Jeff and Maureen Saverin with their 1978 F100 Custom ute
Jeff and Maureen Saverin with their 1978 F100 Custom ute "FLAMNGO" on display in the Elite Hall at Rockynats. Picture: Rodney Stevens

Ute bought to fund mate’s funeral unveiled at Rockynats

When Jeff Saverin's close mate John Wohlsen passed away, he didn't hesitate to buy his beloved Ford F100 Custom ute, so his memory could be honoured and his widow could pay for the funeral.

"He was a great mate of mine and I bought his ute off his partner," he said.

"She didn't have a lot of money, so I bought the ute so he could get buried; there's a lot of history there."

Mr Wohlsen was a carpenter, Mr Saverin said, who bought the ute brand new in 1978 and had a an aluminium tray fitted.

The F100 was a common sight on building sites around Brisbane and the streets of Eagleby, where both men lived, until Mr Wohlsen tragically passed.

"For about five years I had it in my back shed," Mr Saverin said.

"Then I decided the time was right and I went to Pat O'Shea at Pat's Pro Resto's and Refinishing to get all the work done on it."

 

Jeff and Maureen Saverin with the 1978 Ford F100 Custom ute FLAMNGO on display in the Elite Hall at Rockynats. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Jeff and Maureen Saverin with the 1978 Ford F100 Custom ute FLAMNGO on display in the Elite Hall at Rockynats. Picture: Rodney Stevens

In his Beaudesert workshop, Mr O'Shea and his team spent 17 months restoring the ute from the ground up.

"We followed the process every step of the way, every week we'd get updates," Mr Saverin said.

"The result is amazing, I couldn't be happier.

"It's really done justice to the original vehicle, it's better than the original vehicle and it honours John's memory very well."

As the ute is an extended wheelbase 'Custom' model, Mr O'Shea had to source the rear tray from the US, to which he added a custom lid.

The ute features a 2017 Ford Coyote 5.0 litre 430 horsepower V8 engine, six speed gearbox, customised 9 inch diff, 20 by 8 inch and 20 by 9 inch mag wheels, power steering, airconditioning, central locking, push button start and custom trimmed interior.

"It was hard to get the original yellow exact, so the colour has a bit more yellow in it than when John bought it," Mr Saverin said.

To complete the customisation, Mr Saverin added the number plates FLAMNGO.

"Flamingo used to be his boats name, so we decided to do a play on words of the name," he said.

"We couldn't fit Flamingo, so this is could be interpreted as Flamingo, or Flame 'N Go."

With restorations of this calibre costing potentially more than $100,000, Mr Saverin said he wasn't concerned about the cost.

"It's not about the cost, it's about the memory," he said.

"John was a special bloke, a great mate who had a wonderful sense of humour.

"It's wonderful to see so many people looking at and appreciating the ute, in honour of him."



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