DATELINE: 29 October, SEMA Show, Las Vegas, Nevada. As I write this, my workmates back in Australia are sending the last pages of this issue Tough life, hey?

The show opens to the public tomorrow, but we’re here to get the scoop on the latest and greatest before things get crazy. You can check out our SEMA coverage online now at


The day that I left for the US, Scotty and his team were on the road back from the first Running On Empty Festival, in Cobar NSW. Scott was driving the Mr Dodgey 1963 Dodge Phoenix, which he and his helpers finished just in time for the show. It was a close-run thing – Scotty picked up the number plates from VicRoads on Friday morning and, after a few stops on the Monash Freeway, headed north and made it to Cobar in time for lunch on Saturday.

Apart from small issues (including a run-in with a fast-reversing AU Falcon), Scotty reckons the Dodge gets better with every mile. So far, I’ve only manoeuvred the big-block beast around the work car park, so I’m looking forward to doing some miles in the thing.

We are tempted to bring Mr Dodgey on Street Machine Drag Challenge, which will be just about run and done by the time this mag is printed. Doing the event in a big-block muscle car with no air or steer in the middle of November would be a great way for us to experience Drag Challenge in the same way most of our entrants do, so if we can fix a couple of issues, we will.

Drag Challenge will be a monster this year, with over 250 entries on the list. All across the country, entrants are madly finishing off their cars, tuning them, and – if they are lucky – getting a few practice runs in Melbourne on 16 November, please come and check out the final day of action at Calder Park. We’ll be racing from 3pm to 9pm, so ditch work early and we’ll see you there! If you can’t make it, we’ll have coverage galore online and across our social channels.

And, of course, the news is no doubt spreading that Ben Judd’s crazy EH Holden wagon is the new Valvoline Street Machine Of The Year. Ben’s car is only the second six cylinder-powered winner and the firstever win for the mighty red motor. The car is an intriguing mix of old- and new-school influences. Under the bonnet is pure tradition – a stove-hot six-pack with triple Webers and a super-rare Irving head. This is in contrast to the wildy outré interior, massive rims and super-bright PPG Electric Blue paint.

The runner-up vehicle couldn’t be more different – Phil Edmondson’s XB coupe. While the XB is neat, it is far from a show pony, but there must be something appealing to many of you guys about seeing a full-weight Aussie muscle car that is equally as happy running low eights at the track as it is doing Bunnings duty on weekends.

In third place is Craig Morrow’s ST1NKY VH Commodore – a car that is pretty much stateof-the-art for show-and-go Commodores at the moment. Behind the VH was a cluster of cars that almost slipped into the top three.

Thanks to everyone who voted; we couldn’t run this competition without you! This year is the 30th anniversary of the richest prize on the Australian street machine scene, so thanks mightily to Valvoline for their continued support of the award – and for supplying the $20,000 prize money. This year was the first time we handed the task of selecting the 16 finalists to you guys. We think it worked really well. There was lots of debate online, but, as we often say, the reader is always right.