ONA cool June Sunday morning, I kickstarted my old panhead and headed off to Covered In Chrome at the Mackay Harbour. After Iíd taken photos, someone mentioned that there was a car and bike show on at Slade Point. So followed the signs on my rigid chop to the Old Skool Muscle Car Club show íní shine.
Over 70 cars and bikes rolled into the Slade Point Bowls Club for the first OSMCC show held locally. What a great venue! Plenty of room for the cars and bikes, and the manicured grass kept the dust to a minimum. A bonus was the delicious $10 meals and $4 pots. The footy club running the barbecue would have sold more sausages than Bunnings on a Saturday morning.
I talked to Geoff Hughes, the Queensland president of the OSMCC, who told me there are over 200 members statewide. The family club has been going since 2006, and the local chapter has grown to 30 members. The money raised by the OSMCC at the event was going to the Base Hospitalís childrenís ward Ė definitely a worthy cause.
As I walked around and talked to people at the event, one thing that stood out was that many of the car owners were baby boomers. I wondered why, and then the penny dropped: These are the cars they drove when they were 20 years old. Have a look at many of the rides we feature in Street Machine; the most valued and sought-after muscle cars were built at the end of the 60s and early 70s, when these boomers were in their prime.
Baby boomers are one of the wealthiest generations, so it comes as no surprise that some have a collection of muscle cars, hot rods and Harleys sitting in their garages. A couple of people have been making me offers for my HZ Premier wagon, which is my substitute panel van. Iíve said no deal; however, Iíd swap it for a windowless V8 Holden van in a similar condition. Iím now realising why itís so hard to get a good panel van: Thereís a bunch of baby boomers hoarding them. One local guy has five of them! I asked one of my friends who has a mint, windowless HQ van how many cars he had. He said he had 10! Say it took one minute to unscrew a tyre valve cap, measure the air pressure and pump the tyre up; thatís 40 minutes just to check the tyres of all 10 cars, let alone taking each one for a run or getting them ready to race at Palmyra.
As frustrating as it is for people trying to get a good late-60s/early-70s car, thereís something the baby boomers canít escape, and thatís mortality. And their kids mightnít share the same passion for their prized possessions. While the average life expectancy might be 84 years, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and dementia are going to see a lot of cherished and pampered muscle cars on the market in the not-toodistant future; weíre already starting to see estates auctioning off collections of precious metal. From 2029 to 2048, expect to see shiploads of highly desirable muscle cars coming up for auction. We canít take them with us.
While I was doing the rounds of the car and bike show, some of the car owners told me how well their rides were running with their new go-fast alloy heads, roller cam, flash carb, etc. I asked them what times they were running, but very few could tell me. One guy who had a black Chevelle with an LS motor said he ran 110mph, even though the car spun like crazy. My eyes lit up and I told him that he had a low-12-second street car if he could get it to hook up. With perfect traction, his Chevelle could theoretically run an 11.9 according to the Moroso calculator.
There were also lots of late-model plasticbumper cars on display, too. I asked Geoff about the name Old Skool Muscle Cars and if there was a cut-off year for eligibility. He replied that originally it was 30 years for club rego, but they now allow late-model, full-rego car owners to be members too. Somebody has to run the club when the old guys are gone.
One thing that made about a dozen of us laugh was seeing one of the Kerr boys spinning his tyres down a nearby street. I wouldnít know him if I fell over him, but everyone else knew Wayne and called out his name. These days with home surveillance cameras, dashcams and mobile phones, it only takes one phone call from an irate local resident to get your car impounded by the police. And the carís gone for good if itís the second time. If you want to burn rubber, save it for the track or somewhere away from the public. As Shania Twain sang, that donít impress me much.
Finally, you donít race magazine articles, computers, flow benches or dyno figures. Telephone numbers of neddies at the rear wheels mean nothing. The bullshit stops when the flag drops. If you canít shift the weight, you drag ainít got strip the is horsepower the ultimate lie-detector. Ė simple as that. The drags strip is the ultimate lie-detector.