THIS year the WA Hot Rod & Street Machine Spectacular celebrated 20 years of putting on the best indoor car show in the state, and it was a ripper, with a huge variety of cars, all of outstanding quality.
The obvious drawcard was Chris and Colleen Bitmead’s Detroit Autorama-storming XBOSS Falcon, back in Perth for a ‘home ground’ appearance and its first showing on Aussie soil. It was featured on the show artwork and in much of the media blitz leading up to the event – including some coverage from mainstream media – so there’s no doubt it attracted people who wouldn’t have ordinarily attended the show. With a bit of luck they’ll remember how good the show was and bring along a few of their friends next year.
As always with this particular event, the punters effectively got two shows for the price of one, with another couple of hundred cars on display in the preferred parking area. The weather gods were also (mostly) favourable, with mainly sunny skies right up until the show closed – and then it absolutely pissed down. Hopefully everyone got their perfectly polished prized possessions home safely.
Here are a few of my favourites from inside the hall.
The very first car I photographed this year was this killer XK Falcon ute. Owned by John Hutchings, it’s been treated to a five-year-long rebuild that has taken the car to another level. Already fitted with a V8, it’s now got a stonking 351 Windsor and a tunnel-ram sticking out of the bonnet. It’s also got a bunch of custom touches with rolled pans front and rear, shaved roof gutters, deleted quarter-windows and radiused rear arches.
Another stunning ute was Peter Woolven’s EK, which looked absolutely killer rocking the Center Line Indys. This car was as nice underneath as it was on top, with the entire undercarriage painted body colour. Apart from the paint on the outside and the trim, Peter did the whole car himself. In the engine bay is a nicely detailed small-block Chev, and Peter has even managed to sneak the headers in between the chassis rails. Thanks to the under-floor braking system, the firewall is super-clean as well.
Brandon Mitchell’s 2012 Camaro was unveiled at this year’s show and has gone another step in blurring the line between burnout and show car. Brandon originally used the car as a street racer in the US (hence the GRUDGE plates), running a small-block combo with a big nitrous set-up, but he’s stepped it up a bit with a Blown Motorsports combo. It’s still a small-block, just 377 cubes, but with the 8/71 Littlefield and Big & Ugly hat on top, there’s no shortage of tyre-frying horsepower.
Another skid car that was unveiled this year was Tim Nelson’s stunning Calypso Green XA coupe. Before all you GT restorers get your frilly knickers in a knot, Tim used a cut-up drag car that wasn’t going anywhere fast. It’s been built for burnouts and doesn’t have a problem turning those massive Mickey Ts with the naturally aspirated 393 Clevo on methanol. But it’s also got a fully teched rollcage, and Tim hopes to get it down the quarter in the eights.
No surprises that XBOSS took home a swag of trophies, but the one that Chris and Colleen Bitmead really wanted was People’s Choice, and they got that one too. This photo was taken pretty early on Saturday, but on Sunday you could barely get near the car with crowds surrounding it all day. Greg Maskell and Michael Carter were also on hand answering questions, and compared to the Detroit Autorama, they had a chilled and relaxed time in Perth. Next time you can see it is at MotorEx Melbourne, 16-17 July.
This looks like it will be an impressive machine when it’s done. Steve Allen’s ’67 Mercury Cougar has been upgraded considerably, with a Kaase 598ci Boss Nine motor. It’s got the goods to haul it up as well, with eight-spot calipers up front and four-spots out back, along with 20x8.5 and 20x12 rims with Pirelli 245/40 and 335/30 tyres. The interior features a custom-made billet dash fascia and will be trimmed in black leather, which will make a classy combination with the Coke red paint.
Glenda Bronn’s lavender ’57 Chev was part of the ’55/6/7 Chevrolet Club’s display, and was a standout. The wire wheels and wide whites give it a classy look, but the quality overall is outstanding; it even took home a second-place trophy for Street Machine Sedan ’49-’70.
The Hot Rod & Street Machine Spectacular is open to all makes and models, so it was great to see a handful of rotary-powered machines on display. Shaun Farrands’s RX-3 is a classy bit of gear with its metallic brown paint and Intro wheels – Yay! Not Simmons! Not that there’s anything wrong with Simmons rims, of course.
Being a child of the 80s, I’ve always been a fan of the black and gold John Player Special (JPS) livery. This little Mini wore it with pride, and with a supercharger hanging off the engine, it could probably hang with some of Jim Richards’s old BMW racers.
Angelo Chiera usually cruises around in a couple of super-sano Holdens – an FJ and an HX – but for the show he dragged out his Manta sports car, which is powered by a 302 Ford Windsor engine. Weighing only 865kg and based off a McLaren design, it must be a real weapon on the street and track. Interestingly, the rest of the driveline is made up of a Chevrolet Corvair four-speed transaxle.
It might just be the colour, but I’m quite partial to this VF coupe that was on the Perth City Street Machine Club stand. It’s got a nicely detailed Hemi six in it, and after looking at the photo again, I just noticed that one of the lights on the top of each guard has been deleted, although I did spot the flush door handles right away. Looks like the Adelaide look has made it across the Nullarbor!
Owen Wachla worked his butt off to get his ‘Vangrene’ Econoline and his BSA bobber to the show. Now sporting a B33 overhead valve engine in place of the original flathead, the Beesa is looking better than ever. Probably won’t have a chance of keeping up with Vangrene and its turbo-six donk, though!
After he officially debuted the reborn KINGER at Gazzanats a couple of months back, Steve Sines spent a few weeks cleaning all the rubber off the car, and had it looking better than ever for the hot rod show. If you’re wondering about the colour choice, it was his daughter Lacey’s pick, but with a new Blown Motorsports 320-cube combo in the engine bay, no one’s making fun of it. Steve did mention that he’s been skidding the car since 2001!
Johnny Ielati’s XW was a standout, not just in quality, but also in regards to impact. The simple but effective display really showed the car off beautifully, and the 393 Windsor stroker under the bonnet is gorgeous to look at too. That wild colour is actually Acid Rush, a late-model Ford hue, and the roof has been wrapped in a satin white. Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels finish it off perfectly.
Everyone loves a ’57 Chevy, especially a black one – or is it? When the sun came through the windows and hit the paint, it actually showed that it was a very dark purple metallic. With a super-low stance, it was parked up next to an equally legendary Interceptor – a killer display honouring two of Australia’s great car movies: Running On Empty and Mad Max.
We featured Kevin Edwards’s ’66 F100 a little while back and he’s been keeping himself pretty busy since. While everyone was calling this a rat rod, there’s nothing ratty about it. The fabrication and build quality is top-notch, and that crazy creation up front? That’s a sequentially turbocharged diesel engine! This thing will get finished off in gloss white with wild panel paint. Can’t wait to see it done.
Another car that was unveiled at this year’s show was Mark Blackburn’s FB Holden panel van. He made the trek all the way from Geraldton, after a 12-year build. Originally purchased from the Cairns Historical Society – under promise of keeping it original – Mark has upgraded it considerably with a 308 and a beautiful HOK Majik Blue Pearl paintjob.
There was a bunch of killer HK Monaros at the show, but the toughest was Rob Cinanni’s Warwick Yellow machine. The 400 Chev is topped with a billet 8/71, and Rob recently coloured the injector hat black – perhaps in an effort to disguise it from the fuzz?
Here’s something completely different. A 1935 Ford CX sedan, which Rory Smith saved from a restorer who was going to throw it away because it was too far gone. Rory had Vintage Rod & Custom build a brand new chassis for it with a Torana front-end and narrowed Commodore diff, and then fitted a Holden V6. The old girl won’t know what hit it!
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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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