TED Martin smiles at the title he’s given himself: “The oldest bloody mechanic in Albury”.
The 80-year-old rested back on his chair in his small office and puffed on a cigar.
He’s looking to a busy future that will see him travelling Australia in a motor home he built himself and going droving if he can.
After running the Mid City Service Centre on the corner of David and Wilson streets for 17 years, he plans to wipe the grease off his hands and retire this month.
“I’ve had a good life of it,” Mr Martin said.
The business diagonally opposite Sodens isn’t closing — mechanic Steven Marcuzzi will take it over.
Mr Martin moved to Albury more than 60 years ago, when the roads outside were dirt.
Mid City is the oldest service centre in Albury and was built in the 1940s.
“I used to fill up my 1948 Dodge Tourer at this service station,” he said.
“And my mother used to do her grocery shopping at Elks across the road.”
Before taking over the Mid City, Mr Martin owned the old Ampol station on the corner of Young Street and Borella Road.
He specialised in driveway service and would sometimes spend 15 minutes checking customers’ tyres, water, oil and batteries.
“I was told I couldn’t do that any more,” he said.
“Changes were coming in then — I was told to get big or get out.”
Mr Martin said it will be a sad day when driveway service is no longer offered but acknowledged people needed to learn more about cars.
Car technology has changed dramatically over the last 15 years.
“They have electric gadgets, air conditioning and electronic windows and locking,” he said.
“I think all those things are unnecessary, drivers today are lazier and not prepared to do things manually.”
Away from cars, Mr Martin was a professional ballroom dancer in the 70s and still loves to dance.
“I danced in Melbourne before going to England for 18 months,” he said.
“My aim was to dance in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where I came third in a major competition.”
Mr Marcuzzi, formerly of Blacklocks Ford, said he was attracted to the heritage of the old place and wanted to keep the service centre going, expand it and work on newer vehicles
“Clients can expect the same service they got from Ted,” he said.