A Personal View Of Gillam Drive


Ahh…Gillam Drive. That annual three hours of sweaty torture that we love to undergo. Armadale at its kindest ( Note for overseas readers: ” Armadale’s Finest ” is also phrase in Perth’s vocabulary but that is dark humour…). Gillam Drive makes up for that as it is fun, safe, and exciting. That’s the thing about the rodding scene – it is all three things rolled up in one.


Well, this year there were two or three…or more…appearances by cars that are not generally considered to be hot rods or customs. ( May we shelve the word ” Kustom ” at this point? It has always seemed an artificial sort of thing like ” kewl ” or ” far out “. Let’s just push it behind the shed and get on. Let’s face it – if ” Rod And Custom ” was good enough for the 20th century it is good enough for the 21st.)

Where was I?

The cars. Right. I look at everything at a car show. I might bite my lip but I do see the cars. And here is the important point – they all have a right to be there. It doesn’t matter whether they are dodgy old ricketybits that have been trailered in to sag in the shade or red hot mechanical hormonal storms that sit there and seethe…they are all interesting and they are all valid artistic expressions.


The veteran cars that sit there and gasp are a canvas from the past – they are the cutting edge of a technology of fifty or a hundred years ago. Look carefully at them and you see some remarkable thinking from designers and mechanics who had no-one to tell them that they couldn’t do it that way. They were far luckier then as they did not have layers of jobsworth legal/engineering position fillers to stop them from thinking. They might have thought wrong but they did think.


 The sports cars were an expression of the desire to be fast and sexy in a world that was becoming slow and sexless. You are not generally allowed to walk down the street with your privy parts on display…but you can drive by in a Triumph Stag and suggest that you are a member of the swinging upper class. With a bit of luck you will attract a bird.


A one-off excessively modified-in-the-factory specialist sports/luxury/we have no idea what we are doing but look at the size of the tyres and engine oh dear god give us money sports car is also quite legitimate. If the owner of this De Tomaso had not rescued it we would never have had an idea that such a thing exists. It is magnificent in its own way. We wish it well, and welcome its appearance at any future event.


And here is the kicker. Gillam Drive has shown that it is not all just ’32 rods and HQ Holdens. It has opened its driveways to vehicles of all sorts. It points the way forward for the WA car scene. Automotive shows need not be exclusive, and would be far better for not being so. I admit that an entire all-encompassing  car show would probably not be possible…there are too many devices on wheels out there to get them all into one venue at one time. ( Unless it is Leach Highway at 2:00 on a hot Wednesday and then every car in the state is lined up along the stretch in front of Bull Creek Drive. I know. I try to get onto Leach Highway at Bull Creek Drive. Join me some Wednesday and I will teach you new words…).

Let’s mix and match, guys and gals. Lets have an eclectic car show with old, new, hot, cold, sport, staid, and everything in between. Let’s have a show where the rice rocket can sit side by side with the steamer – the rod with the rootmobile. If we get in the food trucks and the mobile cocktail bar it will all work out well.


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