THE second Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs is almost upon us, ready to rock 2-4 September. Entrants are coming from all over Australia and in even bigger numbers than the 450 that headed to Alice for last year’s historic inaugural event.
One very special entrant is former NT Chief Minister, Marshall Perron. Although Marshall lives in Queensland these days, he is remembered in the Territory as a great friend of our hobby and motorsport in general. He campaigned hard against moves to push old cars off the road in the early 90s and was patron of the Australian Street Rod Federation for over a decade. And while we’ve met a few petrolhead pollies over the years, none can match Marshall’s history with the sport.
In fact, as a young bloke, he built the first hot rod in the Northern Territory. Built using a ’28 Willys roadster body and a ’48 Ford chassis, Marshall got the car on the road in 1960, making it part of the first wave of hot rods to be built Down Under. “It was painted by brush in zinc chromate,” says Marshall. “The nerf bars were galvanised pipe. There were no chrome-platers in Darwin then!”
The car was sold in 1962 and driven to SA, where the new owner gave it a wrap-around windscreen. Marshall later replaced with a ’55 Thunderbird. Life in politics intervened and Marshall didn’t build another car until 1992, but when he did it was a sectioned, flamed ’46 Ford, powered by a 460 big-block. This was during his term as both Chief Minister and Police Minister, mind you!
In retirement, Marshall made up for lost time, and got around in a ’56 F100 as his daily driver. He also built his custom ’66 Mustang convertible (SM, Dec ’05), which is the car that he’ll be bringing to Red CentreNATS.
For starters, Marshall went for a 220kW Windsor V8 out of an AUIII XR8, along with the matching T5 cog-swapper. Up front is RRS suspension, while out back is a Jaguar IRS. And like a true hot rodder, Marshall also treated the car to some select body mods, wild trim and a stunning candy apple red paintjob. All pretty wild stuff back in 2005 – it got a lot of attention in the US at the time – and remains a cool car today, built for the pure pleasure of the drive. We’re looking forward to catching up with Marshall at the event and seeing the Mustang in action.
Tickets for Red CentreNATS are on sale now and entries close on 15 August; all the details are at redcentrenats.com.au.