Barry Chapman runs a used car yard in Sydney’s inner western suburbs. The petrol and diesel fumes constantly wafting in from Parramatta Road are like oxygen to a drowning man.
Barry lives, eats and breathes the arcane science of selling cars for a tidy profit. ‘Chapman Motors’ might not be the flashiest yard in the business but it pays the bills, puts bread on the table and keeps Baz and wife, Shirlene, within a distant coo-ee of the in-crowd and the good life. And should the opportunity ever arise to make that once in a lifetime score, complete with the two story penthouse with harbour views and a corporate box at the SFS next to Russell, our man’s determined to grab it lustily with both hands by the short and…well, he’s determined not to be found wanting.
When Max Chapman, Barry’s twenty-eight year old nephew, received his discharge from the army Barry, honouring a pledge to his dying brother to see to the lad’s future, sold him a third share in the business and set out to show him the ropes.
A ‘chance’ meeting with a former army colleague dangling out a promise of sailing the South Pacific on a luxury yacht with a well endowed all girl crew sees Max eagerly accepting the offer and he begins to extricate himself from the sticky web of uncle Barry’s used car business.
Problems with uncle Barry begin to mount and Max soon finds himself torn between fantasies of swashing his buckle with the all-girl crew on the high seas or walking a shaky plank with Susan Barrett, an attractive young law graduate currently making discreet investigations into a shady real estate deal engineered by one of the ageing doyens of Sydney’s underworld, Sonny Lynch, an old mate of his uncle.
Max discovers that Barry has secretly invested a sizeable lump of money, including Max’s share of the business, in Sonny’s shady real estate deal and while Baz can spot a prospective car buyer from a good half ‘k’ away, he’s totally blind to Sonny’s well-drilled team of scam artists and their questionable business methods and morals.
It’s only at the eleventh hour, when Barry has been stripped bare of all illusions and the remaining shreds of his dignity, that he finally joins forces with Max, Susan, and assorted members of the Newtown Recreational Veterans Association, in a desperate, no-holds-barred fight to the finish on Balmain’s container wharves with Sonny Lynch’s ruthless gang of thugs.