Saturday 31 December 2011

Mopar Sunday

Keen CSM readers will remember our eventful trip out to Mopar Sunday a few months ago... At the time we thought we were off duty, so I took no notes and Dan brought no camera...

A little while later, the editor of Cruzin and Gasoline magazine contacted me and asked for a few words on the day to accompany some photos the magazine had... I racked my memory (and raided a CSM Thursday Pitch - see, it worked!) and produced the words appearing in Cruzin #135.

Check it out!!

Wednesday 7 December 2011

CSM Award

... For Excellence In Ebay Advertising.

'73 Plymouth Satellite

The Satellite was Mopar's middle-range coupe, and the base for the massively desirable RoadRunner big-blocks. Fantastic car, with the blocky bumpers and the big hips and the 70's colour scheme.

But this man is not just selling a sweet muscle car. He's selling a lifestyle, and he has communicated this through the photographs accompanying the auction in a way that must be applauded:

First, a pun:

Then the best car-ad-action-shot I've seen in quite a while, thanks to the NSW highway patrol:

CSM approves. Buy this man's Mopar immediately.

Wednesday 30 November 2011


Here's what half of ColumnShift Media has been doing instead of holding up his end of the bargain and actually writing some stories to accompany the photoshoots we've done recently.

I stand by my decision - She's nearly finished anyway, and working on my bike helps me gather anecdotes for upcoming work. Research, if you will...

... Does that make it tax deductible? I'll call an accountant as soon as I've written another thousand words... And rebuilt the carbies...

Saturday 26 November 2011

Work in Progress

The only problem with this freelance gig is the early starts. Oh, and also that we can't make enough money to quit our day jobs.

Other than that it's fantastic - you get to go to cool places, meet great people and check out interesting cars. All three happened today, with an early morning photoshoot on top of Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane.

We're really grateful to all the owners and friends who take the time and effort to get their cars spotless and then spend hours of their weekend hanging around with us answering my questions and moving the car 3 degrees east for Dan's perfect shot.

Spending this morning shooting Ash's Holden and hearing his story was great fun, and it sounds like he might have some old bikes we need to check out in the future. Dan is currently locked down in the lab processing shots while I try to write a few words that do the story justice.

Dan often gets asked what camera gear he uses, how he composes, how he processes shots. It's all Greek to me, but I can report that I took this photo with my beaten-up, ratrod Blackberry, using the lift-phone-and-click technique. I think it captures the moment though.


Monday 14 November 2011


Of all the sounds that have stuck with me over the years, the sound of a big-block engine from a long way away will always make me smile.

I've ridden in all sorts of big-cube cars over the years, from a screaming twin-carb 454 powered ute to slow, smooth cruisers. They all have one thing in common: the engine note that comes up through your feet, then in to your soul.

Of all of them, my favourite was Damien Nelms' 455ci Oldsmobile Cutlass. Following it in a Nissan Micra, the noise from the three-inch pipes and the way it pushed the back tyres around did something to me that I might never recover from. The body helped - if the coke-bottle hips on that thing don't make you swoon, you're clinically dead.

Dan recently unearthed some spare photos from the shoot we did for Gasoline. Enjoy - I did. The moody way these photos are processed suits the car perfectly - I particularly love the shot of the fuel pressure gauge, the aged photo makes it look purposeful, like something peeking from under the engine cowl of a Spitfire.

Monday 7 November 2011

Learner Drivers

It's probably safe to assume that everyone who reads this quaint little website drives a car, or something similar. It would also be safe to assume that you would have been taught how to drive by someone at some stage or another.

Everyone from Dick Johnson to Cranky Grandpa down the street would have been taught to drive. Maybe it was your father, your grandma, or your Drill Sargent while you were in 'Nam. More commonly these days, it is usually a State Certified Driving Instructor, which is probably the best way to go if learning how to drive safely is a priority.

Most commonly, however, it's your parents who strap you into the drivers seat and give you brief, well meaning instructions on how to propel a huge hunk of metal down the road. However, unless your father is Michael Schumacher or your mother Vicky Butler-Henderson, chances are their bad habits on the road are being passed on to the learning driver, which safer roads this does not make.

When I was learning to drive on the road, there wasn't a driving school that I could attend, so I did the best I could, until I could get to the big smoke to attend a Defensive Driving Course, which I think make me a ten times more competent driver on the road. I even spent a brief amount of time working at a Defensive Driving company, delivering the very same courses. If you are thinking that these courses are for reformed drunk drivers or school kids, you'd be wrong. Sure, the fundamentals are there, but once you sink you teeth into it, you will soon realise that these courses are anything but boring.

I first drove a car when I was 9 years old, on the Common Land a few kays outside of Goondiwindi, behind the wheel of Dad's three-on-the-tree Kingswood ute. Ever Sunday after moving the lawns, we'd go for a swim in the river and I'd get to drive there and back (not on the gazetted roads of course!). Further education regarding driving came from my late Pop, who took me out to the forestry behind Woodford to drive his early seventies FJ LandCruiser ute (or Nan's awesome 5 speed Sigma wagon).

These early beginnings probably didn't make me a better driver, and nor did the informal training I received during my L Plate phase allow me to win any driving awards. I can, however, confidently say that the formal driving training I received in the form of the various driving courses over the last eight years most certainly did.

So get out there, book yourself into one of the many accredited Defensive Driving courses around Australia and allow yourself to learn a few things about how to drive competently - who knows, you might even have some fun!


A young Daniel and Bingo the dog hanging out in the above mentioned Cruiser ute

None of these courses taught me how to do a skid, or even condoned doing them, but skids are cool, okay??!!

Thursday 3 November 2011

More Nervous Breakdown

Well, the breakdown photoshoot last night went excellently, and we've got the perfect shot.

Overnight, CSM correspondent Spiro sent through a further photo from 2001's Wounded Lamborghini saga. It's embarassing enough that I am duty bound to share it with automotive fans more broadly:

Note the ever-reliable Falcon in the background. Try not to note the shirt.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Nervous Breakdown

Halfway through a terrible week at my day job, but that's OK because we're off to do a photoshoot for an upcoming CSM article tonight.

The article talks about breakdowns, although hopefully not my nervous one.

My favourite breakdown story was part of a sorry saga partly illustrated below. Over the years, hundreds of people have accused me of faking this photo of my old Falcon, but I can assure you it's all too real...

Monday 31 October 2011

Cover Story

Leafing through Wheels magazine in the QANTAS Club on the weekend, I saw an ad for a website where you can buy an official, framed print of any Wheels cover since '54. Ideal birthday gift, blah.

I was actually quite excited to look up the website and see what was in the automotive news in the month of my birth. Surely it'd be something cool - even my mum drove a 5-speed, turbo car back then.

Not so. The cover of the Wheels issue that my father could've been flicking through in the Alliance Hotel while waiting for news of my birth was a major let down - a test drive of the awful new MR2 and a comparison of people movers.

I went in search of better examples. The issue commemorating Daniel's birth, predictably, was awesome: WE DRIVE THE '86 COMMODORE, with a full-page, front-on shot of a champagne VL looking like an escaped NASCAR.

The issue on stands the month the authorities relented and licenced me to drive was slightly more appropriate - the brand new Holden Monaro features, with a small photo of Tickford's 347ci TS50. Hot cars, even though they were out of my price range.

Of course, once again Daniel's was better - a comparison of the new FPV GT and the HSV GTS, with an accompanying comparison of the '71 Falcon GT and the GTS Monaro. I bet a copy of this issue was on the passenger seat of his Telstar as he did skids throughout western QLD.

What was the cover story in your big year? Post up comments!


Monday 24 October 2011


What an awful week in motorsport. Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon should have been driving a V8 Supercar at the Gold Coast this weekend, but instead we saw his coffin carried out of a chapel in Florida.

Watching this on the news last night, I talked to a friend who isn't in to motorsport how rare a fatal accident is these days. As the words came out of my mouth, the broadcast switched to that terrible image of Marco Simoncelli lying motionless on the MotoGP track.

I hadn't heard of Dan Wheldon, but I've only just read Matt Oxley's interview of Simoncelli in Bike magazine. He was a young man with a zest for life and a great attitude to being at the pinnacle of two-wheel racing.

We sit in grandstands or in the forest or on the couch every weekend cheering these men and women on, hoping for a thrilling incident or a big save without a thought for the people that risk their lives to entertain us.

If motor racing was safe or easy, no one would do it and no one would watch it. But this really does give us a moment to pause and think.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Upcoming works

Nick and I have a few things in the pipeline at the moment - on both two and four wheels. I spent the afternoon taking some happy snaps for something of the two wheeled variety.

Won't reveal the particulars as of yet, but here's a quick teaser pic -

Stay tuned!!!


Monday 17 October 2011


Spent all of yesterday on a film shoot, in charge of the cars. Can't say it was the best experience of my entire life. I spent quite a bit of the day sleeping, waiting for something to happen - bench seats prove their worth once again - but I've written an interesting story that I hope a magazine will pick up and Dan got some great shots...

We've also had an interesting offer of regular work that we really need to get our heads around. Exciting times!

Friday 14 October 2011

Missed Shift

You know the feeling - You're zinging up to 5200rpm, you dip the clutch, a lightening fast hand pushes through the dogleg from second to third and...


That's kinda what CSMedia has felt like lately. Dan and I have both been busy with work and travel, and the rare moments we have to do interviews and shoots have been plagued by scheduling dramas and poor weather. We're also facing living in our cars if the much-delayed pay for a few articles doesn't come through soon!

Never fear - we're still in the game, with an event report and a long-anticipated Katana photoshoot planned for this weekend, a catch up with a Kingswood driver in the next few weeks and the SuperFalcon article still in the works. I figure that some of these machines have waited 40 years for their moment in the sun - they can last a few more weeks.

We may even have some special reports from our European correspondent on the way - he's spent weeks thrashing everything from Fiat panel vans to Ferraris and other things we can't mention on a family website, all under the clever guise of a romantic getaway with his (now) fiance.

ColumnShifters seeking spousal approval for motorsport tours of foreign lands have much to learn from this man, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, keep dodging the rainstorms and enjoy the (intermittent) cruising weather!

Monday 19 September 2011

In The Works...

What's green and white, 40 years old and does 9,600rpm down Conrod Straight?

We're off to Buderim this weekend to find out more, and we can't wait. The magazine we're doing the article has asked for driving shots too. I've got my fireproof undies and CAMS licence packed, but I don't hold out much hope - The car is worth (significantly) more than my house.

Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday 14 September 2011

World's Fastest FJ

Exciting news - Another ColumnShift article is out in Australian Classic Car this week.

Buy it immediately!

Friday 2 September 2011


Way back in '84, the big news in motorcycling was the first 150mph superbike. 6 years in development to replace the ageing Z1, the Kawasaki GPZ900R was a 16-valve, 4 cylinder weapon pumping out 115hp at 9,500rpm.

That was 27 years ago now, and times have changed. Even entry-level sportsbikes will do that kind of speed, most often on the back wheel in school zones.

But wind back the clock the same 27 years from the release of the GPZ and things were very different. In 1957, proper bikes were made in factories in England by men in dust coats and flat hats.

Single cylinder bikes were the order of the day, with parallel twins for the real speed freaks. A 110mph, 500cc BSA Gold Star was the king of the road and cafe.

The Velocette Venom was nearly as fast, 34hp taking it to 100mph flat-out in fourth. Which was about as quick as you'd want to go on a bike with drum brakes the size of a bottle cap.

But some people just have a top-speed itch.

ColumnShift Media has just heard that a Queensland-prepared, single-cylinder Velocette has just broken the streamlined 500cc land speed record on the Bonneville salt flats, and may top 150mph if the wind is favourable today.

The idea of doing that speed sprawled over a faired 50's bike gives me goosebumps: all raspy induction and booming exhaust, weaving around as the wind changes. It's the stuff of dreams.

We need to talk to these guys.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Swap Meets Are Dead...

... and I won't be mourning the loss. I know there's a certain sort of person who'll get up at 2am and drive the length of the eastern seaboard to stand in a muddy paddock, sifting through boxes of rusty junk, looking for the last New Old Stock HT Monaro mudguard screw in existence.

These lunatics in turn are hunted by a kind of predatory beast that inhabits these rain-soaked showgrounds. You'll recognise this person - sitting in an oily deckchair, all flannel shirt and toothless bad attitude, trying to sell a box full of stripped sprockets and mismatched pistons.

These days, I can sit in air-conditioned comfort and order parts online. They arrive at my desk during work hours, clean and neatly packaged, sometimes with a little card with a bible quote if you've bought from the south of the US.

This is far more civilised, and it removes the element of chance. Need a bonnet emblem for your Jowett Javelin? A factory hood tach for your Pontiac GTO? An adaptor to put a Triumph clutch in your BSA Gold Star?

You can't guarantee that you'll find one of these at the bottom of a bucket full of Whitworth bolts and dead rats at the Upper Dagworth Show, Rodeo and Bluesgrass Festival (featuring the Upper Dagworth Morris Club's Biennial Swap Meet).

Anyone care to defend this iconic waste of time?

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Call of the Wild

I first heard speedway sprint cars from a mate's front yard on the southside of Brisbane. It was a hot night and the wind must've been blowing the right way from Archerfield.

I wasn't sure what the noise was at first, a muffled bellow that sounded car-like, but too deep, too 6.1 Dolby stereo. And it wasn't just a traffic-light blat - the revs built and built and stayed there.

You could see the lights of the stadium from where I was standing, just a glow above a few gum trees, and still that noise, like a battle being fought or a pack of prehistoric animals on the hunt.

I've heard the noise across the country since then. At a set of lights on Tiger Brennan Drive in Darwin, miles from Hidden Valley speedway. In another friend's yard in Maryborough and while driving through Gympie.

It always takes me back to that night, that dry wind and that perfect noise.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Thursday's Pitch - Heroes

The word "hero" is thrown around alot these days - people such as Mr I Have No Hair And Sound Like I Need A Strepsil scoring the match winning point or Miss My Parent's Bought Me A Boat And Painted It Pink So I Can Run Into Things, spring to mind.

Of course, the word hero can mean different things to different people. To some people, a hero is someone who has acted selflessly, for no personal gain or reward. To others, a hero can be someone as unassuming as a family member; Mum, Dad, Aunt Betty or even drunken old Grandpa Moe.

People who know me will tell you that Dick Johnson is my hero - a man who built his racing career literally out of stone. A self made success, he was a man who didn't have the luxury of rich parents sending him to Europe to carve a lucrative Formula 1 career, like so many have tried and failed at. He is a man who ran a service station by day to pay for the building of the race cars in his shed by night.

Whilst Dick's financial woes have been widely documented in recent times, as he has done whatever it takes to keep Dick Johnson Racing afloat, that shows the steely determination that has cemented him, in my mind at least, as a hero.

So, Columnshifters - tell us who your heroes are and why. They don't need to be Automotive related - mine is only by pure coincidence.

Get commenting!


Sunday 14 August 2011

True Grit - Viv Gees' Rally Falcon

Well, Gasoline 5 is out now... Here's some captures of the article for your enjoyment. To read it, go buy the mag!



Just a quick update today - ColumnShift Media went to the 2011 Lakeside Festival of Speed over the weekend to check out some great touring car racing. Some had seen better days (Formula HQ which seemed to have had a little outing on it's roof) but some were in as fine form as they were thirty years ago.

This year marked thirty years since the great Dick Johnson won his first championship at Lakeside and to celebrate the occasion, Tru Blu was wheeled out for a few magnificent victory laps.

For this ColumnShifter, Tru Blue and Dick Johnson are motorsport legends and to see the big blue meanie out on the track literally made my spine tingle. Below are a handful of shots that I took of the old girl.

Note that the gentleman in the last picture is none other than John French, who was Dick's co-pilot at the 1981 Bathurst 1000. Unfortunately, I didn't realise this as I politely asked him the move out of the way so I could get an uninterrupted shot of the race car! To his credit though, he obliged...


Sunday 7 August 2011

A teeny tiny update...

We've been plugging away at this publishing thing like amateurs for the past few months, so we decided it was time to ramp it up into the Real World (tm).

Presenting our new grown up web address - and email address -

So feel free to email us with all your car related stories and anecdotes, we'd be happy to hear from you!


Thursday 4 August 2011



You ColumnShift guys love fast stuff, right? You’re devotees of massive excess? It’s better to be shot from a cannon than squeezed from a tube, right bubba?
Not in this case, my easily excited friends. The train might be fast and techy and green, but those criteria aren’t enough, not nearly. For years now, the only safe way to travel the dangerous, uncivilised territory between the State of Origin capitals was by plane. But the air-conditioned, plush seated cabin of an A380 is not an experience that the ColumnShift Connoisseur yearns for. Although I’m a member of a QANTAS Club – I don’t want everyone who ever ended up in a knife fight over a packet of chips on a Jetstar flight to write in.
Sure, plane tickets are cheaper than bottles of milk these days (plane maintenance seems to be conducted at the same price too. So sue them – ever missed a service in your car? Quit carping.) By contrast, fuel now seems to be sold by the same people who set the price of Crystal Meth. But what are you going to do with all the money you saved by getting a 99c flight? Get an education? Buy shoes for your children? A nice watch? None of that will improve your reaction time when you crest a rise at the cold-sweat side of the speedo and find the Newell filled with stalled roadtrains and oncoming traffic and I know which you’d rather have at the time.
Oh, but the time, they yell! Three hours on the train! You can’t drive it in that, can you Mr Highway Motorsport? Well, no. By the shortest route it’s 900k’s, and even though a Hayabusa will do 300 an hour, you’ll be hard pressed to find a servo attendant to fill it at that speed.
The Greyhound bus takes 16 hours to cover the distance, but that’s hardly a worthy comparison, although it’s likely the driver is an ex-criminal with little to lose. says it can be done in 11 hours, which is a perfectly reasonable lap time for a learner driver or a Mini full of elderly nuns.
We know with absolute certainty that if you’re currently at, say, the Breakfast Creek Hotel, you could be enjoying nice weather and bad attitudes in Sydney inside 9 hours flat. Probably less if the Z900 had a bigger fuel tank or the NSW Highway Patrol are on strike. This virtually never happens, so you take your chances.
There are two key ways to travel between these hamlets. Some suggest that these two ways are caffeine or speed, Ford or Holden, naked or clothed. Whilst these are all considerations, you need to look at the way to go.
Neither is appealing. The Newell Highway is 100k’s longer between Brisbane and Sydney, but passes through few towns. It bears down through the wasteland of central NSW like a polluted river of bitumen, carrying suicidal roadtrain drivers, inbred psychopaths in Hiluxes and enraged cops driving blown, methanol powered SS Commodores. The scenery is nice, until it drags you off the road in to a gum tree and eats you alive. I don’t recommend it.
The Pacific is worse.  It creeps down the coastline, navigation without imagination. Keep New Zealand to our left and we’ll be sipping Glebe lattes in no time. It’s speed-limit lotto there, 40, 60, 40, 100, 90, 40, 80, 90. You eventually just wind it up to 150 and plan on blaming the speedo that’s in miles-per-hour. Which is hard in a modern Lexus. Your fellow Pacific Highway users will fascinate and terrify you in equal parts. The enduring memory will be staring through a fogged windscreen in to pouring rain, in the right hand lane of the first overtaking zone in five hours, with the caravan you’ve been trapped behind at 67kph since the border now accelerating towards the horizon like a Top Fueller. You’re beside it, vainly trying to get past, watching it sway back and forward like the hand of God while your brain does sudden-death-trigonomics regarding the person in exactly the same predicament heading north and closing on you at the speed of sound.
Having chosen the route, the vehicle is the key to success. One brand of lunatic prefers the Japanese sportsbike. They’ll sit on 250kph as long as you like, they’re cheap compared to Mercedes Benzes and long-term heroin habits and you never wanted to stand up straight again, did you? That said, new Japanese sportsbikes are better for this than old British ones – although there is something romantic about the friendly dribble of warm oil in your boot as you thunder down the highway, the illumination on the 160mph Smiths gauge brighter than the headlight.
Everyone you ask will say you want a V8 Australian car. Something big and loud and cool with monster torque and a window you can lean an arm out of while you get the low down on the smokies on the CB. Something those small-town chicks will be dying to jump in while you’re buying fuel at 2am.
Misguided. It’s not going to be easy to lay low in a lime green HQ GTS with black stripes, a hornet scoop and numberplates saying KILLPIGS. Particularly if it’s full of underaged girls from Lismore.
It almost goes without saying, but what you actually want for a max speed run is someone else’s car. Preferably something anonymous, white and blisteringly fast, recently taken from an owner who won’t miss it any time in the next 9 hours. Once you’ve stolen your car, then we can talk about pace notes.
 *With apologies to Hunter S Thompson, my family, the NSW police and the three roadtrain drivers who haven't tried to kill me yet.

Monday 1 August 2011

Mopar Sunday - Drags

While we weren't getting hammered with leaves et al. we also managed to watch a spot of drag racing.

Here's some shots!

Sunday 31 July 2011

Face o' Leaves

Well, Mopar Sunday was pretty good. I realised that I'm really not a car-show-person, but this event had a lot to offer - show and shine, drag racing, merchandise tents, even a swap meet. More on that later.

It was nice to go to a car event without the stress of interviews and photoshoots and deadlines. We cruised out in a convoy of sweet Mopars too, at the invite of Tony, the husband of a friend of a friend of my wife's. Tony's Satellite is a bit of a rat-rod, but is 100% big-block powered cool. In the group he brought along was an old CSM mate, Charlie, who took us out in the Big Block Oldsmobile for CSM's first big feature. Today, Charlie was driving a hot, lime green Dodge pickup that towed a white Super Stock race truck out for some quarter mile action. Turns out that classic car owners make up a small world.

Speaking of small worlds, I recently encountered Flamin' Wayne MacGregor a former part-owner of Drive Publishing, producers of Cruizin and Gasoline magazines. He sold me this: 

She's what Mopar people refer to as an "A-Body" - a '72 Plymouth Scamp. It runs a 318ci Fireball V8, a three speed 904 auto and the baby 8-and-quarter diff. All factory running gear, bar a Holley I installed last week and a set of twin pipes and tiny cherry-bomb mufflers. It sounds great, and the whole car weighs less than the wheels of my old F100. This means performance from the little motor is plenty to shift a cruising car around.

We've driven it a few hundred miles now, and the experience is something else - we can't back it out of the driveway without smiles and waves from passers-by. I think we might have found a keeper.



Righto Nick, I notice you have conveniently omitted the car's minor flaw from your little love story above.

Let me set the scene.......

We were driving down the Cunningham Hwy after a day at Willowbank, Holliday clearly chuffed with his new car purchase and me just happy to be cruising in a cool piece of Americana.

Peuty: So this little 318 feels like it's got some poke, especially in top (third) gear 

Holliday: Yeah it goes alright, watch this! (slips trans into second and gives it a bootful) Look, pulls cleanly and strongly up to 90Mph and it really lovHNNGMMpFFHHHffffff!!!!!!

This was the sound of half the Californian bushland being forced out of the footwell air vent by our near as dammit 100mph showboating.

Clearly Aussie Customs weren't terribly thorough in protecting our Flora and Fauna and missed the forty year buildup of leaf litter in the various air vent piping when doing the Customs clearance - leaving Mr Holliday with a mouthful of leaves, bark and rotting gumnuts (and no doubt other kinds of American biohazard too).

So we pull over in the nearest clearing to contemplate this unexpected intake of roughage - Holliday to dust himself off and our mate Scooter and I to have a good laugh at his expense.
I'm sure he's got the dash apart cleaning the schmeg from the vents as I type, but I say leave it in - who needs Metamucil when you can get your daily intake of fibre by going for a spin in your awesome Plymouth Scamp!


Report from Mopar Sunday 2011

Life is easy for Ford and Holden fans. Everyone has an opinion on which is best, you see them on the street every day and there’s a race every weekend where you can wave the flag and see which is fastest.

Queensland Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth fans only get one big chance a year – Mopar Sunday. Held on the last Sunday of July for the last nine years, Mopar Sunday is a big deal. It’s much more than just a car show – there’s a full day of drag racing, club displays, a swap meet, dyno runs and of course hundreds of sweet Mopars to ogle.

This year was no exception – Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway reverberated to everything from the crackle of a Weber-fed six to the earthshaking rumble of  big-cube Hemi V8s. Walking from the staging lanes to the show and shine area, I didn’t know which way to look.  It doesn’t matter what you drive: If a purple hemi ‘Cuda doesn’t stop you in your tracks, you’re clinically dead.

Mopars are all about impact to me. 70’s colour schemes that scream out “OVER HERE!!” – Go Mango, Hemi Orange, Plum Crazy, Top Banana. And no other brand ever did dress-up packages half as good – everywhere you looked there was a bumblebee stripe or a Superbee badge or a Roadrunner sticker. Cool, cool, cool.

They were everywhere – Challengers, Dusters, Chargers, ‘Cudas, Darts, some still wearing vinyl roofs and factory air in the tyres, some worked to the max with motors a foot out of the bonnet.

Aussie Chryslers were out in force as well, with everything from immaculate early-girl AP5s to swarms of hi-po Pacers and Chargers. 

Even the late-model fans had something to drool over – big-stereo gangstamobile 300Cs and flash new hemi powered Jeeps. There was even a brand new Challenger coupe near one of the dealership stands, just to remind us what we can’t have in Australia.

Walking around the show’n’shine, you were all too aware that you were missing epic racing on the strip. Everyone was giving it a go, whether you had a daily-driver slant six-powered Val or a small-block Centura on slicks. For my money, the drag car of the day was Darren McGahan’s wheelstanding ’68 Barracuda.

Event manager Sam Tatton said that this year was the biggest ever, with 135 cars racing, over 300 cars on display and 3000 people through the gates. For Mopar fans, this is as good as it gets. We can’t wait for the 10th anniversary next year.

Words published in Cruzin Magazine, December 2011

Thursday 28 July 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

The photos are processed. The words are written. The email has been sent, and another ColumnShift Media article has been dispatched today.

After receiving news a few weeks ago that a story that WE uncovered is going to appear (in a vastly inferior form) in another magazine just weeks after our work is released in Gasoline, we're keeping our stories close to our chest.

This latest story is about a vehicle, obviously.

It's made of fibreglass, but it's not a speedboat.

It's purple, but it isn't the Bryan Byrt Ford GT-HO.

It's got a Holden badge, but it wasn't built at Fisherman's Bend.

But that's all we can tell you until the next Australian Classic Car comes out.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Rolling Wheels

Well, another 1200 kilometre weekend has gone by, at exactly the speed Daniel's photo shows. Modern cars don't float my boat for a number of reasons, but to drive 6 hours to Roma, do a one hour interview and photo shoot and then drive 6 hours home, I'd rather be in my 18 month old Commodore than the sweet 302/4 speed XY Falcon you can see us closing on.

We've been a bit slack on updates for the last couple of weeks, but expect some big updates soon - another issue of Gasoline will be rolling off the presses next week, we're submitting an excellent interview to a major magazine this week, Mopar Sunday is just around the corner and we have some automotive news of our own to share.

Exciting times.


Monday 18 July 2011

Family Ties - The 80's

My wife's family has stepped up to the plate, showing the family transport, circa 1989.

First is a steel grey XF Falcon S-pack, the hottest Falcon you could buy in 1987, sporting the mega-dark tint and Aunger window louvre for extra impact. A very young version of my wife can be seen breaking adjusting the wing mirror, with my father-in-law David showing off the stylish short shorts.

Next are a couple of photos of David's pride and joy in the same era, a gunmetal grey VN Commodore SS. The "batmobile" is the stuff of Broadbent family legends, with a 5-speed and an exhaust note that was the envy of all Wurtulla.

Note that my wife and her younger brother do not appear in these photos. This is because they were always thoroughly searched for crayons, lollies and other small-child vandalism weapons, then bound and gagged before being allowed to approach the SS. Fair enough too.


Sunday 17 July 2011

ColumnShift Weekend

Big weekend for ColumnShift media. Nick was in Yeppoon crewing for a car in the Capricorn round of the Queensland championship. It's suspected that he is bad rallying luck - the car has DNF'ed both times he's helped out. It's unclear how direct the relationship is.

There was some rally comedy on the provisional results board last night though:

Dan was busy amusing himself at the RACQ Motorfest in Brisbane, snapping some excellent shots.

A FordForums member's EL XR6, nearly nice enough to make Nick miss his:

Some epic classic Holdens:

Some lime green thing that looks useless for taking bricks to the tip:

A dodgy old Mopar:

Busy weekend, leading in to a busy automotive week - more research for the World's Fastest FJ article before we drive out on Saturday, plus picking up a new addition to the CSMedia fleet.