AUSTRALIA’S modified car scene has hot rodding at its root, but in 2020, these old jalopies – more than a century old, in some cases – are less commonplace in all-make shows and cruises. When it comes to rod enthusiasts, it seems they’re either born into it or are brainwashed later in life! For 23-year-old Shenae Bekkers, it has been equal parts of both, thanks to her family’s unwavering love of hot rods and chrome-bumper rides.
This article was first published in the April 2020 issue of Street Machine
Tell us about your family and cars.
I have always been around cars, from my dad to my grandparents and uncles. Now my younger brother and my cousins are getting into the rodding world too. My family has always had projects on the go, from minor touch-ups to full restorations.
What about your own car journey?
After Year 12, Dad and I searched for a hot rod project to build from scratch. We spent two years looking before Dad suggested that I buy a rod already done or that needed finishing off. So, through word of mouth I bought my ’33 Ford roadster in 2017. The ’33 wasn’t for sale as such; I just happened to be the right person at the right time. The previous owner was also female, so that was pretty special.
Nice score! Tell us about the car.
I was after a ’32-’34 Ford roadster, and I didn’t care if it was fibreglass or steel, but now that I have a rare steel ’33 I know it’s a good investment. The roadster was already pretty spick and span when I bought it. I love to cruise it; it’s very cool and I get a lot of looks, which is even more of a buzz. The roadster is a lifestyle car, that’s for sure – I love it!
Do you spin spanners on it?
Dad and I pulled out the 302ci Windsor to paint it in body colour; it was nice to spend that time with Dad. I stripped the motor and the paint, we sorted out some oil leaks and baffled the pan, and then I resprayed it all. I also had the three-speed auto rebuilt and repaired the radiator.
And you’ve also spent time in a workshop?
Dad and my uncle own a mechanical workshop, which my opa [grandpa] established in 1965. I worked there on school holidays and most Friday nights after school, cleaning up after the week was over. When I had a gap year after I began nursing at uni, I became a grease monkey, changing brakes, doing wheel balancing and basic servicing.
What’s next for the ’33?
Hmm, wheels. I would like to change them, though everyone I speak to tells me not to. I like the modern Ultimate 5 Boyd Coddington rims. The rest of the rod I won’t touch, as I’m obsessed with the colour. I’d like to make it louder and angrier, but there’s not much room for a larger exhaust system. Oh, and I definitely want to drive it more!
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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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