SPOTLIGHT: David Grose, Hoolagators All American Diecast
David Grose is a member of the enormous army of people who make motorsport in Australia possible without ever stepping into the limelight themselves.
The South Australian is something of a speedway tragic, having spent his younger years at long-demolished Rowley Park, and is now the driving force behind Hoolagators All American Diecast.
A love for the sport has remained in his blood ever since, and has gone so far as to shape his working life.
“My interest in motorsport has been my whole life,” Grose said.
“I followed V8s, and I followed Peter Brock naturally, like a lot of other people in the touring car days, but I’m also heavily involved with speedway in Australia.”
He works on saloons for family and friends, such was the family bond with the sport that even his sister raced.
“I was a spanner man, grease monkey, tyre changer, car washer, all that sort of stuff,” he recalled.
“This is [my] DNA, I suppose.
“I’ve been involved in one way or another in speedway for 40 years – more than that!”
From a love of racing, Grose spotted a small gap in the market and, together with some friends, looked to fill it.
“A long time ago, I saw a niche in Australia where nobody was selling NASCAR models, nobody whatsoever,” he explained.
“It’s only a small niche market, so I decided I would start with that with some friends that I had in America.”
What resulted was Hoolagators, a business which has carved a niche out of importing diecast models out of the United States.
Ove the years it has expanded somewhat, with Grose’s range now extending to sprintcars, top fuel dragsters, funny cars, and more.
He still runs it from home, the business operating well from an online store, though Grose now boasts a trailer that he hauls to speedway events across South Australia.
“Probably in the last 15 years or more, I started with my son’s ute and a couple of tables and started at Murray Bridge, they were very kind to let me start selling models at Murray Bridge Speedway,” he recalled.
“And I progressed through Speedway City before that shut down,” he added.
“We’ve got an interest down at Borderline Speedway in Mount Gambier as well.”
Over the years, Grose has seen the diecast industry change, with an ever-increasing array of models.
“I think the range is a lot bigger than it ever was before,” he said.
“The quality is really good now on all that sort of stuff compared to what it used to be.
“Even the NASCAR models now, the finish on those is really good, and the Acme GMP models is still going leaps and bounds with all the new product releases.
“All these Camaros and Mustangs and ramp trucks, and all this other stuff that’s coming out.
“They’re really out there and they’re releasing a lot of new products where a lot of other companies are cancelling their products.”
As Hoolagators has grown more successful, it’s allowed Grose to give back to the sport which kickstarted his business, and he now sponsors a small collection of cars, both on dirt and tarmac.
“My philosophy is you’ve got to give back,” he reasoned.
“You just don’t take, take, take; you need to be out to be seen to be putting money back into the sport.
“I think people appreciate what I do in that respect, because my business name is on cars and all the rest of it.”
Most of all, he remains an avid fan of motorsport of all forms – primarily speedway, but he also keeps a close eye on Jack Miller’s blossoming MotoGP career.
Coupled with positive interactions with customers across the country, it keeps Grose enthused and motivated beyond the age most would look to retire.
“My interaction with customers keeps me going,” he said.
“I speak to a lot of good people all over Australia.
“And I’ve also got interested in NHRA, NASCAR, and what’s happening with sprintcar racing in America.
“Even F1, MotoGP, I follow Jack Miller, we all follow Daniel, so it’s across most motorsport.”
There’s another string to Grose’s bow too, a side hustle which carries on the ‘gator’ theme – Gator Wings.
Naturally, it too is focused on motorsport, and specifically services the speedway industry and fanbase.
Gator Wings produces a range of replicate, scale sprintcar wings for fans and teams, designed to hang on the wall of an offer, bar, shed, or man cave.
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