Rev Head: My Life as a Motoring Tragic by Shane Jacobson, published by ABC Books.
Rev Head: My Life as a Motoring Tragic by Shane Jacobson, published by ABC Books.

Shane Jacobson reveals classic Holden love

ACTOR and comedian Shane Jacobson was so convincing playing the role of a plumber in the hit movie Kenny that blokes still chat to him as if he's in the trade.

But with more than a dozen movies and TV shows under his belt since the 2006 film, Jacobson is funding his true love: collecting classic Holdens.

"The first car that I owned for the sake of this article I would like to say was a two-door Monaro. The only problem ... it wasn't,” Jacobson says.

"I'd like it to be a two-door Monaro, then I wouldn't have to admit it was a TE Cortina. It was the first money I ever laid out to have a car.”

Ford Cortina Ghia motor car in the golf links in the parklands, North Adelaide, 18 Jan 1978.
Ford Cortina Ghia motor car in the golf links in the parklands, North Adelaide, 18 Jan 1978.

The late 1970s Cortina was sitting in his driveway ready and waiting for his driving test. It stayed parked after his first-up failure.

"I'm very embarrassed to say I lost the test with one minute to go,” Jacobson says.

"I hadn't lost a single point and the driving instructor took me down this tricky road. All the cars were facing two ways but some of them were illegally parked. It turns out it was one-way for part of the street and two-way for the rest of the street, and not very well marked.”

For one brief moment a tyre touched the white line in the middle of the road "which is considered heading towards oncoming traffic and it's an immediate fail”.

"When the examiner failed me my instructor yelled, 'No! That's just too cruel to do to this kid.' I think the examiner didn't like the fact I hadn't made a mistake until that point.”

Hillman Hunter GT motor car, pictured outside Ernest's restaurant at the River Torrens weir, Adelaide.  Used
Hillman Hunter GT motor car, pictured outside Ernest's restaurant at the River Torrens weir, Adelaide. Used "The Advertiser" 24 Dec 1968. (Pic by unidentified staff photographer)

Growing up, Jacobson spent time in a series of family cars, ranging from a Hillman Hunter to a Mini Minor.

"I always thought the Hillman Hunter was embarrassing until I found out it won the London to Sydney Marathon in 1968,” he says.

The family car with the most personality was the Mini. "I'm one of four kids and we had lots of friends. Things were different back then and people weren't quite as good at following the law as we are today, so our car was not unlike the Mini that turns up at the circus, with all of us getting out of it.”

His favourite drive? Taking an HQ Kingswood to Lake Eyre - to try to launch a catamaran on the remote salt lake - during filming of Top Gear Australia.

"It was as tough and reliable as it would have been brand new. It was just great to cover so much of remote Australia in an old car.”

It Happened in a Holden by Paddy O'Reilly - The EH Premier - new styling, new 'red' motor - BruceBeresford Extract
It Happened in a Holden by Paddy O'Reilly - The EH Premier - new styling, new 'red' motor - BruceBeresford Extract

Most dream cars are super expensive exotic machines. Jacobson's is a 1964 EH, one of many Holdens in his collection - which includes the Kingswood he and Paul Hogan drove across Australia in the movie Charlie and Boots.

"My dream car always has been and always will be an EH Holden,” he says.

" Is it the best car I've ever driven? No. Is it the fastest car I've ever driven? Most certainly not. Is it the best handling car I've ever driven? Absolutely not. But it's the car that puts the greatest smile on my face possible.”

He restored his EH over the past six years. "It's a 179 Special but somehow a 186 red motor found its way into the engine bay, and the car appears to be one inch lower. But everything else is original,” he says.

"It had an Aussie four-speed (manual) on the floor, which at the time cost a few hundred bucks to do. But to reverse someone else's sacrilegious mistake decades later and put it back to a column shift cost me thousands.”



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