Sammi Holyoak’s 1932 Ford coupe

Sammi Holyoak has always had a passion for classic Hollywood films, but her love of '32 Ford coupes was inspired by the 50s-set hot rod flick American Graffiti

Photographers: Greg Forster

A childhood passion for classic Hollywood films from the 1930s to the 1950s has seen Sammi Holyoak now deeply rooted in all things vintage. Yet it was the 70s-made, 50s-set film American Graffiti that kicked off her love of 1932 Ford coupes. We caught up with Sammi to chat about the tumultuous journey that led to her awesome Deuce Customs-bodied ’32 three-window.

First published in the June 2022 issue of Street Machine

Tell us about your car journey.

I’ve always loved cars; it’s how I met my hubby, Mark. I had a VW Beetle when I first met him; I find Beetles have so much character. I bought a panel for the car from him and I asked if he could recommend a good mechanic, as I’d had a run of mechanics that ripped me off. He just smiled and said, ‘Me.’ Three years later we started dating.

And you’re not afraid to get stuck in to a build, either.

Mark’s first gift to me was a 1961 Karmann Ghia, on the condition that I had to help restore it. So, every day after work, I’d go to his factory to help work on it. That was amazing! In 2012 I bought a ’32 project. Mark and I had almost finished it, with only the carpet to go.

Then we had a huge shed fire, sparked by an electrical issue with Mark’s MV Agusta motorbike. We lost everything, including 40 years of memorabilia, all of Mark’s cars, my ’32 and the Karmann Ghia.

So how’d your current ’32 come about?

We sat and thought about what we wanted to do after the fire; it was really hard. Then a few months later at a hot rod show, I spied a black ’32. It looked great, and it was even better when I saw a For Sale sign on it – I knew that this was my car. I bought it that day.

What’s the driveline?

It’s a fuel-injected 302ci Windsor with four-speed auto and nine-inch. And what’s even better is that the ’32 has heating and air conditioning! I smile when I sit in the car; I love the character. It’s like a fine vintage dress; it has a personality and details that modern plastic cars don’t have. This ’32 is more my dream car than the one that I lost.

Done much to it?

A few things. We got rid of the stickers and the grumpy gnome that was painted on it. Mark also built me a bench seat to replace the buckets, as I have a bad back and I could only sit in the previous seats for 15 minutes or so. More recently, Lincoln from @links_lines_pinstriping added the yellow pinstriping while at Queenscliff Rod Run.

Are cars a family affair?

We have three teenage children who are also all enthusiasts. Our eldest, Briannen, has a ’58 Zephyr that she’s restoring at Mark’s shop. And our second daughter Shelby loves Shelbys, while our son Zephyr has a Zephyr! Often the kids would prefer to hang out in our new shed, which is complete with a diner set-up – we all love it!

Girls — wanna be famous? Send pics, car details and contact details to: Iron Maiden, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166. Or email: [email protected].