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My VY Commodore ? and club

Salis she formed East Coast Commodores in October and already has more than 200 members from around South East Queensland

So says mother and car fanatic Lauretta Salis, 35, of Scarborough, who has fought back by starting her own car club. "I have been in other car clubs and they weren't very family or female oriented," she says.

"I've always been into cars and car clubs and they are all the same; they don't welcome females. It's a very male-dominated world. "A lot of car clubs run computer forums and when females ask questions they tend to get shot down."

So she formed East Coast Commodores in October and already has more than 200 members from around South East Queensland "plus a couple from Perth, a couple from northern NSW and one in Victoria". "We have about 30-40 per cent females and they're aged from about 25-40," she says.

"Other clubs have younger members who don't have families and events don't cater for kids. "Our club does cruises, events that kids can go on, picnics and car shows."

Lauretta has always been into cars. "When I was a child I had loads of toy cars and used to play under the back stairs and make tracks in the dirt," she says. "My daughter Brooke is nine and she takes after me. She's got more toy cars than dolls."

Her son is also a reflection of her love for Holdens. He's named Storm "like the ute" and his initials are SS "like the SS Commodore" "He's our club mascot."

It's not always been Holdens for Lauretta whose first car was a 1976 Corolla station wagon she bought for $700. "It was pretty dodgy," she says. "It needed an engine rebuild and new paintjob which my dad, Russell, and I did. "He taught me everything about cars. I can work on all the old-school engines but not fuel injection. "When I met my husband he had a VL Commodore and I changed the spark plugs for him."

She sold the Corolla after three years and began her love of Holdens with a HR Holden and a 1979 Gemini panel van. Since then she has owned two more Geminis.

But she also has a soft spot for VW Beetles having owned three and being a VW Club member. "I bought a 1969 Beetle in 2002 for $5500 and sold it in 2006 for $3500 because I needed a family car," she says. "But I told the guy who bought it to ring me if he ever wanted to sell it and he did and I bought it back a year later for the same price."

She still has it but her main love remains Holdens and she avidly supports the HRT V8 Supercar team. However, she does admit to owning one Ford. "It was an XM which was a classic so that's ok."

Her latest love and the inspiration to found her club is a VY Commodore she bought in 2007 for $18,000. She has since spent about $5000 on mags, body kit and a paintjob. "I haven't done the interior yet but it will come. I'll end up spending another $10,000 on it," she says. "They are my favourite Commodore because of the lines and they do up very well."

Naturally, her dream car is another General Motors product; a 1957 Chevy costing anywhere from $30,000 to $130,000. "They are just beautiful American muscle cars," she says.

"I've tried to buy one from the States to bring over and restore but money is always the problem. Family situations pop up and you just have to let it go."



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