G’DAY all and thanks for putting down your hard-earned dollars to buy the mag. We appreciate it; we work hard to give you value for money and plenty of variety. This issue is a great example; we’ve got a couple of traditional-style street machines, some late-model action, a high-end burnout car, a restored speedway star from days gone by and even a dead-stocker.
Stock is hot in some quarters these days; check out the debate about SM photographer Nathan Jacobs’s XB on page 34 for an example of the kind of discussion that routinely rages online these days. My feeling is that it’s the general public rather than enthusiasts that are most vocal about street machiners ‘ruining’ old cars with mods, but there is no doubt that there has been a swing in some quarters towards restorations, driven in part by the sheer dollar value attached to Aussie muscle cars these days.
We’re not going to fill the mag with bog-stockers anytime soon, but there has always been a place in SM for impeccably restored examples of very special vehicles, like Stephen Gay’s factory auto R/T Charger, which you can check out on page 50. The workmanship that goes into saving cars like these is astounding and well worth documenting, I reckon.
But even at the other end of the scale from super-rare Aussie muscle cars, strange things are happening. Rock-stock standard cars that would not have rated a second look when I was a kid are now attracting admirers like cats to the Sydney Aquarium.
For example, Street Machine journo and all-round legend Glenn Torrens recently added a bogstock, well-preserved – wait for it – Mitsubishi Sigma to his extensive fleet. An exciting cream in colour, it is ‘powered’ by a 2.6-litre Astron four-banger and backed by a five-speed ’box.
And you know what? Not only is GT driving the wheels off the thing, but members of the general public are stopping him in the street in a way that was once reserved for owners of EH Holdens, XP Falcons and other 60s classics. You know the lines: “My grandad had one of these. I got my licence in one/had my first shag in the back of one/lost my licence in one” and countless variations on the theme. Even at informal Cars & Coffee-style car shows, people are walking past serious muscle cars to exclaim over how nicely kept Glenn’s old Sigma is.
What does it all mean? Not too much I expect, except that nostalgia is a constantly evolving thing, and the cars, music and films we were all too familiar with as kids can acquire a strange attraction later in life. So when we see something from our childhood in a very-well-preserved condition, we can’t help but stop and take a look. Different strokes for different folks, but in my books, there isn’t a car in existence that can’t be improved over factory with some well-thought-out mods. GT’s Sigma would be even cooler if he performed a cool engine conversion on the old girl – keeping the bowls-club chic intact of course.
One place you won’t find any stockers is the Valvoline Street Machine Of The Year field, which you can check out on page 44. Again, there is a ton of variety in there: elite show cars, pro tourers, tough streeters and old-fashioned street machines. Some were constructed in high-end workshops, others have been built in humble home sheds, but all are the product of pure passion.
And if you think one of the wilder cars is a shoe-in, don’t forget that last year’s SMOTY was won in a landslide by a relatively humble, six-cylinder, home-built HR ute. The readers of Street Machine determine who wins, and whoever you vote for, you’re always right! So, please check out the field, log onto smoty.com.au to check out some video of the contenders and cast your vote.
And just for having your say, you could win a VIP trip for two to Street Machine Summernats 30!
We’ll not only fly you to Canberra, but we’ll put you up in a flash hotel, give you two tickets to our VIP SMOTY party and you’ll get $1000 spending money to play with. Ain’t democracy grand? s