The modern-day ‘wrecked a classic’ crowd are certainly vocal in their distaste for builds that do not retain a stock appearance, but in doing so they disrespect some of the most iconic modified cars ever built.
This article first appeared in January 2017 edition of Street Machine
To underline this fact, last month we looked at a bunch of wonderfully ‘wrecked’ classics that rocked the scene 30-plus years ago; here are some more. The defence rests.
Mark Plummer’s radical FJ sedan featured a healthy roof chop, full-steel tilt front and pumped guards, and amassed a significant number of trophies during its 80s show run. Originally powered a by a Hemi 265 six-cylinder, the Hermitage Red humpy was later rebuilt with a full chassis and blown small-block Chev engine, and featured a red velvet interior with HZ seats and a Torana XU-1 dash.
Modified Chryslers were a rare commodity in our foundation street machining years, so a Mopar like Max O’Reilly’s Charger was one of only a handful to receive any significant magazine exposure. The Yankee influence was strong with Max’s build; drawing on famous Daytona and Superbird styling cues, Max created a one-off nosecone and rear wing to transform a base-model XL Charger into a jawdropper. Sidepipes and a Chrysler By Chrysler tail treatment locked down its custom roots.
Brisbane’s Rod Lord was heavily into the custom and drag racing scene throughout the 70s and 80s, and had a hand in many iconic builds, including Leon Harris’s Mr Damage XB van, Neil Miller’s Mother Trucker HQ van, and Graham and Mary K Boyle’s Mystic HJ. His metalworking and fibreglass skills were called upon when creating the plug and body for ‘Wild’ Bill Smith’s Team Budget FJ funny car, not to mention the build of his own wild custom – an XW Falcon dubbed Manitou (Native American for ‘spirit’). “Back in the mid-70s XWs were everywhere, so I got busy personalising mine with a ’glass Monza tilt front, steel rear flares and rollpan, electric doors, swivel seats and rear wing,” Rod says. A supercharged Windsor donk and Jag rear blinged up the running gear, with tail-lights from Ford’s newest model at the time, the XD. The bodywork and design is reminiscent of the old Sports Sedan circuit racer class, and why not? Street machines continue to be influenced by our drag racing brethren, so drawing on any racing class for inspiration is fair game. Rod sold Manitou in 1988; it was parted out by subsequent owners.
The patriarch of Australia’s 1980s car scene, Mick Curren’s HQ Monaro, dubbed The Terminator, is still lauded by many and near singlehandedly inspired a generation of gearheads after gracing the cover of our April-May ’86 issue. If the 10-inch US Racers and Mickey Thompson tyres stuffed under beautifully flared guards didn’t whet your appetite, then a blown 308, Muncie ‘rock-crusher’ four-speed and wheelie bars were sure to give you a fat a cat couldn’t scratch. LTD tail-lights slotted into the stock HQ rear bar still can’t be beaten, and proved that even the toughest of street cars shunned their noses at brand allegiance.
Ford Australia took the youth market and their brand ideology very seriously in the 70s, and punched their market competition in the throat with the Concorde panel van concept unveiled at the ’77 Melbourne Motor Show. Penned by visionary designer Peter Arcadipane and built by motor body craftsman Sam Midgley, the Concorde went on to be sold in kit form and became the styling inspiration for a certain famous black Interceptor hardtop.