Street Machine: 2018 in review

We look back at some of the awesome (and stupid) things we got up to in 2018


IT’S been one of the biggest years ever here at Street Machine, so we thought we’d take a quick trip down memory lane and look back at some of the cool things we got up to in 2018.

We kicked off the year with a horsepower sensory overload at Summernats 31, watching the country’s best tyre-haters go head-to-head on the burnout pad and checking out some of the finest new builds on display in the Elite Hall. Matt James took out both first and second place in the Burnout Masters, and you can relive all the action here.

Over the Australia Day weekend, we headed across Bass Strait to Tassie for another smoke show, taking our LS-swapped Mazda MX5.7 Carnage project for a rip at Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but Scotty had a riot and it was definitely worth the trip.

April saw the first running of our new Drag Challenge Weekend in Queensland. It’s the same concept as the regular Drag Challenge but compressed into three days of mayhem and racing. Mark van der Togt won the inaugural event with his XW Futura. DCW was a huge success and we’ve already started planning another for next year.

At the end of August we headed to Alice Springs for Red CentreNATS, Telfo trailering the MX5.7 for a rare few days of legal street driving and to see if the MX-5 could finally break into the nines. After a couple of test hits the car pushed out a 9.96@141mph, enough to keep us satisfied and bookend a successful year for the little Mazda.

Scotty then took us Stateside for Hot Rod Drag Week 2018. Tom Bailey took out the overall win in his Camaro, while competitors from all over the US and around the world – including our Aussie comrades – battled both the racing gods and a threatening hurricane to get to the finish line on Day Five.

Up next was probably one of the most challenging things we’ve ever taken on. With just 21 days in hand, Scotty planned on taking our new ’63 Dodge Phoenix, dubbed Mr Dodgey, on an 1800km round trip to the first Running On Empty Festival in Cobar, NSW. Sounds simple, until you discover the car had no running gear or registration. We thrashed on this thing day and night to make it; you can see how it all turned out in our latest Carnage episodes.

We also crowned the 2018 Valvoline Street Machine Of The Year, with Ben Judd taking home the cherries this year with his mum’s old EH wagon. Ben and his brothers were honoured and humbled when we surprised them with the SMOTY trophy, as the car was the Judds’ old family hauler so has huge sentimental value. This was also the first SMOTY where we let you, our readers, choose the 16 finalists.

November saw us jump headfirst into the big one: SM Drag Challenge 2018. It was the biggest and quickest DC we’ve ever seen, with nearly double the number of entrants (206 confirmed starters) and 150-odd competitors making it through the torturous week. In a year of Ford dominance at Drag Challenge events, Frank Marchese in the Dandy Engines XW Fairmont took out the overall win, narrowly beating Harry Haig in his HQ SS. The top five cars overall ran well into the sevens, and class records tumbled. We’ve already started brainstorming next year’s event and can’t wait to see how much further these madmen and women can push their street cars and limits.

All in all, it was a hugely successful year, but we’ve got no intention of slowing down. After a quick Chrissy break we’ll get straight back into it at Summernats 32; there’s potentially a third Drag Challenge event coming next year too, and enough Carnage projects in the pipeline to keep Scotty on his toes. We’d like to thank everybody who’s supported us this year and we can’t wait to bring you even better content and events in 2019.