Summernats 36: Meguiar’s Great Uncover part one

We check out 12 of the 23 creations unveiled in the Great Uncover at Street Machine Summernats 36

Share

One of the undoubted highlights each year at Street Machine Summernats is the Meguiar’s Great Uncover, where a slew of brand new, never-before-seen automotive masterworks are unveiled to the public for the first time. Thursday evening at ’Nats 36 saw the covers pulled off a monumental 23 new builds, and we were front and centre in the Elite Hall to bring you the lowdown on each of them.

Here’s the first batch of hotties, fresh off the press! Stay tuned for more soon.

JOE BAUER – DODGE CHARGER R/T

This blown ’68 Charger R/T of Joe Bauer combines ample brawn with a ton of class, packing a monster Victor Bray-built 604ci Keith Black Hemi that pulls over 3000hp and barely fits in the custom fabricated engine bay. Joe found the gem in Texas and sent it straight back home two years ago, before undertaking a complete overhaul of the car over 16 months, all from his home garage. The roof was extended and given a two-inch chop, the front was stretched two inches, and four inches were added to the rear to fit the huge, 22in-wide rear rollers. Adding to the old-school cool is a pair of grafted ’69 Charger tail-lights, a fully fabricated chassis, custom four-link, and a twin six-inch exhaust over a floating sheet-metal diff.

“The best part of my car would have to be the sound – that, and the body lines with the classy and tough colour combo,” Joe enthused. The full custom interior features Nappa leather throughout, suede hoodlining, a full-size rear bench, and electric windows, front seats and steering. The list of custom race componentry used is extensive, and word is that Joe plans to compete for the Grand Champion sword in the Charger! Let the games begin!

DALE MILLICAN – HR UTE

Southern Rod & Custom built this belter of an HR ute for Dale Millican. United Speed Shop sorted the undercarriage in conjunction with Chassisworks Australia. There’s a modified LSA underneath wearing a Harrop 2650 air pump, hooked to ’Glide and nine-inch with big Wilwood stoppers. The interior was done in-house by Option Auto Trim, while the Southern lads also handled the body and paint.

“This isn’t our normal sort of build,” said SR&C’s Shane Rowe, pointing out he usually tackles American stuff. “If somebody came to me 20 years ago and asked me to build one, I would’ve said it’s not worth the money, but that’s changed!” Dale’s stoked with the build, having always loved the HR ute bodystyle. “I’m gonna go to Bunnings and pick up some timber after this,” he joked. 

MARK CARUANA – HK HOLDEN

Mark Caruana’s 1969 HK sedan was bought four years ago with the original 13,000 miles on the clock, but there was no way the factory donk was lasting long in this beast. The new 440ci small-block Chevy that now sits in the smoothed engine bay was built by the legends at ProFlo and pulls over 700hp. Getting that stonk to the ground is a manual Turbo 400 with a 5500rpm stall, and a custom braced sheet-metal nine-inch with a 3.5:1 Truetrac centre suspended by a four-link.

The undercarriage looks extremely tidy in satin black, while the body got the full treatment from Sebastian Desisto before being painted in a custom two-tone mix by the team at Macarthur Autobody. Building the HK with family and mates was the highlight of the build for Mark, and after the ’Nats, he’s keen-as to do as much driving as he can, including hitting the track at Autofest.

CHRIS & MICK BONELLO – VL COMMODORE AND XW FAIRMONT

Simon Bonello and his business Ground Level Panel & Paint have had a hand in countless Summernats builds, but this year it’s personal, with his son Chris and brother Mick debuting a VL Commodore and XW GS Fairmont respectively. “My son is a concreter by trade, but he’s done so much of the work on the VL
himself,” Simon said proudly. “He did the bodywork, the tubs and all the welding; all I did was the final prep and laid the paint on. It’s got 275 radials, Weld wheels and a tough turbo six, and Chris can’t wait to drag-race it. It’s great that he’s following in my footsteps.”

Mick’s XW isn’t quite as drag-spec but it’s no less stylish, resplendent in its factory-ordered Diamond White and Mist Gold trim, with a 302 Clevo up front.

EDDIE & YOUNAN KHAZI – XE FALCON

This epic Barra-powered XE Fairmont Ghia was built by brothers Eddie and Younan Khazi. The pair form a great painter/panel beater team and have paired up for many past projects, including their epic tunnel-rammed XE Falcon, WRNING. This current build might be their best yet, with Elite-level finish and power to spare. “We’ve been building it for four or five years as an after-hours project,” Eddie said. “We’ve always wanted to enter a car at Summernats! It’s got a tough Barra with lots of billet components, ESP trim, and the colour is the factory Satellite Brown. My brother and I wanted to build something we could enjoy that would also showcase our workmanship, so it’s not a show car, it’s just a really nice street car.”

CHRIS SCHEMBRI – HT MONARO

Who doesn’t love seeing a bit of blown Aussie muscle at Summernats? Chris Schembri’s droolworthy, Sebring Orange 1969 HT Monaro GTS houses a stonking 8/71-blown 403ci LS in the engine bay – a particular point of pride for Chris. “My dream was always to have a blown car,” he enthused. “The day my engine went in was the best part of the whole build. My good friend Michelle White unveiled her
HZ a few years back and I was lucky enough to be part of that, so I was blown away when Owen Webb rang and invited me to unveil mine.”

Chris bought the car from Summernats 21 Grand Champion Rob Godfrey, before stripping it down to nothing over six years, unpicking skins to start the project with less than what the factory shells came out with. It was then up to Wayne from Grima’s Garage to make Chris’s dream a reality. Underneath, the beast has been mini-tubbed, with a modified tunnel housing a TH400 that runs through to the 35-spline nine-inch rear. It rolls on Weld V-Series fronts and beadlock rears, with Wilwood brakes all ’round. Chris had his wife Rachael, sons Lucas and Jayden and mate Jamie with him to witness the HT’s unveiling, making the car’s debut even sweeter.

CHRIS COUROUZOU – ZD FAIRLANE

Chris Courouzou’s a long-time chrome-bumper Ford fan, so when he found this K-code ZD Fairlane 11 years ago, he jumped straight into a pro street toughie build. “It’s the gentleman’s GT,” he said of the factory 351 Cleveland, a/c and sunroof- equipped car. “I wanted to stand out from the crowd and be different.” A panel beater by trade, Chris has spent the past decade sorting the car as part of his business, BBG Autobody. “Sometimes you get sidetracked; a year off here and there for a break,” he points out. “It was entered last year, but I didn’t make it, as I was running behind schedule.”

The matching-numbers Clevo is still up front, though it now wears a tunnel ram and twin Holleys for a rad look, and the factory air con has been replaced with a neater Vintage Air set-up. There’s also a four-link to hold the nine-inch diff, and Chris has covered the big body in its factory-specified Vintage Burgundy. As for wheels, it rolls on Weld Pro Stars and 325-wide rear rubber.

JASON MCKENZIE – 1967 CAMARO

Jason McKenzie bought his Camaro over 30 years ago, saving up three years’ worth of meagre apprentice wages to deck it out as a simple yet uber-stylish streeter. It gradually morphed into a 350/350-equipped burnout machine, competing with the best of ’em until a heartbreaking blow-up at Kandos ended its career in 2005. “The last car had left some coolant on the pad; when I hit it, the car just free-revved and threw a leg out of bed,” Jason said.

With a young family to raise and a hefty rebuild cost facing him, Jason put the car into a shed-based hibernation. He finally started collecting parts for a rebuild in 2013, with some wise words from his wife ringing in his head. “She said, ‘You’re going to build it once and build it right,’” he recalled.

That involved pulling the car down to no more than a turret and firewall, with quarters, chrome and just about everything else being replaced with new bits. It’s all been coated in an incredible three-layer green pearl topped off with ghost RS stripes, while the fully detailed undercarriage wears satin and gloss clear finishes. BG Engines was called upon to build a blown 489-cube big-block, currently good for 1045hp on 9psi through a Powerglide and Bosnjak Engineering 35-spline nine-inch. “There’s room to grow with more boost, but I’ve only got a standard block, not a Dart block,” Jason said.


The interior has been reconstructed from an 18-inch-tubbed shell to a more family-friendly space, with a rear bench seat put back in. On that note, don’t expect the gorgeous Camaro to be used as a skid hack, but odds are on it making some track cruise appearances after it completes the show circuit. Reaching the Elite Hall has been a dream Jason’s had since way back at Summernats 10, and he admits it almost didn’t happen. “I thought of selling it at one stage, but my wife said she didn’t want to have to live with my regrets!”

LEO MORTAKIS – VY UTE

We reckon the VY Maloo is one of the toughest-looking cars HSV ever turned out, and Leo Mortakis agrees! He’s been a regular in the ’Nats unveil hall over the past couple of years, first with his rad Valiant hardtop and then a retro LX sedan father-son project. This year, however, he jumped straight to the 21st century. “I’d had a ute previously that was halfway there, and I ended up selling it,” he explained. “I regretted it, so my plan was always to build a modern ute instead of something older. It’s a mock-up, because I just couldn’t come to grips with molesting a genuine car!” Leo thrashed on this tough tribute version for 18 months, starting last June with a factory manual SS ute. “It’s just been after-hours and whenever I got a spare minute away from the family,” Leo explained. “I just went nuts on it.”

The LS1 runs a big VCM cam and all the internals to keep it happy, and is fed by a 102mm throttlebody via a sheet-metal manifold and requisite cold-air intake. Pleasingly, Leo’s stuck with the T56 six-cogger, too. Complementing the aggro Maloo bodykit is a Falcon-style bonnet bulge that’s been smoothed, as has the underside of the bonnet and the engine bay.

MONIQUE O’GARR – EH WAGON

Monique O’Garr’s EH wagon has to be one of the longest-running projects to be unveiled at this year’s ’Nats. Monique’s been a car nut since her teenage years, doing her first mechanic’s course at 16, and she’s had this wagon for over 30 years. “She had it when I met her in 1991,” hubby and builder Rob O’Garr recounted. It ran a 186S and RT104 Corona ’box in its early days, but that’s now been replaced with a supercharged Buick 3.8 paired to a T5 – a super-engaging combo that should be ideal for some weekend fun. The floor and undercarriage has been heavily modified, and you’ll find a four-link and mini-tubs out back to help accommodate the Billet Specialties Dagger wheels. The interior is just as varied, using Honda Prelude seats, a ’57 Chevy-based dash and Dakota Digital gauges.

It’s all been done as part of the O’Garr’s Portland-based business, Pro Street Performance, and Monique describes Rob as being in the vein of Chip Foose, having built everything from Aussie panel vans to stretched Jag limos. “I’m just glad we’ve finally made it to Summernats,” Monique enthused. “It’s been our dream for 30-odd years!”

ZORAN MARKOVSKI – VK COMMODORE

Zoran Markovski joined forces with master craftsman Cain Balzer from Xtreme Fabworx to create this VK Brock Blue Meanie over two years. Cain’s exemplary handiwork is evident all over the car, from the extensive ’cage work to the precision carbonfibre and sheet-metal work.

The three-quarter-chassis build has a chrome-moly K-frame, and houses a tough, twin-turbo, billet 427 Noonan LS built by Advanced Performance Machining. That animal needs all the back-up it can get, so the car has a TH400, 10-inch diff with custom rear set-up, and Billet Specialties 16×16 rears to keep it glued to the track. “The best part of this build was seeing it all come together even better than expected,” Zoran enthused. “The stance and the way the turbos are moulded through the bumper would have to be my favourite parts of the car.”

The body and paint were done by the boys from Grange Smash, and the work there was extensive, with steel front guards, roof and quarters contrasting with a fibreglass bonnet, boot and doors – and let’s not forget the three-quarter Funny Car ’cage. All the original decals have been airbrushed on and cleared over to give this Blue Meanie all the right badges of honour, and straight after Summernats, Zoran will be
hitting the track in it.

Comments