Racer restored to former glory

Before and after: The old race car as it was found rusting on a farm in the Wheatbelt (left) and how it looks today restored by John Sims (above). Picture: Bruce Hunt d419293
Before and after: The old race car as it was found rusting on a farm in the Wheatbelt (left) and how it looks today restored by John Sims (above). Picture: Bruce Hunt d419293

Forty years after John Sims hung up his helmet ” and retired his super-modified car after 12 months at Claremont Speedway ” he got a blast from the past.

The car that he sold had been found, rusting on a farm in the Wheatbelt and was about to be used as a garden ornament.

‘I never thought I would see that car again,’ he said. ‘In 1970, all cars had clutches and I was the first to put a dog box in mine.

‘I had been driving the car for 12 months when the officials realised what I had done and stopped me from racing it, and it caused a problem so I decided to sell it.’

Mr Sims said he had long moved on from that decision he made four decades ago ” until he got a call out of the blue.

‘A man had seen the shell of a race car on a farm property, but it still had John Day & Co written on the side with a number six so he tracked me down to check if I was the original driver,’ he said.

‘The owner of the farm was having a clean-up and one woman wanted to take it home and put it in her yard as a garden ornament and hang pot plants on it, but this man asked if he could return it to me.’

Mr Sims spent 18 months and thousands of dollars rebuilding his beloved race car with the help of people who originally constructed it.

‘I got the same signwriter and the same guy who made the exhaust pipe,’ he said. ‘It has been a costly project, but I have met a lot of amazing people doing it.’

The finished reconstruction was paraded at the Kwinana track on Easter Saturday as a tribute to John Day.

‘People have said it is the best restoration that they have seen,’ Mr Sims said.

He vowed that the vehicle would not be left to rust again.

‘The car has been invited to feature on a country track and be shown at events for restored cars,’ he said.