We pick our favourite custom cars and hot rods from this year's Victorian Hot Rod and Cool Rides Show

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

AFTER the full-on intensity of the Street Machine Summernats, the Victorian Hot Rod Show – usually held a couple of weeks after our time in Canberra – is a relaxing holiday in comparison. Held in and around Melbourne’s beautiful Royal Exhibition Building, the event combines an indoor static show with a rotating display of cool rides outside in the VIP car park.

XBOSS XB Falcon CoupeChris Bitmead’s XBOSS took out the lion’s share of the awards (including Top Street Machine and Australia’s Coolest Ride), closely followed by Adam and Kylie Perry’s FB Holden Tailspin.

This year, some live bands and fire-ups by the boys from the Australian Nostalgia Racers added an element of action to the proceedings. And an upstairs bar and pizza joint provided the perfect place to look down on the show and compose my top 12 rides, which are presented here for your enjoyment.

Holden HG Panel Van1. Doug MacDonald’s twin-turbo HG van is the cover car for our March issue, on sale Australia Day! That’s Doug on the right, with SM photographer Chris Thorogood

Willeys Ute2. There isn’t much tougher than a tough Willys, especially when it is 392 Hemi-powered. Ken Sandham’s ’41 WIllys pick-up is looking better than ever with fresh paint by CAD Customs

XR Falcon 420 Windsor PLEASR3. Adam Agius’s brand-new XR Fairmont was looking slick, with a killer undercarriage, 19in American Legend rims and a stout 420ci Dart-block Windsor

Ford Fairlane 500 81874. Paul Thomas’s ZD Fairlane 500 is a heavy hitter, with a 393ci Cleveland up front and 15x10in Convo Pros out back. The bodywork and wild paint was done by the team at Stylerod Panels

Eval Motorbike 79735. Billy Ayres from Eval Motorcycle Co in Traralgon sent his crazy salt lakes-inspired murdercycle over to the Mooneyes show in Japan and it arrived back in Oz just in time for the Hot Rod Show

FC Holden Supercharged 80896. It was great to see Steve Johnson’s supercharged 202-powered FC Holden wagon over from South Australia!

HT Holden Monaro7. Dave Harry’s HT Monaro has copped a fantastic resto by Double Trouble Restorations and is packing plenty of heat too, thanks to a 434ci Dandy Engines small-block. The 18in Body rims hide a set of Wilwood discs all ’round. The HT finished second in the Street Machine Two-Door judging behind XBOSS

Ford Mainline Ambulance 80998. The Ambulance Historical Society had this Y-block powered ’57 Ford Mainline on show. First used by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, it was sent to a museum in Queensland after it was decommissioned and as a result has been very well-preserved

28 Ford Model A Tudor 76129. We saw the incredible Cyclone OHV-equipped four-banger and chassis for Alan Hale’s ’28 tudor in the latest issue of Street Machine Hot Rod. Now the car is complete and looking incredible

28 Ford Roadster10. Swede Goran Kynning has driven this near-stock Model A roadster more than halfway around the world, including through Turkey, Iran and India! Next stop, Cuba

Ford Model A Tudor 765211. Mary, Markus and Matt James’s trick Model A tudor out of Deluxe Rod Shop is chopped and channelled over a ’32 chassis and runs a 383ci small-block and manual ’box

FJ Holden Custom12. I remember this flip-front FJ from its heyday in the early 90s, when it was orange. Builder Mario Borg passed away in 2014, but the car has had a major birthday thanks to Darren Borg and the guys at Fast Lane Speed Shop