THE crew at Castlemaine Rod Shop (CRS) sure know their way around the spanners, but they also know how to put on an awesome show. Their annual Open Day, held on Saturday 18 November, featured top-level burnout demos every hour, workshop tours showcasing current builds, live music, a bar and barbeque area, and all topped off with a show ’n’ shine.
The 2017 Open Day built on the popularity of last year’s event, with crowd numbers up significantly. “The show was massive; we’re really happy,” said CRS co-owner Marc Waddington.
The burnout demonstrations were extremely popular. Every hour patrons were entertained by two cars disposing of tyres in double-quick time on the Rod Shop’s very own purpose-built pad. CRS’s in-house project car, the bare-metal Real Deal LC Torana, was kept for the finale to wrap up the day. It was its first public appearance out on the pad, and it didn't disappoint.
Head inside and the entire workshop was open to walk through, with CRS staff on hand to give some insight into how and what it is they do. A huge range of custom or purpose-built goodies were on display such as front-end conversion kits, diff conversions, brake packages and much more – all good stuff to help bring your old girl into the future.
A noteworthy addition to the event this year was being able to get up close and personal to the latest CRS project, War Bird. A 1965 XP Falcon powered by a 565ci Chev, War Bird should be good for around 1800hp. If everything comes together, the car could be headed for SEMA next year before hitting the burnout scene.
Once you had completed the shopping list inside, you could go across the road to the show ’n’ shine featuring street machines, hot rods, customs, muscle cars, classics and more. With the weather really turning it on, some of the cars looked mighty impressive. You could wander through the car park area and admire a great mix of cars while the live band banged out the tunes. With plenty to see, a handful of cars were gaining plenty of attention.
This 1930s Ford pick-up sure caught your eye in the sun – bringing the flames back.
A bit of old-school cool. Running a 350 and four-speed, this ’55 Chevy Nomad was a bit of a head-turner. Joe has owned the car for five years now, and it’s both a cruiser and a project car. Every winter he likes to do something else to it, ready for the warmer months.
A real crowd favourite was this cool 1942 Chev pick-up running a stock-standard Holden 253 with a Trimatic. Adam from Newstead drove down for the day in this cruiser, which sits on a one-tonner chassis. He came across the pick-up on a farm and swapped it for a dirtbike, then built it with his dad over the course of three years. Adam said that if he gets bored with it he would consider airbags and maybe something with a little more poke under the hood, like a 308.
Sandra Horne’s sweet 1932 Ford coupe, running a 383 Chev, is a very cool thing. This car gets driven regularly and the finish and signwriting on it really stands out. This turned heads all day long.
Bendigo’s Scott Butcher has enjoyed his ‘Bathurst’ GTS Monaro for 20 years now. It runs a 350 small-block Chev force-fed by a 6/71 supercharger, with 500 horses sent to the rears via a nine-inch diff. “I wouldn’t mind painting it again one day.” Scott said. “She’s getting a little down in the paint side of things. Oh, and maybe tub it, get some bigger wheels under it.”
Anthony Strauss drove his genuine ’75 HJ GTS Monaro coupe to the CRS Open Day from Bendigo. “I bought the car about 14 years ago and completed a 2.5-year rebuild on it,” he said. “The car is pretty much unchanged from there, except four years ago we put a hot motor in it.” The HJ is now powered by a 355 stroker coupled with a Turbo 700. “It’s pretty tough now I reckon,” Anthony smiled. The car also now runs a nine-inch diff with 31-spline Moser axles and Detroit Locker.
The crowd-favourite burnout demos kicked off at 1pm, with Michael Jambor’s blown HZ ute, FORCED, first up. Michael made very short work of his first set of tyres and the fans loved every second of it. He was on again at 3pm and lit up the second set just as quickly.
Next up was Tim Brown in his CEMBLO VK Calais. He put on an equally impressive show, but in his second run of the day got drawn into the starting box and removed his rear bumper after colliding with the dirt mound. Despite that, he kept the boot on it until the tyres gave way.
Russell Harris brought along his blown methanol 408ci LS VL Commodore. He managed to put on two big displays.
Summernats 30 Burnout Masters winner Steve Nogas in his tyre-shredding 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, KILLA-B, was also on hand to wow the crowd. With a blown 632ci big-block sending over 1700hp to the rears, the car certainly didn’t disappoint. There was an early hiccup when the Camaro cooked the starter, but after Steve swapped in a new one, KILLA-B was soon frying its rears and creating massive plumes of smoke in both runs.
A fitting finale to the burnout demos, CRS’s Real Deal took to the pad and had the entire crowd on their feet cheering.
The Rod Shop put on a massive show once again. The Open Day is a fantastic family event for all car enthusiasts. If you haven’t been yet, mark it down on your reminders list for next year. Whatever they cook up next time, it’s sure to be a big one.