There's no denying New Plymouth business owner Steve Fabish's love affair with all things Holden.
Two of his prized possessions sit polished and gleaming in a garage behind his house - one a 1977 Holden Monaro GTS, the other a lime-green 1980 GTS ute with the apt rego plate KERMAT.
"I'll be buried in one no doubt," says Fabish, 58.
The Monaro was obtained seven years ago from his stepson, who did not have time for the restoration project.
"It was rusting away to virtually nothing."
The four-year labour of love that followed involved completely stripping the body and rebuilding the engine.
Though it's not classed as an original, it looks pretty close. The engine is the 253 cubic inch Holden V8 with a three-speed trimatic auto gearbox.
Fabish uses it as a show car, so it doesn't often feel the road beneath its tyres. Instead it is ferried around in a trailer to protect it from stone chips and other cosmetic or mechanical damage.
It was while looking for parts for his beloved Monaro that Fabish stumbled across the GTS ute.
"It was too good to wreck - so I decided to keep it," he says.
The ute, which took three years to restore, now tows the Monaro.
"I always liked that colour on Commodores," Fabish says of its rather loud paint job.
Under the hood it's also none too quiet. There lies a supercharged LS1 engine, hoofing out 530hp.
"The trailer doesn't slow it down," says Fabish.
The ute takes most of its gear and interior from a 2005 Holden Crewman ute, with a sixspeed manual, LSD (limited slip differential) and ABS.
Both cars are entered into many of the Holden shows around New Zealand and have won titles such as best of decade, sponsor's choice and competitor's choice.
The ute recently picked up a first place in a 1980s modified class.
Fabish got help from all over the place while working on his two projects. Kevin Davis Panelbeaters in Stratford did all the body and panel work on the cars, Autotech Taranaki worked on the electrical side of things and Brake and Clutch New Plymouth did the brakes. Prospec-s Fibreglass in Hamilton did the canopy for the ute.
While the work was coming along, Fabish would often spent two to three nights a week in his garage, tinkering away or just polishing the classic Holdens, though most of the time he was looking for parts for them.
He lets slip that he actually prefers the later models.
"I like modern cars, but I don't mind the HQs," he says.
First car: 1952 Ford 10 Prefect
Current car: Holden Maloo
Best car: 2012 special edition HSV
Dream car: The latest GTS Commodore
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