Noodling away in garages, fixing old things, finding parts can take years. The custom and classic car and motorcycle scene typifies a long-form dedication that makes little economic or pleasure sense until all is revealed. We have plenty of buddies that spend more time in their garages and sheds than they do anywhere else. Surfers patiently wait for hours for their stoke but it takes a special level of commitment and forbearance to rebuild an antique machine.
Yet when these machines are unmasked… what a show.
The Illawarra has a great community of drivers and riders, annual shows and weekend ride out routes but one of the best we have seen so far is the MSCE Street Tough crew and their ‘Wheels of Steel’ meet-up. We came across them by pure accident coming back from Port Kembla beach on a late summer evening surf day and all we could hear was the distinctive sound of something awesome happening over the other side of Hill 60.
And we have been hooked every since. Shooting videos and laying over Illawarra hip hop artist tracks to share the counterculture scene of the region on cruise control....check out some of those mixtapes here.
We wanted to get to know the people behind this event before they kicked off a new season of meets. The hidden hero of this project is local car fanatic, Vasko Talevski. He has been running car meets for a whole but he is the first to acknowledge that Street Touch has got so big that he has had to draft in his nephew Dave to make this a family affair. Family is where this love affair started in the very real sense. The heart of the event is along with shore line of MM Beach, where Vasko and his wife drove their unique Australian orange VH 1972 Valiant Charger in the 90s. This two-kilometre-long strip behind the old industrial hangers of MM is deserted at the weekend, which makes it a perfect backdrop for slow moto cruising at sundown overlooking the northern Illawarra without disturbing the suburbs of Port Kembla. Only the surfers and paragliders come to this hidden place and now its secrets have been discovered by petrol heads descending from across the region.
The romance of the cars, the scenery, the history has all colluded to make one hell of a good-natured meet-up. Attracting first time car restorers and seasoned pros who have well-known garages, the vibe is inclusive yet spectacular. Whatever your stoke, there are folk here who have something to generously share. Whether that is stories, local history, where to get parts or who is the best engineer in the state to help you with the era of car you may have fallen for. The informal nature of the event is what attracts so many and Vasko and his family make sure there is no hooning, just grooving.
The event has been christened ‘Wheels of Steel by the Sea’ in honour of the post-industrial history and place. Local companies have anointed the event with sponsorship of the trophies and there are many. So many the team have had to erect control and presentation tents to champion the commitment of all the attending drivers. Hot rods, custom cars, classics, rarities, armadas of restored last century imports, high spec performance cars and an emerging peloton of café racers and amped bobbers are now attending.
This wild car spectacular cannot run without the Talevski family, the support of the local police, the sponsors and the noble nature of the attendees. To register attendance, go to the MSCE Facebook page and check out the first event of this summer on Saturday 14th October. Kick-off is now getting earlier to secure a great parking spot with the main action commencing at 4pm until sundown at 7pm.
The Grand Pacific crew hole up at our local stockist Black Metal Motor Co courtyard on Wentworth Street, Port Kembla from midday on Saturday. Black Metal are a motorcycle sales, garage and moto apparel store that host events and burger mischief maestros Dog Town Buns on a weekend in the yard, such as their Black Friday yard party this Friday. Hang with Black Metal guru Chris with a coffee from Barberista Espresso Bar, or grab a great shawarma from our friends at Port Beirut teamed with a Heaps Normal beer from Yakka, surrounding the moto courtyard of this mini-Marrickville scene.
Check out the store and lounge - come - mechanics workshop and pick up some of the Grand Pacific moto collection and exclusive Port Kembla address tee.
And when it is all over the night crawls in, we all head over to The Servo to shoot some open-air pool and listen to some of the best underground bands in the state. This is a great hood to hang and one of the best pit stops in gasoline culture along the Grand Pacific route. Too easy.