COOL RIDE: Gordon Piper, of Nambour, has a love of old cars and does a fine job of restoring them. He is pictured with his 1957 Chevy with Elvis plates.
COOL RIDE: Gordon Piper, of Nambour, has a love of old cars and does a fine job of restoring them. He is pictured with his 1957 Chevy with Elvis plates. Che Chapman

Gordon keeps his cool in Chevs

IF HAPPINESS to Gordon Piper is Brisbane in a rear- view mirror, the view is even better when he is in his 1957 Chevrolet.

If there is one thing Gordon does not like, it's the big smoke.

And if there is one thing he loves, it's American cars of the 1950s and '60s.

At the moment, he is the proud owner of three: the 57 Chev, a 1955 Chevy stepside pick-up, and 1963 Chevrolet Impala.

They are the sort of cars Gordon has always loved, from way back when they were not considered old.

But they did not become a serious interest until about 15 years ago. "I retired mid-1995 and when my good lady retired, we decided to get out of the big smoke," he said

"We did a bit of travelling around and we got up here.

"I thought, 'I've got to do something with all this time on my hands'."

Gordon started doing up a Holden Torana which was still a work in progress when he came across a 1963 Dodge Phoenix for cruising.

Next came a 1940 Ford Tudor Sloper.

Selling one car allows the Suncoast Rod and Customs Club member to buy another but the idea of finishing one project only to start another does not bother him.

"I've got to be doing something. I love doing it. I just love mucking around with them," he said.

One car that he is not ready to sell yet, despite often being asked, is the '57 Chev: a one-owner car he brought in from the United States. The car will be at Retro Rocks at Nambour today.

"That was a full rebuild, ground up - a three-and-a-half or four-year project - and I just liked doing it, apart from all the work and the time and the costs that went into it. It's beautiful."

Like many blokes of his generation, Gordon has simply picked up knowledge about how to do things over the years.

He joined the army at 17 and drove trucks during his 20 years in the military. Later, he had a concrete truck, and a carrying truck, and built pergolas for a living.

But each car is a constant learning experience.

Gordon's current project is the Impala: another one-owner job that he brought in from the US with 102,000km on the clock.

So what are they like to drive?

Gordon only needed one word to answer.

"Cool."



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