March 27, 2024

Generous Mr Fix-it donates his ninth car to Kids Under Cover


Some of Greg’s earliest memories are tinged with the fear of homelessness. With his parents always on the brink of bankruptcy, and with debt collectors regularly pounding on the front door, he never knew if the roof over his head would be there tomorrow.

Fortunately, Greg’s family made it through those difficult times and, by the time he turned 18, he had secured his first job. “My humble wages meant financial stability for the family for the first time in my memory,” he said. “But the prospect of homelessness hung over me for many years. It’s why Kids Under Cover strikes such a personal note, and it’s one of the main reasons why I donate my cars.”

Indeed, this personal experience has spurred Greg on to donate an incredible nine vehicles to Kids Under Cover to date. That’s right, nine.

Leading a relatively solitary life, Greg loves spending his spare time tinkering in the garage. “Cars became a big thing in my life in 1970, when I read my first copy of Wheels magazine. I would look out for ‘fixer-uppers’ — non-running bargains that I could tinker on and get going again,” he said.

In the early days, in order to buy a new ‘fixer-upper’, Greg would have to sell the car he’d just fixed. This was always an unpleasant experience. “A change in cars meant selling my previous ride, which was a stressful event. I don’t like dealing with used car buyers,” he said.

In later life, with his house paid for and no debts to worry about, he no longer needed to rely on the sale of one car to finance the next. “It was around this time I heard about Kids Under Cover. Not only would donating my car to their program eliminate the stress of selling, but it might just help prevent a young person from ending up on the street, as I nearly did.”

“And so, my completed project cars have been donated to Kids Under Cover ever since.”

Over the years, Greg has donated a black 2010 Nissan Micra that was overhauled mechanically using parts from a similar, written off 2009 Micra. There was a mint-condition, lovingly restored white 1997 Toyota Starlet. A silver 2003 Mitsubishi Mirage custom. And many more.

The car he’s most proud about donating, though, was the 2017 Suzuki Swift. “This was the most valuable car I’ve donated,” he said.

Greg transformed the scruffy, ex-rental base model Suzuki Swift by rebuilding it using the best bits from a top-of-the-range, written-off 2019 model that only had 9,300 kilometres on the clock. “I stripped both cars down to empty, non-rolling shells and then fitted the parts from the 2019 model to the 2017 body. Both cars were the same colour red, so I could swap out the battlescars on the older car with panels from the newer one,” explained Greg.

The transformed car ended up fetching about $12,500 at auction — with the proceeds going towards Kids Under Cover’s work in preventing youth homelessness.