My latest pushie build, and my entry into the Rat Rod Bikes Build Off #11. An Electra Custom, built with a more European influence along the lines of a porteur bike. The frame was taken back to bare alloy and brushed, and key components like a Basil Portland front rack, Brooks seat and grips, and a careful selection of other parts to carry through the low key look.







Some pics from today’s Grey Pride run in Berrima. While the focus is on grey powered cars, a lot of the attendees bring along other era Holdens as well. Some neat cars and a beautiful location made for a great lunch stop on today’s drive.



John ‘Chopper’ Katsanis was arguably one of the biggest legends in the Aussie custom scene. Sadly he passed away in 2011, but his spirit and passion lives on through his sons, and the shop that bears his name – John’s Rod and Custom.

One of the cars the he started work on was this FJ Holden. If it looks familiar, you might have seen it at the Victorian Hot Rod Show or when it was featured in bare metal in Street Machine a few years back. The good news is she’s been dragged out, the cobwebs dusted off, and the boys have started work on her again. Between the rails is a Poncho engine sporting a healthy 421 cubes and injection, and the body mods are too many to mention, but you can see she’s not so humpy any more. I’m really looking forward to seeing this truly special car finished off. A special thanks to Carps for letting us share his pics.



The mosaic in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial is as poignant as it is beautiful. It features panels representing the army, navy, airforce and the women who served in World War II. There is significant meaning behind each of the panels, and that understanding only serves to make them more powerful.

The Hall of Memory houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and is accessed by passing the Pool of Reflection which includes the names of 102,000 people who have given their lives to serve our country. It is the heart of the Australian War Memorial and one of the most sacred sites in the country.

The Hall was originally conceived to commemorate the soldiers killed in the Great War, with stained glass windows and sculptures. However before it was completed, World War II had commenced. Following the second World War, it was decided to incorporate mosaics representing the pillars of the Australian defence force. The mosaic work was undertaken by Napier Waller, who also served in World War One. This is an excerpt from the Australian War Memorial website:

The figures in these drawings emphasise qualities of strength and endurance. Their poses are frontal and each – except the sailor – has its left foot extended forward in the manner of an archaic Greek ‘kouros’. The enlarged, intense eyes are also characteristic of both ancient Greek sculpture and the Byzantine mosaics at Ravenna, which Waller had visited in the late 1920s. In contrast, the uniforms and hairstyles are contemporary. The faces express their feelings. The figures are of ordinary men and women, elevated to demigod status by their monumentality and references to antiquity.

Each of the following explanations of the imagery also come from the Australian War Memorial. A short video from 1955 on the construction of the mosaics can also be viewed here.

The Army: The war is over. The last traces of the storm symbolising it can be seen as water running down the tree trunk, while the sunshine bursting through the trees causes the soldier to contemplate that the sacrifices of his dead comrades have brought a ray of hope for the future. Through the beams of light he imagines he sees in bird-like form their ascending spirits. After the dreary war years, with freedom still ours, he is removing his wartime equipment and preparing to return home.

The Navy: On the fore-deck the sailor in summer uniform is preparing to hoist the white ensign, which symbolises the oldest tradition of the fighting services, as the ship goes into action. Behind him is the nautical compass as a reminder of the Navy’s service in all seas. Above, on the upper fore superstructures of the ship, are an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun, and fixed searchlights from which beams of light are crossed with beams coming onto the ship. Smoke belches from the funnel as she steams towards the foe.

The Air Force: In the remaining walls of a cathedral, the flying officer stands and surveys the destruction of beauty and human ideals. He is inspired to defend his tradition. The sculptured “wyvern” grins down sardonically on man’s stupidity, and on the perverted ingenuity by which he can destroy in a few moments what has taken centuries to build. The idea is sustained symbolically in the decapitated saint and mutilated hand and book, and, from above, the rain of missiles. In but two generations this youngest of the services has built up its wonderful tradition of prowess and the noble one of chivalry.

The Women’s Services: This figure is clothed in blouse and skirt, this part of the uniform being the same in all the women’s services. The different branches of the services are symbolised by their own badges in the lower right hand part of the design. The figure has stepped forward from an opened doorway, from which bursts a halo of winged light. She remembers the many sacrifices and disasters suffered by her sisters; one of which is symbolised above by the engulfing waves of the sea into which sinks the “sea-centaur”, symbol of that war tragedy in which the hospital ship Centaur was sunk and all but one of her nurses lost their lives. The suggestion of missiles falling from above is a reminder that so often the service woman too was a victim of gunfire and the wrack of bombs.


There’s a bunch of good photographers around at the moment, but one that is consistently nailing it is Chris Cooper from Melbourne. He’s got a great eye for not just the cars, but people as well. His work has been featured in magazines like Fuel, Street Machine, Cruzin, Gasoline, 2020BMX, Fly Wheels, FocalPointBMX. We caught up with him for a chat about what goes on behind the lens.

Chris thanks for your time. Your photos do a great job of capturing the atmosphere of our rod and custom culture. What inspired you to get into photography?

Thanks, man. During high school, I rode BMX almost everyday, and when photography came up as an elective, I jumped at it. After I burned my first roll of Illford, the bug latched on. It was another way to express myself off of my bike. A way to document my buddies riding. A creative outlet with no limitations.

Most Monday mornings my friends would be bugging me “have you printed the photos yet?” and at lunch, we’d sit around looking at a bunch of wet prints wrapped up in paper towel. Sharing the photographs with a bunch of close friends was always an amazing feeling. And today, that is stronger than ever.

I rode and photographed the scene I was a part of. It wasn’t until the first Fuel Magazine launch party at Rancho Deluxe in Collingwood and the 2010 Chopped that a new chapter of my life started.

My hobbies may have fluctuated over the years, but my belief in why I need to take photographs still remains. I am documenting my life and the people who are a part of it. A time in their lives and mine. I want to leave a legacy of photographs on this earth. Everyone is a photographer nowadays, however, these are my photographs, of my friends. I want them to be able to look back in 10-20 years from now and think, “fuck, we had some bitchin times”.

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I really love your candid shots from the shows you attend. Lots of people can take good photos of cars, but only a few really excel with this kind of work. What interests you about this angle with your work?

Photojournalism has been a huge influence on my work for a very long time. Its truth, a part of history. An event isn’t just about the cars and bikes; it’s also about the people. Who attends these shows? What happens at these events? Who are the builders and owners? A photojournalist captures and creates a story from a certain event in a series of photographs. That’s my objective every time I head out with my camera.

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Have you got any tips for the aspiring photographers out there?

Stop “branding” yourself and get out there and shoot. Don’t limit yourself, be open minded to what you find interesting. Email photographers you look up to. Never be satisfied or content with the knowledge you have. Shoot, shoot, shoot.

Don’t merchandise something you’re passionate about. Cups, calendars, clothing whatever other cheesy shit is out there…..Put all that time, energy and money into pushing your knowledge, skill and finding your style. The only way you’re going to improve and eventually be noticed as a photographer is to build a body of work. A body of GOOD work. Build a blog/website, don’t rely on Facebook. Update that sucker daily/weekly and only upload your best work. Be brutal with your editing.

Anyone can pick up a camera and claim to be a photographer. But not everyone has that certain eye for timing, great composition and has the passion.

Shoot for yourself. Stop pushing people to like your work. If you put out quality work, people will respond to it, and if they don’t, who cares? You’re taking photographs because there is a passion inside you. And lastly, print out your work for yourself. A photograph isn’t finished until it’s printed.

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One for the photography nerds who’ll want to know, what do you usually shoot with?

My over the shoulder camera is a 5yr old Canon 5dMkii with an even older Canon 50mm1.4. When I need to, I’ll hire out the Canon 35mmf1.4 and the 50mmf1.2. These paired up to my own Canon 135mmf2 and it’s a pretty boss kit. Perfect for how I shoot. Film wise my Leica M2 with Voigtlander 35 F1.4 is the Holy Grail.

Recently you went to Japan and checked out the Mooneyes show over there, how was that?

I am still speechless about that show and I honestly can’t describe it in a few short words. It was mind blowing and such an eye opener. The amount of people that attend the one-day show was surreal. Having the hang over from hell didn’t really help but packed in like sardines is no word of a lie. The most memorable part of the show was the attention to detail the builders put into their creations and their displays just for the one day. I couldn’t fathom the amount of work they put in. It’s a show you truly have to see in person to really understand and respect.

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So how does the Japanese scene compare to Australia?

They were extremely welcoming, but that is the natural nature of the Japanese. Very accommodating. Chris Thorogood and I did experience the owners of numerous cars dimming their headlights when they noticed we were taking photos. Both of us have never experienced that here. As two countries, they are two very different worlds. My advice is to check it out for yourself. Go without any pre-expectations and take it all in. It’ll make you look at our country and way of life in a whole new light.




On the home front, have you got any interesting rides on the road or in the build?

My on going project at the moment is a 53 Belair hardtop that I imported 3 yrs ago. It’s been through a rough patch, but insurance is a godsend. I’m currently repairing a bunch of rust with the help of Benny Mickle at Barebones Customs and eventually some subtle changes with the help of Ahron Jefferee at Rolling Art Body Works.

It will always be a driver, never a show car. I haven’t welded since high school and I wouldn’t know the first thing about panel work and mechanically, I can just get by. With that said, its so rad to be able to go out to the shed and start tinkering with bits and pieces after spending a few solid hours processing photographs.

Just like photography, it’s yet another way to express yourself creatively. A new avenue to gain knowledge and life experience. I am surrounded by some very amazing people with skills to match, that are more than willing to teach me a thing or two, and I am truly grateful for that.

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One thing we’ve noticed is that you’re into BMX, as are a lot of the other younger guys getting into traditional rodding, bikes, and kustom kulture in general. What are your thoughts in terms of why this trend is happening?

When I was riding I could show up to a skate park by myself, and within minutes be exchanging life stories with a fellow rider. I think that camaraderie can be very strong within the traditional car and bike scene, which is a massive attraction to riders and skaters.  You have something very specific in common.

Sure, there will always be a dick in the crowd, but for the most part, you quite often find people that you can still call your friend 10 years later.

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We also understand you’ve got some cool art in your pad. What artists are you into?

Man this is hard…there are simply too many people to mention, but here are a select few off of the top of my head: Keith Weesner, Ryan Ford, Chris “coop” Cooper, Jacob Bannon, James Natchwey, Chris Thorogood, Scott Pommier, Craig Nye, Jacob Rapauch, Marc “lowech” Woltinger, Ricky Adam.

Speaking of art, where can people check out your work? And how can someone get a print from you?

I am more than happy to print any of my photographs that you see on my blog/website. Send me an email crcooper84@gmail.com for some prices.

Website: https://crcooperphotography.wordpress.com
Instagram: Crcooperphoto

Chris thanks again for your time!

Today was the Hawkesbury Swap Meet, which is held at Clarendon to the west of Sydney. It seems that every year the number of guys selling Commodore bits seems to grow, and the number of guys selling 60s and earlier parts shrinks. Still, the guys I was with and I all managed to find a few bits and pieces for good prices.

Anyway, here’s some pics of stuff that caught my eye.

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What better way to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend, then getting away with a bunch of mates and cars and taking it easy? That’s exactly what we did this weekend with the Pariahs Car Club.

Now in its third year, we go to a different destination each time. The emphasis is on spending quality time with each other and our families. This year was also the shake down run for our barbeque/esky trailer which we’ve thrown together from spare parts and the cost of a slab of beer.

We met up in Sydney’s West. Most of us had spent the nights of the week making final preparations for the run, and it was great to catch up and talk some shit before we headed off.


First stop was the pub at Wisemans Ferry for lunch, then onto the Ferry itself.


Our ride for the weekend was this 1970 Jeep, which was generously loaned to us by one of our mates. It drove great and made easy work of towing the trailer, even with it full of ice, beer and meat.

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A quick breather on the side of the road. It was damn hot and it was great to get out of the cars after hours of driving in the hot weather.


Almost at our destination, we stopped in at the Wolombi Pub for a quick drink. The locals had a good look at the cars.

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Here’s the barbeque/esky trailer in action. The main components were a trailer we got off gumtree for a song, an old fridge that was lying in a club member’s garage, and a barbeque we managed to scrounge up. The fridge section has been converted to an esky, and the lower freezer section has been converted into the barbeque. It works a treat and gets more than its share of attention. And check out that slab of pork belly that’s cooking, so damn good.

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One of the days we cruised over to Norah Head for a swim. The beach was packed, but the water was great after spending a couple of hours getting there sweating our asses off on the vinyl seats.



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Before too soon it was time to head back to home and reality. The weather was cooler which was awesome, but it was also wet which made the twisty country roads tricky.

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Although it was funny seeing people take photos of our trailer.


All in all it was a great weekend, and I can’t wait for next year. A big thanks to Frank for lending us the keys to the Jeep for the weekend!