WHAT did you do on Australia Day? Get your hands dirty on the never-done project car? Work for the man? If you were in the vicinity of Geelong, hopefully you managed to join me, Street Machine shutterbug Chris Thorogood and a few hundred other car nuts for a day on the road. Kev’s Australia Day Cruise was the place to be, with 400 cars of all kinds and more than double that number of people eager to hit the streets with their mates.
This article was first published in the April 2019 issue of Street Machine
Kevin Boland began holding his Australia Day meets so that car people could hang out with friends and cruise around the southern countryside. The entry fee is a handful of your finest shrapnel, all of which is donated to The Gordon’s Student Support Fund to help students who can’t afford their tuition. Even though the event itself is only a few sun-orbits old, Kev’s been running and supporting this worthy cause for 32 years! This year’s cruise raised $1700 at the gate, all of which went straight into the fund.
“We started the fund with leftover union money when International Harvester closed in 1982,” Kev said. “Since then we’ve helped thousands of needy students with fees, books, transport and even food. My wife Jo and I ran Kev’s Hamburger Van for 24 years in a car park in Geelong, and it was a regular hangout for car enthusiasts. I also ran Kev’s Family Day car show at St Alban’s Football Club and Kev’s Cruise For The Farmers to raise money for Buy a Bale.”
Read next: City cruise at Summernats 32
Members of Old Skool Street Cars Geelong help Kev run the show, and the Gordon TAFE East Geelong campus car park was filled to bursting with shiny sheet metal by 9:30am. With the majority of cars there coming from the 60s and 70s, there was clearly a distinct preference for old-school iron. A surprising number of former SM feature cars were present, proving the Geelong car scene’s propensity for turning out mean machines.
Soon enough, people began firing up their engines and heading for the open road. Kev’s event isn’t so much an organised cruise as the starting point for your own. Some people gathered their mates and headed inland to Inverleigh or Moriac, while others pointed their cars north to the big smoke. Chris and I jumped into his parent’s stocko EH wagon (his Chev was out of action at the time) and joined a column of cruisers heading out into the peninsula.
Read next: Chryslers On The Murray 2019
With so many roads to drive and towns to visit, we did our best to catch every group of cruisers we could. Thankfully the weather was absolutely stunning, without a cloud in sight, and every few kays we’d happen upon another mob of classics filled with friends and families. Around places like Portarlington Pier, Indented Head and St Leonards, the roads were packed with cool cars.
The venerable EH longroof performed flawlessly all day, and eventually it was time to head home. Kev’s Australia Day Cruise was a cracking gathering and the perfect start of a superb day on the road, so if you haven’t been before, make sure you whack it in your diary for next year!
1. Chris Thorogood and I borrowed his parents’ stock-as-a-rock EH Special wagon for the day, and spent several hours in it cruising around the peninsula. While the 179, drum brakes and unassisted steering initially carried me far out of my comfort zone, I soon got to grips with the EH and found it to be a dream to toddle around in.
2. Luke Foley’s ballistic VH is a Drag Challenge veteran and has recently had a birthday. The car runs a Powerhouse Engines-built 427 LS Next with a pair of Garrett GTWs hanging off the side, and has put down a PB of 8.0@177mph. Luke loves to get the VH out for a cruise with his family. “We went along the coast from Barwon Heads to Portarlington,” Luke said. “The car’s always rocking the baby seat!”
3. Benny Leat’s VH Vacationer hasn’t really changed a lot since we featured it in the January ’18 SM. “I’ve swapped the wheels for stockies and installed airbags, but apart from that it’s the same,” Benny said. “The Australia Day Cruise was a great chance to hang out with friends and family and see some of the coolest street cars in Victoria.”
4. If Aaron Harris’s ute could talk, it’d clearly have a few yarns to spin. The Chev was originally owned by a fire-fighting unit in Birriwa, NSW, and had travelled extensively before Aaron got a hold of it. The exterior is ridgey-didge apart from the wheels, but underneath the awesome patina beats the heart of a VL Turbo. Serious lows are provided by a four-link and notched chassis in the rear and Fatman drop spindles wearing Camaro discs in the front.
5. Known as ‘El Turbo’, Aaron Madex’s evil EL XR6 is a well-known fixture of the Geelong car scene, and runs 8.90s thanks to a 600rwkW SOHC 4.0L backed by one of Aaron’s built BTR four-speeds. “I always enjoy Kev’s cruises,” said Aaron. “This year we went to the Ocean Grove Hotel for some lunch, then cruised around the peninsula.”
6. The classic Geelong street machine recipe was on display everywhere at Kev’s cruise, and Terry Pyle’s smooth HG longroof was an excellent example. “It’s just a beautiful car to drive, and it’ll smash the tyres at any speed,” Terry said. Tyre-tearing duties are taken care of by a 560hp LSA driving through a Powerglide and 3.5-geared 9in. The paint looks superb for a 25-year-old respray, and the little blue plate in the engine bay proves the wagon is 100 per cent street-legal.
7. Kris Velkovski’s Summernats Top 60 HT ute (SM, Mar ’19) seems to gather trophies wherever it goes; Kris will need the tub to carry them all! The driveline has the bite to match the visual bark, with a twin-turbo 350 Chev, ’Glide and Strange 9in forming the basis for this extremely capable hay-hauler.
8. Darren Richens’s HG Kingswood ute is super-neat and super-mean! The reverse-cowl hides a 400ci Dart-block Chev wearing AFR 210 heads, a big Brodix single-plane manifold and a Pro Systems 950 carby. The custom-mix House Of Kolor silver is bright enough to be a danger to oncoming traffic, and the red interior and satin Center Line Auto Drag wheels complete the picture.
9. It was a treat to see Jeremy Cullen’s tough LC (SM, Apr ’18) in the flesh. The little rocket is powered by a 202 with a dirty great GTX42 strapped to the side of it, and Jeremy’s serious attention to detail is obvious everywhere you look.
10. “I had plenty of cool early Holdens, but I was always too precious about them, so this is just a cool old fun truck,” said Matt Dietrich of his belly-dragging Ford. “The joke is that it’s the kids’ playpen when we go out, because all my mates’ kids end up in the tub!” A a mild 351 Clevo, C4 and 9in push the vertically challenged truck around, but the real talking point is the chassis built by Leon at Big L’s Chop Shop.
11. Jason Boland (organiser Kev’s son) owns this bright yellow XY. The car sports a classic fast Falcon combo of a worked Cleveland, C10 with a 4800 stall, and 4.11:1 9in. The half-black Welds are the only external mod that hint at the car’s low-11sec capability. “We went to Inverleigh then over to Moriac,” Jason said. “It’s one of my favourite days of the year, and Dad’s fundraising has really helped hundreds of kids.”
12. “It’s nice to see a stocker among the hotties,” said Scott MacFadyen of his SL/R-style Torana. The twin-bench six-seater has been reupholstered in SL/R golfball trim, with matching doorcards, tiller and clocks. A bog-stock thongslapper and column-shift auto provide enough go to make the Torry a cool cruiser.