ROBERT Zahabi and his Queensland custom shop, Rides By Kam, flew the flag for Australia at the Goodguys Hot Rod and Custom Association Street Machine of the Year contest last weekend over in the States.
The Goodguys hold some of the biggest custom car events in America with over 100,000 spectators rocking up to the larger three-day shows. They held their annual Street Machine of the Year contest in Ohio last weekend, and the Yanks were drooling over Queenslander Rob Zahabi’s menacing 1970 Chevy Nova like it was a deep-fried pancake drowned in maple syrup and chocolate.
The car made the Top 20 from over 6000 other seriously sexy rods and streeters. Which is even more impressive when you learn that the likes of the Ring Brothers, the Roadster Shop and Miranda Built also had cars outside the Top 5. But the crazy attention to detail that’s been paid to the KAM Nova’s engine bay, smooth body and slick stance obviously set it apart from the rest. The thing hammers too, thanks to a 572-cube big-block with twin Prochargers making 1500hp on pump fuel.
The outright winner of the Street Machine gong was Sonny and Debbie Freeman’s 1967 Corvette by Mike Goldman. The white and brown-themed Corvette was extremely clean and featured a 700hp 427 Mast Motorsports engine and enough bespoke nickel bits to bring back the Greek economy.
It might look like Jet Black, but from the glass-line down KAM Nova has an Orion Silver overlay
The Nova was also a popular Street Machine cover car (Nov ‘14,) but Rob’s intention was always to take the car to the states. The car will be shown at SEMA in November, but it will first compete in the Barrett-Jackson Cup as part of the Hot August Nights show in Reno. The event attracts over 5000 cars and the Barrett-Jackson cup offers a $105,000 prize purse.
“It has been a wild ride so far,” says Rob. “The Goodguys shows are really well-run and the competition is tough. To be in the running to win Street Machine of the Year, you have to do four laps of the autocross circuit. They don’t care what lap time you do, but you have to get points for style, meaning that you’ve really got to give the car some curry. Even the trophy presentation was hard-core; every car that wins something has to drive in to get their prize and drive out. It took an hour and a half to get through them. If you’re car doesn’t drive, no trophy for you.”
“We had some trouble when the car ended up getting transported in an open trailer, in the rain and with a window down! I was blow away by how many people offered to help, or just brought me a beer. It was very humbling. The guys from Scott’s Hot Rods were really great in particular; they went out of their way to help.”
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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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