Old School Rules On The</br> Streets Of Sydney
We Run These Streets

A couple of weeks back, Mike Garrett took us inside what he deemed to be the greatest car meet ever, as organised by Speedhunters and held in Yokohama. But as I’m about to show you, I think it’s fair to say that Australia can give Japan a run for its money when it comes to street meets.

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9441

There’s something special about a nighttime meet – the way the artificial light plays off fresh paintwork and hot exhausts puff misty clouds into the cold air has a certain romance to it. It’s been a while for me though, as the monthly JDM meets I attended in my teenage years have long since been shut down or moved on due to poor organisation and unhappy parking lot owners.

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9332

So I made it my mission to brave the encroaching winter chill and journey to Liverpool – a suburban hub about an hour South-West from Sydney City – on Saturday night the weekend before last. A Speedhunters reader had tipped me off about this monthly gathering, but apart from a time and location I really didn’t know what to expect. Unlike a lot of events that seem to take place more on Facebook than they do in the real world, it seemed that this night was going to be relatively unplugged.

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I guess what I was really looking forward to was an opportunity to be a fly on the wall at a good ol’ fashioned street meet where ‘breaking the internet’ isn’t even in the vocabulary. I’m a sucker for ’50s culture and although it seems silly to admit the combination of the ’50s icons – malls, fast food and hot rodding had my imagination running wild… Impromptu drag races? Waitresses on roller skates? Everything in black and white for some reason?

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As I rolled into the car park reality (and colour vision) returned to me, but it was pretty clear I was in for a treat. I arrived before the quoted start time but plenty of owners had already staked out prime position for their pride and joy. So camera at the ready, I waded into the sea of metal. Join me for a stroll through the Harry’s Cafe Liverpool meet.

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9367

The namesake of the meet – Harry’s Cafe de Wheels – is a small kiosk plonked in the middle of a large suburban shopping complex in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. ‘Harry’s’ is a bit of a Sydney institution, having grown from a small trailer parked outside Sydney’s naval dockyards in the ’30s to a chain with several locations dotted around the city. Their specialty is a beef meat pie topped with peas, mashed potato and gravy – the perfect feed for a winter’s night or a post-pub crawl snack. Do try it if you’re in town…

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9416

We do like to complain about unfair targeting from the media and Police in Australia, but the fact that regular meets like this are permitted to go ahead in public spaces is a solid counterpoint. Somewhat hilariously, there was the odd unsuspecting late-night shopper who was swallowed up into the modified madness, usually with a bewildered and persecuted look across their face.

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The NSW Police had a low-key presence at the meet but thankfully left their fine books back at the station. This kind of positive interaction with the car community goes a long way towards reducing friction between car enthusiasts and the force. Big thumbs up!

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9417

Apart from the obvious drawcard of tasty baked goods, the surrounding carparks swallowed up a variety of cars that would keep any enthusiast interested for at least a few hours.

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My rockin’ ’50s fantasies were at least partly realised as the hot rod turnout was impressive.

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As I began to filter further through the various parking areas and take a closer look at the attendees, I realised that this was a pretty special kind of meet. I’m guessing that some owners must have even towed their rides to the event – this built-for-burnouts KE20 Corolla wouldn’t last five minutes on a public road – especially with those number plates.

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Hot rods, rat rods, charged street machines – not a bad way to spend a Saturday night!

Hot Wheels
Liverpool Harry's Meet-9438

Vintage Mazdas continue to climb in popularity and value here in Australia and elsewhere around the world, and an original RX-2 like this really tugs at my heart strings. And especially so when such attention to detail has been applied – from the classic racing stripes right down to the period-correct number plate.

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9422

‘Thou shalt fit Simmons wheels to thy Rotary’ is actually the oft forgotten 11th Commandment. It’s hard to believe that the original Australian manufacturer went out of business with such a loyal fanbase.

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Seriously, they are everywhere. That’s not a complaint though – as the 2-piece and 3-piece models are a great example of function-led design.

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Australian metal, like this handsome Holden Kinsgwood, was well represented too. In a nice segue from the rotary content, these luxury sedans were actually exported to Japan in the ’70s and fitted with a 13B to be sold as the Mazda Roadpacer. The engine was a horrible match for the heavy sedan, meaning it was not only slow and horrible on fuel, but extremely overpriced. Honestly, who thought this cultural mash-up was ever going to work?

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Lurking in the shadows across from the Kingswood was a very sinister-looking Torana finished in satin black.

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Things were neat and tidy under the hood – the matte black theme even extending to the vertical intake trumpets feeding the Chevrolet small block V8.

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I’d be interested to hear what some of our non-Australian readers think of these old Holdens… Let me know in the comments section below.

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The rivalry between GM Holden and Ford is very real, and a few readers even accused me of bias in the comments on my Powercruise coverage. It does seem like the animosity is mainly contained to the internet these days though, as a solid turnout from both camps managed to coexist during the meet.

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It just doesn’t get any more Australian than a V8 ute, and this XY Falcon visually transformed into an imagined GT-spec version was flying the flag high.

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A few examples of classic Americana were on display as well, such as this timeless Camaro.

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I quickly got the feeling that nobody felt unwelcome here, as I’m sure you’ve already gathered from the breadth of cars present.

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It was surprising how many families came out to enjoy the sights too. I’d previously considered these nighttime meet-ups to be the domain of young guys looking to race for pink slips and terrorize the local community. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too much Fast And Furious.

The New School
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As the darkness of night thickened the early arrivals began to filter out, though their spots were instantly filled. It seemed that the older hot rods and street machines were starting to be replaced by younger imports with a more contemporary approach to personalisation.

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As far as aesthetic modifications are concerned, I think as a whole the community has come a long way in the last 10 or so years. Having said that, it was a real flashback seeing a Corolla modified like this. The combination of a candy paint, huge chrome wheels and a weapons-grade sound system characterised the ‘Sex Spec’ movement that seemingly dominated Australian import culture in the early 2000s.

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Slightly less retina-burning was this subdued ‘Swagon’ based on a previous-gen Commodore Sportwagon. Personally I’m really fond of the design, and the fact that these can be specced with a 6.2-litre LS3 and manual transmission is pretty damn cool. Alas, the Commodore will soon be regulated to the history books with the closure of local manufacturing.

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This Volvo stood out simply because it was a Volvo (not a Ford or GM product!) and looked to have been treated to some TLC, which is rare for a Volvo of this vintage in Australia.

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9488

But sitting pretty in the shaved engine bay was a 5.0-litre GM Holden V8! Moving right along then…

Liverpool Harry's Meet-9385

Thanks to Australia’s love of speed and the Australian Touring Car Championship there are plenty of interesting homologation specials in our motorsport history. These two brotherly examples are based on the VL Commodore SS Group A SV, more commonly known as the ‘Walky’ after Holden’s skunkworks boss Tom Walkinshaw. The aerodynamic bodywork also earned these the slightly less flattering nickname the ‘Plastic Pig’ but paid dividends on the racetrack, where drag was reduced by 25 per cent with no weight penalty.

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The VL was available with either a Nissan-supplied turbocharged six or a carbureted V8 and has endured to become a bona fide icon of Australian car culture. I think every Australian car enthusiast must have a story about a VL.

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The VL even got a starring role in the NSW government’s anti-hooning ads a few years back. I can only imagine the casting call requirements… ‘It needs to rip a fat skid with room for the boys in the back’.

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We can’t blame the rear-seat passengers for the tuck on this Honda Accord Euro though. I can’t be certain, but I think air suspension was involved. Whatever the mechanism, the combination of OE Mazda wheels and stock Accord body does coordinate nicely.

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On the other end of the ride height spectrum we have this lifted Hilux featuring enough LED lighting to brighten up Sepp Blatter’s week.

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It’s great to witness so many different facets of car culture come together for no real reason other than the share the joy of the automobile. I’m a sucker for high-end, high-performance machinery, but on nights like these it’s the cars built with real personality that stand out the most.

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Even as it was getting late and my mind turned to the warmth of bed there seemed to be no slowing of the flow of ridiculously cool cars into the meet. Although the waitresses on roller skates never materialized it was a night well spent amongst some friendly, care-free car people. Just what a nighttime meet should be.

Blake Jones
Instagram: blaketjones

More stories from Australia on Speedhunters

Cutting Room Floor
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Liverpool Harry's Meet-9345
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Liverpool Harry's Meet-9353
Liverpool Harry's Meet-9594
Liverpool Harry's Meet-9532


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Awesome article, the atmosphere on the night must of been immense.

Guransh Singh

Awesome, should never have moved from Australia


It really doesn't matter where you are from or what your car style / taste is! In general terms, a good project or the dedication applied into it can be appreciated and enjoyed! :) Nice looking cars!


I've always thought that Australian muscle cars have awkward aesthetic elements compared to the American muscle cars of the day, but that could just be because I'm American. I would imagine its the opposite for Aussies. Loving the rotary content, too.


Australia used to have a pretty wild cars scene way back when you could actually drive the cars during any of the meets on any given weekends. Now the cars mostly just get parked at meets because of overly stricted laws. Oh I miss the late 90s to early 2000s.


tunerguy21 As an Aussie I can safely say I don't feel that way about American muscle at all! Don't agree about ours though, in my (obviously biased) opinion I reckon the early gen Monaro's and Torana's are up there with the best of yours, albeit in a smaller package.


I went to a Harry's meet a few years back. It was good, but sort of lacked something for me. 
Whereas now I've found my home at Cavallino's cars and coffee. Mate I hope you were there on Sunday, Jesus it was a big show.


tunerguy21 I think it's because American muscle cars are generally more valued in 2-door versions, whereas the Aussies like to rock the 4-door style. So when I see a 4-door built up all fancy it just seems strange, because in the US a 4-door car -- say, a Chevelle sedan -- would most likely be left to rust, used as target practice, or sacrificed to Bigfoot (the monster truck, not the furry mythical beast).


A Story of warning! 
VB and brotherly Rivalry, a bad mix.
My uncles are all ford fanatics. 
My dad is Holden through and through (with an odd penchant for Alfas, not sure where that came from). 
  My eldest uncle sold my fathers 68 GTS while my dad was over the otherside of the world waiting for me to be born.
Thus, almost forty years of silence and long distance digging at each other was caused by the ford vs holden rivalry flaring up under one little roof in Mornington and one of them taking it way too far while drunk, my dad left Australia a week after getting back, with myself and my mother and didn't return for almost 30 years.

Last visit to the peninsula my dad stuck a "FORDS WRECK FAMILIES" sticker on my uncles windshield...

Families eh? 
Gotta love em'.... that is, until they sell your pride and joy from under you. :) 
Personally, I rather like JDM marques.... (nothing like staying the hell out of it to save ones sanity)


So was harry an ex con from here in the uk???
Looks like a great meeet and a great mix of cars and pople just chillin and having a great time.
Holdens look great although i am an uk ford man but that doesn"t stop me liking oathers too...


See, I was waiting for all of the comments about that one car that many seem to specify as "rice." Seeing as that hasn't happened yet, Im happy. Lets please not get into that.


Not even one Mad Max styled Ford Falcon? :(


i was expecting at least one interceptor too lol


RX-2072 is not a 'period correct' number plate. RX-207 might be, but even then, that would be an after issue. The true period plate would not start with an R, nor have four digits.

Curiously, the only car with an original plate appears to be Mr. Plod...

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Hope you had fun Blake, told you that you would be impressed.
Finally Harrys has had the exposure it deserves.


ClevelandN tunerguy21 But mostly target practice


Nowhere near Japan, sorry. I love my country and wish I could agree, but Japan is on another level entirely, it does every single type of scene 10 fold better than here. The Aussie muscle cars aren't really appreciated anywhere but here, so the rest of the world doesn't really "get it" apart from them looking nice in these photo's. Cool coverage though, good to see it getting some international exposure.


@Kuroneko And those aren't racing stripes....they were a dealer option....plus an LHD car is worth about 1/3 of an Aus delivered coupe. Nice car though.


SonnyNguyen Amen. Bring back the street scene of 10-15+ years ago.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Ha ha non-aussies are you guys? Sadly Mad Max replicas don't actually grow on trees around here, really there's only maybe 10 good ones in the country and usually only come out at big events. Heres one to keep you happy!


If you guys could do a feature on a tastefully-done Torana A9X it would be really cool.


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Thanks Chris - once again, I appreciate the encouragement to get out there!


econti I was! Did you check out our coverage from the month prior?

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

No worries mate, so do I encourage you to come out to the JDMST end of month meet? :-)


Awesome coverage! I'd love to see more of the Holden's. I never knew they made the commodore wagon. What an awesome platform. I wish that would have come over to the States, even though I might the only one who would want it. :)


Blake Jones I did. But the one just gone was another level of awesome.
Seeing as you're Sydney based, there is a decent little meet that goes on Wednesday night at St Ives. It's just a nighttime local thing, but if you're interested it's in a small carpark opposite max brenner on the main road. Kicks off around 9pm


That "Americana" you posted was a 69 Camaro Yenko Supercar clone. You should Google the values of an original YSC. Big money...
I always find it fascinating to see car shows in other countries. Nice work, "mate".

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

I'll give you one!
(A picture only) :-)


That car is badass. There's something awesome about high powered wagons. Thanks for the photo!


Loving the coverage! This would have been an awesome meet to attend! I must confess I was one of those people who commented on the lack of Australian Ford's in the SummerNats post. Mostly because I thought that they are a very big part of Aussie car culture, I didn't intend to cause offence. With all this Aussie coverage now the variety has been well justified! 
Great photos! Keep it up!


Blake Jones Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Rotary Nationals next month out at Wakefield Park, Goulburn. Sunday July 12


Simmons went out of business because he was a stubborn dick. The amount of good wheel centres he cut up and threw out at the end filled skip bins. Tempe have kept producing them thankfully


haha, the nsw police not with their fine books at this meet eh? Go to a all japanese / import "all stars" / zen garage or jdmst meet and you will see them being stupidly mean as ever with their fines.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

You will now loose your shit.
HSV Clubsport wagon.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Maybe at the shows where dickheads so loud can be heard from 3kms away hang out. Mate the shows that happen regularly in Sydney have the blessings from NSW Police, if you're not being a tool, they let you go, defects and all.
I for one applaud the Police for being at these meets, they keep it under control so everyone can enjoy it. We just need the idiots to stop trying to show off and leave these meets to proper enthusiasts who don't have a inferiority complex in their brain.
As for the Japanese/Import/Zen garage or JDMST meets being targeted, stop being wankers and don't give the police a reason to be there. Simple as that.


All credit to you Blake Jones that is an awesome story and great pictures. The Harry's End of Month Meet is a regular outing for my husband and myself we like to both take our Torana's and meet up with friends for a good chat and to look at some nice cars.
This story will show people that not all car people are hoons we are what is known as car enthusiasts. Well done for a great story.


KathleenWhittaker Thanks for the kind words Kathleen!


Blake, you might want to check out this Sat Night at the monthly meet at the EURO CAFE in Smeaton Grange ( near Narellan NSW).
It's big and lots of fun.
Also, Cars & Doughnuts at Krispy Kreme Panthers this Sunday morning. 100's of cars


A mate and I have been going to the Harry's meet since the start, it's been great watching it get bigger and bigger on a monthly basis. It's also great seeing all sorts of cars come together. I love all styles American muscle, Hot Rods, Rat Rods, Aussie V8's and 6's, Jap 4's and Rotors, JDM Classic and modern andEuro Classic, in fact, if I could afford to have 1 of each I would.
Blake, great article, it's because of support like this that the Australian car scene we love will continue to grow.
PS: the silver 74 TA22 GT Toyota Celica (half way down and the last pic in this article) is mine. I've also got a 64 VW Beetle, a track Datto and a Yamaha Bobber. It's great seeing everyone's different tastes.


Would not mind know what days this euro cafe meet is and what time Sunday for Penrith and is it all types of vehicles?


BrendanLindsay Euro Cafe at Smeaton Grange is second saturday night of the month


Euro Cafe kicks of sunset through to 10 or 11pm this Sat Night at Smeaton Grange.
Krispy Kreme Panthers kicks off from 7am on Sunday ( 2nd Sun of each month)
On Facebook feel free to add friend on Facebook. Darren John Turner
Blue Mountains Muscle Car Club


Sorry and Yes all types of vehicles for KK Cars & Doughnuts. Could be 100 or 300 cars of all types. This Sunday is expected to be a good turnout.
Euro cafe is Rods, Cool Cruisers, Muscle and the odd exotic. A great night out.


Hey man cool name (my mum's surname is Jones). I wanted to share some images of Australian iron from a gold coast event last weekend called "cooly rocks on". I'm more a 80~90's JDM guy, as I currently live in Taiwan and have previously lived in Japan the idea of driving a classic Aussie car overseas seems so cool.


Image 1&2 holden wagon,image 3&4 ford falcon ute, image 5 Australian delivered ford truck


Great article that shoes a good mixture of all types of cars and people that are involved. The only thing that saddens me a lot is seeing such amazing cars with quite large amounts of money spent but their paint are covered in swirls and scratches!
 These guys really need to see the likes of the boys at Car Care Products to get their shit sorted, depressing seeing so many awesome cars with such bad paintwork :(
I think having Police at all car events are a must, as regrettably there are so many idiots who tend to ruin it for the true enthusiasts. We all like to have fun no doubt, spirited driving, burnouts etc.. but not necessary in main areas or public roads.


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