ONE of the many great things about the annual Chopped festival, held in the showgrounds of Newstead, Victoria, is that no two shows are ever the same. The cars, the crowd and the bands vary from year to year – and so does the weather.
This year brought rain, which soon turned to mud. This presented some challenges for the Chopped organising crew, but for the entrants the muddy conditions enhanced the feeling of camaraderie that is a hallmark of this show. Entrants, punters and volunteers alike pitched in to free bogged cars from the quagmire, shared their firewood and helped out with mechanical repairs where needed.
While Chopped ramps up in professionalism each year, it is at its core run by a small group of incredibly passionate family and friends, who work super-hard to create something that is unique, safe and above all, fun. In the process, they’ve created a whole new genre of event and kick-started a new appreciation for traditional rods, customs and bikes. Before Chopped, the idea of putting on a show for pre-’65 cars built in an arcane style from decades gone by was unthinkable. Sticking to that program remains a battle, but to paraphrase JFK, the Chopped crew do it not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And for that, we thank them.
Here’s just a sample of this year’s crop that took our fancy.
A busted airbag in his ’62 Lincoln Continental put a premature stop to Craig Jamieson’s weekend, but the big girl looked amazing anyway.
Steve Costa’s ’57 Chev gasser, Blaster, was the undisputed king of the dirt drags.
A couple of beauties. The blue ’36 Ford is a recent import from NZ, while the FJ is powered by a Norman-supercharged sideplate six.
Ed Radclyffe drove his ’banger-powered RPU all the way from Canberra in the pouring rain, destroyed some V8s on the dragstrip and then hauled arse all the way home again. Respect!
Gino Biletic of the Road Devils brought along a ’30 Model A five-window coupe. It is a super-sweet thing, powered by a 360ci Chrysler.
Volksrods are verboten on the Chopped racetrack, but this one looked pretty good in the camping area.
Shags from the Outkasts CC in Sydney brought down his much-modified ’41 Chev. The cool custom paint on the roof was added by Johnny Formosa and Andy Colalillo.
Shane Dale debuted his ’41 Chev pick-up at Chopped and used it to tow a caravan all the way from Adelaide! The SBC donk was robbed from wife Carly’s ’34 Ford coupe and given a good dressing-up. And don’t worry, Carly has a much cooler powerplant waiting to replace it!
Steve and Matt Blythman from Rusty Kustoms brought their ’28 tudor to Chopped.
The Pariahs CC from NSW brought their club car down for some action – namely a ’62 Commer, powered by a 253 V8 and Trimatic combo.
Hayden Prendergast pouring it on in his home-brewed ’30 five-window. Chopped four inches and channelled six, the coupe sits on a Model A chassis, stepped two inches in the front and 11 at the rear. The driveline consists of a 350 Chev crate motor, Top Loader ’box and 9in diff.
Joel Bliss’s ’banger-powered ’28 Ford roadster was in its element in the muddy conditions. After, all, traversing muddy farms was what these cars were originally designed for!
Wes Griffiths started his Chopped relationship years ago by driving a four banger-powered RPU all the way from Sydney, but this year he and his Bovine & Swine crew were feeding the masses brisket.
Beau Ledger’s immortal ’32 tudor braves the camping area.
Brett Ford’s LS-powered single-spinner and Harry Haig’s Chev-powered Chev take a break from dirt drags action.
The incredible Red Brigade band entertained the punters from the back of Wolfman’s Bedford truck all weekend long (Bedford not pictured).
Eldorado Kyle de Kuijer has given his tasty 1930 Model A roadster a makeover in green.
Travis Constantine brought a ’banger-powered Model A roadster to Chopped last year, but this time arrived in a ’28 coupe. This one was also ’banger-powered, with no less than four Stromberg carbs, mounted on a Sidewacker manifold from Pete’s Speed Shop.
Yep, it was muddy, especially in the campground. But mud makes for fun racing and happy kids.
Ben Erdahl of Lucky’s Speed Shop had his ’32 coupe project on show, complete with blown Oldsmobile J2 power.
Matty Leitch’s Cadillac-powered Model A tudor tucked up for the night beside Anthony Darwin’s sidevalve V8-powered example.
The band line-up was killer this year, headlined by The Reverend Horton Heat from Texas.
A humpy Holden that works for its keep!
The muddy conditions in the campground were trying, but it didn’t take long to evacuate the stragglers on Sunday morning.
Geelong’s Mark Thompson recently bought this ’46 V12 Lincoln from hot car legend Kevin Monk. Despite lying dormant for many decades, the elegant old bus made the trip to Chopped and back with minimal trouble.