Itís not every show that has you wandering past a line-up of stunning hotrods, and some very desirable American classics Ė such as a Shelby Hertz Mustang Ė then a freshly-restored GT-HO and finally has you tripping over a McLaren. The Northern Beaches Muscle Car Show out of Sydney is the one that does. Run by the Facebook group of the same name, it celebrated its third year in 2018, this time at the United Cinema Complex in Warriewood.
The main force behind the event is Carmine Vescio, who decided to get involved as a distraction from the loss of some close family members.
Pancare, aka the Pancreatic Cancer Organisation, is the beneficiary and the event is supported by the presence of Robert Brock who arrived at the event in a road-going replica of one of his fatherís famous VH race Commodores.
There was a brilliant range of cars on show Ė letís meet some of the ownersÖ.
IT WAS ORIGINALLY a four-cylinder. I bought it as a rolling shell that had a six in it, a few years ago. A good friend of mine, Andrew from Burringbar Smash & Restoration sourced the car for me.
Iíd been looking for three years and wanted a good roller with the potential to turn it into what you see now. So rust was a big thing.
He rated it a seven out of 10. The beaver panels and sills were renewed, but the boot and floors were really good. We took it back to bare metal, then built up the body.
I got a guy called Dave McLean Ė heís 70 and is based in Cessnock Ė to build the motor for me. I said I just wanted a streeter, something that idles but goes well. It has a stage 2 cam in it and Iíve kept it as a 308. Keeping the size down made it easier to register. On the dyno it does 195kW at the wheels Ė thatís plenty.
Everything on it is either new or has been refurbished.
I took it to a father and son team at Extreme Custom Engineering in Brisbane. They did a lot of the fit-out, such as installing the engine, Wilwood disc brakes, drop tank and making up fluid lines.
Then it went back to the panel shop for final spray.
Darren from Stitched Up Custom Trim on the Central Coast did the interior for me. Itís done in leather. I tried to keep it modern muscle, without going overboard. I was able to do that because the host car wasnít anything special.
That meant I could put 17-inch Simmons on it, but try to keep some of the feel of the era.
It took three years and a lot of painstaking work. Iíll never do another. Iíve always loved cars and this one stays in the family, but itís the last one I do.
Why a Torana? Iím a Holden man. As kids we used to have LJs and LCs.
THEREíS A TWIST in the story of this car: On February 11, 1976, it went brand new from Pontiac straight through to Tokyo in Japan. They left it left-hand drive even though Japan is a right-hand country.
The gentleman in Japan who ordered it must have had a lot of money. It was fully optioned and was one of 496 vehicles that went to there from Pontiac that year.
Itís curious, because Japan has had a reputation for being fairly uncompromising on vehicle regs, but these clearly got through. It has a lot of Japanese labelling and stickers around it Ė thatís what got me curious about its history.
I bought it from a gentleman in rural Victoria, and he didnít know anything about the carís history. So I was fortunate in finding out the story. I started with Pontiac Historical Services, and they located and sent the build sheet.
At the start I was just looking for a Formula 400 Firebird, so 400 cubic inches (6.6lt) with the T350 transmission, and this one popped up. It wasnít a very good listing and, in the end I had a bit of a win there.
Itís the W50 package, which Pontiac made 9000 of.
Itís only got 60,000 miles on it, and when you get in it feels like it did when it left the factory.
THIS CAR WAS a quick and cheerful special promoted by Holden, that turned into a modest runaway success, forcing the company to produce a second batch to fill the initial rush of orders. Based on the base-model Belmont, it came in a few wild colours, with 3M stickers kits, a 253 V8 and four-speed manual.
This one is as it came from the dealer, though the motor has been redone. I bought it like that a couple of years ago, from Queensland.
Iíve always just wanted an HQ, this one came up and I decided to have a go at it. It was luck of the draw Ė most of them were mock-ups or people wanted stupid money for them.
I love the rumble, itís old school, you donít see many cars like this on the road any more. People give you a thumbs-up and they want to talk to you about one they owned, itís pretty good.
IT WAS WHEN Ford wanted to lift the profile of the Mustangs, they were doing several versions, including this special with Hertz. There werenít many built.
The idea was potential buyers could rent a high-performance version, which might convince them to buy one. Most of them are black and gold and auto. They were often hired by execs who could use them to do a bit of track time.
As a kid, I loved the Mustangs, and it was that particular colour and style that I loved the most. The funny part was I didnít really understand the history and significance of them until after I bought one.
It wasnít about the history when I bought it, this was more about the style of it.
I bought this in 2013 and it was in more or less the shape you see it in now.
I did a bit of bodywork to it, did the stripes, got a few dings and bangs out of it. Mechanically it was in very good condition.
Itís still running the 289 and threespeed.
For that era, its power performance and handling was exceptional.
Donít get me wrong, I must admit when I first drove it after I bought it I wondered what the hell had I done! It doesnít stop, it doesnít turn, it doesnít go.
It wasnít until I got used to it and started to drive other old cars that I realised how good it is for its time.
I took my father out for the first drive, which was to Melbourne, down the old coastal road. Heís passed now, but itís a good memory.
I REMEMBER SEEING these getting around when I was a teenager, though they were a long way past being new at that stage! This is my fatherís car.
He bought it in 1991-92 and restored it in '93. That was long before the prices started to go crazy.
Heís been into these cars his whole life Ė heís always had them Ė before there was such a thing as a muscle car boom.
It was in pretty good shape when he got it, a one-owner car. Heís redone the mechanicals Ė it started life as a 308 and he converted it to a Chev 350 small block. It was automatic and heís changed it to a four-speed manual. And he replaced the factory ten-bolt diff with a ford nine-inch.
The brakes have been upgraded to HQ units front and rear, 16 Simmons wheels, basically going for a cruiser look or restomod effect.
The engine is mildly worked and it drives well. Thereís no air-con, but it does have power steer so itís easy to handle.
Itíll stay in the family Ė thereís no doubt about that, as I have two other brothers. I think my younger boy wants it, so itís likely to see a third generation behind the wheel.
It gets out a couple of times a month. Both my father and my younger brother get out in it fairly regularly. I just like putting the windows down and going for a cruise, getting the thumbs-up Ė anyone who has one of these knows you get that. Itís the best feelingÖ
IT STARTED OUT as a Falcon 500 and took a lot of work to get to this point.
Iíve had it for about three years and bought it painted and done up. But I pulled it apart and did it all again.
There wasnít anything really wrong with it, but I wanted a sunroof, a tougher engine, stronger gearbox and diff, and I put an Autometer dash in it.
The engine is a 393ci and made 624hp on the engine dyno and was put together by Wild Automotive. The carburettors are twin 750s. It does drink a bit Ė it can cost you $50 just to get out of the area.
Iíve wanted to build exactly this car since I was 16 years old, so itís a longheld ambition. My wife and family have always been really supportive. They enjoy it Ė the moment I say weíre going to a car show, theyíre up and ready.
The next project is underway Ė weíre building a TE Gemini sedan at the moment, for the two boys. It was their grandmotherís car, and she gave it to them last year. Sheíd had it for 28 years Ė a 1600 auto. Weíll leave it close to stock but will turbo the motor.
ITíS JUST HAD a full rotisserie restoration done on it. It has the Truetrac rear end, locker, 35 spline axles, extended shaft on the top loader. With the motor we have the 4V heads, full roller motor, 351, and 4MAB crank like all the original GTs. Itís been ported and polished by hand.
Iíve had it going on three years. Weíve always wanted a GT Ė every little boyís dream hearing that rumble coming on your way to school.
The kids are growing up and itís time to get it over and done with!
Itís a dream to drive. Iíve driven it up and down to Queensland and it loves it.
The interior has been redone, every nut has been redone, and pretty much every component has been anodised, powder-coated, ceramic-coated, whatever it needed. We didnít spare any effort. We even managed to get the original 8-tracker stereo happening in the cabin.
Itís got the Bathurst tank in the back and thereís really not much more I can do to it.
Iím a painter and panel beater by trade, so I can only blame myself if somethingís wrong! Thereís a good 60 to 100 hours just in the paint Ė because I wanted it perfect Ė and Iím pretty happy with it.
Now I can relax and let the kids fight over it!
ē VC HDT BUILD NUMBER 33 ē 05 TRIBUTE VH COMMODORE ē VK CALAIS DIRECTOR 333 PACK TRIBUTE
WHEN I WAS a young lad, my mumís first car was a VC HDT Brock Commodore, thatís been in the family ever since. It was given to me for my 16th birthday. Itís priceless to me. I grew up as a kid jumping in the back seat, getting dropped off at school or soccer training, so itís sentimental.
I have three daughters and they all love cars, so I couldnít part with it. Now Iíve got one each for them!
All Iíve done to the HDT is fit the bigger wheels. Everything else is stock standard.
The 05 tribute is recent acquisition Ė I had the opportunity and grabbed it. I put the Group A VK Scheel interior in it, big 19-inch Aeros to suit the era, and all the stickers are Brock and Perkins from Bathurst 1982.
The Director tribute is a bit of a toy. It has a 355 stroker in it, Turbo 350 transmission with a 4000 stall converter and a nine-inch. Sheís about 450 at the rear wheels, which I think is more than enough for the street.
I love throwing the family in the cars and going for a drive Ė the girls will pick a car and off we go.