Monday, January 10, 2011

New Car Time

Having recently become parents, both Kate and I have come to the realisation that our previous daily drivers weren't very well suited to carrying a little baby around. Kate's R32 Skyline GTS-T and my JZA70 Toyota Supra, having only 2 doors, are not only cramped in the rear seat, but it's far from easy to load a baby seat over a folded down front seat. The Ambulance on the other hand, has plenty of room in the back, but no seats or baby restraint mounting points. As a result, we've had to find a couple of replacements.

I had my eye on this VN Calais from the moment it pulled up out the front of work a few weeks ago. Traded in by an elderly gentleman, it's in very good condition for it's age and the kilometres traveled.

The beauty of this car is that there's nothing particularly special about it, it's just a nice clean, very stock (it's got an aftermarket radio), '89 VN Calais with the then new 3.8 litre Buick V6 and a 4 speed automatic transmission. As far as my plans for this car, my only intentions are to keep it in as good a condition as it is now, or to restore it slightly, depending on availability of the parts required. It's not getting any go fast bits at all, at least not until all the other projects I have underway are completed.

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.