It’s said that the very first car race happened just a few minutes after the second car came off the production line. It’s also said that the first modifications to make a car go faster were performed just after that first race….by the driver that came second.
It wasn’t long after that when drivers began to modify their cars for looks, not just pace. And thus was street machining born. Australian based car magazine “Street Machine” spawned the now iconic Summernats, Australia’s largest street machine festival, in Canberra…that’s now given birth to an event that’s based in the centre of the country and was successfully run for the first time in 2015. September 2016 sees the return of the Red Centre Nats.
Street Machine came out of a magazine called Van Wheels in the very early 1980s. Dedicated to the then popular movement of painting and modifying the bodies of panel vans, as that movement faded and spread to non van based vehicles, the magazine morphed into Van Wheels and Street Machine before finally dropping the Van Wheels monicker. In 1987 the first Summernats was held in Canberra and has grown to be the biggest event of its type in the country. There’s been some truly remarkable vehicles to have been anointed the Street Machine of the Year or the Street Machine Grand Champion, including Gary Myers and his 1966 Ford Mustang.
September 2015 saw the first running of the Red Centre Nats; with the solid backing of the Northern Territory government, all avenues were explored in order to provide a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the four hundred plus entrants, including special permits for the cars that would otherwise be excluded due to the non-suitability of road usage and for everyone else that came along.“There was some great racing between Serge and David Bonetti, both racing ’32 coupes. Serge’s big-block powered 3-window always edged out the 5-window of nephew David, but the difference was David was running a small-block and a full exhaust. Of course, it didn’t really matter because Serge built the engine in both cars: “The big-block has been in the car for 29 years and it’s all old technology, but David’s small-block has is all new stuff.” Both were running in the low-10s all weekend, but both have run a best of 9.93 in the past. Putting the H-O-T back in hot rods, for sure!”
Events included drag racing, the ever popular burnout competition, a dyno competition and more. The inaugural winner of the Red Centre Nats Grand Champion Award went to a car that had won way back in 1993! John Curwen Walker showed up with his very tidy 48-215 (aka FX) Holden, featured in the October/November issue of Street Machine magazine in 1993. “The Red Centre Nats Grand Champion award went to John Curwen Walker’s FX Holden. It was built by Ken Neilsen many moons ago and featured in the 1993 October/November issue of Street Machine back in the day! This is a car that has stood the test of time, but John doesn’t wrap the thing in cotton wool, he ran the car in the grass events and the drags while scoring a spot in the Elite Top 10.”
The Red Centre Nats is scheduled to be held over three days, for the 2nd to the 4th of September. Details on the event and how to enter can be found here: Red Centre Nats 2016
Pictures and quotes courtesy of Street Machine magazine, at www.streetmachine.com.au.“Local Gary Nightingdale was at Red CentreNATS in his Weiland-blown SBC-powered FX Holden along with a bunch of other hot Holdens belonging to his tribe.”