Border Battle: State v State!

Victoria claimed bragging rights at the third annual Border Battle with a narrow victory over New South Wales

Photographers: Luke Hunter

In October last year, Border Battle returned to Albury-Wodonga for the third time since its inception in 2019, and the warring parties from New South Wales and Victoria brought their A games.

First published in the February 2024 issue of Street Machine

This State of Origin-style car show has come along in leaps and bounds. With entrant numbers limited to 100 and with an emphasis on showing a variety of cars and automotive subcultures, it has widened its appeal by adding family activities and live music. Spectator entry cost a measly gold coin donation for adults and was free for kids under 16, and the show drew a large crowd of car enthusiasts and the general public.

The event is put on by Street Machine photographer Luke Hunter, with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers.

“The concept of the show when we established it was to pit our local Victorian and New South Wales cars against each other, but now we see entrants coming from as far away as Melbourne and Sydney, which is awesome!” Luke said. “We had a huge variety of cars on display, with everything from hot rods and classic street machines through to supercars, JDM performance and plenty of old-school factory muscle cars.”

The 2023 event was held in the Kiewa Street car park in Albury’s CBD, and the organisers set out to make it something more than just a car show, expanding it into what Luke calls a “family friendly, car-based mini-festival”.

“We had live music by local musicians Josh Douglas and Macro, and we organised some high-grade catering trucks that came and served up top-notch food,” he said. “We also had free kids’ entertainment events, including a colouring-in competition and our very popular face-painting sessions.”

The car show itself is set up as a state versus state battle, while there are also individual trophies up for grabs, with some awards chosen by the spectators, including one chosen by the kids. When it came to judging, the overall winner, taking out the inaugural Best in Show trophy sponsored by BF Transport & Logistics, was Jason Vyner and his 1928 Model A pick-up. Jason’s snazzy hot rod beat last year’s winner Glenn Fairall’s 1930 Ford phaeton by just one point in the judging.

Anyone keen to come along or enter their cars at the 2024 event, it’s scheduled for 26 October, so keep an eye on the Border Battle social pages.


1. Status Customs’s asphalt-scraping retro Mazda mini-truck oozes cool.

2. Damon Cammish from Griffith represented the JDM boys with his highly modified Nissan Skyline.

3. One for the soot lovers, Ian Thomsen’s compound-turbocharged Cummins diesel-powered 1950 F-truck has cool patina and a tough stance to boot!

4. Brett Cox’s Barra-swapped XF ute took out Judges’ Choice.

5. Arnold Maddison’s 1973 Rambler Matador hearse is a rare beast with a killer stance.

6. Jason Sandland from Lavington, NSW took home the People’s Choice Award with his airbrushed VS ute. The car was built 22 years ago and featured in Street Commodores magazine in 2003! “A few things have changed since then, but the tailgate, roof and a new front bar are the only things repainted since it was built,” said Jason. “Border Battle was the first time I’ve ever shown it, and it was great to take home People’s Choice.”

7. Paul Harris’s rebuilt VE HSV Commodore SS was one of the stand-out cars of the event, its colour-change paint coming into its own as the sun set. “It was unveiled in March 2021 at Bathurst Autofest, and at Summernats 34, it took third place for Special Effects Paint,” Paul said. The paint is called ‘DRKDVL’ and was custom made by HAMR Coatings. The car is running a 408ci stroked L98, a TR6060 six-speed manual and Truetrac 3.9 diff.

8. Colin Bickley’s 1940 custom Willys hot rod is an immaculately built rolling work of art.

9. One of the coolest cars on display was a drop-dead gorgeous 1972 De Tomaso Pantera. The factory 351ci Ford Cleveland-powered supercar is owned by Adrian Gorter from Corowa.

10. Taking home third place overall was Wayne Butler and his immaculate 1973 Ford Escort Mk1. The two-door was fully restored back in 2015 to GT spec and runs a 1600cc four-pot engine with twin Weber carbies.

11. Dean Star’s XA GT took home the Best Paint award and was one of several mint-condition Aussie muscle cars on display.

12. Winner of Top Victorian and first place overall was Jason Vyner’s 1928 Model A Ford pick-up. Not only is it a high-quality show car, but it also sees regular drag strip duties.

13. Second place overall, and also taking home Top NSW car, Best Interior and Best Presented, was Glenn Fairall’s 1930 Ford phaeton.

14. The local kids obviously have impeccable automotive taste. The Kids’ Choice award went to Andrew Doubleday’s Chev-powered HT Monaro!

15. One of the coolest American muscle cars at Border Battle was Tracey Pawlik’s tough-as-nails, split-bumper 1970 Camaro.

16. Daniel Ward’s 1966 VC Valiant Regal no longer runs the factory slant-six driveline and has been upgraded to arguably one of Japan’s finest inline-sixes. “It’s running a Toyota 2JZ with an A340 Toyota auto and a Ford 8.8in diff,” he said. “I’m in the process of piecing together a new combination for it – still 2JZ though.”

17. Steve and Sharon Brown from Griffith brought their V8-powered 1960 FB Holden to the event. “It’s an FB Standard, so everyone confuses it with an EK, and it was originally built as a burnout/drag car by a friend of our son around 10 years ago,” Sharon said. “The motor is a worked 304 Holden that has been fully rebuilt by Steve, and the diff ratio was changed to 3.45:1 to make it more street friendly”

18. The Longest Travelled award went to Tim Bailey with his Ford Mustang GT, who made the journey all the way down from Sydney.