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10 MOST AUSTRALIAN THINGS TO HAPPEN IN 2016/17

By Aiden Taylor, 26 Jan 2017 Features

10 MOST AUSTRALIAN THINGS TO HAPPEN IN 2016/17

From shoeys to panel vans, Australia comes up with some pretty crazy concepts. We count down the ten most Australian things we've seen in 2016 and 2017

IT IS Australia Day, a day where we get to celebrate all of the awesome things about the great country we live in. Working at Street Machine, we get to see a lot of really Australian things, stuff you just wouldn't find anywhere else in the world - like a panel van doing a burnout while on fire with the passenger hanging out the side with a fire extinguisher attempting to put out the flames - classic Australia! So we figured we'd compile a list of ten of the most Australian things we've seen on in the past few months, starting with... 

Fire extinguisher guy at Summernats

DAVE Vearing's VANMAN Holden HZ Holden Panel Van has been around the burnout scene for years, and at Street Machine Summernats 30, Dave really put on a show. Early in the burnout the tyres caught fire, but not to worry because the passenger had a fire extinguisher ready to put out the blaze while Dave continued to hold the loud pedal flat.

Mark 'Happy' Williams wins Summernats Grand Champion

WEST Australian Mark ‘Happy’ Williams is this year’s Street Machine Summernats 30 Grand Champion, taking out the gong with his Holden HQ One-tonner. Mark came from nowhere, cleaning up in the driving events to take home the coveted Grand Champion sword. The car was genuinely built to be driven – and driven hard, despite being built to a very high level. Mark drove the wheels off the car in the slalom and heads-up drag racing, getting sideways and smoking the rear treads to take first and second place. And after collecting his sword, he celebrated with a smoky burnout.

It really was an incredible end to the week for Mark. Sadly his dad who put a lot of work into the HQ passed away while Happy was on his way east for Summernats 30. Mark’s dad pushed him to go to the ‘Nats despite being ill and as a tribute to his father, Mark swapped his ‘2HAPPY’ number plates for ‘4MYDAD’ as a tribute. “I know he would have been smiling watching down on me,” said Mark.

Farmtruck does a 'Shoey' at Summernats

Farmtruck and AZN from the show Street Outlaws were special guests at this year’s Street Machine Summernats 30 and they were keen to sample all the things that make Australia great – like burnouts and, um… shoeys. Under the impression that it is customary to do a shoey at all car events down unda, the Summernats crowd egged on Farmtruck to drink from his boot and he happily obliged! A can of beer was sourced from a random spectator in the crowd and poured into Farmtruck’s dirty old boot. He then downed it like a cup of coffee in the morning! What a champ.

Of course the shoey was pioneered by Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo and us Aussie's have fully embraced the idea, making it almost compulsory for our sporting events. This was just one of a handful of shoeys we saw at Summernats this year!  

Scott Levy replaces his engine at Drag Challenge 2016

Scott Levy may have brought an El Camino to Street Machine Drag Challenge 2016 (which isn’t very Australian), but the effort he and his team put in to keep the thing going was as you-beaut as it was dinky di. On day two on the drive from Heathcote to Mildura, the small-block in the ute gave out and the El Camino was driven to Mildura on a tow truck. While Drag Challenge continued at Mildura’s eighth-mile strip on Wednesday, the lads spent the morning searching for a new cam and lifters. But no luck.

Eventually the Old Mates’ Network led Scott to a bloke in Melbourne, Greg, who had a blown 383-cube Chev sitting on the floor in his workshop – and volunteered to drive it up after work.

Greg arrived at the caravan park with the loaner motor around 10pm on Wednesday evening and they worked through the night at their caravan park. At 5pm Thursday afternoon, the El Camino rolled into Swan Hill Raceway. Sadly there just wasn’t enough time to lay down a pass, but there was still one day of racing at Calder Park left to run. Would you believe, leaving Swan Hill Raceway a few hundred meters down the road, the new 383 Chev let go and well and truly put Scott and crew out of the event. 

Aussie Chevelle at Hot Rod Drag Week 2016

It doesn’t get much more Australian than the story of Harry Haig’s Aussie Chevelle that conquered Hot Rod Drag Week in 2016. Yes it’s an American car but it was built by a tight-knit group of Aussie blokes in a matter of days in America, before running an average of 8.95 over five days and five tracks across the U.S at Hot Rod Drag Week.

With turbos hanging out of the bonnet, the car got the attention of petrol heads right around the world, was on the cover of the Roadkill magazine, and took the Internet by storm. As of right now, our Aussie Chevelle YouTube videos have amassed over 800,000 views. 

V12 LS at SEMA 2016

We've been following Aussies Matt and Shane Corish’s progress on their Australian designed and engineered V12 LS1 since we first heard about it a few months back. Their goal was to get one of the engines fitted into a car and debut it at SEMA and they got there, for the most part. While the ’67 Camaro from Quality Custom Rides wasn’t quite finished, most people couldn’t get past the engine bay to spot the unfinished interior.

The question still remains, why the hell would you go to all this trouble? Shane’s the engineering brains behind the project and his answer is pretty simple: “Basically, because we could. Then we realised there was a real gap in the market for people here modifying cars. They’re doing some really crazy shit out there now but the engines are still crate engines. There’s a lot of crate engines going into some ridiculous cars and we wanted to provide an engine that was as equally ridiculous as the cars they’re going into!”

While the initial blocks were made from cut up V8s, they’re about to go into casting their own. “I always liked doing something different. I personally love an engineering/technical challenge and the harder the challenge the more I enjoy it and the more rewarding it is when you get something done,” says Shane.

Drewey mows some lawn while on Drag Challenge

Mark Drew came to Street Machine Drag Challenge this year with a brand new engine combo in his crusty Torana. After getting turbo fever from his wife Raelene’s turbo LS HR Holden, he stuck a 427-cube LSX with a pair of Borg Warner turbos in his own car. It ran eights at every track drama free, and that meant he had time to help an old lady in Charlton who needed some grass cut.

After her ride-on mower conked out, she resorted to cutting her one acre's worth of foot-tall forest with a push mower. Drewy decided that wouldn't do, so he got the old ride-on going again and she was back in business. Community service at its finest.

Bubba wins Drag Challenge with Holden power

While we’re on the topic of Street Machine Drag Challenge, we’ve got to include Brenden ‘Bubba’ Medlyn winning the whole event on this list. After all, his car is powered by a good old Holden 5.0-litre! Well sort of, it’s a 370-cuber based of Holden’s original design, but re-engineered by Geelong-company Torque Power. Bubba teamed the motor with a pair of Garrett turbos to produce around 1600hp! Aussie company Yella Terra made the cylinder heads, while the intake manifold is also from Torque Power. Just goes to show you don’t need an American Chev or LS motor to win at Street Machine Drag Challenge. 

XBOSS at the Detroit Autorama

Chris and Colleen Bitmead’s XBOSS XB Falcon was revealed to the public for the first time at the Detroit Autorama with the aim of competing for the coveted Ridler Award. The car was built largely in Chris’s home in Perth where it was transformed from a standard bodyshell into what is undoubtedly one of – if not the – most incredible street machines ever built in this country. The Americans liked it too, because XBOSS was named a Great Eight finalist in the competition for the Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama. It didn’t end up getting the award, but just to make it to the Autorama, let alone be part of the Great Eight was a real achievement.

Since returning home, XBOSS has cleaned up on the local show circuit including winning pretty much everything it was eligible for at Street Machine Summernats 30, including Top Judged Elite. It was also voted by the readers of our magazine as Valvoline Street Machine of the Year.   

AZN and Cletus pulled over by Police during Summernats

It seems not everyone welcomed the American Summernats guests with open arms. During the city cruise, AZN from Street Outlaws and Cletus from the 1320Video YouTube channel were read the riot act by a police officer while cruising in Jamie Crabb’s ’67 Impala.

The guys were pulled over by a cop on a motorbike because they were hanging out of the car yelling “Summernats” to the crowds of people that lined Canberra’s Northbourne avenue for the City Cruise. The pair were warned not to “stuff it for everyone else,” given a unique education on Australian vernacular (called a goose) by the officer, and then they was on their way again – although two officers on bikes and a cop car followed the Impala for the rest of the cruise to stop the Americans causing more of a ruckus. Did someone say nanny state?