Hot rods and street machines on show in Summernats City Cruise

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There’s nothing quite like the look of cheeky delight on the faces of Summernats hot-rodders revving, revving, revving enthusiastically down Canberra‘s Northbourne Avenue when they are waved through by the police officers controlling regular city traffic. Sometimes, if it’s a car-load of revheads savouring their right of way as part of the Summernats City Cruise, they will even give a copper a rowdy cheer. Equally, there’s nothing quite like the look on the face of the Uber driver in a Prius who takes a wrong turn to find themselves joining the hoon squad roaring at maximum volume but low speed down Canberra‘s main civic thoroughfare. Welcome to the Summernats City Cruise, the annual parade of gleam machines and mean-sounding motors signalling loudly and proudly that Australia‘s most famous gathering of hot rod devotees has taken over the national capital. The Summernats 33 car festival is being held from Thursday to Sunday at Canberra‘s Exhibition Park. Shannon Noll – who else? – will rock the main stage on Saturday night. The Army has a new secret weapon in its drive for recruits, a machine called “Matilda”, that will be unveiled to the Australian public for the first time on Friday night. There will be body art and mullet competitions, something called “celebrity modified lawn mower racing”, drifting exhibitions and, of course, burn-out competitions. But opening day of Summernats saw the opening of Canberra‘s main drag to a rolling show-and-shine showcase, as festival participants growled along ever-so-civilly in their souped-up, decked-out, high-rolling, low-riding, totally pimped-out vehicles. Thousands lined Northbourne Avenue for the lunchtime spectacle. Roads were closed and traffic arrangements altered for the cruise, with dozens of vehicles crawling at maximum volume past families, some in their own deck chairs, and the red carriages of ACT’s new light rail. A vintage police vehicle, and one current model, led the parade under lights and sirens. Some spectators came prepared for the smell of exhaust fumes mixed with the smoke still hanging heavy in the Canberra air from the bushfires on the South Coast.

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