DREAM COME TRUE: Clive Osborne takes his fully restored FC Holden out for a spin at every chance he gets.
DREAM COME TRUE: Clive Osborne takes his fully restored FC Holden out for a spin at every chance he gets. Francis Witsenhuysen

Clive's lifetime of Holden love

CLIVE OSBORNE'S love of the FC Holden Ute spans decades and he holds the firm belief owning one was written in the stars.

Sitting on his back patio Clive recalled how General Motors released the FC model on May 6, 1958 - the day he was born.

"Coming out on my birthday was maybe an omen,” Clive chuckled.

His love affair with the car began at age 12 when another young local lad was showing off his first car around town- a two tonne cream and light green special Ute.

"It was all chrome and sparkling,” Clive said.

"Before then most cars were pretty drab - it was like a new wave - they were so colourful and even the upholstery was coloured. It also had lots of chrome, which I loved.”

At age 17, Clive left the family farm in Laidley to join the RAAF for a career which spanned 20 years. In 1964 he finally bought his first Holden, a new HD.

Making his way back to to Laidley in 1981, Clive's interest in cars really took hold and his garage became full of FC sedans, Morris cars, tractors and small engines.

"I had them all,” Clive chuckled.

But he still hankered over the classic Aussie ute and so the journey to find one began.

"I put an advert in the local papers from Ipswich to Toowoomba to find one, but only got two replies,” Clive said.

"I purchased this car from a garage owner in Toowoomba in 1986 ... it had sat under a tree in his back yard for years.

"I hauled it home and proceeded to put it apart. But then it sat under a tree in my back yard for many more years.”

After Clive suffered some serious health issues he decided it was now or never and began restoring his ute from the ground up.

"It was a huge learning curve, but I got a lot of advice and support from a lot of people,” he said.

"I wanted it to be near as a new vehicle as I could get it when it was finished and I think I did alight ... it was a relief to finish it.

"I didn't take any shortcuts - it took lots of time and money.”

DREAM COME TRUE: Clive Osborne takes his fully restored FC Holden out for a spin at every chance he gets.
Clive didn't take any shortcuts restoring his FC Holden Ute. Francis Witsenhuysen

He began stripping it to the ground, teaching himself how to weld and build a new engine along the way.

Halfway through the restoration, Clive was doing some welding one afternoon when disaster struck.

"I was in the back welding and I thought things are getting a bit hot,” Clive said.

"I looked back and the seat was on fire, it shattered the back windscreen. We quickly put it out with a hose.

"There were definitely a few tragedies along the way but we got there.”

Clive said he has gained much more than a beautiful car from his restoration experience.

"It cost lots of money but that's not the point, the worth is the people I met along the way and the expertise I have gained,” he said.

"I love the feedback I get from people too, it makes it worth while.

"The enjoyment of people saying 'My parents had one of those' and 'can I have a sit in it?', it's a really good feeling.

Clive said he would eventually like to get his hands on another HD Holden to restore.

"I'd probably end up selling it afterwards like the rest,” he said.

"But my FC will definitely stay in the family and will probably go to my daughters.

"My daughter used it in her wedding which was a pretty special moment... one that I won't forget very quickly.”