THE Bright Rod Run – these days officially known as Bright’s Iconic Rod Run – celebrated its 26th birthday this year in fine form. Held in the Victorian alpine town of Bright on the first weekend of each November, the event was founded by Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs Street Rods club, who ran their last event there in 2012, before moving on to Lake Mulwala in 2013.
Bright has continued under its own steam, and is now for any pre-1977 cars. It continues to enjoy a big following, attracting entrants from all over Victoria and interstate. Here are our Top 10 cars from this year’s event, as chosen by photographer Thorogood.
1957 Ford Ranchero
Sean Hammond’s 1957 Ranchero was known as the ‘Banana Enchilada’, but now the yellow paint is gone and the Ranchero has been transformed with a custom bronze-over-white respray by Sean and Carmine from CAD Custom.
1932 Ford Tudor
Peter Gruyter’s immaculate black blown Hemi-powered ’32 Ford tudor is one tough, traditional-styled hot rod – chopped, rolling on Halibrand rims, and with a cool stance to top it all off.
RB 30 Holden Torana
Rob & Kris Velkovski have recently finished the build on Paddy Gill’s RB30 turbo-powered LX Sunbird. The RB had already made 1026hp on the engine dyno with a GT40 turbo, and is now running an even bigger 82mm BorgWarner snail, so there should be even more power on offer once re-tuned. Backing the RB is a full-manual Powerglide and a 35-spline nine-inch rear end.
1959 Chev Impala
Kelly Daley’s ’59 Impala (Iron Maiden, SM Jan 2016) now runs a mild LS1 that recently replaced a thirsty 454 big-block. Backing the LS1 is a Turbo 350 transmission. Airbag suspension keeps the Impala afloat and the front brakes have recently been upgraded to discs.
Trent Driscoll’s 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 coupe is one cool-looking custom. The wild green/gold metalflake paint is neatly offset by an all-white interior. It’s powered by the original factory big-block, and Trent put plenty of miles on the clock over the weekend. “It’s my first time here,” he said. “We’ve been cruising the wheels off it all weekend, and we’ll be back next year for sure.”
DJ Carl Cox
World-renowned DJ Carl Cox had only recently landed back in the country from his latest international tour, but still managed to get two of his cars up to Bright for the weekend – a ’32 roadster and Plymouth Road Runner.
“I love coming to this event, it’s a great weekend up here in Bright,” he said. “I’ve been coming for a few years now and it just keeps getting bigger and better. This year I drove the ’32 hiboy up and a mate drove the Plymouth. The rod’s a recent purchase, I bought it already built but wanted it to be a more traditional-looking rod, so I changed the wheels and carbies. The motor’s nothing over-the-top, just a mild 350 Chev with a 6/71 blower. Gearbox is a Turbo 700 and the rear end is a nine-inch. It’s built as a cruiser but it goes great; the power-to-weight makes it a ball to drive.”
The 1969 Road Runner started life with a 383ci big-block, but Carl has stepped things up and had a 572ci big-block Hemi fitted. Transmission is a 727 Torqueflite with a manual valvebody and transbrake, built by Frank at Protrans, with a 4200 stall converter from TCE. Carl has had the car for a couple of years now and transformed it into a genuine 10-second street car. “I’ve run 10.90s in it,” he says. “We could make it quicker but I don’t want to have to put a rollcage in it.”
1967 Chevrolet Nova
Harley Hamilton strapped the baby seats in the back and drove his family up to Bright from Melbourne in his blown small-block ’67 Chevy Nova. “It’s our first time at this event and we’ve had a ball,” he said. “The cruising never stops, it’s been awesome!
“The Nova’s a street car – it might look like it, but it’s not a race car. The motor’s pretty tame, it’s got a Turbo 700 behind it and a shortened nine-inch rear end. The colour is a custom PPG purple, recently re-painted by Unique Panels in Hallam. I had a wheel come off when we were out for a drive near home and damaged a quarter panel pretty badly. I’m insured with Shannons and they fixed it all up, and gave it a full respray, they were great about it.”
GT40 Ford Coyote
The Bright Rod Run attracts far more than just hot rods – among the diverse variety of cars on display was this immaculate GT40 replica owned and built by automotive engineer Jason Ferraro.
Jason has had the GT40 on the road for less than 10 months after a seven-year build. “I only finished it late last year but I’ve put over 5000 kays on it already; it’s great fun to drive. I was originally going to put an LS2 in it but I really wanted it to be all Ford running gear, so switched to the Coyote V8 that’s backed by a six-speed Ricardo transaxle.”
They don’t come much more traditional than Leigh Priggen’s freshly built Hemi-powered deuce: Quad carbies on a 392. The old-school ’32 coupe is no repro; it’s an all-steel original Ford body.
Bedford Van Freedom Roller
We featured Don Hailes’s 3XY Freedom Roller back in the June 2015 issue of Street Machine. The CF Bedford is a tribute to the 3XY promotional vans that were built by John Evans in the late 70s. Signature mods include the Manta flares, XC Fairmont headlights and custom grille.