After a started making and selling billycarts to his school friends at 10 years old – Mark leaving school at the age of 15 in 1975 to go and complete a Motor Mechanic apprenticeship at Nash Holden, Lakemba. With a hunger to learn new skills, he decided to become a Spray Painter by putting himself through TAFE. Before long, he was running the Nash Dealership Paintshop. After finishing both trades and an introduction to fabrication equipment (whilst doing up his and other’s cars) Mark decided to leave his job and set off in a new direction.
In 1983 Mark started a lawn mowing business with his brother Paul, that allowed him to spend a number of years at TAFE learning vehicle trimming, fibreglass reinforced plastics and vintage restoration. It also give him time to hone his skills in metal shaping from which he then completed a third trade in Panel Beating. People would ask him to make them parts for their own projects, which led to him to sell the lawn mowing business in 1988 and turn his hobby into a career!
From an 85 year old tradesman and friend Jack Prigg, Mark purchased some old school tools and equipment to start his own business “Vintage Panel Crafts”. Working on T and A Model Fords evolved into Vintage Cars, Classic Cars, Motorcycles as well as Historic Racing Cars (from Speedway to Formula 1). Body panels, mudguards, radiator grills, motorcycle fuel tanks, limited production parts and shaping metal for anything you could imagine. This led to a niche’ market in replacement parts for Pedal cars, grills, body panels and range of accessories and mechanical parts for Cyclops, Peerless and Lines Bros to name a few.
In 2001 Mark was approached by a Special Effects crew to build some aluminium & light weight steel body panels for the folding car gag on the Matrix Movies. This opened up an entirely new career path for him within the Film industry. These days he’s still working with Australian cinema vehicles and SFX, able to use his diverse knowledge in the supplying, creating and modification of film vehicles. But between films, he still consistently produces work for clients.
Driving Mark’s passion are new challenges and his love for the “old school” way of shaping metal. Mark reinvented himself under “Natoli Panel Creations” in late 2011, in order to more correctly identify himself and his unique line of work in the industry. 2012 saw plenty of success for Mark as he headed off to South Africa (Namibia) for 6 months to finish what he started on the Mad Max 4 (Fury Road) Production. During his stint there, he was invited to join friend and racing car driver Scotty Taylor (owner of the Cooper Climax T45) to attend the Historic Motor Racing at Goodwood Revival and Spa in Belgium. In October 2012, he headed home to his wife Karyn and family in Sydney. He had the opportunity to teach students about metalwork at both St George and Ultimo TAFE institutions.
Since 2013, Mark and daughter Olivia have both had their thinking caps on, aiming to revolutionise the Natoli Panel Creations business. Since then, the Natoli Panel Creations YouTube Video Series has been created, in order for Mark to teach interested individuals from all around the world how to work with metal, just as he does. The channel currently has over 950 subscribers and 120,000 total views.
From his humble beginnings, Mark looks forward to whatever challenges and projects come next for him and his business. He believes that work is all about getting paid to do what you enjoy.