Oxytech pub run

A bunch of Street Machine regulars blow the COVID cobwebs out on the first Oxytech pub run. The man behind the shebang, Scott Barter, tells us all about it


A WHILE back, I was chatting to Ryan Carter from United Speed Shop and Aaron Gregory, the Valvoline 2020 Street Machine Of The Year winner, about getting together to go for a cruise with all the crew. While we’ve done runs down to the Queenscliff Rod Run, out to Mendooran, or up to Cooly Rocks On, we realised we wanted to stay within an easy day’s travel of Sydney and also wanted to inject a bit of cash back into the regional economy after a tough few years for them.

The lads agreed it was a great idea, and we thought it would be beaut to invite a bunch of people from the automotive industry who otherwise might not have a reason to hang out together. Bench racing is always best with new faces.

The basic idea was that we’d cruise past some shops, eat quality barbecue meats and enjoy a few cold adult snacks at night, reliving the glory or tragedy we’d no doubt find on the road as we cruised our old jalopies. This was quickly turning into an Aussie power tour, which was a vibe we all thought would be ace.

I decided we’d run the cruise under the auspices of my business, Oxytech Powder Coatings, because this would lend it a bit more of a legit feel. We weren’t looking to kick off Booze Cruise XXVII; although we don’t mind a frothy or 10, we really just wanted to get back behind the wheel of our cars that had been laid up collecting dust in our sheds for most of 2020.

After we’d worked out who would get tapped on the shoulder to come for our little 700km loop up ’round the NSW mid-north coast, Ryan whipped up a killer logo for the T-shirt and I put together gift boxes featuring stickers, stubby coolers and other goodies from all the invitees’ businesses.

Everything was ready to go for late September last year, but COVID-19 deep-sixed our plans in spectacular fashion. Our Victorian invitees couldn’t leave their state, and we had strict limits on who could be in pubs and accommodation, so we decided to delay the run until late February 2021. Subsequent random outbreaks and snap lockdowns caused most of our Mexican homies to withdraw, but nothing was going to stop Brendan Carroll from racking up a coupla-thousand kilometres in a 65-year-old Chev (read more below).

Finally, at 7am on Friday 26 February, the work car park shook as entrants rumbled in for the first Oxytech Pub Run. We provided a breakfast of bacon-and-egg rolls, with copious amounts of delicious, complimentary coffee courtesy of Little Italy Coffee Roasters.

With the sun out and the day heating up, we hit the road at 9am and made our way up to see Peter Lamb at Melomotive in West Gosford. Melomotive supplies restoration paint and panel supplies, using Pete’s years of experience gained working in the Holden Design Centre. We got to check out a couple of the projects on the go out the back, including Pete’s own airbagged, LS-swapped ’53 Chev coupe and a crazy hand-built ’55 F100 concept car that packs a Dandy Engines-built twin-turbo Windsor, tube frame and a full custom body done by Aaron Bray.

After an hour of cooling down, we got back on the road, heading for Newcastle and a lunch stop at United Speed Shop. Some chose to cruise straight up the freeway, while others ran up the Central Coast Highway via the beaches – there was no wrong way to go and everyone seemed to enjoy the freedom.

Calling into Ryan’s shed in Georgetown opened plenty of eyes, with his workshop chock-a-block full of cool old tin and wild projects. Greg Sheedy had been minding the barbecue for Ryan and cooked up a mean feed of slow-cooked snags, before everyone saddled up in the early afternoon to head off for the final, hour-long jaunt.

Our destination for both nights was the same place to keep it simple: the Tea Gardens Hotel in Tea Gardens. We cruised in comfortably ahead of the 6pm dinner reservation, checked into our rooms and got settled into an evening of bench racing and fantasy car builds. While the temptation was to stay up until Rage finished, we all got to bed at a not-un-silly time because Saturday we’d do even more driving.

Grey skies and pumping rain greeted us for our 8am breakfast down at the Boat Shed Café on the Myall River, a stone’s throw from the hotel. We then made a beeline for Taree, where Graeme Brewer showed us around the killer facilities at Down Town Kustoms.

There was so much to see we could have spent a full day there just checking out the crazy builds he has underway, including a Dodge Viper V10-powered pick-up, a super-rare Studebaker convertible, one Miami-powered and one Coyote-powered F100, plus Dean Rickard’s unbelievably clean HT Monaro (SM, Jan ’21).

While the original plan called for us to cruise back to Tea Gardens via Bucketts Way, it was simply too wet and slippery to risk the 151km detour, so we once again hit the highway south for a mid-arvo ETA back to Tea Gardens. Once back at the hotel, the weather cleared and we enjoyed a clear night, which we filled with robust discussions over cooling ales.

Sunday was a transit day, which kicked off at the Boat Shed Café again, and saw some peel out early to make it back home. Most of us ended up rolling out around 10:30am for a leisurely run home to Sydney (and further).

Everyone had a great time, there was no aggro, and new friendships have been formed, so I’d call it a success! The only issue is that now we need to plan the next one!


THERE was almost too much good stuff to check out at Ryan Carter’s United Speed Shop in Georgetown, including the slow-cooked snags that USS’s own Greg ‘Vitamin G’ Sheedy spent hours slaving over. Many attendees gravitated straight to Ryan’s own truck, a 1962 Austin FG K40 turned into an LS-powered panel truck, purely because nobody had any clue as to what it had started life as.

And the goodies didn’t stop there. Minds were blown at the sight of Chris Lewis’s XA coupe, which will be packing a 598ci Kaase Boss Nine (SM, Jul ’20), a pillarless HR phantom coupe project, and a super-clean injected plastic-powered EK for a local client.


IF THERE was an award for going above and beyond to make it to the Pub Run, then Brendan Carroll (Car Builders Australia) would have taken it several times over. Two weeks out from the event, Brendan made the call to drive up in an Aussie RHD ’55 Chev sedan.

The only catch was that he decided to replace the radiator and fan, do all new fuel, brake and transmission lines, fit new front spindles and brakes, remount the transmission, make a full new dual exhaust, re-airbag the car and do a custom four-link rear end! And then Dan Andrews announced a snap five-day lockdown in the middle of that timeframe.

Still, despite outrageous obstacles, Brendan and his 13-year-old son Josh made it, cruising up to the Tea Gardens Hotel at 7pm on Friday night.

“We spent about five actual days working on the car,” said Brendan. “It wasn’t too bad, as there weren’t too many late nights – until the day we went to leave. We were aiming to go by 9am on Thursday morning, which quickly turned into 6pm that night.

“We backed the car off the hoist, aired it out and then it wouldn’t air up properly and we went through hell to find out what had gone wrong. At 1:30am, we had it fixed, so I took it around the block, figured it was good enough and we hit the road to Albury, where we got three hours’ sleep in a hotel. We got up at 9am Friday and started the long trek up to Tea Gardens.”


IT WAS worth wading through pelting rain to get to Down Town Kustoms. Owner Graeme Brewer showed our group right through each section of the incredible facility. The fabrication area was packed with awesome metal-working tools, hand-fabricated chassis and amazing rides. Some of these included a Coyote-powered ’55 F100, a Viper-powered Dodge pick-up and Graeme’s own laid-out LS3-powered C10 project.

In the paint room, we saw a C3 Corvette and a Chevy Monza in for cosmetic work.

We finished the tour in the reassembly room, with a walk-through of Dean Rickard’s epic HT Monaro (SM, Jan ’21), which has a mind-boggling number of features. Graeme was even kind enough to even fire up the LSX in the almost-completed SHQRP widebody ’72 HQ Monaro for us and let the Harrop TVS2300 blower sing!


PETE Lamb and the Melomotive crew turned on smoko and coffee at our first stop, their store in West Gosford. While their business centres around supplying body resto tools and products (and holding classes teaching punters how to use them), there are always tasty projects kicking around, like Pete’s laid-out ’53 Chev coupe and this wild, hand-made, twin-turbo ’55 F100, which features almost none of the original sheet metal.

Pete used his experience working in the Holden Design Centre to modernise the classic Effie’s design, redrawing the shut and character lines and making it so slick it could almost be a Ford concept car!