There is one thing Australia does in spades and that is surprises.

The Australian Motorlife Museum in Kembla Grange near Dapto, Illawarra hosts 4000 sq. m of display area and is the second-largest museum and motoring reference library in Australia. Seconded only by the National Motor Museum, Birdwood near Adelaide and sharing our heart with the staggering 800 bikes we found at The National Motorcycle Museum in Nabiac NSW, All three museums are breathtaking and require a whole day to absorb and photograph.

The Motorlife Museum is Grand Pacific Customs ideas archive, from which we pull graphic and design references that feed into our collections. What is most unique about the Dapto museum is that it hosts many Australian built and adapted vehicles and moto insignia, rather than imported antique brands, and this is why it is such a deep well of inspiration to us. It has yielded moto tee stamp designs from the 1930s to skater tee fonts from the 1970s. Everything Grand Pacific creates is refound in the Illawarra and then customised to place on the street wear.


We have even used photographs of some old radio fascias on our SOUNDS monthly mixtapes.

Australian Motorlife Museum, Kembla Grange, Illawarra, antique radion fascia


At the Dapto museum we discovered stories of heroism from those who tried to tame the Illawarra and make it their home. Tales of outlandish and outlaw activities risking life and limb for that need for speed, or just Frankenstein vehicles crafted in a make-do and mend scenario of home blacksmithing and visionary engineering determination. It is a crazy scene of pioneering spirit and the desire to break new ground.

This spirit typifies the character of the Illawarra local.  This cavalier attitude to self preservation can be paired with accounts of Lawrence Hargreave, throwing himself off Bald Hill in Stanwell Park on the regular, to pioneer the first man-made flying machines. The museum’s hero motorcycle exhibit is one of only two surviving Spencers of only ten ever produced. It’s a credit to this man’s self-sufficient engineering expertise that any of them survived, given that there would have been no spare parts for these machines.

Taking risks is in the marrow of the bones along the Grand Pacific and we salute that stoke. Go check the museum out as it needs your patronage to keep it going and to keep the oral and written living history of the Illawarra alive. Also check our their regular magazine online for rare vehicle sales, spare part events and adventure rallies along the coast to join in on.