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Old cars, old buildings, and good music is always a killer combo for a car show, and the Lady Luck Festival delivers on all 3. Held in Katoomba in the upper Blue Mountains, the grounds of The Carrington and the main street make a great setting to wander around and check out some cars. Enjoy some pics of the cars that caught our attention.

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aDes Russell, aka Mr Boogaloo, with his homebuilt Model A Roadster. Pic by tapd.com.au

The Boogaloo Invitational hit the Aussie rod and custom scene like a breath of fresh air earlier in the year. Held in Wattle Flat Reserve in Castlemaine, the event caters to traditional styled bikes, rods, and customs. The team behind the Boogaloo is Des Russell and his partner Tesha, and as well as putting on a kick ass event, they’ve also got some cool rides in the garage. We figured it was about time we caught up with them for a chat.

Des, thanks for chatting with us. Let’s jump right into it, what was the inspiration behind the Boogaloo? I mean there’s a bunch of good events in Victoria, what makes you want to run your own?
It felt pretty obvious to me that we needed another event that catered specifically to these styles of cars and motorcycles. I have a huge passion and love for these things and I thought that if anyone was going to do it, it might as well be us. After bringing in the Jade Idol for Chopped 2013 and running a small fundraiser for Mad Fabricators at a local pub called The Kangaroo Boogaloo, it felt as though it was always going to lead to doing something bigger and better – so then came The Boogaloo Invitational.

Pics from the 2016 Boogaloo Invitational by Chris Cooper. For full coverage head on over to the Hop Up website.

And for those who don’t know, the Boogaloo was an ‘invitational’ event.  What kind of things did you consider when selecting cars?
The criteria was pretty straight forward. Pre ’65 traditionally styled hot rods and customs and pre ’75 traditionally styled British and American choppers and bobbers (2017 rules have changed to include bikes up to ’85). Customs had to have 3 alterations eg. Hubcap change, shaved door handles, custom paint etc. With hot rods we were looking for traditional styles used in America and Australia from the 1940s through to the 1960s. ‘Traditional’ can mean different things to different people and is thrown around pretty wildly. I guess at some point you’ve got to just do your research and stick to your guns. I feel we did our best to select appropriate cars and bikes, be it an extremely hard job, but on the show weekend it all paid off.

Pics from the 2016 Boogaloo Invitational by Chris Cooper. For full coverage head on over to the Hop Up website.

One thing that struck me looking at the pics was how good the event looked. The setting was great (which never hurts), but even things like the signage and the lighting at night was awesome. Was there a conscious effort to focus on all of that?
Absolutely. It’s just like throwing a backyard party. You want a great setting and vibe for your guests. We’ll try to make it more visually impressive each year. The location is a great, mostly unused space in Castlemaine that worked perfectly for what we wanted. The space is limited but we don’t intend on the show getting so big that it outgrows this venue. We want it to be somewhat small, intimate and family oriented. Quality over quantity.

Pics from the 2016 Boogaloo Invitational by Chris Cooper. For full coverage head on over to the Hop Up website.

One of the things I loved was the ‘be an inspirational motherf***er’ tag, and just generally trying to create positive vibes and celebrate all the good things people were up to. Where did that idea come from?
Ha ha, thanks a lot. I guess it’s easy for people to always jump to the negative (I’m not innocent) and I felt the one thing this certain car scene needed was way more positivity and support for each other. I made the conscious effort when promoting the show to continuously push that positive vibe. The Boogaloo is just a reflection of what I would want to go to and be a part of and I thrive on seeing people get hands on and inspire other people to build these styles of vehicles. I like to try to inspire people and be inspired by people hence, the inspirational motherfucker tag. We even made an Inspirational Motherfucker trophy for someone we thought embodied that perfectly. Someone who thrashed on their car to get it ready for the show, embraced the show’s ideals, made a long trip etc. and that trophy went to Ben Love from far north NSW for his sweet 1960 Apache.

So the ’16 Boogaloo was a corker, but it seemed like straight away you were looking to improve upon it. What are some of things we can look forward to next year?
There’s always room for improvement but like I said, we don’t intend on getting bigger, just better. We listened to the feedback we got from the attendees and vendors so next year we’ll be opening the gates on Friday afternoon so everyone can get in and set up camp. We’ll be looking for more short films from Australian filmmakers for our Boogaloo-Vision screen and while we won’t be having live music we will have a couple of DJs instead of the old iTunes playlist that we had this year. We’ve got a couple of international special guests coming in Keith Weesner and Max Schaaf and we’ll also have The Dirty Dozen Art Show and a shitload more Melbourne Moonshine.

The art show sounds neat, can you tell us a little about the artists and how you picked them?
The idea was brought to us by our friend, Matt Bailey and we thought it was perfect. We wanted The Boogaloo to be all about celebrating the cars and bikes as well as the people that build them, trim them, paint them, the artists, photographers etc. and The Dirty Dozen Art Show seemed like the perfect addition. Basically, we had the number of 12 in our heads and between Matt and myself we came up with a list of people who had mostly been involved with The Boogaloo in some way and all brought something different to the table. We’ve asked that the artists create something that embodies The Boog in some way and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The Boogaloo isn’t the only project you’ve got on, tell us about your roadster?
I’ve always got a million projects on the go, ha ha. My roadster is a 1929 model A Ford. It’s running a fully rebuilt mild 324ci Olds Rocket topped with 4 chrome Stromberg 97s, Borg Warner 3 speed gearbox and early Ford 9inch diff. The whole car was put together by myself in my little workshop. I’ve tried my best to make the car look like an East Coast channelled hot rod from around 1959. It’s a constant work in progress but it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever driven and I get a huge feeling of satisfaction every time I drive it.

And did anyone or any cars influence the style of it?
Absolutely. Apart from actual old hot rods in little books it’s definitely stolen a lot of aspects from Piero DeLuca’s Livewire coupe and pretty much everything that Bob Bleed builds.

You’ve also got a chopped single spinner which was featured in bare metal on the cover of the Street Machine Custom Annual mag. Is that still in the shed?
Yeah, it’s still in the shed. I’m not one to make excuses but we moved house into a place that only had a small workshop just big enough for the roadster to be built in so the spinner has been put on the back burner until the new shed goes up which is currently in the works. I have big plans for the spinner and I’d say I’m halfway there. But like the roadster, I want to do everything myself so it’s good that I had some time off the spinner to learn some new skills and change some plans for it.

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The old saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman. But to be fair, it looks like Tesha is much more your partner in crime, and by that I mean she’s by your side getting her hands dirty.
She definitely is. Tesh was definitely thrown into The Boogaloo but she embraced my crazy idea and helped a huge amount with the planning and especially all the admin type stuff. I couldn’t have done the show without her, that’s for sure. As far as getting her hands dirty, there’s no doubt about that. I had her rubbing bog with me for 2 weeks straight. She’s helped out quite a lot on the ’55 Buick which is her car and she’s learned a lot. She also sewed up the trim panels on the roadster and I plan on making her do the rest, ha ha.

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Things like the Boogaloo and your rides don’t happen by themselves either. Who would you like to give a shout out to?
Yeah, these things do take a lot of work. All the people that put up with me ringing them to bounce ideas off them for the show like Chris Cooper (www.crcooperphoto.com), Matt Machine (www.themachinefiles.com.au), Kyle DeKuijer and Cameron Warde. They put up with a lot and were a huge help over the weekend as well as everyone that volunteered. We appreciate their help and support so much. Our sponsors were great. It takes a lot to get behind something like this for the first year. But we’d have to give a special mention to the Melbourne Moonshine guys (www.melbournemoonshine.com) as well as Clive at Stromberg Carburettors (www.stromberg-97.com). As far as the cars go, there’s always a good mate willing to lend a hand or offer some advice and without their support you can’t build things like this.

And what’s the best way people can keep to date with Boogaloo news?
The website for The Boogaloo is www.TheBoogalooInvitational.com.au which is where you can find all the information on next year’s show and display vehicle criteria but most of our updates are done through our Instagram page @TheBoogalooInvitational or Facebook www.facebook.com/TheBoogalooInvitational.

Cheers mate, thanks for your time. We can’t wait to check out next year’s event.

Special thanks to Chris Cooper for permission to use his pics from the Boogaloo.

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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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It’s hard to beat rods, customs, a beautiful main street with old buildings, and rockabilly music. And that’s exactly what the Lady Luck Festival dishes up every year. Held in Katoomba and based at The Carrington Hotel, it’s become a must do for many each year.

It’s a great event with the Hotel hosting burlesque acts, dancing and gigs. A highlight for many though is the show and shine which takes place on the Katoomba main street. As you can the street still has a number buildings dating back to the art deco era, which makes an awesome backdrop.

All in all it’s an awesome little event, and well worth checking out if you get a chance.

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The Lonestar Body Shop is located on a sleepy apple orchard just south of Sydney. It’s a gorgeous location, with national park on one side and a nature reserve on the other. It’s the kind of shop where metal fabrication becomes an art form, and sculptured panels are rolled from flat sheet metal. The great news is once a year Stuart opens up the doors, and gives everyone a sneak peak into their metallurgical wizardry. A highlight of the Open Day each year are the talks about the shop projects and the demos of different tools and techniques. Of course I didn’t get any pics of these as the shop was too packed, but as always they were well received. It’s not the biggest event, but it’s worth making the time to check out. Here’s some pics of the day, starting with cruising there in my brother’s XY Fairmont.

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This was my first year at the Kustom Nats, and it was awesome. I covered our roadtrip down from Sydney in a ’40s Pontiac here. In this post I’ll cover the event itself.

The Friday arvo and night sees a great laidback show and shine at San Remo. The town is located on the mainland, at the end of the bridge to Phillip Island. With views across the passage, heaps of cool cars and some good bands, the night has a great relaxed vibe. A great way to start the weekend.

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Saturday morning sees us roll out to the grand prix circuit on the island. Somehow I don’t mind being stuck in a cue like this.

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Soon enough we’re inside and park up in the pits, where this a slow trickle of cool cars coming in. For my first trip to Victoria for a rod and custom show, it was awesome to look around and see so many cars I’ve seen in mags and online in the metal. After signing over our mortal souls, we got an armband and not too much later headed out onto the track. Man the view as you roll out of the pits onto the main straight, the road rolls away underneath you revealing an endless horizon of ocean. Wow. I’ve got to say it was one of those really special moments which will stay with me for sometime.

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The remainder of the day was basically a mix of cutting laps alongside some of the coolest cars in the country, stopping on the side of the track to get some pics, and then heading back to the pits to check the cars which were parked up.

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The main town on the island is called Cowes. For a little town, it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to good food. Saturday arvo we checked out some antique stores and then wandered down to check out the show and shine in the main street. It was neat, but seriously busy with entrants, locals, and general tourists. The best part was an array of food stalls, and some of them smelt amazing. After a while we got sick of the crowds, and retreated to a mate’s cabin for some drinks.

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Sunday we headed out to the grand prix circuit, and it was basically more of the same – checking out the parked cars, cutting some laps, stopping to get some pics and then heading back to the pits to see what different cars were there.

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And that’s pretty much it. Sunday arvo we headed back to Cowes for some gelato and took it easy. We had a few drinks back at the cabin, but given we had a 12+ hour drive home the next day we didn’t have a big one. All in all, it was one of the best weekends I’ve had with some mates and old cars, and next time I’m keen to drive my EK.

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We drove over 1,000km in a ratty 1946 Pontiac, checked out the Kustom Nats, and drove home again. We had an awesome weekend, and the ol’ Poncho didn’t skip a beat.

I’ll cover the trip in two posts, one for the roadtrip, and one for the nats itself.

The Kustom Nats is one of those events I’ve been wanting to get to for ages, but always came up with excuses as to why it was too hard. Sick of making excuses, the wife and I talked a mate into making the run down from Sydney in his Pontiac. So a week out we booked accommodation and the scene was set.

We got picked up at the god forsaken time of 3am. We wanted to hit the road early and get down to Phillip Island at a decent time. About 4am somewhere in the Southern Highlands we hit fog and drizzle – great fun! Luckily traffic was light and we kept trucking till Yass for brekky.

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Hitting the border into Mexico was a great milestone, though tempered by the fact we still had 6 hours to go!

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We started to get excited when we started passing some more old cars on the way.

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Well we made it about mid-afternoon, a little tired but stoked to finally be on the island. Our accommodation was an on-site van with paper thin walls, but it was cheap and gave us a place to chill out.

The Kustom Nats were awesome, and I’ll cover that in my next post.

The drive home was a seriously long day. After a long weekend we were all pretty tired, and not looking forward to it. We left about 6am, and hit rain again.

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A misreading of the Tom Tom meant we drove right in past the Melbourne CBD. Being from Sydney, we were dreading hitting peak-hour parking lots. But it was fine. Melbourne, your freeways and traffic shit all over Sydney’s hands down.

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Not only do your freeways function better, they also look a shitload prettier too. Melbourne just does urban design well.

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Back in NSW and the weather has cleared, the V8s humming and the road is unwinding beyond us.

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Lunch at the Longtrack Pantry at Jugiong. Hands down the best food on the Hume, and again it didn’t disappoint. We didn’t take any food pics because it was wolfed down the moment it hit the table.

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The trip home was even longer than expected, as a major accident had closed the Hume at Yass and we had to divert via Canberra.

By the time we got home we’d been away 4 days, 2 of which were basically spent driving. By our estimates we clocked well over 2,000kms and spent over 30 hours in the car. And you know what? We had a blast. If you’re thinking about making a long trip in your old car, do it, it’ll definitely be a trip to remember!

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