Motafrenz Car Club

Australia's premier motoring club for the LGBTIQA+ community!

Committee Profile: Brett Huxtable

This section aims to help familiarise you with the Committee Members of the Club and let them share their story with you.

This month, the spotlight is on Brett Huxtable!

Hi! I’m Brett Huxtable, here’s my story, it’s not short…but there is a story to be told!!

I work as a wine waiter in a restaurant at a winery on the Mornington peninsula. Paringa estate. I have been with my partner, Jerome for 16 year this year and married for 10 months. We have 2 cats, Shiraz (white pure-bred ragdoll) and Piper (all black tabby). 

We live a very much happily married domestic life down in Cranbourne. Have built the house 4 years ago and built a shed just after to house all the cars.

I got involved with Motafrenz after I returned from being overseas for 7 years. I found out they had a gay car club and signed up shortly after returning. It must be about 10 years now. I wanted to meet new friends that have a passion for cars and happen to be gay as well. Ticked 2 boxes.

I am the membership officer. My role entails checking our membership is current and correct; process new applicants, report every month on new members and any items relevant to my role to the committee, prepare a report for the AGM every year; and contribute and attend committee meetings every month.

Over the last couple of years, we have migrated to a pure online processing system. So, before there was a lot of checks and balances with the role. Now it is much simpler.

My first car was given to me by my Dad. It was a 1968 Morris Mini Deluxe. It needed a bit of work, so I helped him get it on the road. This is when my interest in working on (old) cars began. I gave it a thorough clean first, changed seats, doors, boot, bonnet over to better ones. I think something was wrong with the engine, so we ripped it out and replaced the 998cc engine with a more powerful and bigger 1100cc engine.

Dad happened to have a later model “rod change” gearbox and we put this with it. Dad modified the brakes from drum to disc and bigger ones at that! They were off a Morris 1100, so big 8” stopping power now! I only had this for a brief amount of time, probably 4 or 6 months and then my Dad bought another mini for me to use.

The next car that I had was a 1978 Leyland Mini 1275 LS. This was a great fun car. Best fun on 4 wheels. This model only came in hi-ho silver or nugget gold. I had a nugget gold. This car was comfy, roomy (for its size) and fast. The 1275cc engine would out-drag a lot of cars with bigger engines. I had loads of fun with this.

It was in very good condition, so I was always washing it and cleaning it. I treated it as if it was my own. I used this mainly for the last years of my (high) schooling and for a year or 2 with my first job.

Number 3 is the first one that I owned, even though it was free. The rego was in my name at least! 1970 Morris 1500 LP ((zircon?) white paint with blue interior). Somehow, I fell into this. Someone was getting rid of it and not sure if something was wrong with it, but I got it.

Little backstory to how I got it though. I always loved minis, but I just thought that 2 doors, sheer size and the lack of top end cruising was lacking. I thought the Morris 1100 was a much better car, especially with the 1275cc engine as an option, but I wanted a little more.

I found out about a sister car to the 1100, which was the 1500. Different engine options for a 5-speed gearbox, 4 doors, rear adjustable suspension, all independent suspension (same as the 1100 too), big powerful 75bhp engine to boot! So I thought this was a better option. I was VERY fortunate to get the LP version WITH a 5 speed. Both were and are pretty rare. 

I should explain about the LP. This was a Luxury Pack (hence LP!). The upgrade from the base 1500 was it had bucket seats (base had a bench seat), carpet (rather than vinyl), chrome surrounds around the doors, and a faux wood grain dash (rather than a one colour base fascia/dash). You also got a very small round sticker on the front fenders with L/P on it. Very rare to see them as most fell off or faded very quickly.

I had the Morris 1500 for a couple of years. I had a good car and went on lots of adventures. It tended to run hot (and since owning a couple it seems to be a common trait!) but was very economical, a great cruiser with a 5 speed and very practical with 4 doors and a decent sized boot (compared to a mini). I kept it neat and clean for the most part, but the paint had faded, the carpet was a bit tatty and wasn’t loved over the years. 

My next car was a Morris 1500 LP (green duco with a green interior. This was basically the same car as before but in a lot better condition. My dad was a fireman and an old man donated this car to the fire service to be cut up for training purposes. Dad spotted it and asked if I wanted it…so I got it. Amazing that it was a freebie! I could have driven it home (with a permit) but dad insisted I tow it home.

I kept this for many years, but I suspect a head gasket went and I had all sorts of trouble starting it, especially when hot. I ended up putting it down in the backyard at my parents’ place waiting for me to fix it up. I would probably still have it to this day, however my dad wanted to tidy up the back yard (when I was living overseas) and thought I would never get around to fixing her up. He ended up filling it up with metal and sold it for scrap metal. Gone forever. Sad.

Whilst I owned the 1500, I happen to come across a 1971 Austin Kimberley. I LOVED this car, more so in hindsight. I bought it for $1000. It was immaculate. It had a blue interior. Manual too. This was a lounge on wheels.

It was and is the most comfortable car I have ever driven in in a straight line. Very smooth, comfortable and absorbed every bump, pothole and speed hump you drove over. I used to drive over (long) speed humps at 60km/h and not feel or jump out of the seat. I remember having a full car with my sister and her friends and they all couldn’t believe how much room was inside it. It really was a lounge on wheels.

Unfortunately, as a 20 something I tended to over rev it and one day in the wet I must have bent a valve and it was running shockingly after that. I had also damaged the front driver side fender whilst reversing from a driveway and forgot to check and look for the fence post. Ouch. I am kicking myself for what I did to that car. As I had moved overseas the car was relocated to my dad’s friend’s yard where he lived until I would save it.

But alas my dad only saw money in that metal, and I wasn’t there when I returned home from living overseas. I truly miss that car and long for another. This car performed very well. It was only a 2.2lt but it did have twin SUs. It had (I think) 117BHP. It would keep up and be of equal match to my friends VH commodore with a 173ci (2.85lt) engine. Personally, I think this was a very stylish and good-looking car. It’s a shame they had to use the Austin 1800 doors on the car (to reduce costs) but the front and rear styling was well executed in my opinion.

About halfway through my ownership of my Morris 1500 I got redeployed to another restaurant that was 55kms away. In the early 1990s and in Adelaide this was a huge drive! Basically, the other end of the city for me. So, I was encouraged to buy a more reliable and modern car. I looked around for a while and eventually found a suitable car that I liked!

The next car I bought was a 1987 VL Commodore executive. I paid $6000 for it from a police officer. This is a unique car. I was a company car from Bob Jane T mart (tyre place). It was factory ordered with a unique colour, sunburnt orange! I have always loved it, no plain silver or black or white…boring. If you look at the old colours of their buildings, you would see a small thin strip of orange and that was the colour for their company cars. Because of the colour this car has been nicknamed “The Orange Beast” (TOB).

The cars came with power steering, air con and 4-wheel disc brakes. Cream/brown interior too (I like light interior colours).  The police officer changed the wheels/rims to 15” (over the standard 14”) and they do look a treat. My dad, soon after buying it, converted to run on LPG gas too. Much better for economy considering the distances I was travelling a week. Over 500kms a week back then which is nothing considering where I live now!

I have many amazing trips, memories and good times in this car. Two unfortunate things I did to this car was, I crashed the front into a barrier fence and secondly, I cooked the engine and scorched the bore. I was travelling to see my grandma on the Yorke’s Peninsula, and it was a 38C day and running on LPG they always run a tad hot. Well this day it was too much and about 20kms from her house TOB died. I towed it to her house and contemplated my fate. In the end I put a reconditioned engine in it. After a mechanic pulled the engine apart, he showed me I scorched the bore. Lots of work was needed but suggested a cheaper option was to put a recon engine in. So about $3000 later a brand-new running engine. 

I took it up with me to Uluru (Ayers rock) for a year and then drove it home back to Adelaide via the east coast. I drove 12,500kms in a month to get home. I took my time but drove some massive days where I just needed to cover distances. (I think I drove 2 X 1100kms, 1 X 1000 and a several 800 or 900km days) Whilst in the NT they had no speed limits, so I drove at about 150km/h (average)on the Stuart Highway for a good portion of it. It sucked on the juice a bit but having 2 tanks of fuel I was all ok. I travelled and lived overseas for 7 years so TOB went into storage in a shed on my parent’s farm. It lived there till I returned. No dad didn’t sell or crush this one! I wasn’t planning to live overseas for as long as I did so hence that’s why I kept it. My dad would periodically start the engine and he would always comment: “it starts every time, first time. Never misses a beat!”.

Eventually I returned to OS and I retried the car and drove it back over here to Melbourne. I used it for about 3 years before I upgraded to my current daily car. I was having issues with the crank angle sensor (a known problem with the Nissan engines) so I wanted something a little more modern again and much more reliable. I still own my VL commodore, I have had it now for 23 years. I don’t think I will sell it. I just need to spend the time and money to get it back to where I remember it. The car has done 300,000kms. It is the original transmission and needs a overhaul but the engine is only about 150,000kms old. Many more years left in the old girl! I love driving this car too. Very comfortable and a great cruiser. Good on fuel too.

Next car was a bit of a sidestep from my dream car. I have always loved the Subaru WRX Impreza’s since they were released in 1992. I have always longed for one however, every gen 1 and MY04 WRX had been modified, thrashed my teenagers, or high mileage. Trying to find an unmolested low kilometre WRX that wasn’t trash was a tough ask. So, my search led me to the bigger Liberty. After some research I fell in love with the gen 4 liberty wagon. At the time in 2012 I wanted something that was about 5 years old, reliable and low kilometres.

After about 3 months searching, I found exactly what I wanted. In sept 2012 I was the new proud owner of a MY07 Subaru Liberty 3.0lt wagon! This the Liberty 3.0 R with a premium pack. It took me a while to track down this one with a cream (they call it Bone) interior. I really dislike the all black interiors of cars (personal) and much prefer light colours. Black in and on a car in Australia is asking for hot hot hot. This car has the SI drive, full sunroof, flappy paddle transmission, 17” alloys, full leather, 6 stacker Macintosh CD player, driver/passenger/side curtain airbags are all standard with this model. 

I really love this car. It goes! It always surprises me how fast it is and when the “V.V.C.” kicks in at 3000rpm… does it really sing! It handles amazingly, it stops on a dime, I am surprised what I can fit in this car, how economical it can be, how fast it can be and just a good all-round car. I am very reluctant to upgrade from this. I’ve had it for 8 years now and I will drive this into the ground. I has been so reliable for the time I have had it. I am the second owner. (First owner was the arch diocese (catholic) of Melbourne!) I have no idea what I would buy to replace this. Very big shoes to fill!

I have 2 cars on club plates (not with MF). These cars are registered in SA and I split the time they are here and in SA. 

I have a 1964 Morris 1100 in porcelain green. Funny story with this one. I won it on eBay. It was for sale and I bid on it, but the bidding went above what I was willing to pay. So, I forgot about it. About a month later I saw it again for sale. I assume the sale fell through, so I put my original bid on it and totally forgot about it. About a month later I got an email from eBay “Congratulations you have won the bid on a Morris 1100!!” Oh shit. OK. I’ll take it.

I rang the guy to discuss details. I was leaving to go on holidays 2 days after I won the bid. I said I would get the money to him after and arrange pick up. However, he lived close to Swan Hill!!! I found out he was the mayor of Swan Hill. He used to live next door to the original owners of the 1100 and he bought it off of them. The dear old lady had bought it new in 1964 and kept it and rove it till she could no longer drive. Knowing it history and its condition he bought it saving it from ill repute. He had it for a year but wasn’t in love with it and just wanted it to go to a good home. He offered to deliver it to Adelaide for me and that’s where it got sent. My parents were away, and my sister took receipt of it. I gave him $150 to cover cost for the transportation, he was most appreciative of the gesture.

My parents returned home from holidays and on opening their roller door they were greeted with a nice new cute car. Mum rang and ask, “What have I bought?”. Having explain what had happened she said that I got a bargain. She went on to say that it came with a folder, that I didn’t know about. It had the entire history of this car. From the first purchase order, rego papers, maintenance logs, cost for anything etc .. it has a full-service book history since 1964! AMAZING. 

Soon after getting “Ellen” one displacer went and I had to replace that. I did enter the car in the Bay to Birdwood car rally in Adelaide in 2017 and we discovered it had a slipping clutch. So a couple months later I went back to fix this. Other than these 2 things no major dramas with it. It’s a quirky quaint car. It’s not the fastest car however it is fun to drive.

You definitely bounce along the road. Remember “floats of fluid”. It has amazing all round visibility, easy to park, very economical and a good conversational starter. It brings a smile to my face when driving. I am just surprised at how much of a good condition of a car it is, with a full-service history all for what I paid. Amazing bang for your buck and the cheapest entry level classic car you could ever own!

My latest purchase was a 1970 Morris 1500 LP. Yes, another one. In 2016 someone was advertising, on FB marketplace, this car. I had spoken to him a couple months earlier about it and I was interested but not urgent to buy it. He contacted me again and asked if I was interested in a lower price. I was interested but still a little high for what I wanted to pay. Eventually I said to him a couple weeks later if he would accept a lower price and he said yes. So, a trip to Adelaide ensued. The car was located in a rural town called Yorketown at the bottom of the Yorke peninsula, about 3hours drive or 260kms. This led to a road trip with my bestie to collect the car.

After driving there, checking out the car, not even taking it for a test drive I decided I’ll take it. Got all the paperwork, went to the local authorised rego place and after about 30 mins, paperwork done and completed. Now to drive it back to Adelaide. It was fun and easy. It has a 5 speed so cruised beautifully at the limit and economical too! My best friend followed me in my Subaru back home.

After 260km it was at my parent house. Another car to surprise them! I wanted to bring the car over here for a while, so I decided to drive the car the whole way from Adelaide to Melbourne. My thoughts were that if families and people use to drive all the cars in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s all over Oz why can’t I still do this now. If it was to break down, I would just put it on the side of the road and collect it the next day! Who know what would happen!

My good friend Bruce came with me to Adelaide to collect the car, just in case something broke down en-route. I had planned a 2-day drive just to pace things out and not put too much strain on the car. In the end I could have driven the car all the way in one go! It cruised beautifully on the highway. Very comfortable for such a long distance. A 5 speed to cruise at with low revs and floaty suspension for comfort. I was please and surprised at its ease. I plan to make the return trip back to Adelaide this September for the Bay to Birdwood. I can’t get them out of my blood. I love them. Cool, funky cars that bring a smile to my face.

I had to replace a displacer bag at one point and the welch plugs need doing (leaking). I have some ideas of what I would like to do with this car so will see how I go in the future. 

I do have 3 other cars, that aren’t on the road. I have a 1970 Morris 1500 Nomad, another Morris 1500 LP (green) and a Morris 1500 (red) wreck.  The wreak I saved from scrap and I have just used it as a parts car. The other 1500 LP is a complete 100% car that I saved again from the scrap heap. I have this undercover and see how funds and my interest are in restoring this to a pristine condition.

The Nomad is a rare car. For those that don’t know what it is…it’s a 5-door hatch back of the 1500 (and 1300). It was only made in Oz. You can fold all the seats down to form a bed. The rarest models are a 1300 auto nomad. As these were the most expensive at the time and no one bought them unless they really wanted an auto. 

We estimate it is one of only 15 left on the road in Oz. I bought this from an old Maltese man out in Bundoora. It was his daughters and she was using it as a daily. Until she hit something and put a huge hole in the sump. He tried to patch it up and fiberglass over it, but it kept on leaking. He was trying to sell it for years. I think he just wanted to get rid of it out of his garage/shed. So, I offered him a price and he accepted. I trailered it home to my place Camberwell.

I found a 1500 (mustard yellow) wreak in Adelaide and joined my Dad is stripping it and removing the engine, as I needed a new gearbox. Eventually I returned to Melbourne with a carload of parts, but most importantly a gearbox! I then removed the engine from the Nomad and switched gear boxes. I was lucky to change it over with another 5 speed! Very lucky.

I spray painted the engine and wacked it in, and Voila…it works and runs, plus it doesn’t leak oil!! I did take it for a road worthy, but it has a couple of rust issues that I need to get fixed. I’m not very good with body panels so I will need to invest in someone else help. So…., it is in my shed.

And that is my story!

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