The Meguiar’s Judging Pavilion is where you’ll find all the Summernats showstoppers. Being all about the discerning motoring enthusiast, Meguiar’s is across all facets of the show car side of Summernats, with the Meguiar’s Pavilion being the epicentre – it’s where you’ll find the best show cars Summernats has to offer. It hosts two days of pre-judging for hundreds and hundreds of contenders in the Elite, Street and Tuff Street categories. This is followed by the Meguiar’s Top 60 Finalist Show, which incorporates a round of Meguiar’s MotorEx Superstars qualifying, the Meguiar’s Great Uncover, Meguiar’s People’s Choice and Summernats Top Judged, before finishing up with the Car Audio Sound-Off on Sunday. Throughout all of this, the Meguiar’s Pavilion is also home to the Airbrush Art Exhibition, the Ed Roth experience, Showwheels trade stall and also serves as headquarters for the 12-strong Meguiar’s Judging Team. Furthermore, it’s a hot-spot for the Summernats TV film crew who capture many vehicles and their owners as they roll through – Street Machine magazine even use it to shoot feature cars. No wonder the Meguiar’s Pavilion is the busiest building at Australia’s biggest horsepower festival.
MEGUIAR’S GREAT UNCOVER
YOU know you’re onto a winner when more people want to be involved than you can possibly handle – well, that’s the situation with the Meguiar’s Great Uncover. Introduced by Meguiar’s at Summernats 20 in 2007, the goal was to actively support and encourage Aussie car builders by providing a high-exposure platform for them to debut their latest show cars. Since its inception, Friday evening’s Meguiar’s Great Uncover has firmly established itself as a highly-anticipated Summernats institution. This phenomenal event also officially kicks off the Meguiar’s Top 60 Show. For Summernats 28, the black silk covers were slid back to reveal a total of 13 fresh show stoppers. That’s a big field, however there were quite a number of well-deserving applicants who missed the cut. Having an oversubscribed field is proof positive the Meguiar’s Great Uncover is the pre-eminent place to debut your latest and greatest creation.
MEGUIAR’S PRIZEWINNING PEDIGREE
WANDERING around the Meguiar’s Pavilion during set-up for the Meguiar’s Elite Top 60 Show, you can’t help but notice the dominance of the Meguiar’s logo amongst many competitors’ overflowing boxes of car cleaning products. This is one ultra fussy, ultra switched-on crowd that are well clued up on the ideal strategy for attaining that award-winning presentation..
MATT Cowan and Mark Siracusa want to have a go at everything in their ballistic LH Torana, ONIT, including burnouts and drags. With a 1900hp, methanol-slurping 511-cuber, topped by a 14/71 huffer and Big Ugly, both will be plenty exciting for the lads. Before laying on the HOK Planet Green, a mountain of effort was poured into uncluttering the now sanitary engine bay. Their ultimate goal is to qualify for the Liqui-Moly Burnout Masters.
THERE’S no getting past the monster turbo hanging off the 800hp RB30 in Steve’s Datsun 1200 ute, DATZILA – it’s massive! Steve’s a body guy and his brother Choc is a painter; looking at DATZILA’s HOK Bitter Sweet and Cocoa paint job and slick bodywork, they’re pretty good at it. It’s set up to run sevens with a fully-floating, 31-spline nine-inch that’s almost as high as it is wide thanks to the M/T 15x15in rear hides!
WINNER of the Ed Roth award, Peter (along with Troy Heywood, Bruce Heywood and Craig Halling) built ELITE T at home. Its classic features like acres of chrome, baby 4/71 blower, highly detailed small-block Chev, Lakes pipes, Jag IRS, raked stance, lantern lighting, tall screen and HOK Candy Apple Red paint all blend nicely with contemporary features such as the widened glass body, sculptured red-leather interior and kick-ass audio system.
MEGUIAR’S JUDGING TEAM
THE core purpose and overriding focus of the comprehensive Meguiar’s range is to get the interior and exterior of your pride and joy looking its absolute best – and keeping it that way! This makes the Meguiar’s sponsorship of the 12-person Summernats judging team a match made in heaven. As Summernats and MotorEx Chief Steward, Owen Webb has invested considerable effort in making the judging process as transparent as possible, while cultivating an experienced judging team.
One thing Owen would like to impress upon competitors is that “we’re not picking on you! It’s our job to separate the cars, which often comes down to quite trivial things. Besides, we’re showing you how to improve your score!” With 26 years of judging experience, they’re wise words. And it doesn’t stop with Owen, the Meguiar’s judging team has a wealth of experience; Tony Cairns (20 years), Drago Ostric (17 years), John Hristias (15 years), Matt Gilkes (12 years), Mark Hayes (7 years) to name a few. And just so you know, Summernats and MotorEx judges do not adjudicate vehicles they’re involved in.
“Ask, ask, ask, and learn to take the judges’ advice,” says high-profile builder Danny Makdessi. “After debuting John Saad’s FATRX3 at MotorEx Melbourne, we asked the judges to highlight all the weak areas. We went home, addressed those issues and were rewarded with Summernats Top Judged for our efforts.” “Judges really appreciate things that have been fixed the next time they see the car,” says Bob Gallo, “and the score reflects that.” Other top builders like Nathan Borg, Mick Fabar and Greg Maskell have all used the advice offered by the Meguiar’s judging team to improve their builds.
Talking with experienced judges reveals some common themes, including that you should build the car you want and if it wins a trophy, that’s a bonus. Building a car for the sole purpose of winning trophies is fraught with danger. As Mark Hayes points out, a lot of good cars turn up and not all of them win.
Matt says, “If winning is important, read and understand the rules!” “Ninety percent of what we look at is quality of workmanship,” says Drago. “The degree of difficulty is another high point scorer.” Any judge will tell you it’s not about money spent. After all, your labour is free. Drago notes that over the years, the cars where the owner has put in a lot of hours have done consistently well. Another common theme was to clean your car. Judges know all the hard-to-get-at areas, which is the first place they look. “Cars that lack a plan of attack from the outset are very obvious,” says Matt. “And spread your budget out evenly over the whole build.”
Other don’ts include trying to finish your car the night before and trying to incorporate all the latest trends – it invariably results in an awkward machine. For more expert hints ’n’ tips, check out the Summernats and MotorEx websites. The Meguiar’s judging team are all car guys and they love hearing about your build. It’s impossible for them to know everything about every car, so it’s vital to point out your vehicle’s unique aspects, modifications, all the little things – a comprehensive build book is great for this. At the end of it all, competitor Adrian Haynes summed it up best: “It’s supposed to be a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun.” So make sure you have fun and hopefully we’ll see you in the Meguiar’s Judging Pavilion at the Street Machine Summernats 29, January 7-10, 2016.
Nathan Borg’s brain-numbing HOK Blue Blood Datsun 1200 ute HRDWRK (see page 51) was a massive winner, picking up Meguiar’s People’s Choice, Grand Champion and Top Standard Paint (Elite). It was closely followed by John Saad’s HOK Galaxy Grey RX3 sedan (FATRX3), which took out Top Judged (Elite) and Top Special Effects Paint (Elite).
Interestingly, House of Kolor also nabbed second place in both Elite-class paint categories.
In fact, the top overall vehicle from Elite, Street and Tuff Street were all finished in HOK. Delving deeper into the results sheets for these three categories reveals that no less than 21 HOK cars made the honour roll. As impressive as that sounds, what’s even more astounding is these 21 stunners collected a total of 66 Summernats awards between them!
MEGUIAR’S TOP 60
THE Meguiar’s Top 60 Show is the ultimate showcase of super-elite machinery and is a massive Summernats drawcard. Year in, year out, it consistently attracts Australia’s best. Kicking off at 8:00pm Friday night, it runs through until Saturday afternoon. Walking around this hallowed hall, you can’t help but be blown away by the stratospheric level of craftsmanship, attention to detail and mind-blowing creativity. Better still, unlike many other shows, punters can have a detailed up-close look at many of the vehicles, as only a handful are fenced-off.
It’s a good bet you’ll bump into one or 10 of Australia’s most renowned builders and owners, as they’re just as keen to check out the latest blockbusters as you are. There’s also the broad variety, as the Meguiar’s Top 60 includes everything from world-class street machines, bitchin’ hot rods, cool cruisers and brutally tough muscle cars to stunning race machinery and a handful of immaculate restorations. If you can’t find something here to whet your appetite, you’d better check you’ve still got a pulse!
“I WANTED to build a burnout VF because no-one had done one,” says burnout superstar Steve Loader. It took 12-weeks to transform RELOAD from smashed write-off to Summernats show stopper. This included the chassis work to accommodate the 22x12in Showwheels, smoothing out the engine bay for the Enderle-injected, 532-cube, 9500rpm (!!!) big-block, retrimming the interior and laying on the eye-catching HOK Lime Green.
MARK specifically built LC763 to race in APSA 10.5 Radial and Pro Street Blown. With its gargantuan 763ci big-block and three-stage nitrous system producing around 2200hp, the LC should run competitive 6.5s@220mph. Mark built about 80 per cent of the car himself and went to a lot of trouble to keep it looking like a Torana and mostly steel – only the bonnet, boot and bars are fibreglass. As he says, “I didn’t want to lighten my wallet to lighten the car.”
RUN your eye along the ripple-free bodywork of Gary Zahra’s gobsmaking C10 and note how FAT 57 Customs has given the truck razor-sharp lines, along with front and rear roll pans and Cadillac taillights. Porterbuilt air-bag suspension dumps the Fleetside over 22-inch smoothie Center Lines equipped with 1964 hubcaps. Inside, the distressed leather gives the Fleetside that authentic look. Gary intends putting plenty of miles on his wild, LS-powered truck.