SHAUN and Tracey Pask have long dabbled in the hot rod, street machine, custom and drag scenes, with a serious leaning towards cars from the GM and Mopar stables. With a cool-car rap sheet a mile long, spanning more than 30 years, the Pasks have nonetheless managed to select just a few favourites to share with us.
Shaun’s first car was this EJ ute; he was 17. “It was a true old-school hottie,” he says, “with a red motor, side pipe and Speco floor shifter for the three-speed.” It had plenty of street-cred for the mid-80s with its silver paint and chrome wheels, and served as a daily driver and work hack. “I was also building an HQ Monaro in Lone O Ranger with a tough small-block and huge Armorlite mags, but sold both cars once the ’55 arrived.”
The ’55 has been in Shaun and Tracey’s shed since 1987. “It’s an Aussie-delivered, Fisher-bodied sedan we bought running a 283 with a three-speed Saginaw,” Shaun says. “It was originally owned by [drag racer] Peter Gratz, who’d moved the rear springs inboard for big rubber before selling it to pay for a new kitchen! We’ve just fitted an alloy-headed 454 and the old matte and satin-black paint jobs have graduated to full gloss.”
A mate’s dad started building this T-bucket in the 70s, but it was never finished. “We bought it in the 90s as our first hot rod project and decided to keep the old-school styling,” Shaun says. “The ROH Rockets were stepped up to 15x10s and we did the paint and lace work in the shed. It ran a tough 350 Chev and really went and looked the part. It was last known to be living in Victoria.”
Shaun and Tracey would scour the Trading Post and Brisbane backroads for cruisers and scored plenty of cheap 1960s Dodges, Chevs and Pontiacs. “This 1963 Dodge cost $1200 in 1999 and was a one-owner car. It was in near-mint condition and still had the original 318 poly donk. It’s one purchase I’ll never forget. The seller’s grandson was about six years old and stormed out of the house crying with his bag packed – he was angry and leaving home because the car was getting sold!”
After a few weeks of car-shopping Stateside in 2007, it was looking like the Pasks were going to come home empty-handed, until Shaun spotted this ’65 Plymouth Belvedere at the Pomona Swap. “It was our last weekend and I was on a mission – this Mopar was like a ray of light shining across the showgrounds!” he laughs. “It was a little rough and ready but the seller fired up the 440 and it just sounded so tough.” It ran an easy 11.7 at Willowbank before being traded on a ’40 Willys coupe.
This 1950 Dodge three-window coupe is a rare beast and was bought as a resto-hottie from a policeman in California. “We bought it over the ’net before a US trip in 2009 and cruised it around once we arrived,” Shaun says. “It ran a respectable 350/350 and nine-inch combo and we got it painted black with green metalflake before it was shipped home. It is the best $750 paint job we’ve ever had!” The ‘Gangreen’ signage was added before Mopar Sunday 2010, to give the car an old-school drag-strip persona.
The couple’s US trips have always had their “missions”: “I’ve been into drag racing since I was a kid so it’s always been on the bucket list to meet my heroes.” Shaun and Tracey used persistence and their likeable Aussie nature to find and share a decent conversation with the likes of Don Garlits, ‘TV’ Tommy Ivo and Chip Foose (above). “They’re humble guys and true gentlemen who take a genuine interest in meeting their fans. It’s definitely something we’ll never forget.”
Shaun went to the Toowoomba Swap and mentioned to his mate that he’d really love to pick up a Dodge coupe. “A chance conversation with a guy saw me owning this 1936 five-window a week later.” It was an old 60s custom they brought back to life after an intense two-year build. Everything was brand new and built to a specific theme; 341 DeSoto Hemi power, satin paint and orange highlights made for the perfect nostalgia package.
Probably the most recognisable ride in the Pask fleet is their AP5 Valiant gasser, ‘Knuckle Duster’. Originally built by Tony Davis as ‘Dragnet Ink’, the Pasks have spent the past decade developing the Safari into a legitimate and competitive race car that has run an 11.60@110mph best.
“We’ve just fitted a blower to the 440 for more Vintage Gas bad attitude,” Shaun says, “and a set of front brakes to really get those rear tyres smoking!”