WHO’S THE BOSS?

> THE INCREDIBLE AUSSIE-BUILT XB THAT TOOK ON THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT THE DETROIT AUTORAMA

STORY BORIS VISKOVIC PHOTOS CHRIS THOROGOOD

IF YOU were paying attention to our social media coverage back in late February, you may already know all about this stunning XB Falcon coupe. If not, then check this baby out.

She’s called XBOSS, and recently took the US by storm when she debuted at the Detroit Autorama. Don’t worry, we’re not reporting on some Yank that pinched one of our most legendary muscle cars and turned it into a squillion-dollar show car. This car is true-blue Aussie – West Aussie to be precise – and is the creation of Chris Bitmead and a handful of very talented craftsmen.

If you’re unaware of what makes the Autorama such a big deal, and wondering why someone would build a car in Australia and then ship it halfway around the world on the off-chance they might win a six-dollar trophy, I’ve got two words for you: Ridler Award.

When it comes to car show trophies, the Ridler is the Grand Final, the Best of the Best, the Oscars. It’s awarded to a car that has never been shown before, and the competition is fierce. Each year around 50 cars enter for the award, but they’re quickly whittled down to a small group of eight finalists – the Pirelli Great Eight.

That was Chris Bitmead’s goal, to make the Great Eight – and he did it. Even more amazing is how close he came to taking out the Ridler, with the judges deliberating over XBOSS and the eventual winner, the ’39 Oldsmobile roadster of Billy Thomas. For those of us lucky enough to be at the show, the Olds was obviously the car to beat, but we all felt a great deal of pride in how well the homegrown Aussie coupe stood up against the best competition in the world.

The Yanks have been aware of our car scene for a while and know that we build some nice cars, but I don’t think any of them truly realised how good we can be. If there was an award for People’s Choice, I have no doubt that XBOSS would have won it. There was a crowd around the car throughout the show and it was even featured on the morning news, attracting people from as far away as Florida!

XBOSS flew the Australian flag high and did us proud. It was a historic moment for the Aussie modified car scene, and when you get to see the car for yourself in our full feature next issue, you’ll realise how far it has lifted the bar.

To see it in the metal, make sure you head down to the WA Hot Rod & Street Machine Spectacular at Claremont Showground on 18-19 June or MotorEx on 16-17 July at Melbourne Showgrounds. s