Rusty HJ wagon gets roadtripped from Perth to Canberra for Summernats 32

Road-tripping to Summernats from Perth in a paddock-find HJ wagon – almost

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

DRIVING any car from Perth to Canberra is a big ask. When it’s a rusty – but don’t worry, it’s not structural – Holden wagon that you dragged out of a paddock, it’s even more of a challenge. And when you’ve smashed the whole thing together in a week or so, it’s starting to turn into a legendary effort. It’s pretty obvious from the photos where most of the effort was concentrated (I’ll give you a clue: It sure as shit wasn’t body and paint).

Holden HJ wagonThe main perpetrators behind this mission were Anthony ‘Pagey’ Page, Aiden Stampalia and Jamie Cato, with Vicki Page and Renee Simms riding shotgun and doing their best to keep the boys out of trouble.

“It owes us $2000. We paid $500 for the car and $253 for the motor and ’box,” said Pagey.

“We told Justen Brown from Fordhold Wreckers we were looking for something and Justen said he had one in the paddock, so we cut down a few trees to get it out and skulldragged it out of there,” Aiden said.

Holden HJ wagonIt had been sitting in long grass for quite a while, which would explain the state of the doors and rocker panels, but these cars have a full chassis and Pagey assured us it’s all good under there. They spent the rest of the money on bearings and seals and gave the motor a bit of a freshen-up with some new rings, bearings and gaskets: “I think it drives better than my burnout car!” Pagey insisted.

Holden HJ wagonAfter leaving Perth on 30 December, the team covered around 1000km a day, although New Year’s Eve did slow them down a little the following day after partying a bit too hard.

PAGEY wins Gazzanats WA burnouts – Video

Holden HJ wagon engine eayThe trip and the wagon were ticking along without a hitch – until they got to Wagga Wagga, less than four hours from their destination. They’d already passed a dozen coppers along the way with no problems, but then, with Pagey at the wheel, their luck ran out. “Cosmetically, it does look bad, and I tried to explain to the cop that it wasn’t structural, but I think he’d been picked on at school and he wanted it off the road and gave it a red sticker,” Pagey said. “We got hold of Jack Seaman, who’s a friend from the burnout scene and a Wagga local, and he gave us a car so we could get to Summernats.”

Holden HJ wagonIn the end they managed to get the wagon to Canberra on the back of a trailer, but that didn’t dampen the feeling of success. Although there was one more challenge to finish off the trip: “Now we’ve got to buy another wreck to get us home!”