Monday, 4 June 2018

Hendra Motors.... a trip back in time.

“It's astounding
Time is fleeting
Madness takes it's toll...”

Any baby boomer would recognise the opening lines to Time Warp.  And there truly is a time warp in an old service station in the inner northern suburbs of Brisbane. Hendra Motors is a jump to the past for any casual observer or customer. This small suburban petrol station is a snapshot of what the Australian automotive service industry was like 50 years ago. 

A real workshop! A rarity these days at service stations.

Drive into Hendra Motors and as your car crosses the airlines, the bell beeps inside announcing your arrival. From the depths of this establishment, a smiling face comes to greet you. You wonder in amazement as your car is filled with fuel while your oil, water and tyres are checked. Next it’s your windscreen being cleaned. And you think to yourself.. when was the last time I experienced this?

An excellent way to file suppliers business cards.

A welcome site when your gauge reads low fuel!

And it gets better; when you go into the office to pay for your fuel, you notice supplier’s business cards glued to the walls & lubrication guides for cars long turned to rust on the walls of the lubratorium. Long empty glass jam jars now holding nuts, bolts and small fittings. Endless dusty shelves hold myriads of spare parts for the cars they service here.  And they do service a lot of cars here. In this time of economic uncertainty, the Hendra locals know good service when they see it. Just look at their cars parked everywhere.

Abboud and son Ray in the office!

Mark.. we don't fix bikes... get that bike out of here!

But the amazing thing about Hendra Motors is the staff who make the place tick! An incredible collection of dedicated and clever people who know their cars.

Ray and Alex at the console... personalised service to the max!

Spare parts everywhere.. very old school!

Born in Syria and growing up in Sudan, motor mechanic Abboud Saggal arrived in Brisbane with his family from London in late 1988 looking for a better life for his family.  Soon after he arrived he started as a mechanic at Hendra Motors. He came to love life in Australia and purchased the garage from the retiring owner in 1995.   His son Ray says of their immigration to Australia, “I was just ten years old when we arrived here. I don’t have much memory of London except that we lived in the North and I still remember the post code. I just love the outdoors here and cannot imagine living anywhere else.”

The crew: Abboud in front and son Ray second from left.

Ray, a married father of two, who is now the business manager, started at Hendra Motors in 1994 as part time driveway attendant while studying a business degree.  He took on the roll as business manager in 1996   Like his dad, he too loves the outdoors and the Australian bush. He built the FJ40 Land Cruiser which features in the business logo. As his father says, I am so glad my son Ray came on board. The customers love him and he is a real driver of this business now. I can trust him to do the right thing and also it gives me the chance to take some time off now and then too. Having him as manager is the best business decision I have ever made.”

Always a car on the hoist, always busy.

Keen runner Peter Miller ran Millers Mechanical at Hendra for 20 years before retiring. He soon missed being on the tools and so he came out of retirement in 2015 and joined the team at Hendra Motors.  “Well it gets me out of the house and I still like working on cars. So why not come back to work?”

Peter.. retirement is not for him!

Former architect, Alex Sinibaldi is the shop & driveway manager and originally from El Salvador. As Ray and his dad say, “His good looks are not wasted on the local ladies and he is always smiling! The customers love him.”  He joined the team in 2012 and just happens to be Ray’s father in law.

Alex.. keeps that petrol pumping!

And final word goes to local business woman Debra Taylor, “At last a place that will fill my car with fuel so I stay clean. For me, loving Hendra Motors is as simple as that.”

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