Motafrenz Car Club

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

Vale: Frank de Pinna – 10/7/1933 ~ 2/10/2023

Frank was the club’s fifth President and, from all accounts was very well liked and respected. The following is some personal recollections of Frank from some of his closest Motafrenz family.

Frank was a very early member of the Club and served as President between 1997 and 1998.

I have fond memories of spending time with Frank during the seven-day Tour de Tassie rally in February 2000. Frank shared stories with me about his working life as an advertising director and voice coach. He also told me about his love of playing the ukulele, ballroom dancing, performing and, of course, classic cars.

Frank’s knowledge of cars was encyclopaedic. He could tell you the make, model and year of just about any classic vehicle that passed by. His enthusiasm for classic vehicles was infectious, and he had a way of bringing people together through his passion. Car enthusiasts from all walks of life were drawn to Frank, not just for his knowledge but for his warmth and camaraderie.

Frank had a fine collection of vehicles. I remember his back sheds housed a row of classic vehicles such as a Jowett Jupiter, a Daimler Regency and a Mercedes-Benz 300 coupe. My favourite was Frank’s magnificent 1927 Lancia Lambda.

Frank’s diverse interests were testament to his insatiable curiosity and zest for life. I say farewell to a true motoring enthusiast, a friend to many and a man whose passion for classic and vintage cars will forever inspire us to live life in the fast lane.

Tour de Tassie, February 2000. Frank is second from the right.
Photo from the Jowett Car Club magazine The Javelin, November 1989. Frank is forth from the right.

Words and photos by David Provan (Life Member)

The wonderful life of Frank de Pinna.

The first time I meet Frank was at a Motafrenz progressive dinner. He immediately introduced himself with a warm welcoming smile and from there, evolved a wonderful friendship.

He was very funny, a great entertainer, upbeat and very engaging. He was always interested in listening to you and told many interesting stories of his own.

When Frank was president of Motafrenz, the club decided to enter Pride March for the first time. Frank wasn’t so keen to walk in the parade as he was still just peeking out of closet at the time. With a little encouragement he walked in the march. Unfortunately, no one had organised a banner, so we were left with holding the A4 assembling site paper saying Motafrenz. At the end of the walk, he felt immensely proud to be gay man and stated that he no longer cares what other people think. The following year, we made sure there was a large banner, classic cars, and colourful flags. Frank did quite a few more marches for Motafrenz and sometimes he was holding the banner pole. He made a great contribution to Motafrenz during the 90s and the 00s.

Frank was often seen in attendance at the British and European Motor Show and the Kalorama vintage car gymkhana sports events. It was amazing how many people he knew in the historic motoring world. It would generally take him 2 to 3 hours just to do one lap around the Kalorama football oval that was lined around with vintage cars, and longer at the British and European car show. He just continuously chatted to all his car enthusiast friends who were all delighted to see him.

Frank did do a few rides in my Crossley. Nearly every time I saw him, he would say: “and how is old Constance?” I would say, “dribbling as usual” He would also ask, “are my skid marks still left across the back seat of the Crossley?” This happened on a Motafrenz event when crossing a notorious old wooden plank bridge in Werribee gorge when the rear end slid sideways when exiting. He was a lot of fun to travel with.

Frank had lived in Campbell Street Brighton since the age of 2. He was very attached to his old family home and was very determined not to move. When walking with him around the streets he knew every detail of all the homes and was always outraged when an old home was knocked over to be replaced by a mock Georgian Mac-Mansion or alike.

The last time I saw Frank was at his 90th birthday on the 9th of July. It was a wonderful occasion. The guests were from his neighbours up and down the street, car enthusiasts, people in arts and literature world, to his friends who specially flew out from Frankfurt in Germany to see him. It was a full house of party guests. Frank pulled out his ukulele and played his advertising jingles he had composed when he worked with KNF advertising. He still knew the songs clearly, some that I remembered on TV when I was a teenager. At 90, he still had his wonderful sense of humour. We all thought he was doing remarkably and could go for at least another 10 years.   

Frank recently told Tim: “If ever I am forced to go in a nursing home, I will be eating those yellow mushrooms growing in my front garden!” Frank was truly fortunate to be able to live a wonderful and full life right to the end with his partner Tim and his many visiting friends. He was able stay at his home as he had wanted for 88 years. He sadly succumbed to a short illness on the 4th of October and passed away peacefully, it is exactly how Frank wanted it to be!

Words, photos and videos by Robert Tenney (Life Member).

Our Dear Friend Frank

Yes, it was with very great sadness that I learnt of Frank’s passing early last week and I would just like to say a few words regarding our very Dear Friend.

Frank was one of the first people I met when joining Motafrenz well over 20 years ago now. His effervescent nature always armed with endless repartee was a joy which was jointly delivered with that cheeky smile on his face that was instantly infectious in any room that he entered. We became firm friend’s over the years and he and his Dear partner Tim would always ring us when Jimmy and I had our restaurants to see how we were surviving in hospitality and would often drop in to say hello towards the end of the night. These nights were spent in Frank and Tim’s often endless banter and light hearted conversation regarding the crazy world we live in and Frank’s lovely views on life in general. Having spent my young formative years in advertising I was always delighted in his observations on advertising and show business personalities he had met during his working life. I hold those nights spent in their company as a total joy learning of the many jingles he had put together for various clients during his time spent at his advertising agency. My being also a general car tragic, his interest in British and European cars (not forgetting his Lancia) was always a lovely talking point. I know he did a lot for the club for many years and am sure that there are many members who will remember and greatly miss him.

He was a wonderful character, a true friend and my and my partner Jimmy’s heartfelt condolences go out to his partner Tim at this difficult time.

He will be greatly missed.

With Best regards to All,

Chris Barnett

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Paul Hollingworth

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