Articles

Hydro-Acty-Vated

Hydro-Acty-Vated
Words & photography: Steve ‘Autoholic’ Edwards Some guys have a love for hot rods that stretches back to their formative years, but for others, well, they lean towards less mainstream vehicles and make them stand out. Phil Egan ended up giving away his first car, a Triumph Dolomite, as the running costs were out of his reach as a student. Once he’d finished his studies and was in gainful employment, Phil’s thoughts turned to finding a reliable form of transport, and while his friends were all lusting after various sports cars, he was looking at Bedford Rascals instead. Eventually, instead of going the van route, he bought himself a Smart car. Obviously, being a fan of Street Machine and customising cars, the Smart was never going to remain stock; in fact, a body kit, a set of cool rims and a remap that took the little car’s ...

… Life On The Road

... Life On The Road
It started off building them; now it’s driving them. There’s no easy retirement for this septuagenarian cab-over – it looks set to be spending its whole… Words: Dave Smith, photography: Chris Jones It always puzzles me how some rods and customs don’t seem to get used. I speak to people who tell me that they drive their cars to local shows and that’s about it. Okay, I understand that some street/strip cars might be a bit taxing when they do 4mpg and get a trifle warm in traffic jams, but the more streetable rods were built to be driven. If you don’t want to drive it… why did you build it? I don’t understand. One guy who’s not afraid of putting some miles under his wheels is Calvin Evans, from Southampton. His ’46 Chevy COE gets everywhere, and not just for shows. It wouldn’t surprise me ...

Rebel Rekord

Rebel Rekord
Words & photography: Steve Edwards Even though it’s loud, intimidating, obnoxious and a real rebel, one thing is for sure: this Rekord is a real hit. If you’ve got petrol in your veins then you’ll be able to relate to Martin Holcroft’s journey so far. From his early teens, he got involved in grass roots motorsport, and that has stood him in good stead ever since. Martin’s Dad, Keith, competed in Autograss competitions and was only too pleased, as any father would be, when his son expressed an interest in his passion. Imagine his pride, then, when father and son, who shared a Union Jack-bedecked Mini, both won their respective championships and Martin got a reputation for overtaking his competition in the most unlikely of corners. The pair bonded during their time spent together in the garage, building engines and completing repairs to any damage (mostly ...

A Mini Adventure

A Mini Adventure
Words: Dave Smith, photography: Simon Cooke Hands up who had a Mini as their first car. Who has had one since? Can you even call yourself a proper petrolhead unless you’ve owned a Mini at some point? Do you remember the noise, the bouncy ride, the Routemaster bus driving position, the easily-soaked distributor and the fact that, prior to every MoT test, we had to use enough welding rods to build a fence around the Isle of Wight? Of course you don’t; we’ll happily forget all that and remember how much fun they were. Sadly, this diminutive Brit has now been all but priced out of the market for young drivers – it’s a rite of passage that has… well, passed. There are some still out there, though, and they’re not ...

Long Player

Long Player
Words: Dave Smith | photography: Alice Fairhead Some projects get done and sold on quickly; some evolve over the years. At 33 and counting, this one’s definitely a … There’s a big trap to fall into when you’re building your project: what if the finished product doesn’t quite match what you had in your head to begin with? It can be pretty disheartening, especially after a long build, but second time’s a charm… That’s how it went for Phil Robinson, a mechanic and MoT tester from Norwich, with his ’63 Cortina. “I bought it as a rolling shell around 1986,” says Phil. “I cut the front end off, fitted a tubular framework and a fibreglass flip front, slotted in a 3.0 Essex V6, a Capri rear axle and a Viva independent front suspension set-up. I was almost ready to get it started up when a mate of mine ...

Patience Pays

Patience Pays
Chopped and dropped, this air-suspended Beetle was a long time coming, but well worth waiting for… Words & photography: Steve “autoholic” Edwards Model: Emma Mowbray of Quick Draw Tattoo, Bury Like many people reading this, Mark Thomson looked forward every month, after May 1979, to the latest issue of Street Machine, hoping that one day he’d get something as cool. Mark’s Dad, Albert, was a barber, and trained his son before dispatching him to a department store called Kendall’s to do an apprenticeship in their hairdressing department. That meant there was a plethora of magazines and periodicals that Mark could get his hands on with ease, but one stood out from the crowd as just… cooler. It was this very publication that inspired him to venture into the world of customising, and his Dad’s car was to be the recipient ...

East Meets Wild West

East Meets Wild West
Words: Dave Smith, photography: Dom Fisher, model: Shannon Dunford “It’s just an ol’ farm truck…” Yeah, right. While the Americans and Japanese weren’t getting on too well when this truck was made, they’re getting on a treat under the bonnet today in this pick-up. Pick-up trucks, like great fashion, look better when worn. There are some stunning restored trucks out there, but when a hard-working vehicle shows its battle scars, it tells a story that gleaming, perfect paint just can’t. It also speaks a volume that, nearly 80 years down the line, these trucks can still be daily drivable. This careworn carrier is a 1941 Chevrolet AK, belonging to Martin Ingram from Barnsley, and it hides a 21st century secret… rather well. This is the third Chevy pick-up I’ve built,” says Martin, “but ...

Transition

Transition
This van fan man turned a one-owner Seventies survivor into a custom-cum-canvas and ended up with this period-perfect masterpiece Words: Dave Smith, photography: Jon Hill Transits. They work hard, and vans that work hard don’t get much love. Consequently, most of them take early retirement and head off to the knacker’s yard long before they get to be classics. So, if you fancy a proper Seventies custom Transit, and you happen upon a van that’s been cherished since new, well… that’s one of your three wishes gone. It also helps if you know a thing or two about Transits and the van scene in general; saying that the owner ‘happened upon’ this beauty isn’t exactly accurate. In fact, it took him 30 years to get his hands on it! The man in question ...

Caged Beast

Caged Beast
Words & photography: Dave Smith I say, that car has no clothes on! This Roadkill-inspired superkart has racked up the miles all summer long. Have you ever watched Roadkill? It’s the best TV programme out there… and it’s not even on TV. Messrs Freiburger, Finnegan and the rest have the sort of automotive fun we all wish we could have, and sometimes they can plant the seed of an idea you’d never have thought of… This was exactly the case when they published episode 35, towards the tail end of 2014, an episode in which they cut the body from a ruined C4 Corvette, caged it, then took it to the desert to pitch it against a brand-new Lingenfelter ‘Vette. It certainly had an impact on Gary Leece, from Cumbria. “I watched ...

The Future’s Bright

The Future's Bright
Words & photography: Steve ‘Autoholic’ Edwards After a lifetime of building some cool cars – including an Austin A55 van that featured a 2.0 Pinto lump, and a pair of Scimitars that Jim Angliss built with his brother, Mick, that had both been restored to show quality – you’d think that reaching retirement age might put a damper on your car building aspirations. That’s certainly not the case for these two dynamic fellas. However, this car is Jim’s first foray into the worldof four-wheel drive. Yes, this Anglia has a full-time, four-wheel drive system in addition to a turbocharged engine. Jim’s daily had been a 1989 Mazda 323 1.6 turbo that Mazda built to compete in the Group A Rally Championships, which means it has a water-cooled IHI turbo that helps to ...

The Muscarteers!

The Muscarteers!
Hot rods are built for driving, right? These guys took their roofless roadsters and rodded pick-ups on a driving tour of Scotland and lived to tell the tale. And here it is! Words: Dave Smith photography: Martin Drake and owner/drivers The Seward twins are rightly celebrated on the hot rod scene for their beautiful road legal single-seat vintage sprint cars, and they’ve made plenty of friends along the way. So when Ray recently mentioned that he’d love to do a road trip around Scotland, one of his mates reckoned that was a great idea – a bunch of friends and their hot rods, some of the best driving roads in the UK, and perhaps a beer or two along the way. When you’re picking holiday destinations for cars with almost zero weather ...

The Devil’s in the Detail

The Devil's in the Detail
There are loads of stunning Veedubs out there, so how does this air-riding OCD-Dub stand out from the crowd? As the old saying goes…   Words: Dave Smith, photography: Lukasz Markowski The Bug scene may have had its ups and downs over the years, but it’s still one of the largest, strongest and most fiercely loyal car scenes in the UK… or anywhere else for that matter. Which is great, but it does lead to one problem: they must be running out of things to do with Beetles that haven’t been done before. Then, occasionally, something comes along that doesn’t shout that loud, but would stand up to any microscopic inspection the most ardent VW anorak could chuck at it. Just check out this one – it’s a 1967 model, and it’s a rolling ...

Ram-bo

Ram-bo
What do you do when your new Ram Hemi pick-up is just not fast or in-your-face enough? You whip out your wallet and go absolutely mental. What you end up with isn’t just a tough truck; it’s… Words: Dave Smith, photography: Matt Woods Over here, pick-ups have traditionally been mundane workhorses. This began to change about 20 years ago with the advent of well-equipped crew-cab grey imports such as the Mitsubishi Warrior and Nissan Navarra and, now, luxuriously appointed pick-ups are everywhere, treated and driven as a large family car. Tell any American this fact, and they’ll just look at you oddly and say “Hell, what took you so long?” Over there, pick-ups outsell cars and you can have one as basic or as fully loaded, as economical or as powerful as you ...

Snakes Alive!

Snakes Alive!
Words & photography: Steve ‘Autoholic’ Edwards When you spot a car for sale that you first saw 30 years previously, you simply have to buy it, even if you accidentally forget to tell the missus! Nick Blanchard first saw this car back in 1988 when he was at York Raceway with his Dad, Dave. He was armed with his trusty 110mm film camera, and stopped to take a couple of photos of the Capri despite his Dad’s protests not to waste film on “that piece of junk”. Who would have thought that, some 30 years later, Nick would not only still have the photo (being a true Yorkshireman he never throws owt out) but he would have also managed to get his hands on the car too. So, a brief history lesson for ...

Home Improvements

Home Improvements
This double-huffed rat rod/truck hybrid came at the expense of a new kitchen, but having this on the driveway is definitely our kind of … Home Improvements Words: Dave Smith, photography: Andy ‘Fly’ Tipping We’ve seen a massive leap in the number of rat rods over the past few years, and a good boost in the number of rat/patina pick-ups, too. Here’s one that’s a little bit of both, and its brought its own boost to the party. It belongs to Angie Hawkins, from Nottinghamshire, and, under all that “ratina” (yeah, I just made that up. I Googled it, and apart from being a town in Serbia, nobody else has claimed it, so ratina is now mine!) it’s a 1949 Ford F1 pick-up. “It was on eBay back in May, 2014,” says Angie. “I’d ...

Ain’t No Malibu Barbie

Ain't No Malibu Barbie
Chevelles have always been popular muscle cars, but this Welsh rare bit (groan) stands out because it ….Ain’t No Malibu, Barbie Words: Dave Smith, photography: Darren Maybury Everybody knows muscle cars. The formula was for a mid-size coupe, long bonnet, short boot, and plenty of motor. This was great, but half the time, these muscle machines came laden with a load of extra goodies you might not have wanted. If you really wanted to go fast on a budget, you ordered the lightest base model, then ticked the option box for the biggest motor you could afford. All fun, no frills. That’s what happened with this 1969 Chevelle 300 Deluxe, although it came as something of a surprise to the owner, Darren Milner, from South Wales. “I have been into Yanks and hot ...

Growler

Growler
It’s what Plymouth should have done all along – put a V8 in their Prowler. They probably wouldn’t have used Chevy power, of course, but it certainly turns the Prowler into a …Growler Words & Photography: Andy Willsheer Readers who are into the sport of drag racing will probably know the name Chris Andrews; a Top Fuel driver who got into the straight-line wars a few years back, behind the wheel of one of the late ‘King Knut’ Soderqvist’s stable of dragsters. Not many people know that Chris has a particular passion for the retro-styled Plymouth Prowler, which was introduced in America to mixed acclaim in the late Nineties, based on the 1993 concept car of the same name. The hot rod-style coupe was offered with an aluminium 3.5-litre V6 engine hooked to ...

OMG!

OMG!
This Mercedes has had a long journey back to roadworthy status after being overlooked for years. Love it or not, it’s not an AMG; it’s an… OMG Words & photography: Steve Edwards Steve Cooper bought this Mercedes Benz 300CE on eBay, back in 2001 when he was searching for a cool daily driver. The car was the rare manual version, and had been lowered a little with shorter AMG springs, and was wearing a body kit from the same source, both of which were fitted at the factory, which made it an attractive proposition for a car guy with an eye for a bargain. The 3.0 fuel injected straight six was quite sprightly, with 180hp on tap, allowing it to reach 60mph in eight seconds. That was until Steve had his head turned ...

Special FX

Special FX
“Guess who I had in the back of my cab this morning? The bloke who was in the front before I launched from the traffic lights!” I think it’s safe to say that this uber-taxi is a rather… Words: Dave Smith, photography: Bruce Holder   Ah, the FX4 London black cab. It’s iconic. After all, it was in production for nigh on 40 years, during which time it became as much a part of London’s street furniture as the Routemaster bus and psychopathic pigeons. You’re making a movie and want to establish the fact that the following scene is set in London? Have the character stepping out of a black cab. You want to get anywhere in London? Hail a black cab. You want to look at the back of a head that’s ...

Merc Of Respect

Merc Of Respect
There’s no shame in buying built, and when the end result is as handsome and rapid as this bonkers Benz, it deserves an added… Words: Dave Smith, photography: Andy ‘Fly’ Tipping Make a list of all the cars made in the Seventies that were built to last. It won’t be a long list, but you can be pretty certain that Mercedes Benz will be at, or near, the top. And yet, the three-pointed star is hardly a common sight at the custom and rod shows, and even fewer and further between at the strip. It makes you wonder why, especially when you can make a beautiful, yet brutal, street/strip machine such as this 1975 Merc 280CE pillarless coupe. The owner of this superstar W114 is Nick Hale, and he’s only been into the ...

Northampton Graffiti

Northampton Graffiti
In the ‘dare to be different’ stakes, you can’t get more different than ‘totally unique,’ especially when you end up with an unmistakable classic that’s still daily-driver practical. Never mind American Graffiti; here’s… Words: Dave Smith, photography: Darren Skidmore There’s definitely an ‘estate car’ theme running through this issue, and there’s only one thing to say – estates are now, officially, cool. Many of them already were, but it’s now official. It’s been embossed with the Street Machine Seal of Cool. It’s especially true of something like this little fella, because in the Fifties, most estate cars were expensive coachbuilt conversions of big saloons; this 100E owes more to the van than the saloon, and was about as luxuriously equipped as an outside lavatory. These early family-carrying load-luggers were pretty popular. You had ...

Cos I Can

Cos I Can
It’s a Cosworth, right? Nope, this started life as a bog-stock 2.0 GLS. It’s not a Cossie; it’s a … Cos I Can Words: Dave Smith, photography: Darren Woolway You can’t really call a Sierra Cosworth a sleeper, can you? Certainly not the original three-door with it monster spoilers and whatnot, though the later Sapphire four-door saloon might be able to sneak up on the unwary. So that’s all this is, right? A Saffy Cosworth with some big wheels on? Hardly. As far as we’re aware, the employees of Messrs Costin and Duckworth have never clapped eyes on this car, and these days it moons at mere Cosworths as it flies past them… This car began life in 1992 as a 2.0 GLS; near the top of the range, but hardly an explosive ...

Hanger Management

Hanger Management
In a world where lowering your Sixties Ford over banded steels is the accepted way to go, here’s a young dude whose leaf springs definitely need some … Words: Dave Smith, photography: Dom Fisher Looking like it’s just driven off the set of a 1979 BBC documentary about youth delinquency, this 1965 Anglia 105E Deluxe is a real throwback to the days when jacked-up street-fighters like this roamed every town on a Friday night. So where’s it been hiding all these years, this survivor? It hasn’t; by the time you read this, it’ll have been on the road (in this guise) barely 12 months. And the best bit is that the guy who built this wasn’t even here first time around – he’s 19, so some might call him a ‘millennial’, while ...

Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full
It’s easy to get pessimistic about the rules and regs of modifying old motors – definitely a ‘glass half empty’ situation. But for this guy, it’s definitely a … ‘Glass Half FullWords and Photography: Jon Hill Looking at this gorgeous Aquatic Jade Twin Cam Escort you’re probably thinking ‘yep, very nice but why?’ Perhaps more the fodder of that esteemed publication Classic Ford than Street Machine? Keep looking, though, and there’s something not quite right – the way it sits; a touch different to the slammed street racer look we’re all accustomed to. There’s something isn’t there? You know what it is but can’t put your finger on it. OK, I’ll be kind, here’s a clue: look at the wheels. Hmm, knock-offs. And the fact that it sits kind of wrong for a ...

Popperazzi

Popperazzi
You think twin-turbos are a new idea? Maserati were doing it well over 30 years ago, leading to this intriguing Italian-inspired Anglia Words: Dave Smith, photography: Andy ‘Fly’ Tipping Ford’s Popular, the ultimate Brit-rod, and surely a car whose surviving numbers must include more hot rods than stockers. And yet, considering the sheer numbers of Pop rods turned out over the years, everyone still seems to be able to find something a little bit new, a little bit different to do, just to surprise the rest of us and keep us on our toes. This one, for instance… with stock width arches, and propulsion from a powerplant bordering on the exotic. When these shots were taken, the owner was Ben – just ‘Ben’ – from Lincolnshire, and he reckons that this was one ...