Unique Cars & Coffee 2022

We join the Unique Cars crew for a low-key cars-and-coffee event at our Melbourne HQ

Photographers: Ellen Dewar

Last Saturday saw the first-ever Unique Cars & Coffee hosted at our new Melbourne digs. Hosted by our sister mag, we hitched on for the ride.

We’re glad we did, because the turnout was absolutely excellent, with all sorts of classic and modern stuff coming out for a relaxed morning. We can’t wait to get another one going, but for now here’s a less-than-official SM Unique Cars & Coffee awards ceremony.

Best 80-style LX Torana hatch

Heath van der Waerden claimed a good spot in his LPG-huffing, 383-holden powered Torana hatch. “It was in pieces this morning,” he laughed. The LX-converted UC Sunbird is built to steer, with a TKO 600 ‘box, negative camber at both ends, and about 1300 lightening holes throughout — even the bellhousing has been relieved of unnecessary metal.

The orange bay ties in nicely with the near-impossible-to-find Torana Fashion Pack material fitted to the Recaro pews.

Most polarising XT wagon

James Mackie first came to our attention as the pilot of XYYNOT, a blown LS-swapped XY Falcon street-driven drift car that’s been breaking the internet for years now.

His second classic Falcon is this XT wagon he calls Patsy, which he also LS-swapped to help tow the family caravan – and upset Ford people even more.

Wildest Pommy go-kart

Steve’s ‘61 Mini seemed to draw the biggest crowd, and for good reason. It runs a mid-mounted turbo EJ25 from a 2010 Subaru WRX, powering the rear wheels via a torque-sensing LSD. Tipping the scales at just 900kg, 190rwkW makes it a lot of fun. It uses MX5-spec coilovers and brakes underneath, and custom-fabbed subframes. “I basically wanted it to look like a current day car,” Steve says of the 2004 Mini panoramic sunroof and rear wing, and 15in wheels in fabbed arches.

Other sweet details include fan-forced intercooler ducting and the fact Steve handled the whole build himself, including paint.

Rebuilt suspension award

KustomKraft sticker mogul Dave Greene recently accompanied Scotty to Mopar Sunday in his left-hook Dodge Dart, but smashed his front suspension on flood-ravaged roads. The Dart’s back in action, sporting a relatively cleanskin look for now.

Angriest niche HSV

To help wake up everybody in attendance, Danny Howe rolled up in his super-neat TBS 8/71-blown VN SV89. There’s an iron-block 403-cube LS from Pro Race Engines in the bay with a Big & Ugly injector hat, paired to a T400 auto.

The rear end features a tub job and four-link to handle 15×10 Welds and 325/50 tyres, all hung off a BorgWarner diff with billet axles.

Hottest staff special

In the cleanliness stakes, webmaster Mary Lee put the rest of us to shame with her immaculate, genuine VC Brock.

Mary’s had the manual, one-of-500 beast for about five years, and it’s always a pleasure to see out and about.

Best resurrected XE Fairmont

A few feature cars came out to play. including Vicky Williams’s Clevo-powered XE Ghia, as featured in our June ’22 mag. The sweet sedan was caught up in a garage fire in 2016 before undergoing a painstaking rebuild.

Previously finished in Ford Blueprint, Vicky drew inspiration from the burnt cars greenish tinge for the new custom colour, which George Lyras laid down.

Top DIY Charger

Adrian Romandini’s 528ci ’69 Charger (SM, October ’22) is becoming a regular on the Melbourne meet scene since being finished off earlier this year and wowing at MotorEx. Adrian handled heaps of the Hemi-motivated stomper himself, learning as he went.