The stunning interior trim work on a immaculate street machine has proven an irresistible combination for the judges at the Summernats car show.
A 12-month labour of love by Orange Street Trim owner Wayne Birkin, who created a cream and black leather interior for a client’s Datsun, has won the trophy for the Top Custom Interior.
Leather imported from Europe was used to give car owner Todd Bulkeley from Lithgow the winning edge with his 1969 Datsun 1600.
Mr Birkin said he used Lotus front seats and Ferrari-saddle cream and black leather to create the showstopping interior.
“This particular car was done over 12 months because I had to wait for the panel shop to get to the next stage. Normally speaking it would be a two to three month job.”
Mr Birkin said Mr Bulkeley had imported the car from Japan and has been a long-term job, arriving at his Orange business without any rear seats or indeed any interior trim.
He said it was his biggest trophy win since claiming the top interior trophy for his work on a HQ Holden at the Brisbane Hot Rod Show 18 years ago.
That was before he moved to Orange from Brisbane about nine years ago.
“I’ve gotten plenty of prizes in the smaller shows. I’ve done cars for people in Sydney, Shepparton and from all over Australia,” Mr Birkin said.
“It’s more low-key in Orange, these cars don’t come along as often as they used to.”
The car was transported to Summernats by Ben Zelukovic from John Zelukovic Smash Repairs in Orange who would also be taking the car to other shows for Mr Bulkeley.
Mr Bulkeley told The Canberra Times newspaper at Summernats the win and being placed in the Top 20 cars of the entire Summernats show was “unbelievable.”
He said it was his first visit to Summernats since becoming a paraplegic after a road accident nearly 20 years ago.
“My first thought was ‘my life is stuffed’, he said. “Then I got to the wards and quickly saw there were a lot of people much worse off than me.
“I realised life goes on and you the best with what you’ve got.”
That attitude has led to the creation of a prize-winning car.
The Datsun is fitted with hand controls and Mr Bulkeley is planning to take it drag racing.