LEON Davies from Big L’s Chop Shop rocked up with a few of his mates and brought along his ’36 Plymouth custom, which is shaping up to be a very cool bit of gear. A 390 Caddy engine with Edelbrock Tri-Power should get it dragging that tail at a decent clip. It’s only chopped two inches, as the Mopar products of this era already had much lower roofs than the Ford and Chevy offerings.
Adam Guglielmi searched long and far to find a ’40 Ford pick-up that wasn’t completely stuffed, then worked towards creating this super-cool and super-low truck. It was finished just before the show, with a lot of help from Big L’s Chop Shop, and was painted in a satin metallic grey by Adam. The finishing touch was the lettering and striping advertising Adam’s business, by Karl from KDS Designs.
Craig and Michelle Kuypers’s Model A tudor gets a whole heap of attitude from a heavy chop and gasser-inspired 15x12 and 15x4 rims. The blown 408ci Clevo doesn’t hurt either with its 8/71 and twin 750cfm Quick Fuel carbs. I didn’t find out how it came to earn the ‘Comfortably Knumb’ moniker, but it could be something to do with how your eyeballs might feel after nailing the throttle – or maybe Craig and Michelle are just huge Pink Floyd fans.
Pat’s Pro Restos brought along Jason Cooke’s stunning XP coupe all the way from Queensland. Pat reckons this was the rustiest car they had ever worked on – and they’ve done some rusty cars – but the end result shows just how good they are at their job. The dark hue is actually Root Beer candy, and really popped when the afternoon sun came through the windows.
The first car to be unveiled at MotorEx this year was Craig Dixon’s HQ Monaro, a car he’d owned for 10 years before deciding to do a “bit of a tidy-up” around 12 months ago. Six weeks prior to the show the car didn’t have paint on it, so Danny Makdessi and his team at Custom Bodyworks really had their work cut out for them, and they hit it out of the ballpark. The candy green has subtle GTS stripes, while the pale green interior adds a classy touch.
The much-anticipated debut of Rod Hadfield’s latest creation didn’t disappoint. The master of putting giant engines into cars you wouldn’t expect, Rod stepped right out of the box – a box he doesn’t know exists – and put an American LaFrance V12 out of a fire engine into a 1948 Fiat Topolino. The engineering is mind-blowing and the finish stunning – that we did expect.
Aaron Fitzpatrick has been drip-feeding teaser pics of his latest Datsun 1600 – or 510 as the Dattophiles prefer – for quite a while, but there were still plenty of surprises when it was unveiled. Much more drag-inspired than his gold Datto, the car’s FJ20 donk should make close to 800hp when stuffed with 40lb of boost on E85. The interior is minimalist, with diamond stitching on the black leather and the sheet-metal dash completely blank but for the Microtech display.
Another car unveiled and painted by Custom Bodyworks was George Papas’s Mustang. The build took less than 12 months, but wasn’t exactly planned. The bad storms of April 2015 caused the roof in George’s garage to collapse and damage every panel on the car, but it’s back and better than ever. The 347 Windsor sports a 6/71 Mooneyham blower and Demon carbs, and is good for 650-700hp according to George: “If it doesn’t make that, I’ve done something wrong!”
Brand new but looking like it rocked right out of the early 50s was the ’32 Ford three-window of Jimmy Jivakis. With a chassis from Rancho Deluxe, a mildly hopped-up flathead and a Vic O’Neil body, Jimmy has created one of the coolest deuce coupes we’ve seen in a long time. The interior is what really separates this one from so many other black ’32 Fords, with a patterned cloth insert on the seat looking more like an OEM offering than your more common tuck-and-roll.
There were two Reef Green XW GS Fairmonts and a GT within a few metres of each other on the show floor, all beautifully restored. In years gone by, they would have all been turned into Track Red GT clones. This particular one, owned by Charlie Parnis, stood out because of the Mist Gold metallic trim, but also because of the great story that it had previously been owned by his wife’s uncle and then sold. Now it’s back in the family and better than new.
Jeremy and Sue Burnett brought their stunning ’55 F100 along to MotorEx, and what a rig it is. It’s probably a little too nice to haul hay now, but the classy truck packs plenty of grunt, with a 545ci big-block topped with Kaase P-51 heads and a 1050 Dominator carb. The massive 20x9.5 and 22x12 Intro rims fill out the guards beautifully, and if you’re wondering, the paint colour is called Palomino.
In case you were thinking Maskell’s Customs & Classics only work on Ridler Award contenders, think again. John Dwyer’s HQ ute is a perfect example, with a stunning metallic green paintjob that extends into the smoothed tub, but that’s not all they did. There’s also an airbagged four-link out back installed by Maskell’s. The quad 48 IDA Weber carbs on the 350 give it some attitude under the hood as well.
Ben Mahony’s ’49 Merc looks like it rolled right out of 1950s LA, but this beauty is all home-grown and home-built, including the chop. It has all the classic custom touches – a DeSoto grille, frenched headlights and flush-fitting spats. The merlot paint and Caddy caps are as classy as it gets.
Another stunning ’32 three-window was Josh Cronin’s gold example. The coupe was originally started by Josh’s dad Paul, who passed away before he could finish it, but Josh has done his father proud and created a fine hot rod with a blown 350 and Billet Specialties Legacy rims.
Ray Zarb gave his XY GT replica a little more attitude with a beautifully executed mini-tub job that allows him to fit 10-inch rims and a 295 tyre under the back – with relocated springs. It was on the Competition Engines stand, so the 351 Clevo is no slouch, with 4V heads, TFC intake and a 780cfm Pro Systems carb.
Troy Denny’s XC coupe was one of the most bad-arse cars on display. The sinister black machine sports a 521ci big-block Ford, and by old-school standards a massive set of 15x15 rims. Parked right next to it was Troy’s dad Peter’s ’56 Customline, which also sports a BBF, but this time blown and injected. It’s an older build, but man, it still looks killer!
The most amazing build in my opinion was Tony Morphett’s FJ ute. Not only does it sport a five-litre BMW V12, there’s also a pair of mirror-image Nelson Racing Engines turbos for good measure. Underneath it’s all BMW, with the front and rear suspension out of a 5 Series, and there’s a host of custom touches to the body that are way too numerous to go into here. You can bet we’ll be featuring it when it’s done.
Kombis are so hot right now that it’s getting ridiculous, and they don’t get much hotter than this one. The van was pulled out of the bush about 20 years ago and used as a garden ornament, but about five years ago (when prices of restored Kombis were starting to skyrocket), owner Trash – that’s what everyone calls him – thought he better fix the old girl up. The standard paint colours have been given some extra pop with DNA pearl, and the nine-seater has an L-shaped seat for a bit of limo style. The Stan Pobjoy two-litre sports twin Webers and helps the old bus get up the steepest hills with no problems.
It’s tough to stand out with a GT Falcon these days, but Jamie Hale manages to do it thanks to a stunningly bright blue paintjob. It’s listed as a custom colour – Hale Damage Blue Candy – so I’m thinking this car might have suffered at the hands of Mother Nature. The 18x7 and 19x9 wheels are large but not out of proportion and there’s a bunch of grunt – over 600hp – from the 393 Clevo up front.
Jeff Watt and his ’54 F100 dubbed PHATSO made the trek from SA for the show, and we’re glad he did. It’s built around a one-tonner chassis, so it’s not too surprising that there’s a 350 Chev under the bonnet. There’s a pretty serious roof chop and plenty of other cool touches on the body, including a tailgate from a later-model F100 that has had the Ford pressing airbrushed to look just like the wo
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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