Ready to Rock­a­billy

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - By KYLIE WIL­SON

WITH its rounded bon­net, im­pos­ing size and curvy 1950s sil­hou­ette, Colin Smith’s 1953 Chevro­let Bel Air is an im­pos­ing piece of ma­chin­ery.

Orig­i­nally shipped over from Cal­i­for­nia and pur­chased by Colin from a seller in Queens­land, the ve­hi­cle has a hand­some bronze and cream ex­te­rior - and match­ing in­te­rior - and has drawn ad­mir­ing glances from many in the time he has had it.

“I just like the body style and all the chrome,” Colin said.

“It’s an Amer­i­can car, and the Amer­i­cans re­ally know how to style cars.”

A mem­ber of the Wan­garatta Rod and Cus­tom Club since its be­gin­nings in 1977, Colin said he had owned a num­ber of hot rods over the years, but his Chevy is his cur­rent pride and joy.

“I’ve had an in­ter­est in hot rods since I was a young fella,” he said, adding that while his cur­rent car needs lit­tle work done, he en­joys pot­ter­ing around with his cars and do­ing small bits of main­te­nance when he can while re­lax­ing in his shed, which he dec­o­rates to look like an old school me­chanic’s garage. Colin’s Chevy is set to be among the many

owned by Wan­garatta Rod and Cus­tom Club mem­bers at the club’s new event, Wan­garatta Rock­a­billy Rock’n, set to take place next month.

Colin said mem­bers of the club had de­cided to put the event to­gether to cre­ate a draw­card with wide ap­peal for the com­mu­nity, and the mar­riage of older cars and rock­a­billy mu­sic and cul­ture was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion.

“Rock­a­billy is part of the car scene,” he said.

Colin said that he loved be­ing a part of the club’s tight knit, like minded com­mu­nity.

“It’s just a good feel­ing to be around all the old cars, and the peo­ple that are in­volved in the old cars, they’re all great peo­ple,” he said of the group.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic lifestyle to be in­volved in,” he added, not­ing that club mem­bers are fam­ily ori­en­tated and com­mu­nity minded.

Mon­ica Smith (no re­la­tion), from Wodonga, is among those in the re­gion look­ing for­ward to the event.

A fan of rock­a­billy and vin­tage fash­ion, hair and makeup, she said she first got in­volved in rock­a­billy cul­ture as a way to spend more time with her car en­thu­si­ast hus­band, Michael House, who has a 1954 Chevro­let Bel Air coupe.

While she wears el­e­ments of vin­tage and rock­a­billy fash­ion reg­u­larly, she saves much of her dress­ing up for spe­cial oc­ca­sions and fes­ti­vals.

“I just like the at­mos­phere,” she said of rock­a­billy events, “and it’s just re­ally cool fash­ion.

“It’s al­ways good fun.”

Mon­ica said that she also tries to sup­port Aus­tralian small busi­nesses when ac­quir­ing her rock­a­billy out­fits.

Wan­garatta Rock­a­billy Rock’n will be held at Wan­garatta Race­course from 2pm on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 13, fea­tur­ing a show and shine, live mu­sic, en­ter­tain­ment for chil­dren, and a prize for best dressed rock­a­billy.

En­try is $20 per head on the day ($15 per head if pur­chased be­fore Septem­ber 21) and those un­der 16 are ad­mit­ted free if they are ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.

Pro­ceeds from the day will be do­nated to North­east Health chil­drens ward.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the event, or on the club it­self is avail­able by con­tact­ing Darren on 0412 098351 or see the Wan­garatta Rock­a­billy Rock’n event on Face­book.

Tick­ets can be pur­chased via the Face­book page.

You can also find more in­for­ma­tion on wan­garat­tar­o­dand­cus­tom­club.com.

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

◆ PRIZED VE­HI­CLE: Colin Smith, from the Wan­garatta Rod and Cus­tom Club, with his 1953 Chevro­let Bel Air.

◆ ALL DRESSED UP: Mon­ica Smith is a fan of the rock­a­billy lifestyle.

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