TO celebrate the 30th Street Machine Summernats, a group of historic and significant street machines are on display in the Elite Hall. One of the absolute coolest of these cool heritage street machines is Rock 3, Howard Astill’s XA Falcon sedan which looks frozen in time from its heyday in the early ninties.
Howard began building the car in 1982, when the XA was just another eight or nine-year-old family Ford. Debuted as Rock Solid, the then-burgundy sedan was revamped as Rock Solid II and took out a bunch of trophies at Summernats #2, including People’s Choice.
Howard rebuilt it in a bright light blue – with those outrageous fluorescent Ralfus graphics that were soon to become a signature of early 1990s street machining – and brought it to Summernats 3 with the new handle of Rock 3.
With shaved door handles and an engineered and street legal double A-arm tube front suspension and coil-over four-link rear, the car’s innovation was far more than skin deep. It was such a crowd pleaser that Summernats founder Chic Henry bought the car from Howard with the aim of raffling the car as a prize at Summernats 4.
With Howard driving, the twin-Holley, tunnel-rammed, 5.8-litre FMX-auto Rock 3 won Summernats 4’s Grand Champion award, so the raffle winner, Mario Montalto, went home with the most-awarded street machine in the land of that year.
Mario has owned the car since then, using it sparingly and retaining it in its Summernats 4 guise. And in a case of history repeating itself, Howard Astill once again thoroughly detailed the car he created three decades ago ready for its display at Summernats 30!
Street machine icons don’t get much more legendary than this.