In what has turned out to be the last major gathering of automotive and motorsports in Australia prior to the Covid-19 “lockdown”, Summernats 2020 was held in Canberra over its traditional four days, in this case from January 2 to January 5, 2020.
The timing of the event happened to coincide with the bushfire emergency that hit many parts of Australia’s east coast and did potentially have the 2020 Summernats under the threat of closure.
However, it did go ahead, and once again it was a massive success. As always, the core reason of the event’s existence is to have the masters of metal bending and shaping showcase their extraordinary talents. Oh, there’s also that burnout thingy...
This year was Summernats’ 33rd running, and it’s clear the formulae of hot cars, a great exhibition site, and the local support continue to be a winner.
One winner was Luke Mitchell. His canvas was a 1973 Holden Torana. Luke, along with some magicians at Advanced Motorsport, modified Holden’s pert little two door to receive a 460 cubic inch capacity LS engine, complete with a 8/71 huffer and a Haltech controlled EFI system.
The car took out three gongs, Top Super Street, Top Standard Paint, and unsurprisingly, Top Engine Bay.
First half of the 20th century coupes have always been popular in the street machine scene and Dave Dorman’s 1932 Ford Cabriolet certainly was a stand-out. Clad in a colour from Lamborghini’s paint range, the Giallo Maggio (Yellow May) hotrod claimed the prizes for 2nd Top Engine Bay, Top Undercarriage/Driveline, and Top Closed Hot Rod.
Motorvation comes from a TPI fuel injected 350ci Chev engine, driving the rear wheels via a Turbo 700R4 auto delivering squirt to a Jaguar diff. This gorgeous “tudor” rolls on wheels from American modifying maestro, Chip Foose. They’re called Knuckle and Dave specced 17x7 and 20x9 wheels that really set off that glamourous Lambo colour.
Mark Stockwell showed off his stunning 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. There’s a super clean engine bay that houses the super clean 376ci engine, but that’s not what made Mark’s work a show stopper. Subtle yet efficient and effective body mods have the Camaro sporting a smoothed over body shell, with Kindig It designs door handles replacing the standard handles for a more integrated and sleek look.
There are also no drip rails which resulted in this beautiful street machine taking out 2nd Top Bodywork and Top Coupe.
To “top” that off, the Camaro’s multi-layered pearlescent paintwork handed Mark the trophy for Top Special Effects Paint. Unfortunately, still pictures simply can’t convey just how spectacular this paint looks.
Proving that it takes something extra special to win the coveted Grand Champion award yet still get “only” second for Top Coupe, Todd Sorensen’s 1967 Chevrolet Impala Coupe also won the Top Custom Interior (Trimming) award. Clad in a white called Cool Vanilla, this mammoth machine has a 578ci Chev engine pumping 750 ponies to the rear. There was hardly a square inch of metal and plastic left untouched in Todd’s second tilt at the crown, after debuting this beautiful machine at last year’s Summernats. It’s been a ten year labour of love for Todd, and he said later: “To win the Summernats Grand Champion award with a street driven show car, it’s the Holy Grail of awards. It’s still sinking in really, I still can’t believe it!”
For many, the highlight of Summernats is the Burnout Competition and the Burnout Masters. Along with the Horsepower Heroes dyno test, the Burnout competitions give drivers and engine builders a true yardstick to work to.
Many try, many fail, and many an engine is left devastated by the trial of power and torque that they must endure.
However, there can only be one king of the Burnout Masters castle, and this year it went, in an emotional tribute to what Holden once was, Rick Fuller broke the shackles of four consecutive 3rd places in six years to win in a heavily modified VF Commodore ute.
Aptly named Full On, there is something around 1,100 horsepower on tap from the engine, complete with supercharger and intake snorkel that was just inches shy of roof height. Rick had already won the Burnout Competition in a VK Commodore, and launched the VF hard, tapping the rev limiter in a blink of an eye.
In a masterclass display of car control, Fuller danced the green ute through the entry chute and into the broad centre section of the burnout pad. Faultless and flawless in execution, Fuller and Full On made the best of their allocated time and came away with a well deserved win.
Summernats 34 is currently scheduled for January 7 – 10, 2021. We thank Street Machine for the pictures.