THE Queensland sun was warming the grass as over 1000 classic cars, rods and really weird stuff rolled up early to be a part of Maleny’s Muscle On The Mountain show in early July. Most were 50s70s classic sedans, but there were also XU-1 clones; Fords from GTS to late-model Mustangs and a sprinkling of Thunderbirds; Chevy Bel Airs taking up space; and a lot of birds and blokes rolling up in immaculate Corvettes.
Hard to miss were a couple of replica prewar three-wheelers – open-cockpit devices with enormous air-cooled V-twin engines hanging off the front, which drove these Morgan lookalikes through a single back wheel. They were fearsome machines, where carrying a passenger was mandatory to keep the skinny front wheels on the deck through corners by acting as moveable ballast.
Rarely seen Studebakers were grouped together, SL/R 5000s shared space with left-hooker Galaxies, a fat-wheeled and low Plymouth Sports Suburban wagon sat in black and chrome, a good-looking blonde turned up in a bright orange De Tomaso, and somebody brought along what looked like Leo Geoghegan’s Bathurst Chrysler Charger coupe.
By 10 o’clock they were running out of grass at the sports grounds, and still the machinery rolled in.
I talked to one guy who had driven his blue EK Holden sedan in from Gayndah. He’d immaculately restored it 18 years back and it was hard to tell that this was his daily driver. You could say that he was a bit of a fanatic, as he had ripped every part off this car and, not wanting to risk panel damage by a sand blaster, filled a huge tank with sugarcane molasses and then submerged the stripped shell until he couldn’t even see the roof, leaving it there for a full six months. Once the sugary soup had dissolved all the black paint away, he painted the steel electric blue in a paddock, and sweated over stitching the immaculate white upholstery (he reckoned making the headlining was the hardest job). He confessed that this was the second time he had rebuilt the car.
A super-low unpainted EH flat-tray truck grabbed a lot of lookers. More surface rust than paint, it was powered by a 179 with a V6 Commodore blower, topped by triple Stromberg down-draught carbs hanging above a shark-toothed gap in the bonnet. The tray was loaded with a stainless-steel beer keg and a nitrous bottle, the keg plumbed into the cockpit, while the nitrous was only there for show. A tall lever between the seats worked the brake master cylinder hooked up to the rear drums, while the foot pedal only applied force to the front brakes. The bloke who owned it reckoned this weapon only took him three months to build, and today was his third car show. Agricultural? Sure. But what an attention-grabber!
There were some rods, too, including a ’32 Ford chop-top coupe wearing a components body from the States with a 6/71-blown 350 Chev driving through a Turbo 400, outstanding in burgundy paint and only on the road for a couple of years. The owner had this flawless coupe roped off and watched it closely, getting agitated whenever he saw any kids walking up, tired of yelling at them to get off his running boards.
You could play ping-pong across the boot of a ’57 two-door Chev hardtop coupe in LHD, white paint and chrome. A long two-door Ford Galaxie in eye-catching red and black had been bought off a girl in 1982 for 200 bucks. A white FC Special sedan had been ripped apart and rebuilt with all VN Commodore driveline and suspension. A huge alloy drop tank had been added to make a new boot floor; it swallowed 80 bucks in fuel and still wasn’t full. The former mechanic who owned it said he had rebuilt the FC twice now, and his next project was a twotone green Bel Air.
This was a top warm day for bringing out your 427 replica AC Cobra, and there was even a solitary Grp-bodied Manx beach buggy and a handful of rag-top English-built 1950s sports cars.
SYCO83 was Bianca’s powder-blue 1983 TF Holden Gemini, showing off spotless whitewith-red-stripe interior upholstery. The four-pot Isuzu mill was topped by twin double-choke down-draught carbs.
A couple of old blokes yarned as they watched over a ’34 Ford two-door coupe, almost original with non-standard small wheels and a wellworked, alloy-headed flathead V8 that probably punched out around 120 horses.
Rare cars included a bunch of Studebakers: a Cruiser ambulance in electric blue, a maroon Avanti, and more examples of this almostforgotten make, sprouting enormous rear fins.
There was also a 1974 Barbados Green SL/R 5000 Torana; the guy who owned it was still grinning about his luck, having found this SL/R just three kays from where he lived. It needed a complete strip and rebuild, refurbishing the 308 and its M21 tranny. His luck is obviously still with him, as he also garages another Torana – a much-desired original XU-1.
A SUPER-LOW EH FLATTRAY TRUCK WAS MORE SURFACE RUST THAN PAINT, POWERED BY A 179 WITH A V6 COMMODORE BLOWER, TOPPED BY TRIPLE STROMBERG DOWNDRAUGHT CARBS