This article was originally published in the July 2016 issue of Street Machine.
In this crazy, busy world of technological advancement and media saturation, it’s nice to remember a simpler time full of raw fun and unrestricted adventure. In the late 60s and early 70s Ian Lording was earning a crust as an apprentice panel beater, spending his teens and 20s chasing the perfect wave all over Australia with his mates. More than 40 years later, Ian still indulges his passion for surfing, skateboarding and panel vans. Here’s Part 1 of a two-part Snap Shots looking at some of Ian’s coolest car-related memories.
Here's Ian’s mates George Crilley (left) and Steve Barlow ready for a road trip back in ’68. “Their weapon of choice was this 1955 Austin Westminster sedan, locked and loaded with their Klemm-Bell boards, tentpoles and a Transistor Seven radio on the dash,” Ian says. “The canvas water bag on the front bumper was a must-have back in those days.”
It's the summer of ’69. “That’s me in the middle, Onions on the left and Boog on the right doing our best ‘country soul’ impersonation,” Ian laughs. “The drive to Phillip Island was always a big ask of Onions’ FB wagon. It would either boil by Tooradin or we would have to go up the big hill past Bass in reverse. This particular trip it got us to our campsite at Ventnor and we surfed our guts out for the entire weekend. Floppy hats, Ugg boots, tyre-soled Treads sandals and single fins – yep, it’s gotta be ’69.”
On the road at Norseman during their trip to Western Australia are Ian’s mates Steve Barlow (left), Colin Dennis (centre) and Ross Williams with Colin’s HT van and Steve’s Datsun 1200 coupe; they were nearly brand new back in ’71. “Colin’s HT was an ex-electricity commission van,” Ian says. “The auctions were a great place to buy old police or government panos and many of my mates got great deals. You did have to be prepared back in those days, so we stocked up with extra fuel, extra tyres and even extra surfboards!”
Ian reckons that on road trips, just as essential as surf wax was a basic toolkit to keep old Holdens going. “Kelvin Wehner is front and centre doing some on-road repairs during our trek to the west coast,” he says. Vans like this EH were a home away from home, a lifestyle choice that doubled as transport and accommodation in a time when you could park up virtually anywhere safely and without the threat of fines.
Holden panel vans and VW Kombis were a mainstay for a generation of young Aussies, and this pic from the early 70s has the lads parked in the hills behind Bega near the Dr George Mountain lookout. “If the surf was flat we’d drive up to the rock pool and waterfalls,” Ian says. “We’d slide down nature’s own rockslides, tearing the arse out of our boardies and dropping into the pools below. The bonus was there was no entrance fee.”
It's January 1973 and here’s Ian (seated) with mates, the late Greg ‘Vus’ Fish (left) and Kevin Newell at the Tathra campground. “The curse of any road trip was the added cost of a shattered windscreen, back in the days before laminated glass,” Ian says. “This was Steve Downey’s HD, to which I’d not long given a green jam job [enamel for all you young fellas – Ed.] in his backyard. We were waiting for a fresh ’screen to arrive from Bega so we could smash this out and rope the new one in. Cars were far simpler back then. You always had half a chance of getting out of trouble when the inevitable happened. Who would have thought that a windowless HD would be such a rarity these days?”
Here's Ian’s mate Big Whitey roping down the boards on another mate Phil’s HK pano at Wilsons Prom in 1974. “The real story here is about the dents at the top of the driver’s A-pillar,” Ian reveals. “They were thanks to a burly biker riding alongside them with a bad attitude and slinging a heavy chain from over his shoulder – he wasn’t too happy!”
A posse of panel vans back at Tathra in 1974. “Wherever we travelled up the east coast over the December/January break we nearly always ended up back at Tathra and set up the ever-faithful 12x12ft tent,” Ian remembers. “We mostly overstayed our welcome and were often asked – actually, told – to move on.” More of Ian’s automotive adventures next issue!