Motafrenz Car Club

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

Member Vehicle: “My Second Car” 1973 Toyota Celica

Words by Paul Hollingworth, with stock images.

Here is the promised article of my second car, a 1973 Toyota Celica! It was only promised three years ago – but I haven’t seen you write about YOUR second car – so please don’t judge me too harshly.

Where to start? Well, a recap of my previous Member Vehicle article (link below) saw my previous ’82 Sigma getting murdered by a speeding unmarked cop-car in Footscray, so I was in the market for a “new” car. Being a very poor 19-year-old shop assistant at Kmart Auto, which was then an independently run department, within the Super K at Werribee Plaza, I needed something cheap.

Dealers were too expensive, so I did what all young Gen X-ers did, I bought me a copy of the Trading Post. You could buy anything in that thing and usually within whatever price range you wanted. Sort of like Facebook Marketplace, but without all the idiots asking if it’s still available – at least, I suppose, asking that with a newspaper listing makes more sense that with an online application.

Paging through, I found a wonderful and sporty looking car, almost as old as I was, for the somewhat reasonable price $1,200. My dad drove me out to Altona to have a look over the thing, and we took it for a drive – it was love at first sight! I handed over my cash (does anyone remember cash?), completed the VicRoads paperwork, and drove it home.

I loved that car, but my word, was it a lot of trouble!

Unimaginatively, I called “her” Sally – Sally Car, the Celica. I thought I was original and hilarious – ahhh the innocence of youth.

Let’s see, what was wrong with it? I remember the knob on the gear stick kept falling off. This was of particular note as the knob needed to be pulled up to engage reverse. It was also (probably) one of the last models before Australian motoring moved to kilometres. I found the conversion confusing at first, but being surround by my parents and grandparents who still thought in miles, made it a bit easier. And speaking of kilometres, it was the only car in which I received a speeding fine (other than my current car – maybe “red” has something to do with it?).

At some point, a rock went through the windscreen. After getting a new one, the rain would always pour in and soak my right leg – and cause mouldy smells. It seemed to rain more in those days, or perhaps I noticed it more due to a constantly soggy leg. I would also have to put a blanket over the bonnet on cold nights otherwise the thing would never start, and I’d just flood it and drain the battery. The annual insurance (for someone under 25) was a fair bit more than the value of the car too.

But, wow, what a ride!

It was in this car that I travelled to my first gay club, Three Faces, and the car that I drove in the very early stages of my drag career. It was at a drag gig where the car got stolen. Having only just been repaired, and without the aforementioned super-expensive insurance, I was left once more without a car. I suppose the unique feature of the car was the ability to not lock the keys in – you simply needed to place your hands on the window and slide it down to gain access – was also a bonus to those who took it.

My next car was an early-90s Holden Barina City which I bought with the only car loan I ever had, but that can be a story for another day… Three more years perhaps?

If you’re interested, you might like to read a story about my first classic car, a 1956 Daimler Conquest Century – https://motafrenz.org.au/member-vehicle-1956-daimler-conquest/

Paul Hollingworth

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