Hotrod Nationals Geelong, 23-24 April 2011

So we decided to head over to Geelong and check out the Hotrod nationals for something a little different. It was a cool event with a chilled vibe, and had an emphasis definitely placed on living the hotrod lifestyle. The cars, the music, the tattoos, the clothes and the hair. These people take their hobby seriously.

The show was held over the easter weekend at the Geelong showgrounds. There was something like 1000 entrants on the weekend which filled the oval and most of the access roads around it. Some people were too cool for the oval and just hard parked where they liked and did it their own way, there was no ‘man’ telling them what to do. How very hotrod.

Kids get in on the action too, it’s funny how go-kart slicks make perfect scale deep dish drag rims at this size – there really are fun family activities in Geelong.

A few people decided to bring their own fun.

I decided that this was my favourite style of rod. Plain, simple and period correct. This example was stunning, and presumably extremely potent due to it’s Chrysler FirePower V8. This is pretty much how I’d build one, although I’d probably choose a Ford flathead because of their historical significance and the fact that I think they’re a damn good-looking engine, especially when fitted with period Offenhauser heads.

These rods redefined the concept of attention to detail, every accessory was careful chosen and fitted to obtain a particular look or style.

This ’34 Ford 3 Window coupe is the actual best example of a sleeper I’ve come across. It looks dead original, but it packs a decidedly un-1934ish punch. I’m not sure what it had under the bonnet, but it was almost the wildest sounding V8 of the weekend. It was cam surging forward when idling stationary, it was loud and it left the very distinct smell of burnt race gas in its wake. I peered through the louvers into the engine bay and could just make out polished Ford Motorsport cam covers, so my money is on some kind of wild Cleveland or similar. You’d think the slightest tap of the throttle would bend those spindly wire wheels.

It’s seriousness was further given away by the full roll cage inside the cockpit. But in true stealth fashion, you could only actually see the cage if you physically peered in the window, it was invisible from outside. Win.

Go-To-Whoa has to be the most pointless form of motorsport in my opinion. You do a massive warmup burnout, then launch it as hard as you can. Then, 80m down the road, you slam on the brakes and try to stop before the line.

By definition you have tiny brakes fitted and narrow skinny front wheels that can’t grip enough to stop without locking. Your suspension is designed to be low, look cool and hook up well off the line but is absolutely appalling at an emergency stop. I honestly think my 80hp Fiat would be faster than most of these rods over this test.

But then again, it was pretty cool hearing the worked V8’s and the burnouts were fun to watch so it wasnt all fail. Maybe they should just have a dedicated section for people to do burnouts and leave it at that.

But the best part was the way that everybody just spent the whole weekend cruising. From sun up to late in the night, people were just cuttin’ laps of the show grounds in their rods.

Sometimes there were crowds of people watching, other times it was a lonely road.

I couldn’t really think of a better way to spend an afternoon than sitting on the grass with a beer, watching the sun set as hundreds of rods cruised by. It’s still not really my scene and there’s a lot of other cars I’d own before I bought a rod, but I can definitely see the attraction. If you’ve never seen anything like this before it’s well worth making the time to get out to a rod run or a show and see something new.

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