The Rocket Open Day is on this Saturday in Huntingwood, Sydney, just around the corner from Eastern Creek. The star of the show will be Norm and Rhonda Longfield's reborn X-Treme Liner. One of the most historically significant drag cars in the world, it was crashed a decade ago and has now been lovingly restored complete with a period-correct paint and signwriting job by the crew at Ziggy's Hot Rods. Norm will be firing the 2000hp Hemi up on Nitro, so be there!
The Six Bangers at Warwick Dragway is one of my favourite events of the year, but I had to be in Canberra for a wedding! Lucky for me Steve and Paul Kelly were there snapping away. Here's just a little of the Saturday action:
We featured Paul Coles's FC years ago, back when it was running McGee injection and nitrous. These days he's added a massive turbo into the mix and running high 9s down the quarter. Read about how he does it in the current issue!
Bob Hamilton is a fixutre at the Six Bangers, pulling massive wheelstands in his famous Captain Nitrous FJ. This year he had his street FJ at the event - a real sleeper with late model BMW power that is equally at home doing hot laps around Queensland Raceway.
Simon Koschel's P1800 is a cool little coupe, with hot Holden power under the hood.
Tom Morrisson's always immaculate Grumpy Humpy.
Lyn Stewart's much-feared '78 Gemini sleeper.
And yes, Valiants are allowed :-)
Mick Borg's famous rail
Randal Mohr's ex-Wild Bill Smith FJ funny car has a couple of extra cylinders, but I don't think anyone would have complained.
Wanna go drag racing on a budget? You could do a lot worse than building yourself a HAMBster. Originally developed in the US via the Hokey Ass Message Board on www.jalopyjournal.com, HAMBsters made their way Oz few years back thanks to a bunch of highly motivated Sydney Hot Rodders led by Joe Rodriquez. HAMBsters are built to reflect the early dragsters built in California after WWII and must be powered by either sidevale V8s or pre-62 inline sixes of US or Australian origin. You can read the full story at www.hambstergarage.com.
HAMBsters have been breeding like rabbits ever since - the one we are looking at here is the work of Queenslanders Matthew Fry and Barry Hartshorne. Barry has a background in hot rods and fast Ducatis, while Matt is a self-described Valiant freak. Like most HAMBsters, Matt and Barry's Valiant slant six -powered beast is a true budget-built effort. "The engine came out of Barry's old ute," says Matt. "The clutch and pressure plate where lying around on the floor of my brother's shed, while the diff was pulled out of a wrecked Hilux we found in the bush. We got the diff tricked up for a bottle of bourbon. The frame rails were from an unfinished product and we got the body for the right price from Brass Knuckle Kustoms. We've also got some great sponsors, including Rob at AutObarn Lawnton, who has helped out with lots of parts and good advice." Driving through a floor-shifted 3-speed, the HAMBster has so far run a best of 14.07 at 98mph with Barry at the wheel. Since then the boys have fitted a set of triple downdraught Strombergs and are a looking forward to getting it tuned up and running its first 13-second pass. "Our car is pretty heavy for a HAMBster," says Matt. "It weighs just under 800kg, but we wanted it to be safe first and foremost."
The boys (and their crew member Benny) have been having a ball with the car and even won the very first Nostalgia meeting they entered back in 2009. Wanna check it out in person? Be at Mopar Sunday, 31 July, Willowbank Raceway.
We checked out Steve Barnes's FX Files in our Feb issue and learnt that Steve's steel-bodied beast has a racing history dating back to 1965! It campaigned under a bunch of names, including The Vampire, The Hunchback and the UFO and has run everything from hot grey and red sixes to nitrous-assisted and fuel injected small blocks. These days is runs a 378ci small block, with twin turbos, air/air cooler and a 800cfm Barry Grant. Now Steve has stepped up to the APSA's Outlaw Radial class and had his first outing on at the Street Machine Nationals at Sydney Dragway on the weekend. Steve not only top qualified and finished runner up to Jamie Farmer's twin turbo Mustang, but ran a stonking new PB of 8.70! Steve reckons that makes it the fastest stock body, stock-chassis Humpy in history!
In the February issue of Street Machine, we have a neat story on Steve and Jeff Barnes's FX race car. These days known as FX Files, it has a racing history dating back to Surfers Paradise in 1965. It was known variously as The Vampire, The Hunchback, Gold Rush and The UFO, running first grey power, then a hot red, before scoring a small block in the early 80s. These days it runs twin turbos and his headed for the exciting world of the APSA's Outlaws Radial class.
Long-time Street Machine Summernats burnout commentator Milton Adey passed away early this morning. Milty was an essential part of what made the Summernats special from day one. As a drag racing commentator, he is the guy that the current crop of microphone jockeys look up to, thanks to his sense of humour and knowledge.
Milton had a racing pedigree as long as your arm - he held both ends of the F/MP record in his screaming Anglia dubbed Hawkeye- a car which later copped a roof chop and V8 conversion and was one of the oldest continually-raced cars in the country. He also served the sport as the ANDRA South Queensland Divisional Director for many years.
He was a Ford guy to his bootlaces and always regretted selling his 429-powered '70 Galaxie. We'll miss you Milty, you were one of a kind.
A few shots by from the 3rd Castlereagh Hot Rod Reunion, held just across the road from where the dragway once lived:
The night featured a cacklefest, including Shane Corr's Topolino...
...the Cowin & Johns AA/FA...
.....Ross Preen's Banshee...
.....as well as the ballistic Blake Family Racing FED and Scorcher.
The event also honoured three pioneers of the Australian rod/custom/drag scene, starting with Australia's original custom king, Dale Fisher, pctured here with his son Darryn. Dale was creating factory-style customs from the mid 50s and is recognised as the most influential force in creating the Aussie custom boom. As a TAFE teacher, he also taught a generation of Sydney hot rodders how to play with metal. It is also interesting to note that Dale raced at Castlereagh when the joint was just an airstrip. And yep, that is Darryn's custom '62 Lark in the background.
Drag racer Brian Keegan was also recognised for his achievements in drag racing. Brian built a pioneering dragster in 1959 - powered by a blown Y-block - and was later the first bloke to break the 13 and 12-second barriers in an FJ Holden. What was a suprise to many was the fact that Brian also won the Australian Hillclimb Championships and once went hillclimbing in an open-wheeler powered by a blown and injected 302! Brian is pictured here with drag guru Bob Honeybrook.
Bill Crealy was also recognised for his massive contribution to drag racing - the bloke has acted as starter at Castlereagh, Oran Park, Eastern Creek and Sydney Dragway! As a young bloke, Bill watched as the Panic funny car took out the starter's box - and the starter - at Castlereagh, but soon enough he was doing the job himself! There was also some amazing Super 8 footage from Castlereagh, Riverside and Pakenham.
Of course, the car park was full of hot rods.
The organisers put on a massive feed and cleaned up afterwards :-)
The major attraction of course, was bench racing, and plenty of it.
For more, check out the Street Machine Hot Rod Annual 2010, on sale 22 September.