seconds of churning on the starter to chug to life. “I’m a bit hard to get going!”
Like all good car nuts, he has a few toys of his own: parked out the back and ready for action are a Valiant hardtop, a Torana, an XY Ford Falcon GS, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, two classic Porsches, a split-screen VW Kombi and a Beetle, a windowless EH Holden panno with an ex-Commodore supercharged V6 and a 1953 Ford F100 pickup that is being totally re-jigged with a cabin stretch over an FG Ford/FPV Boss 335 supercharged V8 and its complete suspension.
Yep, this bloke is into it all.
But the toys haven’t seen too many sunny Sundays recently – Rob has been a very busy bloke since kicking-off the Muscle Car Parts business.
“It began as a hobby and I saw a hole in the market,” Rob says. “Now, it’s grown into a bit of a monster,” he says with just a hint of frustration.
“You know what?” he says.
“I really miss driving that Beetle!”