Mitchell Parry is a third-year auto electrical apprentice at Maryborough Auto Electrics in Central Queensland. Having started his automotive career as a school-based apprentice, Mitchell has been putting his skills to good use after purchasing an HQ Holden he has been working on restoring and modernising.

It was in grade ten that Mitchell seriously considered enrolling in a school-based auto apprenticeship. Eager to gain some hands-on work experience, he approached a few local workshops, including Maryborough Auto Electrics, and was soon offered a spot with the company.

Exposed to the mechanical side of vehicles from an early age, Mitchell decided that auto-electrics was the right avenue for him.

“Cars are getting more and more electronics in them and I have always been curious with how that side of things worked,” he said. “I have had a fair bit to do with mechanical stuff since I was a young – my dad has driven trucks all his life – so I have just grown up around it. I wanted to try something different and I really enjoy auto-electrics.”

Eager to put his apprenticeship training to good use, Mitchell has been hard at work restoring his much-loved 1972 HQ Holden.

“I got my HQ Holden a few years ago and spent all my savings getting it. Dad let me have one of the areas in the shed and, once I had that, I started stripping it down to its shell, motor and all.

“At the moment I have just completed the engine bay, and the whole car has been painted metallic silver. All the wiring in the engine bay and the back of the car is done too. I haven’t done the dash yet, but I’ve got new rims, new tyres, the motor has just had a cam put in it, and I’ve put in straight-cut gears.”

Mitchell has been able to achieve all of this by picking up skills learnt on the job and through working and learning from his dad.

“Everyday I’m learning something,” he said. “The best thing about working with electronics is you have to use a lot of logic. It’s a combination of mechanical and electrical in some parts of the car and its all really interesting.”

Mitchell reckons everything is coming together as planned with the HQ. Having recently installed a thermofan to maintain the car’s operating temperature and airflow, and replaced traditional bulbs with LED strips, he’s busy at work putting a fresh new spark into an old classic.