Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pirate Love

It was the First New Zealand Drag Nationals at Kopuka on a dry summer’s day in 1967 It was here that Bob Rossiters “Pirate” Dragster faced off against the Team of Lucas and Saunders in their matching Flathead powered rail job called  “77 Sunset Strip”.
The Pirate, running on an exotic homemade brew of sodium peroxide, nitromethane and magnesium sulphide sat on the start line spitting flames of multi-coloured gas out of the weedburners, neither pilot would inch forward to stage, some said it was the longest pre stage driver psych out in drag racing history but then just before there was a full meltdown they both pulled up to the start line and the starter excitedly leaped into the air and dropped his flag. The cars left in a plume of tyre smoke, clutch dust and black coal and the capacity crowd all stood to see the two cars careen toward the finish in the midst of all the dust.
The Pirate won the day and Bob Rossiter was crowned New Zealand’s first National Top Eliminator.
The Pirate (and Bob) still exists to this day and the Rail is lovingly looked after by the good folk of the Southward Car Museum after being purchased in 1968 by none other than Len Southward himself.

Fast forward a few decades or four and another famous Drag Racer/ fabricator /Hot Rod Builder by the name of Graeme Berry  steps in and does the impossible, he builds an exact model car scale replica of the Pirate Dragster, perfect  in every single detail imaginable. This very model, donated to the Scroungers Car Club, will be going up for Auction at the 13th Annual Hot Rod Blowout on Sunday the 29th of March 2015. If you want to own a piece of Drag Racing and Hot Rod history, bring your check book and get a bid in on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Getting to know me, getting to know you.

With the visit of the Burbank Choppers to the Scroungers Hot Rod Blowout in March, we thought it might be a good time for a virtual introduction. Here's a bit of background on each of the members and some shots of the cars they own. See, feels like you know them already right? 

Deron Wright
Occupation: Television Props
Cars : 1941 Ford Custom, 1932 Ford 3 Window
Favorite Movie Monster: Frankenstein
Favorite Magazine: MAD

Aaron Kahan
Occupation: Art Director Galpin Ford
Cars: 1932 Ford 5 window, 1927 Ford coupe "Bad News"
Favorite Car Customizer, Barris Kustoms
Favorite Hot Rod artist, Von Dutch

Keith Weesner
Occupation: Artist
Cars: 1929 Ford roadster, 1950 Ford custom
Favorite Band: Gun Club
Favorite Custom, Ralph Jileck's '40 Ford

Jack Carroll
Occupation: Hollywood Set Builder
Car: 1932 Ford 5 window
Favorite Breakfast: Capt. Crunch
Favorite Book: The Outsiders

Jon Fisher
Occupation: Cartoon Animation
Cars: 1929 Ford roadster, 1936 Ford custom,  (Valley Custom built) '32 Ford 5 window.
Favorite Movie: Vertigo
Favorite Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Steve Uhl
Occupation: Hollywood Special Effects
Car: 1932 Ford 5 Window
Favorite Beer: Coors
Favorite Candy: Twin Bing (not Big Cherry)!

Verne Hammond
Occupation: Hollywood Set Builder
Cars: 1940 Ford custom, 1934 Ford 3 window and 1929 Ford roadster
Favorite Television Show: The Munsters
Favorite Show Car: Beatnik Bandit

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Born Too Late # 5

 "79, could 79 come to checkout control please"
 Duck hand - my hand is a duck, see?

 J.D's Triumph - we shot this in issue one of the magazine

 Malcolm Turner in the arrivals lounge
 Maria Maria Maria

 Stephan from Two Hands is close to finishing this - awesome.

 T White fighting the fight.

This was the 5th installment of the much loved chopper show, Born Too Late.
It seems like much less than 5 years ago that the first event was held in a small car park in Auckland’s Eden Terrace, but indeed it has been that long.

Back then there was really nothing like it – bikes were still allowed at Kumeu and the only other place  you were going to find such a gathering of custom built bikes was in the car park of the Hot Rod Blowout. Times had changed and the idea that if you had a chopper or a badass Trumpy meant you probably also had a patch was no longer correct. The new-wave of chopper builders are the same guys who were (and in some cases still are) riding round at the skatepark on their BMX bikes and skateboards and they still wear Vans. The initial conversation about putting on a gathering of like-minded munters and their choppers, bobbers, unfinished projects and British iron went something like (and I know cause I was there) this…
“Be good if there was a cool bike show eh?”
“Fuck yea… should probably put one on”

That first event was a shot in the arm – it was exciting, there was something in the air – other than weed and tire smoke. There was an excitement and vibe that felt good – it had something to do with cool bikes, no fights, a shitty PA system, nasty rock n roll, a loveable lack of organization and difficulty in remembering the later parts of the days events.

So here we were on Saturday, 5 years down the track. For the first time it was held in a country setting about 3kms down the road from the Kumeu Hot Rod festival, which banned bikes a couple of years ago. Having the event on the same day as Kumeu and close to it was a stroke of genius. If you’re like me and appreciate bikes and cars it means you can get to both and still have a smug smile on your face knowing it’s a big middle finger to the Kumeu organisers for kicking out bikers.

So what was Born Too Late 5 like? It was AWESOME. From the moment you turned off Awa Rd and crossed over the small wooden bridge and entered the paddock you could feel that this was something special. The land was resonating with good vibes and surrounded by gently sloping banks and shady trees. It opened up like Valhalla as you crossed that bridge – shimmering and mysterious from outside and obviously the promised land upon arrival. This felt new but comfortably worn-in, it was super well organized but not oppressive. There was a stage with hand-picked bands (not some bullshit half arsed covers band), DJs, a “proper” bar, wood fired pizza, sensible liason with the Police (who made a visit) and possibly the most luxurious air conditioned port-a-loos I’ve ever encountered. Having spent the previous 24 hours trying to avoid the Vietnam war-like ablutions at Kumeu, I cant explain how enjoyable this part was. 

The event was, as you would expect due to the organisers being driven by a passion for motorcycles rather than cash, a very good time indeed. Parking for non show bikes was easy and plentiful, it wasn’t over crowded and hardened bastards mingled comfortably with rock n rollers, kale nibblers and fancy ladies.

It felt like a well-curated motorcycle art exhibition, held in a quality bourbon distillery managed by Keith Richard. Intriguing, inebriating and just the right amount of shambles.

There were awards for Best Chopper, British, Project, American, Tattoos, Sexy Lady and Sportster. Other than the odd sprinkle of rain the weather was perfect too. I loved this show – the only thing that could have made it better would have been if I didn’t have to leave. Hopefully next year (if it happens again) we might be able to camp out? Here’s hoping. Either way, if it’s on, I’ll be there!