Auto Salon revival at MotorEx 2022

The flashback display was a roaring success at this year’s show

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Walking into the centre of the Show Pavilion at MotorEx 2022, you would’ve been forgiven for thinking some sort of time warp was going on. Though it’s now been a decade since Auto Salon last descended on the Melbourne Showgrounds, a contingent of full-blown Sex Spec heroes took pride of place at this year’s show in the High Tech Heroes display.

Eye-popping paint was plentiful, alongside wild interior fitouts, huge chromies, and sound systems capable of bringing the hall down around them, not to mention backseat PlayStation 1 installations and airbrushed female anatomy.

There were plenty of cover cars from the Hot 4s era, with Kristie and Craig McKenzie’s Green Ghost (SM Time Machine, May ‘22) being a focal point. Originally owned by Bady Moussa, the car was Australia’s quickest 200SX in its heyday. “Mark Tarabay (owner of SUBLIME) messaged me to ask if I was bringing any cars,” explains Craig. “I told him I was bringing GGHOST and SQIZME, so he organised some others.”

MotorEx was the citrus-themed Hyundai S Coupe’s first time out in restored form. “I thought people were going to pick on it because it’s got a naked girl on it, but they loved it,” laughs Craig. “On Saturday, the original owner’s nephew sent me a message saying he uncle loved the car being brought back.”

For Craig, it’s all about saving pieces of history that may otherwise go unloved. “My biggest hate is seeing old show cars go to waste — every time an old show car goes up for sale, I try to snap it up,” he says. “Even some of the judges used to have Auto Salon cars and judge there. Now they’re doing Summernats and MotorEx, but they still remember the cars!”

With the ‘Sex Spec Memory Lane’ Facebook group at 31,000 members and counting, Craig believes the scene is undergoing a revival in earnest. “I don’t think it will ever be as big as it was,” he says. “But it’s definitely coming back and I think you’ll start seeing them at more shows.”