Wodonga bushfire relief fundraiser meet

The Albury-Wodonga car community comes together to raise $42,660 for bushfire relief

Photographers: Luke Hunter

WITH bushfires burning around Australia, the guys from The Carlective teamed up with Hunter Media, Car Culture Meets and CC Forged to hold a joint car meet/bushfire fundraiser on Saturday evening, 11 January, at the Wodonga Plaza car park in the Victorian border town of Wodonga.

The meet was expected to attract around 250 cars, but everyone was blown away when around 1000 cars rolled up, filling the entire car park and overflowing into the streets and the Elgin’s Hotel car park across the road. Thousands of spectators also came along to check out the cars.

The event didn’t just attract locals, either; people travelled from as far away as Melbourne and Wagga Wagga to be part of it. All in all, it was the biggest street meet ever held in Albury-Wodonga.

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Local businesses generously donated over $30,000 worth of goods for auction during the event.

The money raised from the $5 car entry fees, sausage sizzle, auction and raffles will be split between the Rural Fire Service, the Red Cross and the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).

“It was a surreal night, and we were absolutely blown away with the generosity and outpouring of donations from the community and local car scene,” said Jimmy Allen from The Carlective. “A huge thank you to everyone who attended and splashed cash for such a great cause.”

Photographer Luke Hunter from Hunter Media said: “Thank you to Wodonga Plaza management and security, all those who donated items and all those who came along and made it such a big event. All up, $42,660 was raised by the very generous Border car community. We should all be very proud of what we have been able to do in just four days from planning to execution.”

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Luke Pendergast’s 1972 HQ ute runs a Holden 383ci COME Racing engine, backed by a Turbo 350 transmission and a nine-inch diff with a McDonald Brothers four-link rear end. “I built the entire ute myself last year, including all the bodywork and paint,” Luke said. “The colour is Ford Breeze Green.” The interior is custom-trimmed in leather.

“I think the whole event was absolutely awesome,” Luke continued. “It was good to see so many cars come from far and wide to support this great cause. It’s a credit to the Carlective team and everybody that helped, plus all the people that donated something. Best car meet I’ve ever seen in Albury-Wodonga.”

Several members of the Riverina Thrashers made the journey down to Wodonga to show their support, including Robert Cottrell in his blown LS-powered XD Falcon, which placed fifth in the Summernats 33 Burnout Masters.

Michael Butt drove his VL Brock tribute down from Junee, NSW, to be part of the event. “The VL started out as a base-model SL that I bought off my uncle in 1998, and I’ve had it ever since,” Michael said. “It was off the road for the past 11 years, but after a two year build, I’ve had it on the road since November. The motor is an Ingram’s Automotive-built forged 355ci, with a solid F280 Crane cam and Walker twin throttlebodies on a custom-made intake that I did myself.”

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Kristy Piper brought her dad’s chopped big-block ’56 Chevrolet sedan to the event. “The Chev has been in the family for over 35 years,” said Kristy. “My dad Colin Miles built it when I was just a kid. Back then it was given a 2½-inch roof chop and it ran a blown 427 big-block. He used to drive us to school in it when we were kids, but it wasn’t exactly reliable. Dad changed it to an EFI 502 a while back to make it a bit more driveable.”

Daniel Szabolics’ seven-second HQ Monaro was the December 2019 Street Machine cover car and took out the Haltech Radial Blown class at Drag Challenge last year. But it seemed just as happy cruising the streets of Wodonga at the fundraiser.

Perry Bullivant is a well-known local drag racer and has recently imported this C7 Corvette drag car from States to add to his stable. Running a twin-turbo 540ci Pro Line engine putting out well over 4000hp, the ’Vette has already run 5.8-second quarters in the USA.

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David Kennedy’s Factory Five ’33 roadster looks the goods. It runs a 5.0-litre Coyote engine with a Tremec T600 transmission and nine-inch Moser rear end, and has been fully engineered for street rod registration. “It’s quite interesting to drive,” David said. “It’s super-quick, as it weighs 1200kg and handles like a go-kart.”

Jamie Heritage’s all-wheel-drive 1971 Toyota Celica is a crazy little beast, running a turbo 4.0-litre 1UZ Toyota V8 putting out over 1000hp. Nissan GT-R AWD running gear delivers the power to all four corners.