When Andrew Beale's accountant said he should invest in superannuation, he chose muscle cars instead. Among his incredible collection is the Castrol FMX A9X that Street Machine gave away in 1987 - and it still has less than 15km on the clock!
This article on Andrew's cars was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Street Machine
AFTER retiring from a successful career in earthmoving and transport, Andrew Beale decided to invest his money wisely – in muscle cars. They’re mostly Holdens ranging from the 70s to the 2000s – with a couple of Yankee GM classics thrown in for good measure – plus one very rare and desirable Charger. Oh, and that white Torana? Yeah, that’s the one Street Machine gave away back in 1987, and it looks like it’s in very good hands.
Torana temple - The Apap family's awesome Holden Torana shed
So, you didn’t like the idea of throwing all of your money into a super fund?
The accountant kept telling me to do super, but I don’t like it, so I bought the cars instead – I’ll do my own super, you know. It’s paid off pretty good.
It’s not just about the investment, though?
No, I’ve liked cars all my life. From when I was 17 I’ve had good cars.
What was the first cool car you had?
I had an EH Premier – it was actually Mum’s – and I got that just before my licence and started mucking around with it. Then I swapped that for a 307 HT Monaro.
There’s been quite a few since then?
I’ve had a lot of cars – shit cars too — but I think the next car was an HT Kingswood with a 253 and four-speed, then an XA GT coupe. I had shitboxes for a long time because I bought a house. I bought an A9X for $23,000 about 15-odd years ago, I suppose. I’ve still got that A9X; it’s a four-door. I was actually looking for a Charger, but I couldn’t find one. An E49 came up on eBay and I bought that, but it was Hot Mustard and I didn’t like the colour, so I sold it about three years ago. I’ve accumulated the other cars over the years.
This red Torana A9X hatch is the last one ever built. It still wears the original paint, but it copped a bit of a tidy-up when Andrew first got hold of it
You’ve also got the last A9X ever built?
Yeah, the red road car. There’s a book out by Eric Blair called Holden Torana Performance Handbook. It lists all the A9Xs that were built and it’s the last one listed in the book. It’s still got the original paint on it, but it had Simmons wheels and a drop tank in it, so I took all that out and put the original stuff back on it. It had wiring everywhere – burglar alarm, radar detector and all that shit. I took it all out and threw it in the bin.
There is a smattering of Brock-era Commodores amongst Andrew’s Holden-heavy collection, as well as a couple of late-model offerings from HSV
It looks like most of the collection is Holdens; do you only collect GM stuff?
I had an XY GT a fair way back, but it drove like a heap of shit and I didn’t like it. I had the VK Group A at the same time – I had the GT first then bought the Group A – and it drove 100 per cent better, so I got rid of the XY.
There are a couple of American classics in the shed as well. Are they any nicer to drive?
Yeah, the Chevelle doesn’t drive too bad, but the Camaro’s a heap of shit to drive as well – like the XY was – but it’s because they’ve got shit tyres. The GT had Aquajets on it and the Camaro’s got Polyglas rag tyres on it, but it’s a matching-numbers 396, four-speed car.
How about the Chevelle?
We bought that when we were in America from a Mecum auction. It’s the only automatic car; it’s my wife Annette’s. She didn’t want to drive a manual left-hand-drive car.
There’s also some later-model stuff here?
We bought the VX GTS new and the Monaro was a repairable write-off that we fixed up. The car next to it in the showroom had been set on fire, so it only had a little bit of fire damage and only cost us $2500 to fix. It’s got pretty low kays; only 22-23,000km on it.
The E38 is about to be sent off to a Chrysler restoration expert so it can have its final assembly completed. After 15 years of collecting, Andrew is finally getting the car he first
went looking for
The only non-GM car is the Charger. I hear it’s your favourite.
It’s not necessarily my favourite, but it’s probably the last one I’d sell off because it was the first car I was trying to buy – but I couldn’t find one at the time. I’d seen other Chargers but I only wanted that colour [Vitamin C]. I’m big on colour – it’s gotta be right or I won’t buy the car. It’s a J82 [E38 racing homologation] Bathurst car with a couple of odd things on it, like no quarter-windows and flip-out back windows.
Purchased from Adelaide 10 years ago, the HQ coupe is a 350, four-speed GTS that Andrew has never bothered to get registered in WA. Andrew did have a four-door in the collection, but it was an auto, so he moved that one on – he knows real muscle cars have three pedals. It’ll get some love soon so it can hit the streets
There’s still a little bit left to finish it off?
Not too much, just the interior, fuel tank, handbrake and steering column. Everything is restored, it’s just got to be put in, but it’s got to be put in right with the correct screws and shit like that. If it was a Torana I could do it because I know where everything goes, but I’m getting someone else to do it.
Pretty much the Holy Grail of Torana ID tags, the GMP&A (General Motors Parts & Accessories) code in place of the body number means it was a special bodyshell built specifically for competition
Is your wife supportive of your hobby?
Yeah, she’s got a few cars herself. The VL Group A is hers, the Chevelle is hers and she’s got a black AMG Mercedes SL65 that makes 620hp.
You’ve also got the Castrol FMX A9X that Street Machine gave away in 1987. Have you put many miles on it?
It had 13.7km on it when SM gave it away and it’s got 14.4 on it now. I think the previous owner drove up the end of his street and back and that was it. The brakes are locked up on it now and the motor is going to have to come out because all the coolant has dried up and crystallised. I’ll get onto it after the Charger comes back.