EXTREME AUTO EXPO, ADELAIDE 2019

If you’re superstitious, then you might have avoided the recent Adelaide Auto Expo, which celebrated its 13th year in November. Those that did head down to the Adelaide Showgrounds were greeted by everything from elite hot rods to million dollar supercars to barn find beauties.

The show is unique in that it opens on Friday night and all day Saturday only. It’s a format which is working in the eyes of promoter, Geof Tartoosie, who says it’s been that way for four years now.

“I talked to a few traders and builders and entrants and asked what do you want to get out of the show. You’re basically staying open for the crowd, but it’s not the interests of the traders. We had a good Friday night crowd, people are starting to embrace it.”

With Friday set up completed, the arena is cleared in preparation for the 5pm opening time, while outdoors is reserved for the Aussie Classic and Muscle Car Cruise where punters are invited to bring their homegrown classics into the adjacent courtyard for the duration of the evening. Night lighting and street food make for a pleasant gateway to the Jubilee Pavilion.

The mix of styles and genres indoors is broad, not surprising given that the show encompasses the Extreme Auto Expo, the Adelaide Hot Rod Show, the Dream Car Garage and many other facets. All up more than 250 vehicles vied for more than 140 awards in everything from elite categories to fun prizes for things like ‘Best Stance’. A handful of prominent sponsors chip in to see the event happen, with major awards presented by Fuchs Lubricants.

“If you like cars old or new, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to have something here for you. We’ve embraced diversity,” confirmed Geof.

Major winners this year included Paul Caccamo’s ‘Slamback’ ’37 Ford and Craig McKenzie’s HR Holden ute sharing most of the major awards, with special mention to Steve Braggs’ KOOL39 ’37 Ford roadster and Street Machine of the Year, Joe Panzorino’s stunning red ’57 Chevy.

The hot rod community were spotlighted in the adjacent Duncan Gallery, Adelaide’s most prominent clubs lining both sides of the passage to form a guard of honour. Another highlight was the Barn Find Auction hosted by Mason Grey Strange, where a collection of tired, dirty classic cars went out under the hammer.

“We had 15 cars and 10 sold, plus another couple after the auction. We’ll keep that for next year,” confirm Geof.

If you needed a break from the cars, it was good to see some added value entertainment, like the pinball gallery, speed ball table and pedal cars for the kids. Every child through the gate received a free Hot Wheels car, so the six lane drag strip hosted by the local drag racing club was a popular stop. Saturday is the biggest day of course, if not for the Grid Girl comp, then for the 400 plus cars that arrive throughout the afternoon as part of the Zippel Cruise, the whole shebang wrapping up at an orderly 8pm.

The exact dates for 2020 were yet to be confirmed but you can bank on November for now. Visit adelaideautoexpo.com for updates and 2019 results.

BY GAVIN KELSO, FEATURED CRUZIN #232.

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