Geelong All Ford Day 2023 highlights

A few of our top pics from a massive Geelong show

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Geelong’s All Ford Day has seen a few different venues over the last decade or so, moving from the lush but cramped grounds of Deakin University to Corio’s Sutcliff reserve, which proved more than spacious but prone to becoming a dustbowl or mud pit depending on the weather.

The AFD crew have now lined up Eastern Park as the massive show’s (hopefully permanent) home, sprawling across three ovals and shade-filled park spaces.

A record 1500 entries cemented AFD’s reputation as the biggest Ford show in the country, with punters travelling from as far as Queensland to show off their Blue Ovals. We’ll bring you a big gallery and more extensive coverage soon, but in the meantime, enjoy a few of our favourite spottos!

Perrin Angus’s XY drew plenty of attention on the main oval, as onlookers took in all the details of Matt Barnsley (The Render Garage)’s killer Bathurst tribute wrap job.

As usual, there was a lot of feature car representation dotted around the grounds, including Phil Bartolo’s 520hp, 393ci Clevo-powered XP Futura hardtop.

Luffy’s RS2000 Esky wears a gorgeous X-pack widebody kit, with an E85-sipping Cosworth Duratec 2.0 up front for 205hp at the wheels via a Quaife sequential manual.

“I actually flew over to the UK to pick some of the bits up because they were taking too long,” Luffy explains. “And I got a tour of the [Cosworth] factory as well, so even better!” It’s seen a fair bit of action on hillclimb tracks around Victoria, and is a lot of fun at just 860kg.

Darren Bonnici’s stunning XP hardtop debuted at MotorEx 2022, and AFD marked just its second public showing. Jason Mansweto built the 347 Windsor, which runs to a manualised C4 and braced Truetrac nine-inch rear. Stay tuned for a proper feature soon!

Andrew Holdsworth’s GTA Fairlane was one of several Drag Challenge alumni in attendance, joining Noel Inman’s Model T. The Kool Wrap man has now earned two ‘I survived’ stickers, though a runaway trailer at DC22/23 almost put an end to his latest effort.

Paul Roaden always rolls with a selection of cool stuff; one highlight this year was his daily-driven, Harrop-blown LS1-powered F100. There’s also a 4L60 auto, Mustang II front end, four-link rear, and ’bags and. Paul imported the truck essentially as-is from the states, but it needed some re-engineering to be signed off to Aussie standards. “I’ll probably put a better auto in it because it’s not liking the power it makes,” Paul says. “And then I’ll probably put a 6.2 in it.”

“Everyone thinks it’s tubbed,” laughs Emanuel Axiaq of his 351 Clevo-powered XB sedan, which packs a 275/60R15 rear tyre. AFD was the Apollo Blue car’s first drive, with a minor diff leak being the only issue. Emanuel laid down the paint himself, and there’s a tougher mill in the build right now.

The ’34 Ford-bodied ‘Ricochet 75’ speedway car was something different to the usual street car fare, but was a great marker of Geelong’s racing history. Built and raced by the late Ray Welsh, the car won four Australian titles and nine Victorian titles, and appeared in multiple feature races. Graeme Pitcher and Mark Welsh finished restoring the 239ci Flathead-powered car in 2021. Behind the mill is a three-speed toploader and ’37 Ford banjo diff, with a ’36 beam front axle, ’39 brakes, and a reversed FC Holden steering box rounding out the undercarriage.