Eat my dust

Written by Kerrie Alexander

JENNY Gurney is proof that car club’s aren’t just for men.

With International Women’s Day just around the corner, it was fitting that I had the pleasure of chatting with the lady car enthusiast who absolutely loves her hot rods and the fun of getting behind
the wheel of a car with a powerhouse V8 engine.

I reckon she could give the blokes a run for their money when it comes to the question “so what are you running”?.

The Kilkivan resident is a member of Conrodders Hot Rod & Customs Hervey Bay Club and often travels over 120km in her Canary Yellow 1939 Chevrolet Australian Sloper to attend events on the Fraser Coast.

“I know what I’m talking about with my cars so the men don’t just push you aside,” Jenny said.

“Because I have an interest and I’ve owned cars myself I can talk about what’s under the hood, and it’s great.

“We are all like one big family, especially the Conrodders and we all help each other out when we can.”

The Chevy is by no means a show car, in fact Jenny calls it a bit of a bitzer with Ford Falcon limited slip diff with disc brakes, a HR Holden front suspension with HQ disc brakes and Ford Fairmont electric seats.

But that’s okay, because it’s perfect for racing in grass kahna’s – a passion of Jenny’s for the past 16 years.

“It’s not a show car, it’s a driveable car and we enter grass khana’s and things like that.

“It’s a street rod, it looks good from 20 feet away, the paint job’s not 100% but I love my car.”

The fun first started at a Millmerran Easter Campout run by Rods Inc. in Jenny’s 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible with a 454 Big Block under the bonnet, which she towed a caravan with even though it was left hand drive.

Now all dirt flying fun is had in the ’39 Chevy which runs a Ford Cleveland engine with an FMX transmission.

In a grass khana, witches’ cones are set up and organisers have a starting point and time clock.

The cars start, go around the dusty grass (or sometimes muddy) track, reverse into a pretend garage, then go around the track the other way doing a figure of eight or similar, get back to the finish line and the quickest time wins.

Unfortunately grass khana’s are not run very often these days due to insurance and regulation complications.

“It’s all about owning something like this so you can do something like that,” Jenny said.

“If you owned a $100,000 car you wouldn’t get it dirty, and this isn’t so we have a lot of fun.

“The Chevy goes quite well but your always eating a lot of dust, which doesn’t go well with the white interior,” she said with a laugh.

Originally the chevy was retrieved from a farm paddock west of Brisbane and rebuilt from scratch as a street rod about 20 years ago by a Hot Rodder that lived near Ipswich.

“It had no running gear, just a damaged body and the chassis apparently,” Jenny said.

It has been her pride and joy for about 14 years now.

When this model of car was originally built, the mechanical components and the front body arts were imported from Canada and fitted with the Australian built All-enclosed coupe body.

In 1939, there was only 734 of the allenclosed coupes built.

The low number built and the fact that nobody wanted them after they were worn out means they are a very rare car today.

When new, they were extremely popular with travelling salesmen working in Outback Australia.

The sloping back and fold down seats allowed them to and have a kip in between customer appointments.

Sadly, production of Chev All-enclosed Coupes ceased in 1940 because of the war.

The Conrodders meet next to the All-Abilities Park on Seafront Oval at 10am for a coffee and cruise on the last Saturday of every month.

The public is welcome to go along and check out all the awesome cars and chat with members. To find out more and to follow events, find them on Facebook.