Sean Bray, Ulladulla Bus Lines
Sean Bray started restoring old machines as a teenager… not motor vehicles, but Victor 18 Lawnmowers. He was so good at it, that as a 16 and 17 year old, he had a thriving business, doing up old lawn mowers and selling them to willing buyers. “I started work as an apprentice”, said Sean, “but always had this little business on the side. My Victors not only looked good, they did a great job cutting grass too!”
Over the years, his passion grew to encompass old cars and then buses, which no doubt led to him working in the business his dad founded – Ulladulla Buses, which launched some 45 years ago. “I took over from Dad and have been running the show for more than 30 years now. We do school transfers, charters, tours and more. At one stage, we had a big fleet that included old Bedfords, Mercedes, Scania, Volvos”, says Sean. “We still have 21 vehicles in service – mainly Volvos (15 of them) plus four Scanias, one Merc and a Denning.” Sean was born and bred in Ulladulla and says he wouldn’t want to live, or work, anywhere else. “There’s no better place in the world”, says Sean. “Life on the south coast is stress-free and of course, the scenery is stunning.”
For over 25 years of the 32 he’s been in charge of Ulladulla Bus Lines, Sean has been a customer of Whites Diesels. “I first knew Rodney when I was dealing with Mercedes Commercial Vehicles and he was working there”, says Sean. “Then by accident, a short time later I was looking to buy some spare parts, stumbled into Whites and there was Rodney again! “I have nothing but good things to say about the company. When it comes to parts, Gary is a walking encyclopedia… and everyone at Whites is so friendly. Nothing’s ever a drama. I can ring up and say ‘I need these parts yesterday’ and even if it’s after hours or on a weekend, they’ll take those parts with them and let me pick them up at their own homes! “And any time I’m in Sydney, I know I can walk into their offices, even if it’s just to say hi and have a coffee. I don’t have to be buying anything at all!”
Sean is still active in the business, though with a young family and five acres to look after, he considers himself time-poor these days. But does he still enjoy tinkering and restoring old vehicles? “Naturally… it’s a passion that never leaves you. I can still fix a lawnmower if I need to, but right now I have a new project just waiting for me to start. I’m about to restore a 1926 Chevrolet Series V Superior*. That should make a stir when I start driving it around town!”
* N.B. Back in 1926, the Ford Motor Company was struggling to keep up within the industry. It insisted its re-styled 1926 Model T was “totally new”, but in fact, the utterly obsolete design was on its last legs, awaiting to be overtaken by a completely different car scheduled for release in 1928.
Chevrolet, meanwhile, posted a $50 million profit in 1926 (even though a Series V touring car started at a sales price of around just $510; a coach or coupe cost $645; while the costliest 1926 Chevrolet at $765, was the new Series V Landau sedan, which flaunted fake landau irons and a fabric top). In 1926, Chevrolet stood ready to grasp the top spot in sales – a feat viewed as inconceivable just a few years earlier.
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