A-Z of Street Machine part two (F-M)

Part two of our highlights, lowlights and mysteries of Street Machine since 1981

Photographers: Street Machine Archives



For a guy who has essentially built only three cars for himself – his Broomstick Brougham, his FC and his ’34 coupe – Canberra’s Peter Fitzpatrick has had an outsized influence on our sport. Winning almost as many Grand Champion gongs as Brock had Bathurst wins (seven versus nine) has a lot to do with that.

Rebuilding his FC from cutting-edge 90s spec to the wildly ambitious 2011 version did the rest. Besides his own cars, Fitzy’s influence can be seen in his son Aaron’s Datsuns, Gary Reid’s rebuild of Howard Astill’s Compact Fairlane and Kees Weel’s ’35 Chev coupe.


Street Machine is V8 to its core, but we’ve never shied away from featuring the odd four-pot, even in the early days. Back then it looked like factory V8s were an endangered species, so Paro hedged his bets and featured more than a few fours. He even did up a Mazda 323 cafe racer and had a fiddle with a Mitsubishi L200 mini-truck! Paro – always good at picking the trends – would later found Fast Fours & Rotaries. We’ve featured a few four-bangers and Wankels when truly outstanding examples have surfaced, and don’t forget that there are two rotors and two four-pots that have claimed the Summernats Grand Champion sword.

[Back to Top]



If John Peterson invented burnouts as a sport, Gary Myers helped make it a nationwide obsession. Winner of countless burnout, powerskid and go-to-whoa titles, Gary, with the constant support of his wife Deby, has made a success of everything he’s turned his hand to, including Elite show cars, salt racing and running events.


Joe and Ben. The geniuses behind Super Flow Heads and the heart and soul of Aussie drag racing.


We don’t have space here to list all the high-end car builders turning out stunning machinery in Oz at the moment. We could mention Shane Rowe, Steve Alldrick, Graeme Brewer, Pat O’Shea, Chris Wells and plenty of others, but we’ll let Shepparton’s Greg Maskell represent them all – just because we wanted an excuse to run this killer shot of his blown and flamed XR ute.


In the 70s and early 80s, it was all about murals emblazoned on the sides of panels vans (and more than a few streeters). Then graphics arrived, imported from the US, and they were a gift to creative panel and paint guys everywhere. Karl Dolezal and Paul Bennett were among the best in the biz. Murals made a comeback during the Auto Salon days. And graphics? Maybe they’re due for a comeback, too. After all, if you want a 70s or 80s vibe on your chrome-bumper classic, graphics would be a great way to get it without laying a hand on the angle grinder.


Sydney based father-and-son team of shoebox Chev specialists. Laurie’s ’56 was a world-beater twice over. Son Wayne was a Street Machine Apprentice of the Year, built his own ’56 and now turns out high-end streeters for a living.


One of the longest-serving Street Machine scribblers, Glenn Torrens loves VWs, Commodores and racing of all kinds. GT added hands-on technical credibility to SM, delivered two difficult project cars, and he’s the friendly face of the mag at Summernats, Drag Challenge and other events across the nation. His Classic Car Hunter series on YouTube helped us find our feet in the video space, and he’s a regular contributor to our sister mag Unique Cars.


The concept of Powercruise is so simple: create a place where folks can have fun in their high-powered streeters safe from the plod. It’s so simple that it’s a wonder no one thought of it before Michael ‘Gup’ Gilbert. In any case, having the idea is one thing; having the testicular fortitude, patience and ability to deliver it is something else. The tyre retailers of Australia (and further afield) should build a shrine to this bloke, fair dinks.

[Back to Top]



There are countless high-end skid machines and driver combinations capable of putting on truly outstanding displays, but only a few have household-name status in our scene like Mark Schwarz and the HANFUL HQ Monaro. The HQ’s enduring streetability and Mark’s balls-to-the-wall driving style explain the fame.


Rex and Tony Webster transformed their old drag car into High Tech, the ultimate FJ Holden that set a new standard for ultra-detailed street machines. The car won Top Judged at the very first Street Machine Summernats, before Rex shipped the car Stateside and brained the Yanks.


Troy and Clayton Hillier hail from Tenterfield in NSW, where they build exquisite hearses for the funeral industry. But in the 90s and early 2000s, the boys built some of the most ground-breaking Falcons – both old and new – ever seen.


The world’s most famous and best Phase III Falcon. Star of the Aug/Sep ’84 cover of SM and still owned and skidded to this day by Chris Christou.


Despite being located in the back of beyond in Broken Hill for the first 20-odd years of his car-crafting life, Howard Astill became known throughout the land for his Rock Solid series of Falcons, which claimed two Top Judged gongs, three Grand Champion swords, a SMOTY award and much more. He’s since built some killer rides for customers and helped on a stack more, including Adam and Kylie Perry’s Tailspin FB.


For a while there in the late 90s and early noughties, the Horsepower Heroes dyno comp was one of the biggest deals at Street Machine Summernats. Fuelled by advances in ECU, blower and turbo technology, reputations were won and lost in the cage. The concept lost steam for a time, but the advent of new-generation hub dynos – allowing for truly staggering power levels – has brought renewed excitement.

[Back to Top]



Aka ‘Marv’, aka ‘Jimmy Slapshift’, aka ‘Workshop Manuel’, Iain Kelly worked his way up from Street Machine work experience dude to Speed magazine staffer to editor of Motor. He now divides his time between Street Machine and his work with Mighty Car Mods.



Our original Expression Session guru from March 1997 through to January 2002, after which he went to GM-H and lent his talents to Efijy, the VZ Monaro, the SST Commodore show car and the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.


The originator of the sport of burnouts and a true original, JP influenced and assisted many names big and small, including Gary Myers, Victor Bray and Norm Hardinge. Sadly missed, never forgotten.


How many street machines copped the JT treatment over the decades? Impossible to know, but the list includes Al ‘Bundy’ Lucas’s SMOTY-winning HQ and the SMOTY-winning rebuild of the GM176 Mustang. John was also a record-setting drag racer, constructor of countless race cars, a long-time ANDRA administrator and show judge. John’s own ’67 Camaro (SM, Apr/May ’91) was a stunning build that he drove from Melbourne to Canberra for its Summernats debut, where it won Top Super Street..

[Back to Top]



The biggest little show in Oz, held on the Australia Day long weekend.


The doyen of drag racing and burnout commentary in this country, Kerry’s dulcet tones were an essential part of both Street Machine Summernats and Powercruise for thousands of punters. Drag racing is Kerry’s true passion, and you can hear him on the mic at Street Machine Drag Challenge and other events all over the country.


One of Australia’s best-ever race drivers, ‘Big Rev Kev’ was Street Machine’s long-serving tech guru. KB pulled together some of the magazine’s most famous project cars, including HQFORU and the Castrol Coupe, and patiently answered readers’ tech questions via his ‘KB’s Workshop’ column for three decades or so.


When Geoff Paton’s big-block A9X hatch graced the cover of the Aug/Sep 1985 mag ripping a burnout in the middle of a public road with a nine-second ET emblazoned beside it, it probably did more to fire debate over who had Australia’s quickest street car than any other moment in history.



Taken too soon, Laurie Starling had a big impact in the time he was here, bridging the gap between the mini-trucking and street machine scenes, guiding the creation of Henry Parry’s SMOTY-winning FB, and lending his encouragement and wisdom to countless car builders in his role as a Summernats judge.


Lindz was Street Machine’s first art director and had a big impact on the tone and presentation of the mag. Back then, SM was essentially a two-person show, and Lindsay was in it up to his eyeballs, helping to come up with the mag’s signature headings (‘Mario’s Speedwagon’, for example!) and documenting the conversion of his smoky XJ6 Jaguar into a Chev-powered street stormer. He left with Paro to lend his talents and humour to the pages of Performance Street Car.


Our most popular engine build project ever – a mighty 253 Holden – screwed together by always-innovative Sydney car builder Chris Hillman.


Andrew Lynch is a latter-day burnout legend, and he was set to make his Street Machine Drag Challenge debut in 2021.

[Back to Top]



Street Machine’s managing editor in the very early days, Mac was credited by Paro as a key figure in delivering the new mag safely into the world. He later founded Street & Custom and Super Street, both of which were awesome, wild and incredible mags under his leadership. If you love the 80s and have never seen a copy, do yourself a favour.


Is it weird that the film that took Aussie street machining to the world is a brutal tale of gang violence, psychosis and revenge? Along with our venomous wildlife, the Mad Max films probably did more to terrify potential overseas visitors to this country up until the release of Wolf Creek. Nevertheless, the cars, the humour and the fusion of man and machine continues to speak to our tribe decades after the original fillum’s debut.


Another bloke so famous, he almost didn’t need a surname. Mario Colalillo’s enthusiasm for hot rods and customs was infectious, culminating in the creation of WILDCAD.


While street machining is most closely tied to drag racing, there has always been an element of circuit racing influence, and Adelaide’s Mark Sanders did more than most to turn that influence into street-legal fun.


Both here and in the US, Melbourne’s Mat Egan became the go-to guy for custom paint and pinstriping in the early 2000s. Making his name with the flamed XP ute that nabbed the cover of the Jun/Jul 2000 issue of SM, Mat has lent his talents to a number of SM projects, including VUFORU and Seddo’s Street Bob.


Along with Steve Loader, Peter Grmusa and a handful of others, ‘Mad Mick’ took the art of burnouts to a new level in the mid-2000s. And his Brashernats event proved that skid shows could work at Sydney Dragway.


Drag racer, ANDRA heavyweight and commentator at both the drags and Street Machine Summernats, ‘Uncle Milty’ was the voice of our sport for countless years.

Grab a copy of The History of the Street Machine Summernats 1988-2006 DVD to hear him in full flight.


Tristan Ockers’s Capri is one of the wildest street-driven – if not exactly street-legal – cars in the country, and a living legend in its own right.


The premier show in West Oz and the country’s oldest car festival, predating Street Machine Summernats by one year.