See you on the road to street car nirvana at Summernats

January 03, 2018

ANYONE who has seen the Aussie classic road movies Stone and Mad Max will appreciate the adrenalin rush of high performance vehicles.

ANYONE who has seen the Aussie classic road movies Stone and Mad Max will appreciate the adrenalin rush of high performance vehicles.

The two films tell of a world seemingly overpopulated with crazed, psychotic bikies with colourful names such as the Undertaker, Septic, the Nightrider and the Toecutter.

It also features tough modified muscle cars from the 1970s, driving home a raw depiction of what life could really be like on our highways if the street machines took over the roads.

That screen image has already come to life (in part) at Summernats, Canberra’s annual street car festival which allows motoring enthusiasts to show off their pride and joys to thousands of adoring revheads and partygoers.

Echuca’s Scott Hore was at the first Summernats in 1987 — when it was called Street Machine Nationals — and has been going on and off ever since.

Tomorrow, he is off again with friend Steve Paten to the 2018 Summernats which runs from January 4-7.

For Scott, nothing else comes close to Summernats.

‘‘For the best cars in Australia, that’s where they’ll be,’’ Scott said.

‘‘There’s lots of other shows but Summernats is biggest concentration of the best cars and toughest cars.’’

Scott will be there with his 1974 HQ Holden. He bought it 20 years ago at a clearance sale out on the Rochester Road as a six-cylinder car with three-speed manual transmission on the column.

It now has a Chev 383 small block engine with supercharger and Turbo Hydra-matic transmission TH-350 and a Ford nine-inch diff.

‘‘I’ve been a fan of turbo 350s ever since I’ve had Chevs,’’ Scott said.

The original car had bench seats in it which Scott has since replaced with bucket seats.

he has fitted it with Weld racing wheels. Inside, the dash is factory setting except for the taco he added on and moving the gear shifter to the floor in true racing style.

‘‘I’ve always had fast cars,’’ Scott said.

‘‘I’ve been racing cars since I was 20-year-old.’’

‘‘I had an EH Holden with a 186 camshaft and four-speed in it and when that was not enough I got a 1973 VJ E48 Six Pack Valiant Charger.’’

He has raced cars at drag strips around the country — Heathcote, Calder, Adelaide and Sydney.

He has been a regular visitor to Spring Nats in Shepparton, competed in burnout competitions at Wagga Wagga and won a burnout trophy in his HQ at Moama’s Heartland Raceway.

It is clear the kinetic energy released from those 1970 Australian dystopian road cult movies has inspired Scott, and the life of New Zealander motorcycle rider Burt Munro who set a land speed record on his 1920 Indian motorbike.

Munro was the subject of a film The World’s Fastest Indian which was one reason for Scott’s visit to New Zealand where he also partook in another adrenalin rush — bungee jumping.

‘‘The drive and tenacity of Burt Munro, I look up to him very much,’’ Scott said.

So where did this need for speed come from?

‘‘I’ve driven hot cars, performance cars, whatever you like to call them, since I was 18,’’ Scott said.

‘‘I’ve raced virtually every car I’ve ever owned.’’

His love of cars came from his father who owned an EH wagon. He was a regular visitor to Melbourne motor shows and would often tell stories to his son about the various cars he came across.

‘‘In year 10 I said I’m not going back to school and my father said if I didn’t have a job by the end of the holidays I would be going back,’’ Scott said.

He secured an apprenticeship as a mechanic with George Henry Motors which only fuelled his passion for cars.

‘‘All the workers there were all into cars, obviously,’’ Scott said.

He tells the story of working on an XM Falcon V8 and how he and his friend Chris Oliver were in a race to drive a supercharger before they were 40.

Scott lost and didn’t get a supercharged car until just before his 58th birthday.

Scott owned Autobarn in partnership with with his brother for a while and was a full-time teacher for seven years.

He is now involved in sales for K2 Industrial Supplies and teaches auto part-time at Echuca College.

But his first love is obviously fast cars.

‘‘My students ask him how many cars I own,’’ Scott said.

‘‘I say ‘going or registered?’. I’ve got over 20 cars but not all of them are running and registered.’’

He has been working on preparing his HQ Holden for Summernats since January 2017 when the old engine blew up.

‘‘And feverishly (working) the last two months,’’ he said.

‘‘It had been sitting dormant for 10 and a half months. We only put the engine in on Sunday (December 10) using the cylinder heads off the old one and fired it for the first time at 4pm last Saturday (December 16).

‘‘We took it for its first drive this morning (Wednesday, December 20).’’

Panic set in when hosing oil started leaking all over the ground.

‘‘We nearly pulled the pin on it,’’ a worried Scott said.

‘‘But I said, ‘no, we can get on top of it, take a deep breath, we can fix this.’’

And fix it he did, with the support of family and friends.

‘‘I built it cheap 17 years ago but the conrods on it could have been 30 years old then,’’ he said.

‘‘It ran for 16 years naturally aspirated.

‘‘It runs 12.50 seconds naturally aspirated but I like to think it could run in the 11s.

‘‘It does 110-115mph over the quarter mile. It’s geared for acceleration. With extreme starts it goes to 5500.

‘‘It’s a lot of fun.’’

‘‘It handles fine, good support springs and low suspension.

‘‘My wife doesn’t like driving it because it’s got a locked diff and no power steering but that’s what you put up with for a bit of performance.

‘‘This car’s got lots of character.’’

Scott and Steve will have the HQ on a trailer for the trip up to Canberra and then unload it and drive it into the city.

‘‘We’ll lap Friday and Saturday morning, by 2pm put the car away and lap again Sunday morning,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll leave on January 4 and come home on Sunday the 9th so it will be a decent break.’’

Scott will enter his car in the Go to Whoa competition at Summernats if the opportunity presents itself.

‘‘It’s a fresh engine so we won’t go in the burnout comp until it’s settled in.’’

Scott said Summernats was an excellent opportunity to admire attractive tough cars in a street environment.

‘‘That’s exactly what it’s for,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s an adrenalin rush. I find it very enjoyable.’’

He admires the efforts other drivers put into their cars for Summernats, especially those vying for the Grand Champion prize where the winner receives a medieval broadsword as the trophy.

‘‘The Grand Champion is scored across everything — from the looks to (competitions on) grass, burnouts and cruise.

‘‘To take an elite quality show car that looks that good and goes that good and then to go out and trash it in burnouts, because you do do some damage, it takes a lot of commitment.’’

While Scott may not be in line for the Grand Champion prize, his trip to Summernats will no doubt still be a memorable one.

‘‘We will go up and do our best to have as much fun as we possibly can,’’ he said.

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