THERE are many excellent things about working at Street Machine, but the very best part is handing over the keys of a hot muscle car to a reader. I’ve never had the pleasure until a few weeks ago, when I delivered our Dodge Dart Swinger project over to Kane Jones- Murphy at his home on the south coast of NSW.
It was a bit of a hectic time, with the thrash to finish the Dodge, followed by a whirlwind trip to Red CentreNATS, then bolting up to Sydney to register the Dart and then deliver it to Kane. And then the next day, Hot Rod Drag Week started in the US, with Scotty and Pov firing over squillions of videos and photos from the event that Aiden and I then loaded up to streetmachine.com.au. My laptop was certainly feeling the pain, and my iPhone decided to check out altogether.
To say Kane was happy to finally drive the Dart is an understatement – he was giggling when we went for the first drive. His youngest son was also stoked, but mostly because he nabbed the plush Angry Birds pig that has been dangling from the Dart’s rearview mirror since we first acquired the car. Kane comes from an automotive background, having mucked around with modified fourwheel- drives in his younger days, and with his dad and stepdad both being car guys.
Kane reckons he’s going to hang on to the Dart for as long as possible, and already has the car booked in to be fitted with child restraints for the little ones. Congratulations Kane and thanks to everyone who contributed to the car, including Glenlyon Motors, Precision International, Powerhouse Engines, Paul Rogers Transmissions, McDonald Brothers, Edelbrock, Aussie Desert Coolers, Extracted Performance Exhausts and Lowe Fabrications.
No time to rest, though, with Street Machine Drag Challenge fast approaching. Out of the 100- plus racers that registered their interest, we have a total of 40 paid-up entrants as we go to print, with a few more furiously wrenching on their cars to get them ready in time, fuelled by energy drinks and countless hours watching the Drag Week live feed. We make no secret of the fact that Drag Challenge is directly inspired by Hot Rod’s event. Australia’s tighter rego laws mean we’ll never see the kind of wild machinery that the likes of Bailey, Lutz and Larson run, but that isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of very interesting cars entered in the event.
We’ve got a gaggle of cool cars from all over Australia set for Drag Challenge this year; the only state not represented so far is the Northern Territory. Almost all of the 18 entrants from last year signed up again, so we’ll see Terry Seng, Quentin Feast and Tristan Triccas battling it out again, and they’ll be joined a bunch of new hopefuls.
Rodney Browitt and John Di Mauro will be engaging in a battle of the farm trucks, as their rusty turbocharged farm utes go head-to-head; Brad Pettitt will be bringing his EH sedan all the way over from WA to have a go; and Ben Walker will have to put his Valiant hardtop on a boat from Tasmania.
There’s a good mix of Holden, Ford and Chrysler this year, with the entry list full of Commodores, Toranas, Capris, El Caminos and even a couple of Dodges; throw in a hot rod and some classic American muscle and you’ve got the makings of a serious competition list. s