WHEN Gold Coast-based car builders Rides By Kam told us they were putting on a track day, we thought we’d head out to see their masterful builds in action. Seventy custom cars took over Queensland Raceway on 30 August for one day of powerskids, muscle-car and mixed track cruising, drift sessions and drag racing.
This article was first published in the November 2019 issue of Street Machine
Rides By Kam owner Rob Zahabi put the call out to get the cars rolling in. “We sent an invitation to our customers and close friends to come and enjoy the cars we built for them,” he said. “It’s about getting passionate car people together for maximum track time and a really cool day.”
While the RBK team is known for their immaculate muscle cars, a variety of JDMs, Aussie toughies, US muscle cars, exotics and supercars pulled up to the pits, making for interesting banter between race rivals. “We had some call-out drag battles,” Rob said. “A lot of the drift cars went up against the muscle cars. You don’t usually get these two types of cars on the track together!”
For Rob, it’s not ‘drive it like you stole it’, but rather ‘drive it like you built it’, and it was quite something to witness elite, show-quality builds being put to the test. It’s one thing admiring the work and attention to detail up close; it’s another to see these cars cutting laps and doing powerskids down the track.
Brock Mahoney’s IN ENVY blown XC Falcon (SM, Sep’ 14) turned heads as he hit the blacktop, with Brock jumping at the chance to pedal the Summernats Top 60 stunner. With its shaved and fettled bodywork, the car’s familiar sleek-but-tough look has Rob’s name all over it.
Brock’s insane Dart Windsor-powered streeter fit right in cruising beside Cooper Zahabi’s impressive 1970 Nova. Yep, it’s no surprise one of the baddest rides on the day was built by the boss’s son. Cooper’s older brother Mitch was also repping his dad’s shop with his own build – there must be motor oil flowing through these blokes’ veins.
The boys and their mates were stoked to have a place to come and play free of speed limits. “We’re getting everyone out there who can’t drive their cars on the street to have some fun,” Cooper said. “We all love driving cars, and we love building cars, and hopefully we can continue to grow this into something that everyone can be a part of.”
It’s the third track day that Rides By Kam has held, and according to Cooper, it’s the love for the lifestyle and the gratitude from entrants that has seen the invite list grow each time.
While the notorious Nova dropped plenty of jaws, the Zahabi boys also piloted a wide variety of shop cars. “We’ve got the blue drag ute – that’s around 2500hp. The Dodge Challenger widebody makes around 900 horses; plus there’s a bunch of drift cars, my brother’s S13 and my Subaru,” Cooper explained.
Each of the boys has their favoured scene, as do their mates, whether it’s Japanese or American imports. Some of the cars have been built in the shop, some in the backyard, but all have been put together with passion.
Drift sessions drew spectators to the fences as Mitch slid his LS1-powered Silvia, accompanied by all flavours of rice. “I haven’t driven it since the new set-up, so I’ve just been testing it, and it’s been a ball,” Mitch said.
All in all, it was a great day for Rides By Kam, with car cultures coming together to appreciate the dedication, creativity and skill that’s gone into each unique build.
“We had 3M and Meguiar’s here. It’s great to have support and businesses involved to keep the car culture going,” Rob said.
The RBK track days are attracting increased interest but entry numbers are limited, so be sure to keep a close eye on the Rides By Kam website and Facebook page for details of the next event.
Rob Zahabi’s menacing 850rwhp Dodge Challenger is wild from every angle, sporting a Liberty Walk widebody kit, adjustable airbag suspension set-up and super-wide 20x14 and 20x12 American Legend wheels. The guts of the Challenger are just as mean as the exterior, with a D-1X ProCharger force-feeding the fully forged 6.4L Hemi.
Jess Bates imported his ’68 Camaro from Arizona in 2007. Wasting no time getting to work on the big girl, he swapped the small-block Chevy for a 416-cube Harrop-supercharged LS, built by Power Torque Engines. Rob and his boys helped with the QA1 shocks and four-link in the back, and beefed up the brakes front and rear.
Ben Larkin cruised the track in his ’67 Datsun, a father-son project that pays tribute to his dad, who snapped up the 1600 four years ago. “We’ve got an FJ20 out of a Skyline, turbocharged,” Ben said. “Rob Zahabi’s done quite a bit of work on the engine, and a bit of paintwork on it as well.” 320 horses ain’t bad for the little Datto.
This VE ute was bought by Troy Listkow as a bare roller. He quickly got to work sourcing an 8/71 Littlefield-blown 383ci small-block Chev, which he snatched off a mate who had it sitting in a Camaro show car. The SS certainly packs plenty of ponies, laying down an impressive 650rwhp.
David Garrett brought along his 540rwhp VS Holden ute. The Vortech-supercharged 355ci stroker runs at 14psi, with a water-methanol injection system to keep inlet temperatures down without the need for an intercooler. David fabbed up the inlet ducting and supercharger mounting the brackets himself.
Ray Bates’s rare Dodge Viper ACR turned heads amongst the imports. Ray’s Voodoo Edition is the seventh of just 31 to roll off the production line, and makes 600hp from the 8.2L V10, with a top speed of 184mph.
Brock Mahoney’s ’77 XC hardtop, IN ENVY (SM, Sep ’14), is one impressive machine. The donk was pieced together by the boys at Jake’s Performance, with a Dart block, 383 cubes and an 8/71 blower on top.
Andrew Worth’s 530rwhp LS2-powered Lexus is a backyard build. “It’s the set-up from my old drift car. I laid it over into this so I can drive it to the shops,” he said. “It’s a 6.0L block with a 4in crank, making it 403ci. Suspension is Shockworks coil-overs with Hardrace adjustable arms, JZX 100 TRD two-way LSD and driveshafts.”
Steve Wingett’s LC GTR XU-1 Torana has plenty of heritage. “It’s a historic race car. It’s got a logbook that goes back to 1992 and we’ve chased the race history back to 1978,” Steve said. The stinking-hot red motor runs a Duggan head and triple 48mm Webers.
This ’78 UC Torana was originally running a 308 before Steve Hooker threw in an LS3 with a massive 93mm turbo. The road-registered daily driver runs a Reid-cased Powerglide and icebox intercooler. Steve told us it’s quick, but kept the numbers to himself.
Fifteen-year-old Jacob Wingett drove his 1100cc ’71 Mini Cooper. Bought fully prepped three years ago, and now running a fresh motor, the car is a family affair, with Jacob, his sister, his old man and uncle all turning spanners. Jacob took home a second-place trophy at the Leyburn Sprints in 2018 and first place at the 2019 event.
DIRTY30GTR is no stranger to the drift scene. It runs an RB30 bottom end paired with an RB26 head, Nitto stroker kit and Garrett turbo, making 750hp at the treads. “We brought it down for drifting and a bit of cruising,” said owner Jamie Koroneos. “We got the passenger rides going to give people a few kicks.”
Jumping into a three-year build when he was just 16, Cooper Zahabi has put his heart and soul into his amazing ’70 Chevy Nova. The big block-powered show-stopper looks the business with its custom-mixed House Of Kolor Sunrise Pearl paint and supercar-inspired Alcantara interior.
Is that your 8/71 blower sticking out the bonnet, or are you just happy to see me? Wayne Shead brought out his WB One Tonner, with his young fella in tow. “It’s a good event for the kids to come out and have a play and get track time without losing their licence or getting in trouble on the street,” he said. The supercharged 572ci big-block Chevy pumps out 1000 aggro horses and runs a full-manual TH400 and a 9in.
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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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