My interest in Australia began before I knew what foreign countries were. Because I was named after my paternal grandfather Robert Sidney Boyd, Sydney, Australia, was the one place outside of the U.S. that I wanted to learn more about during grade-school Geography. Sure, I'd like to visit this city that's named after me, I thought. Years later (at the tender age of 11), the youth organization I was a member of scheduled a trip to Sydney. Unfortunately (after I had obtained my passport and shots) I didn't get to go (for reasons that were never fully explained). And that's what started my lifelong desire to go to Australia.
In the late-'80s, while I was Associate Editor at Street Rodder magazine, several Australian street rod magazine editors stopped by the McMullen offices to get directions to shops and local events where they could soak up the West Coast vintage-car culture. Of course we all traded magazines, and I learned about Holden and Ford Utes that were never produced in the U.S. It was obvious, our '30s, '40s, and '50s cars shared a good deal of sheetmetal tooling-and we shared a great deal of enthusiasm for our vintage- vehicle hobby as well.
The 17th Annual Australian Street Rod Nationals is very much like our regional NSRA and Goodguys events. The rods, customs, and trucks all have a registration sticker in the front windshield that allows them to drive into the showgrounds where they line up to park. Approximately 2,000 vehicles were driven to the Gold Coast Parklands Fairgrounds in Queensland, about an hour south of Brisbane.