Yesterday morning saw another Rust And Shine In The Valley – a Sunday morning gathering of hot rods, road, and custom cars in the Swan Valley near Perth. The Swan is a semi-rural semi-swanky semi-foodie area these days that is trying to attract spenders to wineries, restaurants, chocolate warehouses, potteries, etc. It wishes to emulate the Margaret River southwest tourist traps but not do so 270 Km away. They probably won’t manage to do it on the wine quality alone, but they can certainly score with small quick-response events like this…particularly if they are family friendly. The fact that you can get to the Oakover Winery from my house in 40 minutes is a great incentive – the fact that you can get a hot rod show for $ 2 plus the price of a glass of something and a hot dog is another.
It is not that hot rodders are cheap souls – anyone who contemplates building a rod or custom knows deep down that they are going to have to spend some serious money during the build period. But they are not going to look kindly on $ 100 price tags for bottles of wine either. For a lot of them, and for a lot of the rest of us, the days of FIFO, boom, and big property money have finished, and we don’t know if they are going to come back soon. So they build away on the dream that they do own, and take the family out when and where they can, and generally get a smile out of it.
I’m glad they do – it means that every time I load up the Fujifilm into the Suzuki I am pretty well guaranteed something I have not seen before. At every show I have attended in the last 9 years there have been new old cars and old new cars to be seen. I don’t begrudge the $ 25 that The VHRS charges to get in the door in Melbourne ( because I also know that I will get two days of free car show in the car park out front…) and I can hardly kick at $ 2 charity for Oakover. Oddly enough, in all the times I have attended the place I have yet to brave the food line for a glass of their wine. Presumably it is drinkable, because there wasn’t a stack of bodies out the back of the shed…
There were bouncy castles, a portable water slide, a lonely singer, and ice cream vans. There were paddle boats on the pond, and the sausage sizzle was going great guns. Travis Corich was inside a great big shade tent planning out pinstripe and custom painting…I think he was going to do a demo later on in there – and every person on the field was having a good time.
It was interesting to keep an ear out as I walked along photographing…people were talking cars, talking money, talking legalities of licensing, etc. and no-one seemed a stranger to anyone else. I daresay there were deadly rivalries going on…I’ve been associated with too many sporting and social clubs not to have seen this before…but they don’t generally come to the fore on display days. They may beat each other up behind the beer tent but the public face is polite.
Final note for R&S…please do keep on at Oakover – the car parking is excellent and it means that people can participate all morning. The venue is well used to hosting crowds and the catering is a worked-out routine. There is enough shade near the restaurant to give respite from the Swan Valley sun and the flat nature of the display ground means that most of the pictures are going to come out well. In that respect, it beats Parry Lakes and Big Al’s. One caution for visitors: Oakover has big black ants in the grass and you find them when you are wearing open-toe sandals. Or rather, they find you.