THE folks at Victoria’s Castlemaine Rod Shop put on a party for their annual open day and show last Saturday, but this wasn’t your average workshop open day. The event included burnout demos, workshop tours and a non-stop flow of cool cars arriving to take part in the show ’n’ shine in the church car park opposite.
Clint Ogilvie was on hand to help organise the burnout demos, and had his latest (not quite finished) incarnation of his LC Torana, FRONT/BACK, on display. After decades of Clint persisting with Holden 308 blocks, the insanely high-revving mechanically injected Holden is gone, and in its place sits a blown, injected small-block Chev set deep into the firewall.
With the road blocked off by the council and safety barriers in place, Cameron Kerger came out in TZNYA to open the burnout show. The pad might have been small, but it didn’t stop Cameron from throwing the blown, injected big-block Chev-powered VE wagon around. It was pumping out some serious smoke to entertain the crowd.
In the second round of demo skids, TZNYA’s run ended with a bang. After popping one tyre, Cameron stopped and got out to check the engine. With no issue found, he got back in and attempted to finish off the second tyre for the crowd. Once he hit the throttle though, the Powerglide transmission decided the show was over. It launched out of the bottom of the car, shattering the bellhousing, the extension housing and snapping the tailshaft clean in half. There was also some nasty damage to the floorpan and tunnel.
“The pipes and cooler lines were all that was left holding it up,” Cameron said. “The car had a bit of a vibration in both burnouts but it wasn’t anything major, so I wasn’t worried about it. But it’s made a mess of itself.” The remnants of the gearbox were removed for closer inspection – and to make sure it didn’t fall out on the trip home.
With TZNYA out of action, Steve Loader fired up UCSMOKE and took things up a notch, tipping the HT into the tiny burnout area as if he was on a full-size pad. Steve put on a textbook display, quickly destroying a couple of sets of coloured tyres, and ending up with blue rings around his nostrils from the coloured smoke to go with the big grin on his face.
Across the road the show ’n’ shine was in full swing. Some car clubs, such as the Fuelers Inc club from Ballarat, even turned the day into a cruise run. Fuelers members gathered in Ballarat and made the journey over to Castlemaine to be part of the show.
Joe Fontana was one of those, cruising to the show in his HZ Kingswood. “It’s powered by a home-built Holden 355ci stroker with ported VT-series heads and a Proboost GT42 turbo pushing 12psi,” he said. “It’s running a Haltech Sport GM 2000 computer, and was tuned by Nick at Holmes Performance and made 560hp on the dyno. Backing the stroker is a full manual TH400 transmission with a 3800rpm stall converter and a 3.55-geared nine-inch diff. The paint is Sparkling Burgundy; it’s an AU Falcon colour. The Weld wheels have been powdercoated black.”
This genuine E37 Charger looks like it just left the showroom floor, complete with a good old three-speed manual on the floor, unboosted disc brakes and triple-Webered 265 Hemi goodness.
One of the best things about open days like this is getting to look at – and maybe even get your hands on – all the latest goodies and custom parts on display. Plus you can quiz the guys that make them, without feeling like you’re being pressured to buy something. The front suspension displays attracted a constant crowd of onlookers eager to check out the independent front end and custom chassis clip options now available from the Rod Shop.
Some of the current in-house projects on display included a Holden Rodeo fitted with an LS1 using a Rod Shop conversion kit. Also on display was the long-term project of CRS’s Heath Waddington – a bare-metal, full-chassis, twin-supercharged LS-powered LC Torana. It gets pulled out and worked on when there’s time. “There hasn’t been much spare time lately,” Heath admitted. “We’ve been really busy, and even this week while setting up for today we had another container-load of stock show up.
“But we’ve got a good crew of people here. The burnout demos are hugely popular, and a great bit of entertainment for the crowd. It’s been a great day.”