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02 i 2009

The chicke


n coup

Been wondering where the good times have gone? Ben Dillon found them locked out in the chook shed gathering dust and man-tears.

hats that piece of shit doing here? is probably not the first thing you expect someone to say when entering a shed stocked full with the greatest aussie muscle cars ever, but its one that Jeff Bloom has grown used to hearing. the thick-skinned Bloom owns the more than 100 cars that make up his aussie Muscle car Museum, located north of Brisbane, and among his Gt falcons, Gts Monaros, chargers and pacers is the catalyst that causes many cultured rev-heads to forget their manners entirely. it is a much-maligned Brock Lada samara that skulks among the other oddballs in Jeffs collection, and it regularly causes grown men to shed a single tear over what peter perfect would put his name on to pay the bills during the dark days of his tiff with holden. it might be the equivalent of a snotball among pearls, but Bloom loves the Lada for its uniqueness and that's what his collection is all about. the muscle museum is not your typical sterile, soulless, Do Not touch experience. the cars are housed in an old chicken shed with fords down one side, holdens and Valiants/chryslers up the other, and some interesting pieces down the middle. Whatever you consider to be the greatest in aussie muscle, Bloom has it, and while he admits to blue oval-leanings and a penchant for V8s, the Photography Russell Shakespeare
The man below is about to lose control. In a good way
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02 i 2009

.This is a place for enthusiasts. Y can lose hours. ou .staring at cars you ached for in your youth... Bloom . .brings me a box of tissues he keeps for visitors.

Er, what was I going to do today? Oh yes, buy a car

theme is anything tough (and one Lada). Walking into the chook shed chock-full of the most iconic shapes of australian car history, its tempting to imagine the cacophonic symphony of all these cars idling together imagine 20 ac/Dc cover bands playing at once. Dust coats many of the cars, but this patina of age lends a more genuine atmosphere than rows of polished metal ever could. this, truly, is a place for enthusiasts. a place you can lose hours, just staring at the cars your heart ached for during adolescence. i do just that in front of a row of hardtop falcons, and become misty-eyed at the sight of a silver e38 charger, replete with triple carbs. ohh, the noise, and double-ohh the fuel bill. Bloom brings me a box of tissues he keeps handy for visitors and explains the origins of his obsession. Growing up in an era when the cars flogging around Bathurst on that sunday could

also be driven down his street, young Bloom felt an understandable affinity for local V8s. the hippie colours, the stripes and the sound of the exhaust are all elements that still strike a primal urge within Bloom. the fact that the V8 gene is locked in his familys DNa also played a key role and he names his older brother as the inspiration behind his collection. While most older brothers were forcing their younger siblings to lick their shoes, Blooms older brother, Greg, was busy at a garage he owned in the Brisbane suburb of New farm, making muscle cars of the era go even faster. as a youngster, Bloom helped out at the garage and was often ushered into the passenger seat for test drives after the work was done. these stomach-in-throat experiences were seminal in igniting his desire to surround himself with big, boofy engines of all kinds.

and around the same time, he saw an article in Street Machine magazine about a guy in the Us and his collection of Yank muscle cars. his immediate reaction? Why not a collection of aussie muscle? Well, yeah. of course. Just one problem: he was a pimply-faced teen at the time, so he wasnt exactly in a position to do anything but dream. come 1996 and the seed of thought sown years before started to sprout after his career as a business coach took off. his collection started with a replica V8 perana ford capri Gt, which was quickly followed by a few replica Gt falcons. as his business grew, Bloom got into real Gts, before they started to become worth more than their weight in diamonds. his nascent idea of i gotta get my hands on a few of these things started to spin a touch crazy as he sought to fill the gaps of the models he

Its a very rare V8 pool table, actually

As new, never driven on the road

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02 i 2009
didnt have (one side of the museum now boasts every Gt falcon from XR to Ba). after a while, Bloom started to notice cars from holden and chrysler among others that looked like a bit of fun. the local papers and The Trading Post quickly became his daily reads as he scoured the area for more cars. his addiction built to the point where he was buying two to three cars a week. its not the sort of habit you can easily hide, but fortunately he had a chook shed handy. Bloom now owns 102 cars, around 95 of which are in the museum and the others in storage elsewhere in various states of repair. While not actively looking for anything to add to the collection (the shed is at roughly the same capacity as a battery hen facility) he still keeps an eye out, mainly on eBay, and if a Bolwell Nagari were to come up, who knows? Despite having so many cars, the prohibitive cost of registering the entire collection means Bloom only gets to drive a dozen or so of them. Yes, i found it hard to feel sorry for him, too. as we pass by the holden side of the shed, which starts with Gts Monaros (all of them) and goes onto XU-1 and sL/R 5000 toranas, hDts and hsVs, i mention that im a bit of a collector myself. Bloom seems remotely interested as i waffle on about my collection of VfL football cards, circa 1987. Winding up the tour in front of my favourite of the collection, an XB falcon hardtop, i mention that, like his cars, my nearly mint 1987 Warwick capper with the white boots card is pretty valuable. perhaps he would he like to do a trade for the XB? No? Well how about the Lada, then?

.His addiction built to the point where he was buying two or three cars a week; not an easy habit to hide... lucky he had a chook shed handy.


If I sit here quietly, I can believe they didnt phase out leaded petrol

I pity the chook who roosts under this bonnet

Just like you or me. But with rows and rows of hot cars

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