Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic

The GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic is one of the newer events on Perth's automotive calendar, and for Hot Rod, Kustom and Muscle Car fans, it's one not to be missed. The Picnic is an event exclusively for pre-48 Hot Rods as well as Kustoms and American Muscle up to 1978 model cars.

GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic

The Picnic is preceded by a cruise from the Kingsway Shopping Centre, on Wanneroo Road, to the Yanchep National Park, the venue for the Picnic. Over 250 cars made it onto the lawns behind the Yanchep Inn as part of this years GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic.

GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic

There are no trophies at the GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic, just a relaxed day on the lawns with plenty of shade and a couple of barbecues, and maybe a bottle of wine for the "Publicans Choice". The GoodFella's also organise a raffle, the prizes for which are donated by sponsors from throughout Perth's hot rodding community, regardless of club affiliations.

GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic

You can check out a preview gallery of photos from the GoodFella's Yanchep Picnic on LandBarge.com, and the full gallery will be available on HighOctanePhotos.com shortly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Western Hot Rod Rumble

Sunday, October 24th, saw the first running of a new event at the Perth Motorplex, the Western Hot Rod Rumble. This event differs from other previous Nostalgia and Retro themed events in that it was exclusively for pre-1966 vehicles. Other events in the past have accepted entries from vehicles up to the early 1980's in order to fill the staging lanes. With the new cut off for vehicles, entries were down overall, but entries of hot rods appeared to be up on previous events.

Phil Pavicich lines up the Rabbit Truck alongside Mal Pollard's 32 Ford at the WHRR

In addition to the 35 cars entered for racing for the day, at least another 50 eligible cars were parked in the pits, along with numerous classic cars that were within a couple of years of meeting the pre-1966 cut off for racing. During the break between qualifying and eliminations, all the steel bumpered cars in the pits were invited out for a cruise along the return road and back down the Motorplex drag strip, regardless of whether they met the year cut off to race.

Shannon 'Fishy' Taylor has spent most of his adult life working on drag cars, but this was his first event as a driver

The Western Hot Rod Rumble was a really cool, laid back event, and one that I would love to see continue in a similar fashion for years to come. While it didn't have the huge entry numbers of some other events at the Perth Motorplex, the atmosphere around the place was one that could not be ignored.

Mal Pollard warming the tyres on SURLY at the WHRR

I am still sorting my photos from the day, but in the meantime, you can find a preview gallery of some of my photos from the Western Hot Rod Rumble over at LandBarge.com.

Update: I've now finished sorting the full gallery of photos, and uploaded it here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Pre Season Test'n'Tune Season

Over the last couple of weeks, I've had the privilege of attending 3 private track hires at the Perth Motorplex. These are events for a very small number of cars (usually 10 - 15 cars at the most), all ANDRA licensed cars and also usually full of very keen racers, as the cost of hiring the track for one of these days is around $6000.

The first of these events I attended this season was organised by Maurice Brennan, a local Top Comp competitor, set on a path that will take him to Top Doorslammer competition when the time is right. Maurice had hired the track to test his Holden Commodore based Doorslammer, and to help keep the costs of the day down, he'd invited along a few other racers, including John Napier, in a new alcohol burning Funny Car, Rob Pilkington and Russell Ladbrook, also in Funny Cars, Rob Youngs, licensing a new altered and former Speedway racer Pino Priolo licensing his new Doorslammer, which will be running in Top Comp this season. While Maurice's day probably could have gone a little better, blowing the doors off his own race car on his second pass of the day, the rest of the day ran very well and all the racers present showed a lot of promise for the upcoming season.

The following weekend, Kevin Hort had hired the track to test his Holden Monaro Super Sedan and also to give son Ethan some time behind the wheel of Kevin's previous drive, the Holden ute he'd previously campaigned in Super Sedan. Unfortunately, mechanical issues kept Kevin off the track on the day, but Ethan certainly made sure he had all the fun his dad was missing out on, running a best time of 10.23 seconds on his last pass of the day. The ute will now be backed down a little, in order to run Super Street legal times, and Ethan is planning on running a full season in Super Street this season. Other drivers present on the day included Paige Gavin, who was making progress towards her A/JD license, Steve Yozzi in his Supercharged Outlaw BMW, George Separovich in John Faraone's wild Charger, George Kontarinis in his turbocharged Camaro and Gail Rowles and Lisa Powell both making licensing passes in cars usually driven by their partners.

Today's track hire was organised by Street Torque, from Maddington, who had hired the track on behalf of some of their customers. Spicing up the mix a little, were a number of regular National Open competitors including Dan Mitchell, Phil Purser, Adam Croker, Marty Dack and Matt Treasure. In an unfortunate twist, shortly after Phil Purser had completed his first pass after a roll over late last season, Dan Mitchell made contact with the right hand track wall, turned left and put the car on it's roof, before contacting the left side track wall and sliding most of the way to the finish line.

Dan Mitchell sliding down the trackAfter that rather unfortunate start to the day, things could only really pick up, and they certainly did that, with Matt Treasure taking to the track in Allan and Cheryl Greene's Greene Machine Nitro Funny Car. Matt has previous driving experience in blown alcohol Top Comp cars, including an angry altered and a very quick funny car, and took to the Nitro Funny Car experience like he'd been doing it all his career. After proving himself in the burnout and over the shorter distances as required by ANDRA, Matt was given the opportunity to make a full pass at the close of the test session, and he didn't disappoint with a 5.55 second pass setting him on his way to completing his licensing requirements tomorrow. ANDRA requires that Nitro Funny Car drivers complete their licensing on two separate days, in order to prove their abilities with changing weather and track conditions, and the Greene Machine team have taken the opportunity to start their licensing at today's private hire and will attempt to complete their obligations at tomorrows public Test'n'Tune, again at the Perth Motorplex.

Over 120 teams have nominated for the official pre-season test and tune, with several more expected to nominate tomorrow at the track. Entry is only $25 per adult, and the cars and bikes will be on track from 11am to 5pm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Facebook Fan Page

Some of you may already know that I have a fan page on facebook, in fact, quite a few of you probably do, as I have over 500 fans there. It was just a couple of days ago that I hit that 500 fan mark, and in celebration of that milestone, I decided to release a limited edition canvas print.

This is a photo taken while we were travelling the South West corner of the United States during the drag racing off season this year, with this particular shot being at the historic Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California.

The prints are available in two sizes, either 18 inches by 8 inches, or 28 inches by 12 inches, and are printed on 390gsm archival canvas, stretched over a hardwood frame. The price for the larger print is $190 and the smaller print is $130, however these prices don't include shipping, due to the size of the print. Once again, due to the shipping costs, the only way to order these is by emailing me so that we can discuss shipping options.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Bonneville Run Wrap Up

It's now a little over two weeks since we returned from The Bonneville Run, a road trip taking in several states in the USA, during which time we managed to clock up over 5000 miles in my 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood 75. We drove through California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, seeing plenty of sights and taking plenty of photos along the way. The purpose of this posting is to provide a brief overview of where we went and what we saw, and to hopefully entice you to check out the rest of the stuff I've posted from the trip.

The Boarding Call

Our flights with Air New Zealand took us to the city of Auckland, New Zealand, on the way to the United States. On the way over, this let us grab a hire car at the airport and explore some of the city. We headed to the top of Mount Eden, a volcanic hill in the middle of Auckland, where I grabbed a couple of shots of the city at dawn, then drove around for a while and found somewhere to have breakfast. We spent the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon at the Auckland War Memorial and Museum before grabbing lunch and heading back to the airport for our flights to San Francisco.

Auckland at Dawn

At San Francisco, we were picked up by my sister-in-law, Nicole, who would be joining us along with my brother, David, for the first couple of weeks of the road trip. We had a barbecue dinner and a few beers while we discussed some of the plans for the first leg of the trip. The next morning, we picked up the Cadillac from a local workshop who'd been giving it some mechanical attention to make sure it got us where we were planning on going and back again. we then hit the Interstate and headed for Los Angeles.

Hello Los Angeles

Our first stop in Los Angeles was at the Bob's Big Boy diner in Downey, where we met up with some members of the Cranksters Rod and Kustom Club, also from Australia, who were travelling the United States at the same time as us, and with similar intentions. We knew we were going to be in some of the same towns along the way, so we had made plans to stay in touch and catch up when we could. We were in Los Angeles for a few days, so we had time to visit the Petersen and Wally Parks museums and a couple of famous hot rod shops, including Moon Eyes in Santa Fe Springs and Hollywood Hot Rods in Burbank. On the way out of Los Angeles, we also stopped at the John Force Race Station and spent the night at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino. This motel is part of a former chain of motels upon which the traffic cone motels in the Pixar movie Cars were based.

Bob's Big Boy Broiler - Downey, CA

From Los Angeles, we trekked out to Barstow, a route that roughly follows part of Route 66, before diverting from that classic route, as well as the modern route to Las Vegas, to visit Death Valley. Death Valley gets it's name from the extreme heat at the valley floor, with some of the most extreme high temperatures on Earth being experienced here, which combine with the steep hills on either side to make even driving through Death Valley a challenge. Many auto manufacturers use Death Valley as a testing area for this reason, and we picked a hotel in Beatty for lunch one day due to it's popularity with the test teams and the automotive memorabilia plastered on it's walls as a result.

Sourdough Saloon - Beatty, NV

From Death Valley it was on down to Las Vegas, where we would again meet up with the Cranksters for a meal at the Hooters Casino and a visit to the Fremont Street Experience, part of the old Las Vegas that has been turned into a pedestrial mall and fitted with the largest TV screen on the planet. We spent the rest of our nights in Vegas wandering up and down the main strip taking photos of the neon signs on the strip while sampling the many bars on the strip. Las Vegas police tolerate public drinking, even though it's not strictly allowed, as long as people aren't causing trouble. While in Las Vegas, we stayed at the Bellagio Casino and took the opportunity to sample their buffet, which is widely considered one of the best in the world, and the line up to get in was testament to that. Thankfully, David and Nicole had secured us a 'front of the line' pass, which got us onto the back of a line of about 5 people, instead of one that was probably over 50 metres long.

Bellagio's Fountain Show

After Las Vegas, we spent the night at the Grand Canyon, staying at the North Rim Lodge. Due to getting side tracked by an Eiffel Tower shaped margarita glass and the M&M World store in Las Vegas, we didn't end up getting to the Canyon until well after dark, however I was up the next morning just after sunrise to wander down to the Canyon and see the sights. This was also the spot where, a couple of hours later, I proposed to Kate, and thankfully she said yes.

The Grand Canyon

From the Grand Canyon, we headed north to an overnight stop at the small town of Beaver, in Utah, then on to West Wendover in Nevada. West Wendover and Wendover actually straddle the Nevada-Utah border, with two of the casino's in West Wendover having the wall of their gaming rooms right on the border and a carpark in Utah, which is a much less casino-friendly state than Nevada. The reason we were in Wendover was for the Southern California Timing Association's annual Bonneville SpeedWeek, one of the biggest gatherings of speed freaks you'll ever see. Over 500 cars entered to race at Bonneville this week and the pit area was around 3 miles long.

In the Pits at SpeedWeek

In addition to the 500 entrants and their crews, an enormous number of people turn up every year to watch the racing and to check out the many cool cars in the pits. At night, the racers and spectators descend on the town of Wendover, or gather at "The Bend in the Road", an area on the access road where many SpeedWeek attendees choose to camp, instead of staying in one of the overpriced rooms available in town. As Wendover only see the huge numbers of visitors that Salt Racing brings to the town a couple of times a year, the local casino's aren't able to justify expanding to comfortably house all the people who want to stay in Wendover for the week, and consequently the price of a room jumps substantially for that period of time. Our room at the Red Garter would have been less than $50 any other time of the year and looked and smelt every bit a $20 dive. However, being SpeedWeek, the price ended up being US$230 per night, probably about 10 times what I'd normally pay for a very basic room that stank badly of stale cigarette smoke, despite being a non-smoking room. With that said, the accomodation was the only downer on an absolutely awesome couple of days out at the salt, and even though at this point in time I don't know when I'll be back, I can't wait for the next time we drive off the end of that access road onto the salt.

Spectre's 'Infidel' streamliner on another record breaking run

After 4 days at Bonneville, we had to move on in order to get to some of our other planned events on the trip. We still had a race meeting at Bakersfield at the weekend and a car show in Pleasanton the following weekend. We spent the night in a town called Winnemucca, at the Town House motel, probably the lucky find of the trip as far as accommodation goes. The Town House is just a small motel with a handful of rooms and had mixed reviews online. However, this very well priced motel turned out to be one of the nicest places we stayed in, especially for the dollars paid. We headed out of Winnemucca, making our way back towards California, and our next overnight stop at the south end of picturesque Lake Tahoe. During winter Tahoe is a ski resort, and the high altitude means that even in summer it's a rather pleasant place to visit with some awesome scenery and roads.

View from our hotel room of beautiful Lake Tahoe

As much as I loved driving some of the roads up until this point, including Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles and the roads out to the Grand Canyon, they were nothing compared to what we were about to experience. The road from South Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park, via State Route 4, includes a section of road known as Ebbett's Pass, which has some of the best scenery combined with some nice winding roads, tight hairpins on narrow roads and some fairly steep climbing, with the road peaking at almost 9000 feet above sea level. We paused at around 8400 feet above sea level to take a few photos of one of the pristine lakes along the pass. Lunch here was at Giant Burger in the town of Arnold, where the burgers may not have been as big as some we've eaten, but the taste certainly made up for any inaccuracies in the name.

Giant Burger - Arnold, CA

After we got back on the road, we continued down to the historic Wawona hotel, in the heart of Yosemite National Park, where we had rooms booked for the night. We made a stop off at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia in the morning and then pointed the big Cadillac towards Bakersfield and hit the highway.

ANRA Drag Racing at Famoso Raceway - Bakersfield, CA

We arrived in Bakersfield in the early evening and spent the weekend at the local dragstrip for the American Nostalgia Racing Association's Summer Nationals. This was about where we had stopped planning accomodation for the trip, as the next event we'd planned to attend was the GoodGuys 24th annual West Coast Nationals, in Pleasanton, near San Francisco. We decided over the course of the weekend to head back to Los Angeles for one more night and then take the Pacific Coastal Highway back to San Jose, with an overnight stop at San Simeon.

Santa Monica Pier at Night - Los Angeles, CA

This extension to the road trip meant we could go to Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach in Los Angeles, which we had run out of time to do the first time around, and we got to check out some of the most amazing coastal roads around. Leaving San Simeon on the Wednesday morning, we checked out the local Elephant Seal population, lazing on the beach, and then spent the whole day driving through some of the most intense fog you'll ever see. The fog would mostly roll up the side of the hills from the coast, pop up over the road and then continue rolling further up the hills that line the highway, an amazing sight to see and something that I had to try to capture with the camera. After dinner at MargaritaVille near Santa Cruz, we left the Pacific Coastal Highway and headed back to San Jose, where we would be based for the rest of our time in the United States.

Some of the Awesome Scenery on California's Pacific Coastal Highway

The remaining 10 days or so was spent exploring Northern California's Bay Area, heading out to Pleasanton for the West Coast Nationals and to Sacramento to visit the California State Capitol Building, as well as SoCal Custom's and Sacramento Vintage Ford. The Pleasanton West Coast Nationals are run by the GoodGuys Rod and Custom Association, and this was the 24th running of the event. Over 3000 hot rods and customs took over the Alameda County Fairgrounds to put on one of the most impressive shows I've been to. I reckon you could spend a week here checking out the cars and still not see everything, however we only had two days.

GoodGuys West Coast Nationals - Pleasanton, CA

During this trip we visited a couple of sites of American military historical significance, the first of these being the now retired aircraft carrier USS Hornet, now on permanent display at Alameda Point and open to the public as a floating museum, carrying a variety of aircraft from throughout her lifetime.

F14 Tomcat on the flight deck of the USS Hornet

We also visited a former missile launching site in the Marin Headlands, Nike site SF-88L, which has been restored to provide an example of a site in operational condition, complete with fully functioning missile lift and launch area, although the missiles themselves are no longer operational. The site is under the care of the National Parks Service, as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to the public from Wednesday through Friday.

Nike-Hercules Missile on the pad at SF-88L

While in Los Angeles, we had taken the opportunity to experience Major League Baseball with a Dodgers home game and now that we were in San Francisco, we had booked tickets to see the San Francisco 49ers play at Candlestick Park. I had grown up following the 49ers through the years of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young and was looking forward to seeing my favourite NFL team playing live at their home ground. A great night out was topped off by a 49er's win and a visit to In'n'Out for burgers on the way home.

Touchdown! Anthony Dixon scores for the 49ers

Our last night in San Jose saw us head to the local drive in with David and Nicole, followed by a day of hectic packing and last minute shopping before a dash to San Francisco International airport, where we made the line for check in with only minutes to spare. Once again with a long stopover in Auckland, this time we stayed inside the terminal, making the most of the available shower facilities and having a refreshing breakfast before finding a cosy set of seats to stretch out on for a rest before the flight back to Perth, arriving home just after 7pm on September the 6th, which also happens to be my birthday.

Just one of the many cars on display inside Sacramento Vintage Ford

We're now getting used to being back at work and wondering when we will next be able to head off on another trip like this one. This trip was totally self funded, and a heap of fun, however it was also a huge strain on the hip pocket, and only possible due to a heap of help from David and Nicole, who put up with having a 21 foot long Cadillac parked in their driveway from April 2009 until now, which we've used for a grand total of eight and a half weeks since then. By the time we go again, Kate and I will have had our first child, and the Cadillac will be probably back in Australia.

Your Coffee Cups, in Fremont, is the first Bikini Coffee Stand in California's Bay Area

I'm currently looking into shipping options for the Cadillac, and am very close to starting the process of importing it to Australia, meaning that if we're going to attempt another trip like this next year, we'll have to not only do it before we set those plans in motion, we'll also need to find a new home for the Cadillac and a workshop who are willing to work on it as well. However, it's pretty safe to say that unless we picked up a fairly decent amount of sponsorship for a future trip, we'll be bringing the Cadillac to Australia and will leave the repeat performance for several years.

The Capitol Records Tower at Night - Hollywood, CA

If you've made it this far, you may also be interested in reading the rest of the blog posts, which I attempted to post every day, although some ended up being delayed due to not having internet access or other factors, however I did make up for lost time when I had the opportunity. The other blog posts can be found at tbr.landbarge.com. There is also a gallery of photos that I updated throughout the roadtrip, which contains over 3000 photos. You can find that over in the galleries at LandBarge.com

I guess this means we're home

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lack of Posts

You may have noticed a lack of posts on this blog recently, that's because I've been off travelling the United States for the last couple of weeks, and will be here until the 6th of September. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with what I'm doing over on The Bonneville Run blog.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Super Model Car Sunday

The annual Super Model Car Sunday show was held at the West Coast Street Rod Club's Malaga clubrooms on Sunday July 11th. This years Super Model Car Sunday was the 12th running of the event, with over 800 models entered for the day, as well as trade stands and other entertainment on offer.

AB's Roadster outside Super Model Car Sunday

The first thing most people will notice when they arrive at Super Model Car Sunday is that there is always a good collection of Hot Rods and Kustoms outside the show, and many will spend hours walking around the streets checking out the full size show before they head inside to see the miniatures on display.

Cool Funny Car diorama on display at Super Model Car Sunday

The cars on display inside ranged from crazy custom built cars that could only exist in model form to hot rods, street machines and kustoms and a wide range of exotics as well as a selection of race cars. Also on display were several model trucks, both static and remote controlled. Some local remote control enthusiasts also braved the cold weather to put on displays with their RC trucks and drift cars. Two of my favourite cars on display were the nostalgia style funny cars shown on this page.

The level of detail in the paintwork on this Funny Car is just amazing

If you want to see more photos from Super Model Car Sunday, head on over to the gallery on HighOctanePhotos.com, where there are over 200 more photos waiting for you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

American Independence Day, In Perth

Last Sunday was American Independence Day (July the 4th, for anyone that didn't already know) and Kate and I went to a local celebration put on by the American Womens Club of Perth. This is an event thats been going on for several years now and gets bigger every year, however it's the first time I've made it down to one. We had a good time, and will most likely go again next year.

Old Glory flying in the famous Fremantle Doctor

The day was held at the Morris Buzzacott Reserve, in Kardinya, and the AWC had organised a small display of American cars and stalls selling hot dogs, American beers and soft drinks. There was also an arcade style basketball stall and a petting zoo. Inside the community centre hall were some stalls selling American snack foods and the extremely popular Krispy Kreme stall. The hall was also the venue for the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthems (both American and Australian).

American cars on display

Back outside again, and a gridiron had been marked out, where my old team, the Claremont Jets, played a scratch match as part of the 'American Sports Demonstration' on the day. A decent crowd lined the sides of the field of play to watch some good old American football.

The Claremont Jets put on a football display for the crowd

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kim's Pizza Night and Cruise

A short while ago, on a Friday night, Kim (aka Lo-Mad) ran one of his 'when we feel like it' Pizza nights. The night consists of us gathering for pizza at Brando's Pizza in Victoria Park, standing around outside talking cars for a bit and then heading off on a cruise before stopping for coffee somewhere at the end of the night.

Boris and Chris discussing Chris' AV8ER coupe

A small group made it to the gathering for pizzas at Brando's in Victoria Park, however Tuff Tin, Hey Jude and Extreme Eric were unable to join us for the cruise, which would eventually take us to Scarborough.

Watto's 56 F100 parked at Brandos

This time round, we cruised down to Hungry Jacks (To the rest of the world, it's Burger King, but that name was already taken when they opened here, so they called them Hungry Jacks instead) in Claremont (not far from where I grew up).

Doc Strangepork's pickup parked outside Hungry Jacks in Claremont

Outkast's Customline parked outside Hungry Jacks in Claremont

After we left Claremont, we headed down to Fremantle to cruise up and down the local strip (and to pick up Kim's other half) and then headed up the coast to Peter's By The Sea in Scarborough, where we finished the night off.

Ben Clements met us at Scarborough in his Holden FC wagon

Kim's PERK UP Chev pickup parked at Scarborough

You can see more photos from the night here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cranksters Winter Madness 2 - Blacky's 57 Chev

Over the Foundation Day long weekend, the Cranksters Hot Rod Club and members of the Goodfella's Hot Rod Club as well as a number of other interested and talented individuals gathered at Ferret Boilermaking in Maddington for the second Cranksters Winter Madness weekend.

Blacky's 57 Chevrolet, early on Saturday morning

The idea of these weekends is to attempt to build a hot rod or custom over the course of a weekend. Last year it was Ben "Flathead" Forster's Los Drogas Model T coupe, this year it was Geoff "Blacky" Black's turn with his 1957 2 door Chevrolet Bel Air, the Moonshine Express.

One of the first jobs was to separate the body from the chassis so that the work can begin

Prior to the weekend, Mick "Redbeard" Rumbold of Mick's Mods in Kalgoorlie (that's Mick on the left in the photo, if you haven't guessed from his nickname) had built a 505 cubic inch big Mick Rumbold, Darrell Horley and Dexter Taylor sort out the fuel line plumbing on the big block Chevblock Chev for the project, using a Dart block. Other prep work before the weekend included many hours of rust repair to the body by Blacky and Damo, who had been chosen to paint the car, and tack welding the HQ front end into the Chev chassis. Over the course of the weekend, the interior would be stripped out of the car, the body rubbed back, primered and painted. The doors were painted first, as they were to receive special treatment by signwriter Scully, who designed and painted the Moonshine Express signwriting. The body was removed from the chassis to enable the crew to split the jobs up over as many teams as possible, with separate teams taking car of the interior trim, wiring the body, preparing the chassis to be reunited with the body and polishing the multitude of chrome parts that make a 57 Bel Air complete.

Watto fitting the heat and sound absorbing floor lining

Meanwhile, Drew and Russ were busy preparing a new hood lining, fabricating and trimming new door trims and retrimming the Range Rover seats that Blacky had chosen to be his new front seats. Glenn "Watto" Watson was hard at work cutting and shaping the sound and heat absorbent matting that now covers the floor of the Bel Air and anyone who looked like they didn't have anything to do was busy polishing all the miscellaneous bits of chrome trim that would have to be fitted to the car when it was time to put it all back together.

Al Smart from Armadale Auto Parts returning from one of many parts runs over the course of the weekend

Late Saturday afternoon, the chassis team were happy with their progress and loaded the chassis onto the trailer so that Blacky could take it to the sand blasters. On it's return, it was set up for painting, as were the body and doors.

Scully took care of the signwriting duties on the doors of the 57

With all the major parts laid out waiting for paint, it was time for Damo and Scully to work their magic. Damo had already painted the doors in a makeshift paint booth outside, and before the rest of the paintwork commenced, Scully painted the Moonshine Express designs on the doors. Once the doors were painted, they were moved to another room and the workshop was cleared so that Damo could paint the chassis and body. The chassis was painted a standard underbody black, which the body received a coat of violet crumble purple paint with a satin finish. Both chassis and body were painted 'wet on wet', meaning the chassis was primered, then the body, then the chassis was painted black and the body in colour, with about 15 minutes between primer and colour.

Damo laying down the colour on the 57

Sunday would see teams fitting brakes, brake lines and fuel lines to the chassis, fitting the Turbo 400 to the back of the big block and continuing the fit out of the body, with the steering column getting fitted and a lot more wiring being run under the dash. The dash cluster was also painted and fitted with instrumentation, which Blacky would fit later on Sunday night.

Blacky fitting the instrument cluster to the Moonshine Express

Also on Sunday night, the team would attempt to fit the big Chev power plant. Unfortunately, the 'bolt on' headers would present a slight problem, as 2 of the pipes on each side of the motor fouled on the new front end. With time and resources at a premium, it was decided that this was one of those jobs that would have to be rectified after the weekend was over, and the pipes were cut back far enough to clear the chassis.

Doc Strangepork (John) gets to work removing the offending pipework

After the headers were modified and the engine mounts and front crossmember modified to Craig 'Flames' Clements spent most of the weekend buried under the dash wiring the big Chevsuit the motor, the remainder of the exhaust was pieced together and tied in place, the workshop was re-arranged to prepare for the mounting of the body on the chassis and tools were put down for the night.

When Monday morning rolled around, it was time to get serious about putting the body on the chassis, at which point the wiring harness could be connected to the engine and the fuel and brake lines could be finished, but before that could happen, the exaust was finished and mounted and the tailshaft loop, which doubles as an exhaust hanger, was fitted.

The glaziers were on hand shortly afterwards to fit the front and rear glass before the team gathered again to lift the body onto the chassis.

The team lifting the body onto the chassis while Blacky (right) gives valuable advise

Once the body was on the chassis, it was time to finish a couple of wiring and plumbing tasks and to fit up the doors, front sheet metal and radiator. Norm and Vicki from Aussie Desert Coolers were not only on hand to film the event for an upcoming DVD, they also supplied the radiator used in the build.

The big Aussie Desert Cooler supplied radiator filling the front of Moonshine Express

Now that everything was back together, it was time to fire up the car and drive it out of the workshop. After a few false starts, the big Chev fired and left two black stripes on the workshop floor as it left the building, coming to a stop surrounded by onlookers out the front of Ferret Boilermaking.

Mission complete - The Moonshine Express leaves the Ferret Boilermaking workshop under it's own power

There are a lot more photos over on LandBarge.com, 396 of them in the Winter Madness 2 gallery.

Most of the team (those left standing anyway) gathered for a group shot at the end of the weekend