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I’m a huge fan of Linda Vaughn – the most fa­mous Miss Hurst – and wanted to pay homage to her ca­reer

TOW­ER­ING above the crowds and cars at this year’s Greaze­fest was a glis­ten­ing chrome and gold struc­ture just beg­ging for a closer look. Propped on the boot of a Valiant hard­top we found a gi­ant Hurst golden shifter with a sash-and-high­heels-clad blonde wav­ing to the cam­eras, so nat­u­rally we stopped to say g’day to Lucy Belle.

It’s not ev­ery day you see some­one hang­ing off a 2.5m gear shifter!

Yes, I’m a huge fan of Linda Vaughn – the most fa­mous Miss Hurst – and wanted to pay homage to her ca­reer. I find her to be an in­spi­ra­tional woman who has a gen­uine pas­sion for the car scene and brand she has rep­re­sented and pro­moted for five decades. Linda has al­ways been more than just a glam­our girl; she is a spokes­woman who knows the prod­uct, mar­ket­ing and in­dus­try inside-out.

So how did this whole dis­play come about?

I love cos­tume de­sign and dress­ing up at any op­por­tu­nity and like to do things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently to the more tra­di­tional pin-up thing. I ac­tu­ally had this out­fit fin­ished for Cooly Rocks On last year, and my part­ner Simo made me a scep­tre us­ing a proper Hurst shifter. Af­ter that event was rained out, we fig­ured with the ex­tra time up our sleeves we could go the whole hog!

How on earth did you make this thing?

We built it as tall as we pos­si­bly could; the only re­stric­tion was it had to fit into Simo’s Valiant panel van to haul it around. It’s a bud­get build shaped from poly­styrene sheet and MDF we found on Gumtree, wrapped in chrome dance fab­ric and gold crushed vel­vet. The base uses thicker MDF wrapped in black vel­vet, with a welded RHS frame that slides into the cen­tre of the ac­tual shifter for sta­bil­ity.

Was it a bit daunt­ing be­ing perched up there in high heels?

No, we had a few prac­tice runs on the back lawn first – much to the con­fu­sion of the neigh­bours – so it all went smoothly. I’m re­ally grate­ful and thank­ful to Pete Walker for tak­ing an in­ter­est in the project and tak­ing such amaz­ing pho­tos.

Is it your Valiant?

No, it’s one of Simo’s cars; he’s owned it since he was 17 and it runs a pretty stout Hemi 265 with a four­bar­rel. He drag-raced it for years, but now it’s more for dirt- and mud-style events like the As­phalt Demons In­vi­ta­tional, where we can both have fun giv­ing it a hid­ing. A cou­ple of peo­ple were mor­ti­fied that I was stand­ing on the boot, but there was no harm done – it is old-school steel af­ter all, and th­ese plat­form heels are from Rio and are su­per-soft rub­ber. I’ve pretty much claimed this car any­way un­til we fin­ish my EH, but I’m not sure if I’ll give it back [laughs].

Cool! Tell us about the EH.

I’ve owned it for 23 years and it runs a 192 with triples and a five-speed, with fat jel­lies un­der flared guards, so is very pe­riod 1980s. About 10 years ago it was writ­ten off by a red­light run­ner who cleaned up ev­ery­thing from the wind­screen for­ward; it cracked the en­gine block and ev­ery­thing. We’re fi­nally get­ting into the re­build now and I can’t wait to have it back on the road. The big ques­tion now is: What on earth are you go­ing to do with a 2.5m-tall shifter? It will end up in our lounge room as a per­ma­nent fix­ture, as it’s about the only place it will fit. It’s sure to make one hell of a Christ­mas tree!

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