Rad­i­cal ma­chines rule in Can­berra

The Riverine Herald - - ECHUCA MOAMA AUTO - By David Chap­man

SUM­MER­NATS is all about the cars — driv­ing them, ad­mir­ing them or just be­ing seen with them.

This year, more than 2000 of Aus­tralia’s best mod­i­fied ve­hi­cles and street ma­chines took part in the 32nd in­stal­ment of the car fes­ti­val, held in Can­berra from Jan­uary 3-6.

That num­ber does not in­clude the thou­sands of other mod­i­fied cars which motoring fans brought along to cruise the streets of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

One of those cars was the 1978 HZ Caprice (States­man) of Matt McIn­tosh from Echuca Ser­vice Cen­tre.

Matt ad­mits to be­ing a huge fan of Sum­mer­nats.

‘‘I’ve been go­ing since I was an ap­pren­tice me­chanic so about 30 years,’’ he said.

Matt bought the HZ about seven months ago in Mel­bourne with­out an en­gine or trans­mis­sion in it.

He and co-worker Jay­den Page in­stalled a 400 small block en­gine with a 671 su­per­charger, a Turbo 400 trans­mis­sion, nine-inch diff and tubbed rear-end.

Matt didn’t en­ter his car in any events at Sum­mer­nats, pre­fer­ring to take up the street cruis­ing op­tion.

‘‘The qual­ity of our car wasn’t good enough to en­ter any­thing up there,’’ he said.

‘‘It was just some­thing to con­vey us from the mo­tel to the events and back again. Just to drive in and out.

‘‘It was a good week­end, with only a few mi­nor car trou­bles.

‘‘It was a bit of a hand­ful (to drive),’’ Matt said of the HZ.

‘‘Hav­ing such a big en­gine it’s got plenty of power.’’

Matt and Jay­den spent a cou­ple of months to put the car to­gether for Sum­mer­nats.

‘‘The con­di­tion of the car when we got it on the out­side is the same as it is now,’’ he said.

‘‘It was quite tidy for it’s age when we got it.

‘‘I just like these cars. They’re about my era. They’re long, com­fort­able and it’s lux­ury. Plus it’s got chrome steel bumpers on it.’’

The aim now is to add a few fin­ish­ing touches to the car be­fore mov­ing it on so they can do up a 1972 HQ for next year’s Sum­mer­nats.

‘‘The whole front end of it has been changed,’’ Matt says of the empty shell of the HQ as he lifts up the bon­net.

‘‘It’s got a dif­fer­ent rack and pin­ion steer­ing on it.’’.

Also look­ing to take a car to next year’s Sum­mer­nats is Echuca’s Mar­cus Hamil­ton.

Mar­cus won a dou­ble pass to this year’s event in a com­pe­ti­tion run by the River­ine Her­ald.

He took his wife Naomi and nephew Alex Maiden to the event.

‘‘My nephew had turned 18 and wanted to go and see what it was all about,’’ Mar­cus said.

‘‘He loved it. He said ‘Un­cle Mar­cus, can we bring the car next year to cruise around in’.’’

That car is a 1975 HJ Monaro which Mar­cus said ‘‘still needs stuff done to it’’.

‘‘It’s so ex­pen­sive (to work on). As soon as you touch it, it’s a lot of money.’’

Mar­cus was pleas­antly sur­prised to have won the dou­ble pass to Sum­mer­nats.

‘‘I en­tered but thought ‘I won’t win this’,’’ he said.

‘‘It was Alex’s mum who tagged me in the comp so I thought I’d put in a pic­ture of my HJ and it was all good.’’

De­spite not tak­ing the car this year, Mar­cus still had a great time at Sum­mer­nats and summed up the trip in one word — ‘‘awe­some’’.

‘‘There are so many dif­fer­ent cars and they unveil the big show cars,’’ he said.

‘‘You see some of the older cars that may not have been there for five years or so and they’ve come back and you see what they’ve done to them now.

‘‘There’s some real rad­i­cal ones. ‘‘it’s a big con­trast of cars with huge en­gines hang­ing out of the bon­net.’’

This was Mar­cus’ 19th con­sec­u­tive year at Sum­mer­nats and there’s noth­ing to say he won’t be there for an­other 19 straight.

‘‘I used to go with mates and stay in a mar­quee but it’s a bit more re­laxed now,’’ he said.

‘‘You do things dif­fer­ently as you get older but I still catch up with mates up there.’’

Also at Sum­mer­nats this year was Adrian Froon from Bun­naloo.

‘‘About a dozen of us went up,’’ he said.

‘‘We were in a bus which could only pull one car so a mate brought his 1977 HX ute with a blown big block mo­tor in it.’’

Adrian usu­ally takes his Bun­naloo Skid Val — a 1964 AP5 Valiant — which he has en­tered in the burnout com­pe­ti­tion at Sum­mer­nats pre­vi­ously.

Un­for­tu­nately, the last two years the car caught fire dur­ing the event.

How­ever, Adrian is con­fi­dent the Valiant can still hold its own.

‘‘It went to the Red Cen­tre in Septem­ber so it’s still go­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘We just de­cided to give it a year off Sum­mer­nats.’’

WORK­ING PROJECT: Matt McIn­tosh (left) and Jay­den Page with their 1978 HZ Holden States­man Caprice which they took to Sum­mer­nats.

TOP CLASS: Rick Werner’s 1932 Ford Pickup was the Sum­mer­nats Grand Cham­pion among a col­lec­tion of qual­ity ve­hi­cles.

Clive Pol­i­dano.

Pictures:

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