May 02, 2021

The Secret Garage: Bob's (Amazing) Shed at Quirindi [video]

Now, I’ve seen some collections in my time, but this one takes the cake. 

Retired mechanic, Bob Kolln, has amassed a most impressive assortment over nearly 30 years and built his own sheds to house this enormous private assemblage. 

Bob has spent more time and money than he’d care to admit at swap meets and jumble sales amassing his collection and has spent the last ten years (or so) creating beautifully themed displays to house his many thousands of items.

The ‘Old Time Local Store’ contains vintage shop items ranging from sweets, groceries, haberdashery, drinks and much more, all arranged in a ‘corner store’ theme with point-of-sale advertising and window dressings.

The ‘Railway Hotel’ is a faux front bar with all manner of pub decor and bar memorabilia. Many items you just wouldn’t dare display in a public bar these days. Do I need to explain?

As a mechanic for more than 40 years, Bob sure has an eye for ‘garagenalia’. You’ll find all kinds of old tools, manuals, oil dispensers and workshop kit. Even spare parts still in their boxes.

How much of this stuff is still in your shed? (RE)

It won’t take long for you to work out Bob has a thing for hot Holdens, especially anything to do with Peter Brock. His collection could truthfully be called a ‘shrine’ to the great racer. There are three replica Group C L34 and SLR5000 Torana race cars taking pride of place in the main hall, where walls are covered with race posters and photographs from the era. There is also a small collection of rare, single owner motorcycles from the 60s and 70s, like the lovely, very original Honda CB750 four.

"You just can't get the Group C cars anymore," Bob tells me, "there was no value in them when they were finished with, so they were just dismantled and reused."

Group C was a 'tin-top' racing category from the 1970s and '80s which saw the big V8 monster Falcons, Toranas and Commodores with super-wide tyres and radically flared mudguards driven by heroes like Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Jim Richards and Allan Moffat. These colourful, vivacious machines and their celebrity drivers dominated the hearts and minds of Aussie racing fans before the introduction of international Group A in 1985.

Some folks can get quite emotional as they pore over the many old items on display. One woman I saw quite literally teared up when she came face-to-face with the exact copy of her first car, a two-door LC Torana she probably sold for next to nothing 40 years ago. 

But don’t even think of offering Bob money for anything you fancy. You’ll get the flat, well-rehearsed line: “Not for sale”. So how much is it all worth?  Well, Bob is understandably coy about such matters, but it’s safe to say we’re well into seven figures.

For six bucks entry and a free CafeBar instant roast, it’s a bargain. More details here.

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