By Nelson Groom
A former office worker turned tattoo addict could be the world’s biggest fan of Holden cars with more than 30 inkings inspired by the automobiles – including on his EYEBALL.
The iconic Australian-made car has won admirers over the world, but few can claim to be a bigger fan than Tattboy Holden.
The 49-year-old, who already had the surname Holden but changed his name to Tattboy legally, became obsessed with the brand watching Bathhurst Supercar races as a child and idolizing late racing legend Peter Brock.
Since, he’s shown his true colours by marking his body with over 30 tattoos dedicated to Holdens – including his right eyeball, which is inked red after his favourite model.
And Tattboy, who has invested nearly $100,000 AUD and 1,000 hours in total on his body modification, was overcome with sadness after Holden last week put an end to almost 70 years of the vehicle’s production in Australia by closing their Adelaide factory.
Adelaide-based Tattboy, who is well-known as one of Australia’s most marked men, said: “I’ve owned about seven Holdens through the years but it wasn’t until I got my hands on the VHSS that I started getting some heat from jealous people.
“It was one of the fastest cars in Adelaide at the time, just raw energy. One night I ended up getting held hostage by some guys who were trying to rob it, but I refused.
“I was extremely lucky to escape with my life, not to mention with the car. I had to sell it after that, so with everything I went through I got the eye done to represent it.
“At one point I almost had a shopping addiction for Holden merchandise. I would go into a trance-like state, and open my boot to find over a thousand dollars of model cars.
“I had to sell most of that stuff to make ends meet. I definitely regret it, but that’s life.”
Tattboy snapped up his first Holden in 1987 – an LX Torana hatchback. Through the years he went through six different models of all shapes and sizes.
But none meant as much to him as his VHSS Brock Commodore, for which he claimed he was held hostage at gun-point – and refused to give it up.
He’s also owned a collection of Holden model cars worth thousands of dollars and myriad other merchandise like watches and clothing to show his support.
After falling on hard times in recent years and suffering from chronic pain, Tattboy was forced to sell most of his collection to cover the costs of for his medical bills.
But his fanaticism lives on in his 30 Holden-inspired tatts, which include the lion and stone logo, tyre marks over his skull and his red right eye, which pays tribute to his beloved VHSS.
And while Tattboy is gloomy that the Holden is no longer manufactured in Australia, he said it won’t change his affection to the brand.
He said: “The heart and soul of Holden is Australia.
“It’s very sad, the closure was a great injustice. I think a lot of people have been deeply affected by it – it has definitely affected my psyche.
“I developed a love for motorsports when I was six watching Peter Brock at Bathurst. He was my hero.
“Holden not being manufactured in Australia is not quite the same, but I will continue to support Holden for life. I have to accept the decision has been made and move on.”
Tattboy, who changed his name legally in 2014, has covered a total of 90 per cent of his body in more than 100 huge inkings to treat his chronic pain syndrome.
He claims he was left bed bound and in pain day and night after suffering side effects from a routine operation in 2000 but found relief in going under the needle.
But the former credit officer admits his head to toe inkings are a stain on his mainstream job prospects – leaving him unemployed – and have even seen him branded a criminal.
Tattboy said: “I decided to get fully covered. That’s my goal. It’s a long journey it will take me all my life. I’d probably never say I’m finished.
“You can always start over. Some parts of my face have three layers. I’d never really say I’m finished.
“The skin between my eyelids and nose is probably the most painful. It feels like eye surgery, your eyes just pour water. Lips felt like razorblades. And my c**k hurt, obviously.”
TATTBOY’S TATTOO OBSESSION: IN NUMBERS
More than 100 inkings covering 90% of his body (he has lost track of the exact number).
Almost $100,000 AUD spent on all his body modifications (again, he has lost track of the exact figure).
1,000 hours of body modification in total.
Changed name legally to Tattboy Holden in 2014.
One of Australia’s most tattooed men.