Founder and owner of Cool Drive Pty Ltd, Castle Hill NSW (with his wife Kerry)
Without giving age away, when John left school he went into the exciting new world of the wireless. He joined AWA as a radio technician trainee and emerged after four years at the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney with his radio tech’s license.
He went on to sell and promote AWA’s vast range throughout New South Wales. Then along came air conditioning, and John was appointed technical consultant for systems that AWA were promoting.
He joined the Alamo Manufacturing Company in Granville in 1977 as a vehicle air conditioning design engineer, working on systems for most of the vehicles on Australian roads at that time. Then on to MAPCO, a specialist compressor mount manufacturing company as national sales manager and a little later to Repco as a technical sales manager. In this job he travelled throughout Australia and overseas training and educating technicians in vehicle air conditioning.
He went to World Aire as sales manager and workshop foreman, working on specialised a/c systems. John eventually had to go out on his own – not that long ago actually, in 1994. In 1977 he was appointed state and then national distributor in Australasia for Roc Oil. Like many of his era, John learnt the hard way, under the shadow of his fatherhe was continually told “you can never do it as good as your father”. Today, he still doesn’t believe in the words NEVER or CAN’T
Among many things John has done in his busy life, he designed a custom system for a Toyota Land Cruiser 40 series which is still available today up to the 47 series. While at Repco, he imported the Seiko Seki vane compressor, affectionately known as the sewing machine), but despite constant ribbing by his so-called peers, John still refers to it as the best compressor ever made and it is still widely used to this day. In 1984, John met Kerry, the love of his life. He has served VASA well on several committees and is one of those people who is always around when you want help. He is full of advice and good ideas, and whether you want or need it, will always give it to you anyway. John McIlwaine, a former AWA executive has written enthusiastically about John and his familythey all worked at AWA, including his mother. McIlwaine’s words – “he gave us a few grey hairs at times, but he learnt quickly and had the initiative and desire to go places. He had the knack of installing an underdash unit to make it look as though it was made for the car.”