Like father, like son
Get the inside story on the 1958 Chrysler Ap2 Plainsman entered in RACQ’s MotorFest competition.
To celebrate MotorFest 2020, each week RACQ Living will be conducting a Q&A with an entrant to find out a little bit more about them and their prized vehicle.
For the sixth instalment, Chrysler enthusiast Aaron Vanderstaay shares the story of how he and his father Bill bonded over the restoration of their beloved 1958 Chrysler Ap2 plainsman.
Think your vehicle has what it takes to win the RACQ MotorFest Judges Choice Award? Enter soon as nominations for the competition close at midnight on 31 July 2020.
Can you tell me a bit about the history of your Chrysler Ap2 Plainsman?
My dad and I took ownership of the car about three years ago. Before that, it was sold about three or four times and had been in a major accident from the original owner and fixed up somewhere along the way. The restoration was pretty rough as it was done in the ’60s so when we got it, it needed a full ground-up restoration.
What modifications/restorations have you done to the car?
It’s had a full restoration. There is literally nothing on the car that hasn’t been refurbished. Everything from the glass to the headlight adjuster is pretty much new and, in fact, the car is probably better than when it came off the showroom floor. We outsourced most of the restoration as far as bodywork and mechanics go. Some of the finer details we did ourselves, such as fabricating up badges and a few other things like that.
Why is the Chrysler Ap2 Plainsman so special?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Chryslers. Dad’s first job was working in a Chrysler dealership down in Tweed Heads in the ’60s. There’s always been a Chrysler in the family, and it’s just one of those things that were passed down. Dad and I initially brought the Plainsman just because it was so rare. We didn’t realise how rare it was until later on as there are only about two in existence that are semi-roadworthy. We believe that ours is the only registered one in Australia. Being rare was a major drawcard for us, but on the flip side of that, parts are just as rare (laughs).
Do you have a favourite memory with the car?
The day we got it back from restorers and it was ready to get on the road was a day I’ll never forget. I also loved the time Dad and I went to several Chrysler festivals around Australia. We loaded the car up onto a trailer and went for a month-long trek.
How has it been doing the restoration and car shows with your dad?
That was always the central part of why we got the car. We were looking for something to do together and to get out and around to all the car shows. He loves winning the trophies (laughs). It’s pretty special for us both and has been a great bonding tool.
What is your favourite thing about the Plainsman?
I just love that it’s a wagon. I’m a big wagon fan and its always been the main drawcard for me. I also love the lines of the car. It’s a bit different, as you don’t see too many vehicles with lines like these or big fins. Dad, on the other hand, loves cruising in the car and talking with people about the Plainsman. He loves when people really get into the car and start asking questions.
What kind of reactions does it get?
It’s a read head turner. Everywhere we go, people are breaking their necks to look at it. Because the car is so rare, when you take it to a show people often don’t know what it is. One of the shows we went to, we won best import and custom and then had to explain that it was a fully restored Australian-made vehicle. It was quite a funny reaction we got from the crowd and judges.
What would it mean to win the RACQ MotorFest Judges Choice Award?
Dad and I would be chuffed. We came runners-up a few years back, so it would be great to take out the top prize finally.
- Read part one – Tall stories, small car - 1968 Morris Mini Cooper S
- Read part two - A family heirloom in the making - 1981 BMW R100RS
- Read part three - A WWII tribute - 1952 Chevrolet Coupe Utility
- Read part four - One man’s trash, is another’s treasure - 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hard top
- Read part five – family favourite - 1955 Holden FJ Utility
For more details and to enter your vehicle, visit racq.com/motorfest. Get in quick as nominations for the competition close at midnight on 31 July 2020.