Keen rodders and old hands got together for a weekend of fine food, cool drinks and classic iron at the inaugural Boogaloo Invitational

Photographers: Boris Viskovic, Chris Thorogood, Chris Cooper

The inaugural Boogaloo Invitational – held in May 2016 – brought together some of the coolest hotrods, bikes and customs in the land

FOR a first-time event, the Boogaloo Invitational sure went off with a bang. Held at Wattle Flat Recreation Reserve in Castlemaine, Victoria, the weekend-long event – as the name suggests – was invitation-only. “We sent out 425 invitations all up; about 100 of them were bikes. We had 280 of them RSVP and most of them turned up on the day,” event organiser Des Russell says.

Boogaloo -invitational -43Whatever the final number was, there was plenty of nice stuff to check out while you munched on your pulled pork or brisket roll – mmm, barbecue – with a great mix of original old hot rods and modern interpretations of the coolest stuff from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Even though it was the first time they had put on the show, Des and his better half Tesha managed to bring together some of the best hot rods, customs and bikes in Oz – a feat that wouldn’t have been possible just 10 years ago, because quite honestly, there wouldn’t have been the numbers.

Boogaloo -invitational -36The traditional hot rod and custom bike movement has really gained some momentum in Australia in the past few years, and the good news is, it’s mostly the younger crew that are into it. In saying that, there were also a few of the older crowd that had kept that traditional flame kindled back in the deep dark – or should that be light and pastel? – years of the 80s and 90s. I’m talking about guys like Mark Brownrigg, who has had his flathead-powered AV8 roadster on the road since the early 90s and has covered more miles in it than most people have done in their daily drivers. I can directly point to his car as one of those that turned me on to traditional hot rodding, and it’s great to see that he’s still digging it. Chatting to him at the Boogaloo, he was clearly rapt that the scene has grown into what it is today. He doesn’t get anywhere near as many weird looks as he used to when he rocks up to a hot rod show.

Boogaloo -invitational -24While there was a great turnout of cars and bikes for this first Boogaloo, there’s no doubt the weather kept some people away, and while there’s room for the event to grow, there are no great plans to make this some kind of ‘traditional nationals’. It will always be an invite-only event, so Des and Tesha can keep it as small or make it as large as they like.

Boogaloo -invitational -3BIf you want live bands and other entertainment, there are plenty of other events that’ll cater to you, but for the Boogaloo, it’s all about hanging out, drinking beers and checking out the purest collection of traditionally styled hot rods and bikes this country has to offer. Throw in some tasty food vendors, open fires and some killer short films – including the latest offering from our mate Piero of Mad Fabricators fame – and you’ve got a recipe for a great little get-together.

Boogaloo -invitational -53Apart from the tragedy of two broken espresso machines at the coffee van, the event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great old time. With some slightly nicer weather – and coffee – the Boogaloo will be even better in 2017. Let’s hope we get an invite!

Boogaloo -invitational -41Al Fountain always builds a nice car. Whether it’s a 60s muscle car, salt lake racer or hot rod, they’re always beautifully styled and exceptionally well-built – and usually Mopar-powered.

Boogaloo -invitational -42Al’s ’32 Vicky is no different and sports a 301 Poly, which is basically a Hemi with polyspherical heads on it

Boogaloo -invitational -40A bunch of excellent hot rods from SA scored an invite, including Tony Jenkins’s ’32 tudor. With a genuine Ford body that had been on its side in a creek for 30 years, Tony tidied it up and gave it a bit of a haircut, stuffed it full of nailhead Buick and sprinkled in a little bit of speedway

Boogaloo -invitational -37The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Peter Swift’s son, Corey, has had this blown flattie-powered ’32 roadster on the road since 2003. Back then he was one of the younger guys getting the traditional scene going in Australia

Boogaloo -invitational -39Lisa-Maree Bradford recently finished her EK wagon with new custom paint and a wild interior. It used to be her daily driver, but I’m not so sure about that now; it looks a bit too flash! Her fiancé Max Mcginnis also has a super-cool cruiser, a ’51 Chevy more-door with a paintjob inspired by Larry Watson’s Grapevine Chevy

Boogaloo -invitational -38Ryan Ford’s ‘Hard Metal’ coupe is looking pretty bad-arse, but he’s going to tear it all down and get it looking a lot prettier in time for Chopped. Does this guy ever sleep?

Boogaloo -invitational -37The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Peter Swift’s son, Corey, has had this blown flattie-powered ’32 roadster on the road since 2003. Back then he was one of the younger guys getting the traditional scene going in Australia

Boogaloo -invitational -33There were four hot rods on display at the Boogaloo that were largely unchanged from when they hit the road in the early 60s. Peter Swift’s T-bucket (above) and the ex-Eddie Ford ’34 coupe (below) were parked alongside each other

Boogaloo -invitational -35Down the back of that lot was Peter Clara’s channelled and Y-block powered ’32 roadster (below)

Boogaloo -invitational -32Also among the four, John Parker brought along the ex-John Anderson ’32 roadster (above), which rolls on a set of John English wheels, and although it’s restored, it’s just as it was back in the day. There was a fifth car there as well, Rob Carroll’s yellow ’32 highboy roadster, which was originally a channelled car built and raced by Rip Kirby back in the 60s

Boogaloo -invitational -23The term ‘traditional’ can cover a lot of bases, so whether you’re into the late-50s look like Brentyn Wakefield’s ’32 five-window or you prefer something a little earlier like the ‘banger-powered A tudor behind, you’d probably see it at the Boogaloo. Brentyn’s car won the Outkast’s Choice gong

Boogaloo -invitational -20Ben Love is a young hot rodder who doesn’t stuff around. He was running around in a chopped and channelled Model A coupe not long after he got his licence, and now he’s rolling in this killer custom ’60 Chevy Apache. The tube grille and ’54 Chevy tail-lights go nicely with the custom paint ont he roof

Boogaloo -invitational -19Pat Moore’s Improved A roadster was the subject of a popular build thread on the HAMB, and he managed to get it to the Boogaloo, not quite finished, but running. It has a very nasty-sounding flathead in it and was the pick of the bunch for event organiser Des Russell

Boogaloo -invitational -17Pete Spicer’s modified is one hell of a cool car that we’ve shown you plenty of times before, but the six carbs on the nailhead is a relatively new thing, so here’s another shot

Boogaloo -invitational -15I’m pretty sure that guy looking at the rear end of Holly Nelson’s Chevy is thinking: “Check. That. Arse!”

Boogaloo -invitational -29Three of the coolest Triumphs you’ll ever see were on display at the Boogaloo, all with a great 60s vibe and built with more than a smattering of hot rod styling. Thom Armstrong’s ’52 Thunderbird 6T (above) wasn’t quite finished, but considering he smashed it together in the two weeks prior to the Boogaloo, he did pretty well. It’s got a Wassell tank and fender on it and was painted with a pearl white frame and candy fade on the tank, inspired by Larry Watson.

Boogaloo -invitational -30Jimmy Staig’s ’52 Thunderbird (bottom right) was another stunning bike built with simple, clean styling but with more of a chopper look thanks to its sissy bar and higher handlebars. Plenty of polish and chrome complemented the metallic green paint.

Boogaloo -invitational -31The last of the Triumph trio was Paul Kuhle’s ’70 TR6/120 unit (above), which was probably my favourite of the three due mostly to the fact it had a lot of hot rod touches that I could relate to. The pale blue paint was set off nicely with a set of asymmetrical seaweed flames/scallops applied by Ryan Ford after Paul gave him free rein on the project. Paul said the only item he bought for the bike was the bolt-on hardtail; just about everything else he fabricated himself. Even the paintjob is Paul’s handiwork