Motorvation 35 at Perth Motorplex

Hot weather and a bushfire down the road couldn’t stop the fun at Motorvation 35

Photographers: Boris Viskovic, Jordan Leist

WITH a long and storied history, Motorvation is a staple of the West Aussie street machining scene, but for the past few years it’s been struggling to find a direction and a crew to push it forward.

However, the Summernats team came on board just a few months ago to mount the 2021 event (and beyond), and it was pretty amazing what they managed to achieve in association with the Motorvation team in such a short timeframe. Bringing it back to a three-day event made the punters at Perth Motorplex even happier, and running eighth-mile drags on the entrants-only Friday night was a masterstroke, with a swag of tough cars hitting the track.

Saturday saw the crowds flock in, although a bushfire nearby that caused the freeway to be closed in both directions meant some people would have been delayed getting to the Motorplex. But I’m sure once they arrived they forgot about all the dramas as they soaked in some 500 cars that turned out for the event.

Photos: Jordan Leist & Boris Viskovic

It was so good that the West Aussie scene came on board and were willing to give these east coast interlopers a chance. Sure, there were a few delays and teething problems as people all arrived at once and tried to get through scrutineering, but once they were in, had their sticker on the windscreen and cut a few laps, all those woes were forgotten.

The real bummer was that Andy Lopez, Ellie Thorley and the rest of the ’Nats team couldn’t actually get across for the event after busting their arses for three months to make sure it happened, but they still spent plenty of time on the phone dealing with any issues that arose. Hopefully next year the world will be a more normal place and everyone will be able to get across for it. I’ve got a pretty good feeling it’s going to be massive.

Dates for Motorvation 36 are set for 4-6 February 2022, and tickets are already on sale at In the meantime, here are some of our favourites from this year’s event.



YOU don’t see to many Mercury Cougars around, not compared to Mustangs anyway, but there were at least four at Motorvation 35. We reckon Stephen Allen’s example was far and away the nicest, and more than likely the toughest thanks to its 598ci Jon Kaase Boss Nine engine.

The car was actually finished quite a few years ago, but was then heavily vandalised when some scumbags broke into the shed. It took a while for Stephen to get over that punch in the guts, but the car is now back and better than ever, covered in Candy Coke from top to bottom.


FRANK Vizzari used to own a Camaro, but a few years ago he was keen to get something a bit bigger to cruise around in and he figured a Chevelle would fit the bill perfectly. He managed to score one from over east; the body needed a lot of TLC, but the engine and driveline were sweet. To sort it out, Frank took the car to Manni’s Custom Panel & Paint, where it was prepped for the custom HOK Galaxy Grey mixed up by Rachael Durbidge.

The engine is a 540-cube big-block built by Flowcraft, and according to Frank, “it makes enough horsepower”. The car is untubbed, but he still managed to squeeze 18×10.5 Simmons rims on the back and some 18x8s up front.


IF I HAD to pick a favourite from Motorvation 35, Brad Durtanovich’s Monaro would be it. I obviously have good taste, as it was given the Judges’ Choice award. And let’s face it, what’s not to love about it? It boasts flawless mile-deep black paint by Neil Moneypenny at Xclusivefx, and there’s a stonking, 900hp, 598ci fattie up front with a tunnel ram topped by a pair of 1050 carbs on a diet of E85. It’s pretty clear fuel economy wasn’t on the to-do list with this build.

Another neat touch is the blacked-out bumpers, which aren’t painted but finished in a kind of black chrome. The interior is fully restored with Sandalwood trim, while the shifter and painted instrument cluster are the only deviations from stock.


THE plates on Joe Catalano’s Camaro read MR MUSCLE, and they suit the owner as much as they do the car. The proprietor of VAMPfit in Bunbury, a couple of hours south of Perth, Joe made the trek up to the Motorplex to display his tough-as-nails pro street beast.

Originally imported from the USA, the Camaro had barely rolled out of the container before Joe had it in a million bits. Some two-and-a-half years later, it had been completely rebuilt and the smoothed-out body swathed in pearl orange. As the plates suggest, there’s plenty of muscle on hand, with a 540ci big-block topped with Brodix heads and an 8/71 blower. Joe also added a rollcage and fully trimmed the interior and boot in leather.

More highlights:

Paul Hitchcock’s ’69 Mustang fastback called to me with its 1970s vibe, and had the coolest set of tyres on the rear I’ve ever seen. “I blew up the engine at Motorvation about 10 years ago, built a new motor for it five years ago and it’s taken me this long to put it in, so this is its maiden voyage,” Paul said.

It’s a four-bolt, 4V factory block that has been stroked to 393 cubes, topped with a Holley Dominator intake and Quick Fuel carb.

Adam Sweeney cruised his ’58 Chevy Bel Air all weekend with a carload of mates. It doesn’t get much cooler than that, so it’s no surprise he got the Cool Cruiser award.

Michael Moug only recently got hold of this ’62 Galaxie, and the first thing he did was slam it down over those wires and thin whitewalls. It was just one of a number of very cool lowriders at Motorvation this year.

Kyle Thomson gave his HZ ute a bit of a birthday, with the previously purple machine receiving a fresh coat of Mazda Soul Red and the LS3 copping a Yella Terra Whipple blower topped with an Aeroflow throttlebody.

Richard Hatton’s VH Charger is a stunner that we featured in SM, Apr ’18, and it still looks amazing. He was happy to park out on the grass and enjoy the cruising, but still managed to pick up the Top Interior award.

It was pretty obvious to me that Mark Day’s HX wagon was an older build; the custom pattern on the seats and door cards using VS ClubSport trim was a dead giveaway. As it turned out, it was built about 20 years ago by a mate of Mark’s who upgraded to an HX Monaro. Mark’s done his own upgrades since, with the car now powered by a 355 Holden stroker that helps it run flat-12s.

Gary Zahra’s C10 (SM, Jul ’15) appears to be getting better with age. The slammed pick-up has had a bit of work done on the paint to get it near-perfect, and Gary has also redone all of the wood in the tray so it’s as smooth as a baby’s bum.

Angelo Chiera’s HX Kingswood sports BADSLEEPA plates when he’s at events, but when he runs it with the electric exhaust cut-outs fully open, there’s no hiding the fact that this car’s got some grunt. The 355 Holden stroker was one of the loudest engines out there that didn’t have a lump of metal sticking out the bonnet!

Brad Fletcher’s 600-cube XA coupe (SM, Mar ’19) is about as fat as they come – and just quietly, it creates a few fats as well. It’s hard to miss the bright green machine, and Brad spent plenty of time cruising the track.

I’m not often drawn to later-model stuff, but Ryan Lightbody’s WK Stato had a lot of neat touches, with a super-sano engine bay, airbag suspension and a rooflining featuring a galaxy of LED lights.

Survivor cars are a big hit at the moment, and they don’t get much cooler than Garth Pedrazzoli’s Monaro, which was originally purchased new by his father in 1968. “My dad was serving in Vietnam and the posters were going around with the Monaros and Mustangs. He got shot in the head and came back and bought a Monaro,” Garth explained.

Painted in Picardy Red with a Parchment Pearl interior, the car is all original aside from a steel-case Toyota five-speed replacing the factory made-from-glass Opel four-speed.

Gun painter Rachael Durbidge of Durbz Kustoms has been very busy over the past 12 months getting her ’65 C10 panel truck finished, and, in her spare time, restoring a Honda K50 to match. No surprisingly, Rachael mixed up her own hue that looked green under the artificial light of the Elite tent but popped with gold out in the sun. Look for a full feature soon.

Colin Byrne’s 200-Series Land Cruiser dubbed KINGCRUZA was one of the big winners at Motorvation 35. It was built to skid, but it definitely didn’t look out of place in the Elite tent, and there was plenty of chassis and suspension trickery on display. It’s not that easy to get a big ol’ Land Cruiser to sit on its sills, so the body now sits on a modified ’97 HiLux chassis.

The 540-cuber up front is based around a Dart 9.8 Merlin III block, with Dart Iron Eagle heads and the Mooneyham 8/71 blower topped with an Enderle Bird Catcher hat. And yes, it can do a skid, and it broke the internet when it did.

Clint DiGiovanni’s F100 has a turbo Barra nestled down in the engine bay and features the usual array of clever tricks that Clint performs at his SRM workshop. The front features a custom spoiler and bonnet, while out back, the tailgate has a neat spoiler fitted to the trailing edge.

After three attempts, Stuart Vernon finally managed to grab hold of the Grand Champion trophy in his absolutely stunning ’69 Camaro pro tourer (SM, Oct ’18). It’s been around a little while now, but that’s just given Stuart time to sort out the handling and braking, and it showed in the Grand Champ driving events, with the car finishing second in Go-to- Whoa and first in the Slalom.

The 468ci big-block, six-speed manual, big brakes and semi-slick Nitto rubber were perfect for the job.


Burnout Competition


  1. Wayne Daw – 1986 Toyota HiLux
  2. Matthew Hughes – 1969 Mazda 1000 ute
  3. Brett Pearson – VY Commodore


  1. Dayne Bairstow – XG Falcon ute
  2. Jack Alfirevich – AU Falcon XR6
  3. Lauren Youngs – BA Falcon ute


  1. Kevin Mantach – HQ One Tonner
  2. Jason Tanian – XD Falcon ute
  3. Shane Gardiner – HQ One Tonner

Driving Events


  1. Jason Hooper – 2018 Mercedes AMG C63 S
  2. Mark Williams – HQ ute


  1. Ben Jansen – HZ Sandman ute
  2. Zoe Maxwell – 2005 HSV GTO

Sound Off

Street A
Zoe Maxwell – 2005 HSV GTO

Street B
John Filgate – VY Calais

Ground Pounder
Lloyd Davies – AU Falcon XR8 ute

Show ’N’ Shine

Top Engine Bay
Nigel Warr – HQ ute

Top Interior
Richard Hatton – VH Valiant Charger

Top Bodywork
Frank Vizzari – 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

Top Paint
Aaron Susac – XB Falcon coupe

Top Engineered
Colin Byrne – 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200

Top Hot Rod
Chris Bitmead – 1932 Ford three-window coupe

Top Retrotech
Scott Cosgrove – VL Calais

Top Sedan
Paul Green – XY Falcon

Top Coupe
Brad Fletcher – XA Falcon

Top Convertible
Daniel Mahu – 1962 Chevrolet Impala

Top Van
Philip Platcher – HX Sandman panel van

Top Ute/Pick-up/Mini-truck
Nigel Warr – HQ ute

Top Competition
Colin Byrne – 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200

Top Custom
John Royce – 1964 Chevrolet Impala coupe

Top Classic
Aaron Susac – XB Falcon coupe

Top Japanese
Mick Farrall – Mazda RX-8

Top Muscle
Tom Rudas – 1970 Plymouth ’Cuda

Top European
Andy Kahle – 2004 Mercedes CLK1320

Top Exhibition
Jason Herbert – EK Holden ute

Top Club
Low Riders

Cool Cruiser
Adam Sweeney – 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air

Judges’ Choice
Brad Durtanovich – HG Monaro

Superstars Finalists
Joe Catalano – 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Brad Durtanovich – HG Monaro
Frank Vizzari – 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

People’s Choice
Colin Byrne – 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200

Top 10 (alphabetical order)
Stephen Allen – 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7
Colin Byrne – 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200
Joe Catalano – 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Brad Durtanovich – HG Monaro
Ian Latta – 1953 Morris Minor van
Aaron Susac – XB Falcon coupe
Stuart Vernon – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Frank Vizzari – 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle
Nigel Warr – HQ ute
Mark Williams – HQ One Tonner

Top Judged
Aaron Susac – XB Falcon coupe

Grand Champion
Stuart Vernon – 1969 Chevrolet C