Father’s Day weekend is coming up and there are great events on all over the country, including Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs, World Time Attack in Sydney, Dubbo Motorfest and Showcars Melbourne in St Kilda. The latter is a free-admission event and always a great time. Check out the story below for a taste of what to expect.
First published in the November 2022 issue of Street Machine
If, like me, you couldn’t get to Red CentreNATS over the first weekend of September, Melbourne was undoubtedly the place to be, as the ninth annual Showcars Melbourne Father’s Day Car & Bike Festival took over St Kilda in epic fashion. Almost 700 cars descended on Acland Street, Shakespeare Grove, O’Donnell Gardens and surrounding streets, all against the iconic backdrop of Luna Park.
A brace of movie cars were posted up in front of Luna Park’s gaping maw, ranging from obligatory Mad Max Falcons to a Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, and even a Mazda MX-6 dressed as a convincing Lightning McQueen.
In true Melbourne fashion, the Sunday started as a grey and drizzly affair, but crowds held out for what became a glorious early-spring day. Unlike many shows where owners tend to exit stage right shortly after midday, the streets remained packed with top-notch metal well into the afternoon – allowing families to mosey around, stop for a feed, and then continue without missing the action. There was no shortage of food and entertainment on offer, with bars, restaurants, food vans and live music on just about every corner. The cars were just as varied, with hard-hitting local muscle, LHD cruisers, and Japanese and European hotties all turning out in force. Even a 2022 F1 car showed up on Acland Street, turning plenty of heads.
Organiser and Showcars promoter Elvis Barbieri was pleased to welcome the show back to its traditional weekend, COVID restrictions having forced a postponement to November last year. “It’s probably our biggest one to date,” he enthused. “We opened up more room, and jammed them in! I think we had about 670 entered.”
Elvis was seriously impressed by not only the number of cars in attendance, but also their calibre. “Some of the quickest street cars in Victoria cruised in, and we had a lot of elite cars; I was blown away. We had some cars roll up on trailers, and I’d say, ‘What the hell? It’s an outdoor show!’ It’s gone to another level now. We had three or four [Meguiar’s] Superstars cars there, and they drove them in.”
Elvis extended a massive thanks to the sponsors and supporters who make the show happen, including Shannons, Procal Dairies, Burson Auto Parts, Meguiar’s, PPG Refinish, Rare Spares, Prestige Events, Lorry and the Abbey Road Café crew, Club Showcars, Network Fire Systems, Rendina, Acland Street Traders Association and the City of Port Phillip.
1. It’s not every day you see an HQ like Greg Angus’s idling away in the city. Greg started the 7sec racer up and gave it a few good revs in front of the big family crowd. Greg’s uber-cool HT Monaro streeter was also in attendance.
2. Jeff Bilston’s HR Premier hides a beefy 186 with a rad 70s Strata 2 turbo kit. It runs a T3 turbo at 15psi, Haltech-managed EFI, and water-meth injection. “I kind of made it up as I went,” Jeff said. “I don’t have horsepower numbers yet, but it goes okay!” The car took home the Rare Spares Real Street award
3. Jim Lambert brought mates Ned and Kelly along in his straight-eight ’39 Buick. It’s a modern car by Jim’s standards, who owns a few other American rides dating back to 1931!
4. Glenn Eastwood’s blown and injected 383-powered LH Torana was a sight to behold on Acland Street. The mill uses a Dart block and heads, force-fed by a Big & Ugly hat and 8/71 blower. Behind that is an ATS ’Glide by Adam Slorach, and a Competition Engineering 9in. Though it’s primarily a burnout rig, Easty plans to hit the strip soon
5. Ross Johnson’s ’68 Chev Caprice packs a 502-cube big-block, good for 508hp through a Turbo 400, Gear Vendors overdrive and 9in rear. Ross has owned the 1800kg coupe for over 15 years and has sent it to a 12.8sec quarter
6. The crew from Johnny Z’s brought along Jack’s tough-as-nails, Dearborn-bodied ’32 roadster. Check those Gatling gun-style exhaust tips! With a carby-topped 8/71 on the small-block, the combo’s been together since 2016 and collected a few years’ worth of Street Machine Summernats tinware. “I take it out every chance we get,” Jack enthused
7. Five years of hunting led Dave Hammett to this immaculate VP GTS, which appeared for sale in the Trading Post. “It just had ‘VP GTS, red, superb condition’,” Dave said of the ad. “I thought, ‘Nobody under the age of 70 would use the word ‘superb’, so this could be the car!” He’s now had the Maranello Red stunner for 12 years, which shares space with a VN SV wagon
8. Aussie racing icon John Bowe signed posters and took photos at the Shannons tent all day. He also poked around a few cars, including a ripper Mustang fastback. “I’ve only managed to get about 40 metres each way,” he laughed, “but there’s really something for everybody”
9. Alltrim’s Jeff Fussell built this stunning HOK candy-dipped ’68 Mustang coupe 10 years ago. Up front is an injected 408 Windsor by Peter Rossow, matched to a T5 and Strange 9in with 3.7 gears to make for an awesome driver
10. Danny Howe’s SV89 reflects the Melbourne bloke’s penchant for factory aesthetics paired with a stonking engine and wheel combo. Danny assembled the car himself, which runs a Pro Race Engines 403ci LS and TBS 8/71 blower, with a Big & Ugly EFI hat on top. The meats are huge 325/50s, sitting in a tubbed and four-linked rear
11. Steve Tikfessis has hung onto his Platinum Gold VN Calais since his P-plater days, and now cruises with his young family. Under the bonnet is a Buick V6 with a COME Racing 4.2 stroker kit and GTX42 turbo, spitting out 536hp at the rears. It’s run a 10.1 on 22psi, with Steve shooting for more boost and low nines in the near future
12. The late Mario Colalillo’s incredible ’59 Caddy (SM, Oct ’10) recently changed hands courtesy of a Seven82Motors auction. Thankfully, the new owners are keen to show it off. “It got a lot of attention,” said event organiser Elvis Barbieri. “It was chockers all day around that thing!”
13. SM feature cars both old and new were out in force, including Adrian Romandini’s killer ’69 Charger, fresh from a run in our October ’22 mag. The driveline is all Mopar, with a 528ci Hemi between the rails
14. Punters entering O’Donnell Gardens got a prime view of Vicky Williams’s gorgeous XE Fairmont Ghia (SM, Jun ’22). Rebuilt after a devastating shed fire, the 396 Clevo-powered car has been dominating Ford shows around the state for the past year