Video: Expression Session is back!

Andrew Broadley chats with our new Expression Session guru, Aidan Donald



  • Expression session returns September issue
  • Aidan’s Design & Illustration will be on the pens
  • You could win a professional rendering of your build

The September issue of Street Machine is a 244-page extravaganza, celebrating the 40th anniversary of this esteemed journal of record.

There is a stack of cool stuff in there, but one thing we’re really pumped for is the return of our much-loved Expression Session column. The very first car on the drawing board is a super-cool EH Holden ute, done in the style of a Chevrolet El Camino. In the video above, editor Broadley quizzes our new Expression Session guru on how it came together.

Kicking off in the March 1997 issue of SM, Expression Session was a showcase for wild concept car ideas, featuring artist Jeff Haggarty on the crayons, journo Glenn Torrens on the words and engineer Werner Ihle adjudicating on the legality of what was being proposed.

Jeff went on to a long career with Holden, where he worked on some amazing projects, including Efijy, the VZ Monaro, the SST Commodore show car and the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.

Jeff’s last issue was the January 2002 mag, after which the Expression Session easel was initially taken over by Michael Menzies. By that time, John Varetimidis was in charge of the engineering duties and the whole deal was overseen by Craig ‘TUFFXY’ Parker. Craig introduced a massively popular reader section, where the punters would respond to Michael’s concepts from previous issues with their own take on the brief. The office was always flooded with mailing tubes containing the latest entries.

Ryan Carter was the next artist in the hot seat, and stuck around for a decade or so before hanging up his pens for a new career that saw him work at The Chop Shop, followed by his own business, United Speed Shop.

Expression Session then went into hiatus, but we rebooted it in 2012 as Muscle Car Makeover, this time to focus solely on reader-submitted concepts. Queensland artists Aden Jacobi was on the crayons, with Simon Major explaining it all on page. Aden also did a series of killer concepts for the Street Machine Hot Rod Annual.

For the return of Expression Session, we’ve teamed up with 21-year-old young gun, Aidan Donald of Aidan’s Design & Illustration. This time around, you guys will have the chance to get your project brought to life by this clever Queenslander.

Aidan is currently in the third year of his industrial design studies at Griffith Uni, but is already working with some of Australia’s leading shops to generate concepts and renderings for custom car builds. He also stays busy by designing one-off custom 3D-printed and billet components for clients, from brackets to bespoke wheel designs and custom billet grilles. He may be a young punk, but he already counts ProFlo, Moits Motorcars, Deluxe Rod Shop and Pat’s Pro Restos among his suite of happy customers.

“As a kid, the work of artists in Expression Session dramatically inspired and shaped my career,” Aidan says. “Over the years, Street Machine has featured work from artists and designers like Aden Jacobi, Jeff Haggarty and Ryan Carter, who have had so much influence in the industry, and to have my work feature in the mag is something I’m immensely proud of and excited about.

“I’d encourage readers to be creative with their submissions. If you have an idea for something radical, send it through! Most of the work I have on at the moment is centred around pro street and pro touring-style builds, and the really radical stuff is exciting to work on. That being said, muscle cars with slightly modified exteriors, updated drivelines, suspension and modern wheel and tyre combos have always been trendy; I think they’re cool because they’re the most relatable.”

So if you’d like Aidan to create a custom render for your next project, shoot us an email at [email protected]. Include as much detail in your brief as possible, including body mods, colours, trim, rims and stance. Reference images will also come in handy! Get us inspired by your ideas and you’ll have a big chance of your submission being selected.