Street Machine - - Snap Shots -

ADAM Shears is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. Wise be­yond his 44 years and the last of a slowly dy­ing breed of Aussie lar­rikin, he loves a beer and a yarn and is of the ilk that thinks ‘so­cial me­dia’ is a group of friendly re­porters.

A staunch GM fan, he has long bled Hold­e­nengine Rocket Red, though his ear­lier years tell a dif­fer­ent tale. Cut­ting his teeth around the back­roads of Bathurst, Adam now calls sunny Townsville home, where he con­tin­ues his love of all things me­chan­i­cal and ar­dent pas­sion for any­thing old-school.

THE young Adam wasn’t too keen on school. “I strug­gled to read and write, like a lot of 14-year-old coun­try kids, but to me, the Street Ma­chine story on Rex Web­ster’s FJ spoke vol­umes,” he says. “It’s my all-time favourite. Rex was broke, run-down but hugely tal­ented, and taught a gen­er­a­tion of car-heads what could be achieved if you were will­ing to put your mind to it. It was a ground­break­ing car I guess – and still is – plus FJS give me a stiffy.”

THIS Rally Pack Es­cort RS2000 was Adam’s first ‘fast’ car and was pretty much a race car with num­ber plates. “I brought it cheap with one side caved in. I had it fixed and drove it like a lu­natic; it had more sus­pen­sion un­der it than a hooker’s bed,” he laughs. Twin sway-bars front and rear, quick-rack steer­ing, twin We­bers and a huge cam got it mov­ing, while fat lit­tle 235/13s stuffed un­der works-style flares, a six­point ’cage, race seats, har­nesses and spot­ties locked down its rally her­itage. Those with a keen eye will spot the Oak­ley-sledg­ing ‘Ug­ley Fac­tory Id­iot’ wind­screen sticker that was all the rage back in the early 90s. “It was a crazy lit­tle car; maybe the best car I have owned,” Adam says. “I sold it to buy a car­a­van to in­habit while grind­ing out an ap­pren­tice­ship.”

WITH the RS2000 sold to fund the afore­men­tioned 18-foot Mil­lard car­a­van, the lit­tle change he had left over bought Adam a Gem­ini to use as a runaround. “Ap­pren­tice­ships were hard to find back then, and it was none of this ‘one trades­man for six ap­pren­tices’ like it is now,” he says. “I moved to Syd­ney from Bathurst to se­cure a start as a diesel fit­ter and bunked on­site in my van. I was flat broke, and you haven’t done an ap­pren­tice­ship un­til you’ve lived off sliced ham and noo­dles. The Gem­ini was a se­ri­ous back­ward step after the Es­cort, but it got me by and looked okay with its six­holer jelly­beans and dodgy re­spray – note the colour-coded num­ber plates!”

ADAM’S Es­corts, Gem­i­nis and Dat­suns all had one thing in com­mon: they all got ham­mered on the dirt. “I started driv­ing while liv­ing around the Bathurst/lith­gow area, so we pressed four-cylin­der, rear-wheel-drive cars into ac­tion,” he says. “I owned three Dat­sun 1600s in a row that used the same rollcage, seats and twin We­bers, and beat on them like they owed me money. This is me stand­ing on the roof of my last Datto that I stacked on the af­ter­noon of my 21st party at Caper­tee, NSW. I mis­read a cor­ner at 60mph and sent four of us up­side down on the roof through the scrub. I swapped the rolled wreck for a 186-pow­ered Holden one­ton­ner and spent the next af­ter­noon – with a

mas­sive han­gover – fit­ting a new clutch to it so I could drive it back to Syd­ney in time for work Mon­day morn­ing. Later that week I sold the Holden to a brickie in Liver­pool and bought my first V8: a 4V Clevo XD ute.”

ADAM’S softie Land Cruiser came with a dodgy Ley­land P76 4.4-litre en­gine con­ver­sion and lit­tle else in the way of crea­ture com­forts – no roof, bug­ger-all ex­haust and solid-steel en­gine mounts. “With the front hubs un­locked and in low four it would pull wheel­ies,” he re­calls. “Man, I used to freeze my lit­tle gin­ger rocks off driv­ing this frig­gin’ thing in the mid­dle of win­ter; I’d be wear­ing ski gloves and a bal­a­clava. My mate had a knack­ered Gem­ini that sat out­side our house for months. One morn­ing around 2am, com­ing home with a low sugar level, $79 worth of junk food and a full throt­tle, we lined up that poor Gemma and bull­bar-punched it into next week! Never grow up, never act your age!” The Cruiser saw out its days im­pounded by the Par­ra­matta po­lice.

ONE of Adam’s favourite show-and-go cars is his good mate Lee’s TD Cortina. “Back in the day it ran a tough 250 cross­flow, sin­gle-rail four-speed and pe­g­leg­ger diff, along with a set of hotwires with bald re­treads,” Adam says. “These days the Cort is run­ning a tough 302 Wind­sor backed by a shift-kit­ted C4 and spooled nine-inch, rolling on Weld wheels. Lee has been a street car guy for­ever and is a great spray painter too.”

ADAM bought this VH Commodore wagon in the year 2000, just as Syd­ney was get­ting wound up into an Olympics frenzy. “It was a great time to es­cape the big smoke, so on the week­ends we’d load this old girl up and head to the Cen­tral Coast to go scuba-div­ing and moun­tain­bik­ing. It was a thong-slap­per 253 backed by an M21 four-speed. I put a VK front end on it – se­ri­ously, who does that shit nowa­days? – along with a set of 5.0 badges. It was stolen soon after, and I hope the scum­bags that took it were pissed to find it was only a 253 VH and not a 308 VK! Sucked in! I have very fond memories of cruis­ing the free­ways in this old girl. I miss this car ev­ery sum­mer, and one day I’ll buy a set of Way­farer sun­nies and an­other VH V8 wagon.”



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