Bright Rod Run 2021 – gallery

A selection of favourites from this year’s unofficial run

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

While the famed Bright Rod Run was officially canned this year due to COVID restrictions, a huge contingent of cars still hit the Victorian alpine town for a weekend of cruising action.

Aside from a torrential downpour on Saturday evening, the weather held off, with everything from traditional rods to angry rotaries brushing shoulders along Bright’s packed main street.

We’ll have more coverage of the event soon, but for now, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite cars to appear.

1. Ricky Hyde’s stunning ’63 Impala SS coupe packs just over 500 cubes in a tube front end, all fully engineered! He’s owned the car for two decades and treated it to a rebirth over the past four years. The once 6/71-blown donk feeds a Turbo 400 and nine-inch diff, and steers through a rack-and-pinion arrangement.

A painter by trade, Ricky did most of the work on the car himself. A Holley Super Sniper EFI set-up is a recent addition, which he said is “chalk and cheese” compared to the previous double-pumper carby. “There’s no flat spots; you stand on it and it just goes,” he said. The Bright regular cruised up from Seville, cutting plenty of laps across the weekend.

2. Warrnambool’s Paul Cooper snagged this factory big-block ’68 Camaro from a Beaumaris importer almost 20 years ago. The car ran a 350 at the time, but engine damage led Paul to drop in an injected 502ci ZZ502 crate motor.

Chopped engine mounts and a shaved Arizona Speed Shop intake manifold allow everything to rest under the original bonnet. It’s backed by a manual T56 ’box, while a four-linked rear and airbags rest underneath. Originally red, the car copped a lick of orange well before Paul’s ownership. “I really like the burnt orange paint, so I’ve decided just to leave it as-is,” he said. On the seven-hour drive to Bright, the Camaro achieved an impressive 12L/100km.

3. This super-tidy Kingston Cream HK Monaro belongs to Paul Fava. The former 186 car has retained its factory colour, and now runs a carby LS1 matched to a Powerglide and nine-inch diff. It’s more of a cruiser compared to Paul’s 1000hp K1LLAQ HQ sedan, though it still carries a 550hp punch.

4. Phil Galea’s ZF Fairlane wears a rare factory wind-back sunroof and continental roof combo. The Sydneysider procured the car as a one-owner prospect from a mate’s parents before it was treated to a four-week build for Street Machine Summernats 32.

The stock white-on-white scheme was changed to black on Yellow Fire, and the 302 Cleveland was turfed in favour of a 400hp 351 with AFD heads. The untubbed car features massaged rear guards and a nine-inch “shortened to the shithouse” with 3.7 gears. Phil and his mates plan to eventually slot in an angrier powerplant, likely built on a Dart block.

5. Scott Moreland’s family heirloom S-series Valiant has received a few updates since its 2017 Street Machine feature. The Chrysler 360 is now a 410ci stroker, fed by a twin tunnel-ram intake. It’s now on-trend with a set of Weld wheels replacing Convo Pros. Scott brought two of his sons along for the ride to Bright from Bannockburn, camping out in swags for the weekend.

6. MENTLE Camaro owner Milan Dokic debuted his freshly completed HG van at Bright. “It was 90 per cent complete when I bought it during the first week of COVID, but it had an injected five-litre, which made me puke!” he laughed.

It was replaced with a small-block Chev displacing 412 cubes, with 12:1 JE pistons, a 600-lift solid cam and –10 Brodix heads. Behind the tough donk is a bombproof Turbo 350 with a 4500rpm converter, and a 31-spline nine-inch. Other touches include a fresh red leather interior and mini-tubs to handle chunky 295 rear meats.

7. Peter Gruyters’s incredible bare-metal ’32 was our pick on the hot rod side. It’s built on an original chassis with a chopped Brookville body, clear-coated and punched with 701 louvres! A 572ci Boss big-block sits up front, with Kaase heads and dual FiTech injection. Power goes to a TKO five-speed and Winters quick-change diff with full-floating hubs.

Peter, who ruled the 2003 Street Rod Nationals and has attended every official Rod Run since 1991, unveiled the Ford during May’s Sydney Hot Rod & Custom Expo. When it rolled off the trailer in Bright, it had just 25km on the clock.

8. Robert Broadhurst has been cruising his throwback HJ van for three years. Purchased as an ex-workhorse sans running gear, Rob immediately set about tracking down 70s and 80s goodies for the car. “It had to be old-school,” he said. “Everybody does them up as original with no windows, but I like this look.”

The purple bubble windows are period 80s pieces sourced from Mildura, while the wing is also original. Running gear is a mild 308 with a four-speed ’box and Salisbury 3.08 third member. “I came here for the first time a few years ago and absolutely loved it,” Rob said. “I missed out last year, but it’s great to be back.”

9. Leigh Cullinger channels XBOSS vibes with his Falcon coupe, which was yet another freshly completed build to appear on Bright’s streets. The GS’s door handles have been shaved, the drip rails removed and the front clip seamlessly melded with the front guards. A Shafiroff 427ci small-block provides motivation, paired to a T56 from Mal Wood Automotive. An RRS three-link coilover kit sits out back, and rack-and-pinion steering also made the cut. Inside is a mixture of retrimmed BF and FG Falcon componentry. “It hugs the road, there’s plenty of torque, and it cruises at two grand,” Lee enthused.

10. This worm-burning ’54 Chev came into Michael House’s life as a stock, rust-free example. He soon set about implanting a cammed and injected LS with plenty of compression, backed by a four-speed auto. The Albury-Wodonga truckie drives the ’bagged, full-rego car as much as he can, travelling as far as Queensland with family in tow. Next on the list is a right-hook conversion, using an Aussie dash.