The Street Champion chase at Street Machine Summernats is always a fun spectacle, seeing a varied contingent of super-neat, road-driven cars assemble outside the Elite Hall before slipping and sliding around the main oval’s obstacle course.
This year’s top dog is Joel Smith with his effortlessly cool, Holden-powered HQ Kingswood!
“It’s all come together in the past six months, but it’s been in the build for 10 years,” Joel explained. “I bought it in three billion pieces, stripped it, repaired it all, moved house, built a house, had kids – all that stuff. I’d try to go out there for an hour or two during the week, then on the weekends.” He pulled it all apart again in July for wiring and a lick of paint, and it was only finished on the Wednesday before Summernats.
“Dave and Michelle Stephenson have been a massive help; Dave wired it for me,” Joel said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Up front is an iron lion stroked to 355 cubes, wearing VN heads and mated to a Turbo 400 and shortened nine-inch diff. The rear features mini-tubs and a minor bit of chassis rail massaging to handle the timeless, big-dish 15×9-inch Simmons B45s and 275/60 rubber.
A hearty dose of Houndstooth rounds out the classy engine bay and boot fit-outs. It’s all unpretentious stuff, but finished to a hard-to-fault level.
Coming away with three other gongs – Top Standard Paint, 2nd Top Sedan and 2nd Top Engine Bay – was a bit of a shock to Joel, who reckoned he didn’t set out to build anything “out of the ordinary”.
“I didn’t really expect it; I’d sort of thought about doing [Street Champion], but I didn’t think the car would stack up against the competition,” he said. Joel soon proved himself wrong, thanks in no small part to an awesome, crowd-pleasing effort in Saturday’s grass driving events.
There wasn’t really a moment when the Quey had traction at the rear meats, with Joel feeding it plenty of opposite lock as he navigated the bollards. “It was really fun; I wish there was more of it,” he laughed.