Fol­low­ing an ab­sence of two years, Aus­tralia's largest in­door mod­i­fied car show re­turned to its right­ful home - Aus­tralia's har­bor city. Words And PHO­TOS: JON VAN DAAL


Ire­cently worked out that at the June long week­end this year, it was ex­actly 50 years since I at­tended my first hot rod show — at Rose­lands Shop­ping Cen­tre in Syd­ney’s south. I find that hard to be­lieve. When I was grow­ing up, I had five sis­ters, and my par­ents soon worked out that it was eas­ier to send me to board­ing school to keep the peace. So, I was in luck, as I was in the right place. On that his­toric day in 1967, it took me two hours to make my way across town via two buses and a train — but it was well worth it. So, 50 years later what has changed? Well, that’s sim­ple — the qual­ity of the builds. Back then, most hot rods were street driven, so build­ing one meant a bal­ance be­tween what was street le­gal, driv­able, and what was the lat­est trend in the show scene. Many younger driv­ers had their cars as daily-driv­ers, and a lot were un­streetable with lumpy cams and boil­ing ra­di­a­tors rear­ing their ugly heads on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Qual­ity comes through when the car is un­der lights and be­ing judged with a fine-tooth comb. It all comes down to the num­ber of hours put into it. When you

know that Adam and Kylie Perry’s FB Holden had some 13,000 hours put into it, it is no sur­prise to see the car win the Grand Master and a gag­gle of other tro­phies. I think I might have moaned two years ago about MotorEx slip­ping back to a bi-an­nual event, and, as such, I missed the de­but of said FB last year in Mel­bourne. When I worked at Auto Sa­lon, we used to do two events in Syd­ney and two in Mel­bourne but the pro­mot­ers of MotorEx have a good ex­cuse — they also have a few day jobs, with the mar­ket­ing of Meguiar’s, House of Kolor, and Liqui Moly prod­ucts. That said, a big an­nounce­ment was made at the show: it was re­vealed that the com­pany be­hind Sum­mer­nats, Out There Pro­duc­tions (OTP), will be tak­ing over the run­ning of MotorEx in a co­pro­mo­tion, start­ing next year with the Mel­bourne event. With this in mind, maybe we’ll see an an­nual Syd­ney show in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture. I re­cently met a friend I hadn’t seen for five years. I told him it was good to see him but it was a long

time be­tween drinks, to which he replied, “Wel­come to 2017.” He then ex­plained that there are so many dif­fer­ent events on each week­end that peo­ple just have to pick and choose: “If I am into ’55–’57 Chevs, then, over the course of a year, there are lots of events I can at­tend just for them. If you are into tra­di­tional hot rods in­stead, then we might never cross paths, be­cause we will be at­tend­ing shows and events in dif­fer­ent parts of the sport” — fair point. On to the point of the show: the cars. Adam and Kylie Perry’s wild ‘ Tail­spin’ FB Holden, the back-to-front cus­tom, won gold in all seven of the cat­e­gories for which it was el­i­gi­ble: Body­work, Paint­work, En­gine and Com­po­nents, Un­der­car­riage and Driveline, In­te­rior and Rear Com­part­ment, Im­pact and Dis­play, and Over­all In­no­va­tion. The car earned a spot in the cov­eted Su­per Six and, with so many medals, also took out the Grand Master award. As I walked around the show, I heard Kylie Perry on the PA thank­ing Howard Astill for his in­put to their project — and I have to say that the car is just such an awe­some street freak, part Nis­san Sky­line, part FB Holden, and a whole bunch in be­tween.

The House of Kolor In­au­gu­ra­tion this year saw a wide range of dif­fer­ent projects that in­cluded ‘FAT XY’ — John Saad’s 673-cube, Sonny Leonard, Hemi-headed, Ford big block–pow­ered 1971 XY Fal­con sedan; ‘Money Pit’ — Rowan Moy­lan’s 1929 Ford Road­ster; and ‘STU 347’ — Stu­art Gra­ham’s 1967 Ford Mus­tang coupe. Rob Za­habi’s un­fin­ished Dodge Chal­lenger rounded things out. The re­duc­tion in the num­ber of en­tries was mainly due to var­i­ous car club cars not be­ing in at­ten­dance. This year, the en­tire show lay­out was turned on its head, with the stand­out en­tries be­ing re­lo­cated from the Dome to the other end of the hall. All the ven­dors were housed in the Dome in­stead, which was a pity. The Dome is well lit with nat­u­ral and ar­ti­fi­cial light — I guess it’s a bit like show­ing a paint­ing in a well-lit po­si­tion com­pared with a dark cor­ner. Such is life. If you’re keen to check out MotorEx in per­son, next year’s event will be put on by OTP and will take place on May 26–27 in Mel­bourne. “MotorEx is not about to be­come Sum­mer­nats,” Andy Lopez from OTP and Sum­mer­nats, as­sured us. “It’s al­ready a great event as it is. Rather, we’re look­ing to build on its core strengths, as well as to in­tro­duce a SEMA in­volve­ment in 2018.” Meguiar’s MotorEx Mel­bourne 2018 will be first C. 66 C. 10 M. 60 M. 10 event hosted un­der the new part­ner­ship,Y. 60 Y. 10 and is K. 45 K. 10 al­ready shap­ing up to be the big­gest and best MotorEx yet.

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