Five Memorable Summernats Grand Champions

Summer is fast approaching and for many that means one thing; Summernats. Summernats plays host each year to Australia’s best show cars, street cars, burnout cars and more in a festival of cars, music and burnt rubber. Each year the elite entrants compete in a series of events to establish who is the year’s Grand Champion, with criteria stretched from the typical ‘car show’ presentation points to include a number of driving tests. A scroll through the list of previous Grand Champions is like a walk through one of the most impressive car museums you’ve ever seen, and in this article we’ll take a quick look back at some of our favourites.

Rob Beauchamp’s VL Commodore – Top Street Machine Overall at Summernats 1, 2 & 3

Rob’s Jaw dropping VL Commodore will be remembered as not only one of the meanest VL’s in the land, but as also a car that pushed the limits of the term ‘street machine’. Fitted with a Kinsler-injected 302 Chev at the time, the VL was a full blown drag car, capable of mid 10’s and barely suited to use on the street. It was the immaculate attention to details that won fans and judges alike to win the then named Top Street Machine overall at Summernats 1, 2 & 3.

Howard Astill’s Rock Solid 3 – Grand Champion at Summernats 4 & 5

Howard Astill’s XA Falcon went through a number of guises throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s before it was reborn as the gobsmacking Rock Solid 3. Featuring an ever-so-cool neon paintjob, Rock Solid 3 typified what the punters love about show cars – it was fast, loud and eye catching. The XA would dominate Summernats 4 & 5 before being parked to allow Astill to move on to the next of his many incredible builds. In recognition of his contribution to the show car scene, Astill was honoured as a Rare Spares Legend in 2009 – check out our blog from 2015 with Howard here.

Joe Lore’s BLOWJO XY Falcon – Grand Champion at Summernats 23

Everybody loves an XY, and you’ll struggle to find any better in the land than Joe Lore’s purple beast. Featuring a 351 Cleveland (stroked to 383cu) and a humungous blower, BLOWJO is an incredibly striking vehicle that ran away with victory at Summernats 23 in 2010. If you haven’t had the chance to see this XY up close yet, keep an eye out for the incredibly detailed airbrush work on the interior and underbody, this car is a true work of art.

Peter Fitzpatrick’s ’59 FC Holden – Grand Champion at Summernats 2

A six time Grand Champion winner, Peter Fitzpatrick is a name that stands without peer in the Summernats history books. At Summernats 24 Peter Fitzpatrick arrived with his ’59 FC Holden and swept all before him, taking out not only the coveted Grand Champion award, but also winning the People’s Champ and Top Judged awards, the first to do so in the history of Summernats. Peter Fitzpatrick is also a Rare Spares Legend, recognised in 2012 for his legendary contribution to the street machine community.

Mark ‘Happy’ Williams’ HQ One Tonner – Grand Champion at Summernats 30

The most recent Summernats Grand Champion winner, fan favourite Mark ‘Happy’ Williams and his HQ One Tonner was a popular winner with the huge Summernats 30 crowd. The Supercharged One tonner is a sight to behold and sounds incredible, becoming the first Western Australian built car to take out the Grand Champion sword at the 2017 event. An emotional victory for Williams, who lost his father only days before the event, in his memory the car’s license plates were changed from ‘2HAPPY’ to ‘4MYDAD’.

Which is your favourite Summernats Grand Champion? We would love to hear which car and why, so head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know in the comments section below.

We had a blast at Summernats 29!

22. January 2016 09:50 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

The streets came alive with party vibes and Exhibition Park pumped to the sound of horsepower as the Street Machine Summernats, proudly supported by Rare Spares, returned to Canberra.

Thursday’s annual Summernats City Cruise welcomed the ‘Nats to Canberra with an expanded number of cars parading in front of thousands of locals and automotive fans.

“Thursday was fantastic, the City Cruise had around 250 cars rolling down Northbourne Avenue and crowds lined the streets, it was fun to watch,” said Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez.

Despite being day one, the crowds were busting for some burnout action, with the Last Chance Shootout Wild Card Burnouts attracting a 12,000 strong audience for the tyre-frying action, with Aussie rockers You Am I providing Thursday night’s soundtrack.

Friday saw the Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine, the Dyno Dynamics Horsepower Heroes Shootout plus the Liqui-Moly National Burnout Eliminations.

The Top 60 show cars were on display in the Meguiar’s Pavilion as well as the Great Uncover, where never seen before marvels were unveiled for the first time.

Later, DJ Brooke Evers entertained the crowd and she was followed by the new prince of Australian Hip Hop, Seth Sentry.

Saturday had a packed schedule with the Liqui-Moly National Burnout Championships, Dyno Dynamics Horsepower Heroes Shootout and Federal Tyres Miss Summernats, which was won by Canberra local Amanda Beattie.

The Rare Spares Legend award was presented to Tony O’Donnell by Rare Spares General Manager David Rayner. This prestigious award in the form of an exclusive gold helmet was created to recognise the lifetime contribution to the street machine world. Tony enters the Legend Hall of Fame alongside eight other past worthy winners.

As the sun set, the party really got going with the Supercruise in the main arena, followed by a Fireworks spectacular set to a DJ Black Summer soundtrack. The fun continued with the iconic Hoodoo Gurus.

Sunday was finals day with the awarding of the most coveted prize in street machining, the Street Machine Summernats Grand Champion, which went to John Saad in his stunning 1972 Mazda RX-3.

The winner of the world’s most prestigious burnout competition, the Liqui-Moly National Burnout Masters went to Andrew Poole in his Holden Commodore after a tyre shredding extravaganza that had the crowds going wild.

The Dyno Dynamics Horsepower Heroes Shootout overall winner was Jake Edwards in his yellow turbocharged Holden Torana that achieved an incredible 1782hp at the rear wheels.

The surprise addition of Red Bull Racing Australia's six time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup also thrilled the huge crowds with some fantastic burnout action.

Entrant numbers came to a huge 1952, the largest yet for the event, with crowd numbers in excess of 100,000.

“What a fantastic event. We’ve had beautiful weather, amazing cars and terrific crowds for what was another great Summernats event,” said Mr Lopez.

As the proud supporter of Summernats 29, Rare Spares had a major presence with our own Rare Spares Exhibitors Pavilion. And it was at the Rare Spares stand that the crowd took advantage of some amazing offers including a massive 20% off everything plus free shipping.

On top of that, customers had the opportunity to go into the draw to win the ultimate motorsport weekend, known as ‘Rare Experience!’ where tickets to the 2016 Clipsal 500 with flights and accommodation for two were up for grabs. Lucky winners Mark and Jane from New South Wales were thrilled to hear they had won this money can’t buy Rare Experience.

Also at the Rare Spares Pavilion, fans were also able to check out none other than John Bowe’s race winning Touring Car Masters Holden Torana and RSP Director David Ryan’s famous FJ Holden.

Summernats 29 has proved once more that it is the premier automotive event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and Rare Spares are once again proud to have supported such a great and iconic Australian event. And just like car enthusiasts right across the country, we can’t wait for Summernats 30!


Rare Spares Rare Specials at Summernats 29

Hot off the press! Rare Spares is going to make your Summernats trip even better!

For the 29th edition of this iconic event, Rare Spares is offering a HUGE 20% off* plus FREE Shipping for all orders placed and paid for at the Rare Spares stand during the entire event period!

PLUS Rare Spares are giving you the opportunity to go in the draw to WIN the ultimate motorsport weekend, known as ‘Rare Experience!’** How does tickets to the 2016 Clipsal 500 with flights and accommodation for two and a weekend to remember sound? All you have to do is see the team at the Rare Spares stand in Pavilion C to enter!

Rare Spares will also be showcasing none other than John Bowe’s race winning Touring Car Masters Holden Torana and RSP Director David Ryan’s famous FJ Holden all weekend.

To take advantage of these great offers and help us in celebrating Summernats and the classic cars we love, join us at the Rare Spares stand for Summernats 29!

The coveted Rare Spares Legend award will again be presented with a new industry legend being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Who will it be this year? Find out on Saturday night in the Main Arena.

*excluding vouchers and items already on special and 20% off full RRP of Rubber Kits

** For full terms and conditions see the online entry form at the Rare Spares stand. Permit No: ACT TP 15/08101

Remembering A Motoring Legend

24. January 2014 14:27 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

Rare Spares was honoured to announce that the late John Taverna was the winner of the Summernats 27 Rare Spares Legend Award for 2014.

In front of thousands of appreciative fans, John Taverna’s partner accepted the Rare Spares Legend award on John’s behalf at the Saturday evening Supercruise.

John Taverna was a street machine and drag racing legend in Australia, having built many famed drag cars and street machines that graced magazine covers, raced and turned up at shows all over the country and internationally. Two of John Taverna’s most recognisable cars were the JD Camira drag car and the pink 67 Camaro with the number plate CHASIS.

John also contributed greatly to drag racing though his role as the Victorian Divisional Director and later the National Deputy Director for ANDRA as well as his years spent as a Summernats judge.

 John will be sorely missed by everyone in the street machine world and Rare Spares are proud to have John Taverna as one of the Rare Spares Legends. 


Riding With A Burnout World Champion

24. January 2014 14:16 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Ever wanted to know how it feels to be riding alongside a burnout world champion?

Danny Gibson was our lucky Rare Drive competition winner and spoke with us about riding shotgun with Peter Gray at Summernats 27

 Danny used to watch the burnout competitions when he was a kid so had a rough idea of what he was getting himself into.  

“It was wild. It was something that you can’t really describe; it was like thunder in your whole body.”

Not only was Danny riding shotgun with Peter Gray as he performed a show stopping burnout, Debbie Gray joined in with another Team Gray car, to double the spectacle and smoke in the burnout pit.  “You couldn’t see your own hands, but every time you could see, you could see that the other car was so close.”

“Debbie and Peter are both unbelievably good drivers and very confident in their own abilities.”

“I’ve never won anything before so it was very exciting. The experience was something that you couldn’t pay for – it was unbelievable.”

“I had a fun at Summernats overall – They’ve cleaned it up a lot which has unfortunately cleaned up some of the fun as well, but it was good and it has removed some of the more unwanted guests. I thought it was a lot more grown up and controlled this year.”

“I’ve entered the Nats’ half a dozen times myself. I’ve got a 77’ Torana which I spend all my spare time working on which I’ve had for 15 years.”

Click here to view the video footage from the day!