IN the very early years of Summernats, there was no Elite Top 10. Street Machine simply picked the 10 wildest and most-awarded cars for a spread each in the Summernats issue. The Top 10 soon became an official award and has become one of the most-coveted goals at the nation’s biggest car festival. Making the Top 10 is a massive achievement, whether the car is professionally or owner built. Here’s the talented 10 for 2020.
1973 HOLDEN TORANA COUPE
Top Super Street
Top Engine Bay
Top Standard Paint
MOST people take years to build a car worthy of making the Top 60, but Luke and the team at Advanced Motorsports managed to do that and much more in a car they built in just four months! The little LJ is stuffed full of 8/71-blown, 430ci LS, with EFI controlled by a Haltech. The super-low stance is thanks to a custom floor and coil-overs on all four corners, while the stunning paint and custom work in the engine bay and under the bonnet impressed the judges.
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1957 CHEVROLET BEL AIR SPORTS COUPE
Top Judged Elite
Top Pro Touring
2nd Top Standard Paint
3rd Top Undercarriage/Driveline
3rd Top Bodywork
CHARLES Harley’s ’57 is a stunning combination of old and new, with a host of custom touches to the body combined with a thoroughly modern interior and more electronic trickery than you can poke a stick at, with everything controllable from a smartphone. But don’t worry; there’s a big-block Chev under the bonnet to keep things old school. With its mile-deep metallic blue paint and blacked-out bumpers and trim, it definitely doesn’t jump out at you, but it sure stands out in a crowd.
1969 CHRYSLER VALIANT VG HARDTOP
Top Pro Custom
IF YOU thought there were similarities between Charlie Harley’s ’57 Chev and this car, that’s because BMV Engineering had a huge hand in both. Jason’s VG hardtop also features a tonne of custom bodywork and an interior that beautifully blends modern features seamlessly into the classic 60s body style. The 520ci big-block Mopar gets the car moving, while coil-overs front and rear and massive Wilwood brakes make sure she turns and stops as well.
1932 FORD CABRIOLET
Top Closed Hot Rod
2nd Top Engine Bay
FORD never made a cabriolet that looked this flash, but Pete Osborne from NZ designed and built these versions with three-window-style doors and raked-back windscreen. Dave filled his with a 350 Chev topped with TPI injection, Turbo 700R4 trans and a Jag diff, before painting it in PPG Lamborghini Giallo Maggio – which translates to Yellow May if you’re not up to speed with your Italian. Foose Knuckle wheels measuring up at 17×7 and 20×9 round off the super-smooth hot rod.
1982 FORD XE SEDAN
2nd Top Sedan
2nd Top Interior
UNVEILED at Summernats 32 to many oohs and aahs, Zoran’s tough-as-nails XE has gone from a Top 20 to a Top 10 car thanks to a host of small changes to finesse things. Zoran admits he was a bit rushed last year to meet the unveiling deadline, so the past 12 months gave him time to really detail the undercarriage and engine bay. Finishing in the Magnificent Seven for the Grand Champ award topped off a great event for Zoran.
HEATH & JACK MADGWICK
1964 HOLDEN EH SEDAN
IT WAS a hectic end to the year for the team at Maskell’s Customs & Classics as they worked day and night to get this stunning EH finished in time for Summernats, rocking up at 7pm on Thursday night. Purchased as a birthday by Heath for his dad, Jack, they took the EH to Maskell’s around three years ago for a rack-and-pinion conversion. As you can see, it copped a lot more than that, with an LS, six-speed, nine-inch, custom interior, Aston Martin Spectre silver paint and a stunning custom interior.
BLACK 1972 HOLDEN TORANA COUPE
TALK about building a car around a motor, literally. The monstrous Sonny Leonard engine is massive in physical size and capacity, measuring up at 940ci and good for 1630hp on pump gas – and that’s before the 500-shot of nitrous goes on top! With a rollcage built to the same specs as a Group 1 race car, hopefully we’ll see this beast hit the strip after its show duties are over. Those massive 24×15 billets will get changed out for something with a bit more grip.
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1967 CHEVROLET IMPALA COUPE
Top Custom Interior (Trimming)
2nd Top Coupe
RETURNING after being unveiled at Summernats 32, Todd’s big and beautiful Impala looked as good as ever and was going to have a serious crack at the Grand Champ driving events thanks to 12 months of testing and road tuning. Having 750hp pumping out of a 528ci big-block Chev helps overcome the sheer mass of the Cool Vanilla coupe, and Todd has got the big girl handling a lot better than standard, that’s for sure.
1967 CHEVROLET CAMARO
Top Special Effects Paint
2nd Top Bodywork
PROVING that you don’t have to have a wild colour to stand out – or win Top Special Effects Paint – Mark’s Camaro is as crisp as they come. While it may come out as plain white on the page, there’s a whole heap of tricky pearls mixed in and then laid over the smoothed body, which has had the drip rails removed and Kindig It Designs door handles fitted. The LSX 376ci donk is built for boost, so you never know what might happen in the future – there’s definitely room for a couple of snails up front.
1932 FORD TUDOR
3rd Top Interior
CHOODA has been hitting the show scene for a number of years now, but it keeps coming back and keeps getting better. The contemporary Kona Brown paint works beautifully with the classic lines of the tudor – two-door, get it? The prize-winning interior is also thoroughly modern, but you can’t get more hot rod than a stack-injected small-block under the hood. Even the modern billets tip the hat to hot rod history with a similar look to coated magnesium.