Members Profile: Mike Brazier
Friday, October 1, 2010 21:00

Written by club member Mike Brazier

1936 Studebaker Dictator 6 Swallowtail

Mikes Mum and Aunty beside their 1936 Studebaker Dictator

“My first Studebaker I inherited from my maternal grandfather in 1961. A 1936 Dictator 6 Swallowtail. Sold it back to my
aunt for Red Book value 55 quid thinking I’ll get it again, but she traded it in and when I rushed to get it, it was already sold.”
“Never mind there have been 6 Studies since but never more than 2 at onetime, Ramblers also…..”

I was born in Brisbane in the year 1931. My parents were Percy and Marguerite (“Daisy” nee Michael) and Perc was a Lands Department clerk. We lived in a “workers dwelling cottage at Ashgrove, then quaintly known as “Napkin Valley”.

There was NO CAR! But I had a pumper trike. My primary schooling was split between Oakleigh State at Ashgrove and six months at Stanthorpe where I experienced the orchard community, Dad being there on relief transfer.

In 1939 came WW2 and also a pushbike which I had to share day for day with my two years older sister Patricia.
My brother Bill didn’t arrive until post-war in 1949. Dad enlisted, having had some reservist training, and was posted as a Lieutenant in the newly raised 2/10th Field Regiment Australian Artillery, to Malaya. It was only just prior to this, that Aust. Artillery had changed from horse drawn to mechanised – those Ford Marmon Herrington 6×6’s.
He was lucky to be invalided home 2 weeks before Singapore fell and not, sadly become a P.O.W. He later satisfied his conscience by serving on for 2 years after V.P. day doing P.O.W. (P.W. to him) repatriation work and then War Graves trekking in Borneo. Then of all things back to the office in George Street. But still NO CAR!

1947 Studebaker Champion

1947 Studebaker Champion

High School started in 1945 for me at (B.G.S.). Then to B.S.H.S. and finally a year at Gympie State High. Yes I did five years,
but that last was worth as much to me as the sum of the others. I matriculated from the Senior Public Exam in 1949, and spent
a difficult year 1950 at Q’ld Uni, bombing soundly out of first year Engineering. Those familiar with the then system will remember we had a requirement (subject) called Vacation Practical. I served this in the engine reconditioning department at Metal Products Pty. Breakfast Creek, and stayed on there for 6 months, learning cylinder boring and various other skills.
All hell broke loose in the family when I bought a motor cycle (500 Matchless), but I survived the motor cycles (500 Twin Ariel and 500 Twin Matchie) for three years, and within the family right through. Phew!

So when Dad said “outa –there “to my ‘improver’ job as the unions called it then, and found me an apprenticeship with Carters Garage at Gympie, being still under 21, I had to go. That apprenticeship started my association with Ford and with the dairying, beans, pineapples and other farming communities.

STILL NO CAR! So during that phase of life bought my own. Living with the family and paying cheap board – UP went my board—-“I’m not paying for your b—– motor car!” After a year or so my loving parents relented and board went down again. This first car was an Austin 8HP rag-hood job. We had a lot of fun in that. About this time, 1952 I joined the CMF (Army Reserve) where I served till 1960, gaining Commissioned rank.
In 1954 I landed a contract delivering the ‘Gympie Times’ up the Mary Valley three mornings a week before work with a 4.30am start.
Thus I was able to upgrade to a 1948 Hillman and again to a 1953 Ford Consul with these financial thrusts, also becoming a foundation member of Gympie Motor Sporting Club. When I finished my apprenticeship in October I followed my heart to Maryborough, working for Ford Dealer Tarrants Pty. Ltd but my heart was sorely misguided ‘cos I got dumped by her, after down-trading to a cheapie 1949 Austin A40, trying to save up.

1961 Studebaker Champ Pick-up

1961 Studebaker Champ Pick-up

Then a phone call from Dalby, my Dad’s current transfer, “Napier Motors Dalby are looking for mechanics and paying 20% above award”, and yair – that cheap home board again. So off I went. That started me on my love affair with V/8’s and it’s no secret that my average period of ownership of a vehicle while still a single man was only seven months. Dalby was another world as far as garage customer attitudes were concerned. This was a prosperous wheat growing area.
In 1956 I met Erna, a girl who didn’t let me down, and after surviving even driving instruction we were married in Toowoomba 20th Sept 1958, my 27th birthday. So no excuse to forget the anniversaries, all 51 of them and counting. We have four offspring – certainly not children – two of each and ten grandchildren, all living within an hour of where we are.

Studebaker Champion & Van

Studebaker Champion & Van

1959 found me grinding crankshafts at Dalby Engine Rebuilders. I apparently had a knack for this. But in 1960 I was sweet-talked out of that by Napiers to go and manage their Ford Sub Dealership at Tara. Housing constraints saw me out of there and off with the family to Brisbane. We have lived at the same house at Sherwood ever since.
Drifting out of mechanical – I wasn’t all that keen – I spent the greater part of my working life driving trucks and buses, either on my own account or for other employers, including Stradbroke Ferries and Barnes Auto from whom I went into Tilt –Trays on my own account.
My first Studebaker I inherited from my maternal grandfather in 1961. A 1936 Dictator 6 Swallowtail. Sold it back to my aunt for Red Book value 55 quid thinking I’ll get it again, but she traded it in and when I rushed to get it, it was already sold. Never mind there have been 6 Studies since but never more than 2 at one time. Ramblers also have had their say, all seven of them and the best all-round family car I would reckon to be the 1964 Rambler American 6.
Since 1977 there was usually a run-about boat in the picture too and in 1998 it advanced to a trailer-sailer, a 23 ft. Norwalk Islands Sharpie, which my sons commandeered to race competitively. That was not my thing and it was sold in 2005.
All this has been current with a fairly active church life for which I am grateful to Erna to have introduced me to the Lutheran Christian faith on top of the Anglican grounding from my grandparents.

1964 Studebaker-Commander

Mike and his 1964 Studebaker-Commander

It would not be wise for me to list all the vehicles I’ve had. There were 49 of them plus those I’ve forgotten, ranging from those mentioned above to an Ansair Flxible Clipper Coach which in 1972 nearly sent me broke. My latest acquisition is a Suzuki APV Van, because I’m being environmentally conscious and trying to use the ‘Smallest vehicle that will do the job.” And I love the way it does the job with front engine, rear wheel drive and wind-up windows.

Mike Brazier

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