With more time between Street Machine Summerntas 35 and Burson Auto Parts Motorvation 37 than usual, we were treated to a couple of east coast superstars at WA’s biggest show, namely Peter Grmusa’s monster XR Falcon and Dean Rickard’s stunning HT Monaro (SM, Jan ’21). This car has so many neat little tricks and details that you can spend hours checking it out. The judges were clearly impressed, as Dean headed home with a bootload of trophies.
The gates opened at 9am on Friday, but the action really kicked off when Skid Row cranked up at 2pm. It seemed as though people were trying pretty hard to get the tyres off in one pass, and after a couple of hours of screaming engines and clouds of tyre smoke, Skid Row closed and the eighth-mile drags kicked off. With the thermometer still in the mid-30s by 4pm and the track un-prepped, there wasn’t a huge uptake of entrants, but those who did give it a crack didn’t have to wait long between runs. The night finished off with the Sportsman-class burnouts, and then it was time to get ready for Saturday, when the action would really kick off.
The Elite marquee is always a good spot to get out of the heat and check out the cars that don’t get beaten on all weekend long. While there wasn’t a huge number of cars on display, the quality was good, with lots of variety on offer – everything from Craig and Shelley Glassby’s mildly modified ’68 Camaro to not one but two wildly modified Chevy Impala lowriders. Only two cars were unveiled: Reece Regan’s wild HR ute, which recently underwent a complete colour change from bright green to Alpine White; and Jason Whittington’s absolutely gorgeous LX Torana SS hatch, which brought plenty of Group C vibes, including a set of Jongbloed wheels.
There was plenty of action happening outside if you could handle the heat, with freestyle motocross, more Skid Row and heaps of cruising. Saturday night saw the Open and Pro burnout qualifying, which saw Matt James and Chris Orchard both campaigning two cars. Only one of each managed to make the finals, though, with James’s COMPACT Fairlane and Orchard’s THE OG Calais the victims of bad luck.
James had a brand-new harmonic balancer bolt break, which resulted in – you guessed it – the front falling off. Orchard’s dramas weren’t quite as dramatic, but his burnout did come to a halt early and abruptly. He knew exactly what the issue was, though, heading straight to the boot to reconnect the battery cable before completing his skid.
Sunday is the shortest day of Motorvation, winding up at 3pm. This year, the Grand Champ driving events began at nine in the morning, with the winner announced at 12:30pm. With the field whittled down to the top three – Nigel Warr’s HQ ute, Dean Rickard in his HT Monaro and the ’69 Camaro of Mitchell Rando – it all came down to the driving events, and Rando showed everyone a clean pair of heels in each one, taking a deserved win and leaving the legendary Snakepit in a cloud of smoke. As Owen Webb to remarked to me, “You didn’t see a Grand Champ doing that 20 years ago!”
The burnout finals make up the rest of the entertainment, and boy, was it entertaining! The Sporstman class was won by Tristhan Bruce Powers’s EBLUBLY Falcon. Tristhan put on a masterful performance, revving that six-banger to 8000rpm to the crowd’s delight. Chris Orchard put everything into his skid in his VH Commodore, THE GAME, which seemed to have an endless supply of revs courtesy of that Dodge NASCAR motor, and his efforts were rewarded with the Open class win.
Having only just taken home the gold at Summernats (for the second time), Anthony Page was a hot favourite to take the win on his home ground, and he didn’t disappoint, putting on yet another master class in controlled aggression in HZ to bag the Pro class win.
1. Shane Ramsey’s SL/R 5000 Torana looked absolutely stunning in the Elite marquee but even better in the sunshine. The Copper Blaze beauty sports a worked 308 with a solid cam and VN heads, backed by a TH350 trans and BorgWarner diff. The 15×7 and 15×8 Hotwires look huge compared to the 13s of yesteryear
2. Taner Dede’s VH Commodore is a fresh car on the Perth scene, powered by a 355 Holden with a 2650 Harrop blower. The gorgeous Root Beer paintjob was applied by Taner himself, who has just started an apprenticeship, and you’d be hard-pressed to tell that it was his first-ever go at it
3. Dean Rickard dragged his car clear across the country and went home with a stack of trophies, including Top Engine Bay, Top Interior, 2nd Top Paint, Top Coupe and Top Judged. The former SM cover car was a star attraction and looked great when it was out cruising. Dean gave Grand Champ a good shake as well, finishing in the top three
4. The Old Skool Rydz Lowrider Club ham it up for the camera. These guys always put on a great display and cruise the wheels off their cars, pulling all the stunts you’d normally only see on the streets of LA
5. If anyone was wondering what happened to Peter Elliot’s ’37 Ford (SM, May ’08), it’s now in Perth and finally getting some miles on the tyres under Rob Ricupero’s ownership. The only changes he made were fitting electric power steering and replacing the suspension bushes, but the ’37 still has the power to wow, taking home first-place gongs for Bodywork and Paint and winning Top Hot Rod
6. This mild-looking EH is one of my favourite cars in Perth, not only because it looks cool but because it goes like shit off a shovel. Owned by Tim McClure, the car used to have a 400 Chev in it, but now there’s a turbo 6.0L LS to make it even quicker!
7. Justin Treasure gave the former CMEFRY Corolla of the late Nathan Allen a freshen-up but kept true to its original look. It now has Blown Motorsports power with a 388ci Dart-based SBC, Brodix heads and an 8/71 Littlefield blower, good for 1100hp at the tyres!
8. The blue-and-white two-tone paint scheme on Stewart Parris’s stunning ’55 Chevy Bel Air might look straightforward on first glance, but there are multiple layers of pearl in both hues. Other tricks include an LS1 dressed to like a 409, three pedals, and an Art Morrison chassis. It all combined to take out Top Engineered
9. Reece Regan debuted his wild HR ute a couple of years ago, but it was unveiled again at Motorvation 37 in a new guise, with the previous green paint making way for Alpine White. It obviously impressed the punters, as it took home the People’s Choice trophy from some very tough competition. Up front there’s a 320ci LS Next block with Brodix BR7 heads, topped by a Littlefield 14/71 blower and a Schumacher Top Fuel injector hat
10. My favourite car of the event was Mata McGrath’s stunning ’63 Impala. It’s pretty low-key for a lowrider, admittedly, but that’s how I like my cars. There’s plenty of engraving, a full custom chassis from House of Low and a Black Magic hydraulic system, but the best part is the Jeep Wrangler Bikini Blue paint with a blue/green flake over the top
11. One of only two cars unveiled at Motorvation this year, Jason Whittington’s gorgeous Torana SS hatch build started out with a simple gearbox change that turned into a three-year nut-and-bolt resto. Jason’s a big fan of Group C racing history, so the hatch boasts a 355 Holden, a TKX five-speed and 17×9 and 17×11 Jongbloed wheels
REECE REGAN – 1966 Holden HR ute
Top 10 Elite
JAMIE CLAFFEY – 1970 Holden Monaro
CRAIG GLASSBY – 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
STEWART PARRIS – 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
MITCHELL RANDO – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
FRANK RICCELLI – 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
DEAN RICKARD – 1969 Holden HT GTS Monaro
ROBERT RICUPERO – 1937 Ford Roadster Coupe
JOHN ROYCE – 1964 Chevrolet Impala
NIGEL WARR – 1974 Holden HQ ute
JASON WHITTINGTON – 1976 Holden Torana
Top Judged Elite
DEAN RICKARD – 1969 Holden HT GTS Monaro
Motorvation 37 Grand Champion
MITCHELL RANDO – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro