In his early twenties, Grant Zippel spent most of his time dreaming of hotrods, enjoyed working on cars and crusing with his mates. Driving around aimlessly with no real goal or destination in mind, but just being able to hang out with you mates and be in cars was the dream for most of us.
Constantly seeing a few cool cars around the city of Adelaide at local shows, Grant felt there had to be more out there that the local community were keeping in sheds for special occasions. Obviously that had to change. Flying half way across the world to the USA back in 1988 to check out the hotrod scene there, Grant went to numerous car shows and cruises across the country including some well known events like Street Rod Nats and Super Chevy Sunday. Once exposed to the car culture America had to offer, Grant was hooked. It was upon returning home to Adelaide that he decided to organise regular cruise nights for his friends and thus the birth of the Zippel Cruise.
This was my first hotrod and custom cruise I had ever attended and I must say I was very impressed with the quality of cars that were there. Expecting a small group of enthusiasts when I showed up, I was surprised to find closer to 100+ cars crammed together at the local shopping mall car park. Talking with Grant he told me that his first cruises would gather 25 cars most nights. With over 230 cruises under his belt now organised, he has had up to 300-400 cars attend!
The original philosophy for the Zippel cruise was to meet up with car friends and other like minded enthusiasts to chat all thing cars and go crusie together. 27 years later and and the only thing that has changed is the number of friends that rock up. Anyone with an American made car is welcome to join in.
After spending an hour at the meet up point looking at all the beautiful vehicles on display, Grant honks a car horn to signal that it was to time to head to the first destination. Being very family orientated these days, each stop is chosen with a McDonalds in the same location so kids can keep entertained. I found out that every driver was on a mailing list where they are emailed a cruise map. A small fee is charged to cover the time and costs to organise the map and is only sent to those on that list. This keeps troublemakers away that may be looking to show off in front of a crowd. Unlike other countries, Australia is very tough on modified vehicles but events like this where organisers work with the police tend to be left alone for the night.
I must say, not knowing much about American muscle and Hot Rods, I think I have grown a bit more of an appreciation for them. Some of the cars that caught my attention was this 1941 Chev Pickup hand built by the owner with pretty much everything being custom made and put together himself.
Another was this immaculate 48 chevy truck with an absolutely beautiful paintjob done on it that just made it stand out from the rest.
Some of the other cars were made to look like old drag cars or gassers as there also known. Custom pinstriping and paint jobs were done on these making them look like they had been sponsored by old tuning shops from the same era as the cars. A cool touch if you ask me.
The same honking was signaled to everyone that it was time to continue on but unfortunatly due to the time and having a very early start the next day I didn’t continue on the cruise to the final stop. But from my short experience I have to recommend attending the next Zippel cruise that Grant organises as it was alot of fun and some extremely beautiful cars on show. I know I will be back as soon as I can for the next one. Maybe in a car of my own. There’s a bit of space in the shed so you never know.
Check out www.zipsautogallery.net to check out past photos of the cruise.