LUCY BELLE

Iím a huge fan of Linda Vaughn Ė the most famous Miss Hurst Ė and wanted to pay homage to her career

STORY SMON TELFORD PHOTOS PIX BY PETE

TOWERING above the crowds and cars at this yearís GreazeFest was a glistening chrome and gold structure just begging for a closer look. Propped boot of a Valiant hardtop we found a giant Hurst golden shifter with a sash-and-highheels-clad blonde waving to the cameras, so naturally we stopped to say gíday to Lucy Belle.

Iím a huge fan of Linda Vaughn Ė the most famous Miss Hurst Ė and wanted to pay homage to her career

Itís not every day you see someone hanging off a 2.5m gear shifter!

Yes, Iím a huge fan of Linda Vaughn Ė the most famous Miss Hurst Ė and wanted to pay homage to her career. I find her to be an inspirational woman who has a genuine passion for the car scene and brand she has represented and promoted for five decades. Linda has always been more than just a glamour girl; she is a spokeswoman who knows the product, marketing and industry inside-out.

So how did this whole display come about?

I love costume design and dressing up at any opportunity and like to do things a little differently to the more traditional pin-up thing. I actually had this outfit finished for Cooly Rocks On last year, and my partner Simo made me a sceptre using a proper Hurst shifter. After that event was rained out, we figured with the extra time up our sleeves we could go the whole hog!

How on earth did you make this thing?

We built it as tall as we possibly could; the only restriction was it had to fit into Simoís Valiant panel van to haul it around. Itís a budget build shaped from polystyrene sheet and MDF we found on Gumtree, wrapped in chrome dance fabric and gold crushed velvet. The base uses thicker MDF wrapped in black velvet, with a welded RHS frame that slides into the centre of the actual shifter for stability.

Was it a bit daunting being perched up there in high heels?

No, we had a few practice runs on the back lawn first Ė much to the confusion of the neighbours Ė so it all went smoothly. really Iím grateful and thankful to Pete Walker for taking an interest in the project and taking such amazing photos.

Is it your Valiant?

No, itís one of Simoís cars; heís owned it since he was 17 and it runs a pretty stout Hemi 265 with a fourbarrel. He drag-raced it for years, but now itís more for dirt- and mud-style events like the Asphalt Demons Invitational, where we can both have fun giving it a hiding. A couple of people were mortified that I was standing on the boot, but there was no harm done Ė it is old-school steel after all, and these platform heels are from Rio and are super-soft rubber. Iíve pretty much claimed this car anyway until we finish my EH, but Iím not sure if Iíll give it back [laughs].

Cool! Tell us about the EH.

Iíve owned it for 23 years and it runs a 192 with triples and a five-speed, with fat jellies under flared guards, so is very period 1980s. About 10 years ago it was written off by a redlight runner who cleaned up everything from the windscreen forward; it cracked the engine block and everything. Weíre finally getting into the rebuild now and I canít wait to have it back on the road.

The big question now is: What on earth are you going to do with a 2.5m-tall shifter?

It will end up in our lounge room as a permanent fixture, as itís about the only place it will fit. Itís Christmas sure to make tree! one s hell of a Christmas tree!