Hot rods set to take over central Victoria

CASTLEMAINE will prove why its the hot rod capital of Australia with a host of events planned over the next month.

Exhibitions, swap meets, anniversaries, cruises and cinema screenings are planned from this weekend until after Easter.

Thousands of revheads are expected to arrive in central Victoria during that time.

Events started last weekend with renowned metal-worker Ron Covell hosting a two-day workshop at Chewton.

That will be followed this weekend when the Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre launches its “Kulture” exhibition at The Mill.

Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre chairman Larry O’Toole said the exhibition is full of artwork, sculptures and photographs by people from an automotive background.

“It’s a bit different to mainstream art but with state festival on, people from art field may be surprised at what they see,” Mr O’Toole said.

“Darren Davis has done photographic series, which takes about a third of the exhibition space.

“The series of photos is of hot rodders from around the Castlemaine area.”

Following the exhibition will be the Australian Street Rod Federation Nationals at Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Showgrounds from April 14 to 17.

The nationals meet is open to the public on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t think Bendigo is quite sure what to expect. Everywhere these nationals have been held, they are so successful the towns want it to come back,” Mr O’Toole said.

“It alternates between New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. They usually get about 1500 cars at the event and attract about 10,000 people.

“There’s the showcase of hot rods, a few events within the event and a about 100 trade sites associated with hot rods.”

To coincide with the nationals, Castlemaine will also host other events including the 40th anniversary of Mr O’Toole’s hot rod magazine Australian Street Rodding, the Castlemaine Swap Meet, and a pre-nationals cruise hosted by Castlemaine Rods.

Celebrations conclude with the Boogaloo Invitational at Wattle Reserve on April 28, 29 and 30 and a screening of George Lucas’ film American Graffiti at the Theatre Royal.

Mr O’Toole said there are a lot of reasons hot rods and street rods are so popular.

“I think it’s the colour and age of the vehicles and the chance to reminisce,” he said.

“People also like to do it as a hobby. Sometimes they can’t afford to it financially or haven't got the skills but still like to see how it’s done.”