Some of our favorite modified cars from the Adelaide Auto Expo and Hot Rod Show

Photographers: Cam Inniss

FOR the past decade, Geof Tartoosie and his team of dedicated helpers have put together the Adelaide Auto Expo & Hot Rod Show. It’s SA’s only indoor auto event, and this year featured over 1000 cars over the Friday and Saturday at the Adelaide Showgrounds. Inside the main pavilion, the pristine rides are arranged in several classes from Elite to Street, including a Meguiar’s Superstars round.

Ford XB Falcon XBOSSStepping into the pavilion you’re hit front and centre with the 2016 Street Machine Of The Year winner, Chris and Colleen Bitmead’s XBOSS Falcon. It was the first time Adelaidians have had the chance to view the trophy-slaying coupe up close, and it’s fair to say it was extremely well received. While Chris Bitmead was still on cloud nine after taking out Australia’s most prestigious street machining award, he remained extremely humble and was happy to chat with eager onlookers. Surrounding the XB was a raft of Elite builds from across Oz, leading you through to the rest of the amazing metal ’n’ glass on display.

57 Chev Pick UpOutside, the automotive feast continued with a cruise for Aussie rides on the Friday night, and an outdoor show on Saturday, which then gave way to the all-American Zippel cruise later in the arvo.

Across the event there were the usual mix of makes and models, providing a colourful visual spectacular. We’re talking local classics, supercars, hot rods, US metal, along with a few Japanese and Euro rides thrown in for good measure. And each car stood on its own merits, deserving a good, solid walk-around to soak in the builders’ intentions.

VC Valiant SedanIt’s even better when the owner is on hand to offer their build anecdotes, such as the great family story of Mark and Frank Navacchi’s VC Valiant. “I was handed the keys to Nonno’s VC a few years back,” Mark said. “He’d bought it new, while working at Adelaide’s Chrysler factory.” Mark started the rebuild, but then a move interstate for work saw the Valiant move into the capable hands of his dad Frank. Frank oversaw the project’s completion, including the immaculate Mint Opal paint, pearl-cream vinyl interior and mild 225ci build.

32 Ford Coupe BlownThe stories were as varied as the mods that people had performed on their creations, with this year’s popular theme being blown, tubbed cars in otherwise relatively stock guise. A few were more discreet, keeping it all under-bonnet with set-ups to get the neddies down the track. And with Adelaide International Raceway up and running again, a couple of heavy-hitters were on display to tease those wanting more before the following weekend’s Summer Nationals.

Holden Caprice Blown Burnout CarCar clubs were featured throughout, with the Street Machine Association of South Australia (SMASA) proudly showing off a variety of rides, proving the Association’s all-makes, all-models policy. The club has gone from strength to strength with over 450 individual members and 20 affiliated clubs, representing around 2500 motoring enthusiasts. There’s a heap more promised too, with continued positive talks between dedicated enthusiast Glenn Stankevicius and the State Minister for Transport to implement conditional registration for modified vehicles – a logbook scheme for legally modified cars from ’78 or earlier.

With such a strong local movement, we can’t wait to see what’s in store at the 2017 Adelaide Auto Expo, 24-25 November.

Pontiac ChiefDave and Tracy Cohen’s ’52 Pontiac Chieftain may’ve won Best Old School, but it’s no resto. Auto Transformers overhauled the whole shooting match, including a 350ci Chev Vortec, T400 and nine-inch combo, before getting the beauty street-legal.

Holden VK Commodore LSAA few interstaters crossed the border to take home some South Aussie tinware. Anthony Safar wowed the crowds with his blown VK Commo, taking home the Top Engine Bay, Top Interior/Rear Compartment and Best Street Machine awards in the Street Elite category.

Ford XB Falcon XBOSS 22016 SMOTY winner XBOSS came, saw, and conquered. Chris and Colleen Bitmead took out every single top Elite trophy and also featured on the Saturday-morning Today Show to talk about their SMOTY win.

Holden Torana Race CarJason Waye’s rides never fail to impress. Lately he’s turned his attention to historic racing and has invested in a couple of race cars, including this undoubtedly 80s-built LJ Torry in its fully flared track get-up. Jason plans to hit the circuits with the 265ci Hemi-powered Holden soon.

Mitsubishi Sigma Turbo V8What’s not to love about Phillip Bennett’s turbo V8-powered Sigma? The drag-spec rims and rubber take away all pretence of it being a sleeper. Phil’s PB is an 8.90sec quarter-mile at AIR, and fittingly, he was handed the Tough Street Top Innovation award.

32 Ford Coupe Blown SilverGeof Tartoosie not only managed to pull together Adelaide’s most prestigious street machine and rod show, he also built his blown ’32, starting only four months prior. “It wasn’t meant to be Elite, but the paint was so good that I changed tack,” Geof said. The accidental show coupe took home Elite Runner-Up for Best Undercarriage & Driveline, as well as a much-sought-after Meguiar’s Superstars invite.

65 Impala CoupeGrant and Stephanie Zippel are Adelaide’s Mr and Mrs Cruise Scene. They’ve been running American-only Zippel cruise nights for 28 years, including at the Adelaide Auto Expo for the past seven years. That’s their low-mileage ’65 SS Impala behind.

Holden Torana LC GTRAuto Transformers recently completed the body and paint on Pat Rugalo’s tough ’n’ tidy street-legal 350ci-powered LJ Torana. Pat was awarded Street Elite Top Paint at the Expo.

Holden VL TurboBrendan Zadow’s still racing his turboed RB30-powered VL, with a current quarter-mile PB of 8.8@155mph. Proving it is still as neat as it is quick, the orange weapon was handed the Tough Street Ultimate Sleeper award.

FJ Holden Panel VanDave Polklaser put hundreds of hours into getting his genuine windowless FJ pano to its current daily-driver state. Up front is a 161ci donk, backed with a T700. “I drove from Adelaide to Tasmania on $80 worth of fuel,” Dave said.

Hot Rod Pick UpAfter a stuck throttle saw my hubby Shane’s ’41 Chevy pick-up hit our rock garden, he worked non-stop during the two weeks leading up to the Expo to get it ready for its Adelaide debut

VL Commodore Blown MRGRPAAdelaide’s Steven Brown is a renowned car artist, and you’ll see him at most car events with his art kit in tow. Say g’day and commission him to do a work of your ride if you see him out.

Hot Rod AdelaideWith 51 years under its belt, the SA Rod & Custom Club felt the need for two displays. One was dedicated solely to the female club members’ rides.

Chev Pick Up Custom PHATSOJeff Watt’s ’54 Ford pick-up, Phatso, has been getting around the Adelaide scene for a couple of years, and it still has the goods, taking out Street Elite Top Innovation & Engineering and Top Body.