PEOPLE LIKE US

KEVIN HINNEN

STORY BORIS VISKOVIC PHOTOS NATHAN JACOBS

> HUMPTY DOO, NT

KEVIN Hinnenís sinister triple-black í70 Challenger was still on the trailer when we spotted it at Red CentreNATS, and before he even had a chance to get it off, we collared him for a quick chat about his beautiful US muscle car.

It says 440 Six-Pack on the scoop Ė is that whatís in it?

It started out as a 440, but now itís 501 cubes, 602hp and 630ft-lb. She flies!

Have you topped it out on the unrestricted parts of the highway here in the NT?

Because of the 3.57 diff ratio, I can get 130mph out of it maxed out, but it gets there pretty bloody quick. Itís got a Hemi Passion Performance fourspeed gearbox; if it had a Tremec in it Iíd have a better chance. Itís got a Dana 60 diff in it too, so itís all Mopar.

Have you always been a Mopar guy?

Iíve had a few two-door Valiant Pacers and a couple of GT Falcons Ė an XY and an XA. I was too young to get an XY in 1971, but in the late 70s they were a dime a dozen. We used to blast around the bush in them. Theyíve always been a passion of mine, but in the late 90s and 2000s the value started to come up on them and us normal people couldnít afford one. In 2003 they went through the roof and only the millionaires could afford them.

And all of a sudden everybody is an expert judge!

I never had show cars, but they were real GTs.

Because they werenít barn finds that had never been touched, people would pick on the hose that goes to the wiper washer being wrong. Get real. The wrong radiator, the wrong battery, the wrong alternator, wrong this, wrong that. Drove me nuts.

Is that what made you jump to US muscle?

I just got sick of the Aussie cars and fell in love with the Yankee cars and all the choices. It was always going to be a íCuda or a Challenger for me. Our dollar was $1.06 US, and I said to the wifey: ďIf Iím going to get one from the States, nowís the time.Ē

She agreed with me, and bingo! I did it all over the internet. It looked beautiful in the photos Ė as most things do Ė but it was a really good car.

So I guess itís what the Yanks would call a Ďtribute carí?

I didnít want a real one; I didnít want a museum piece. Thatís what the XY ended up being. With this one I can put aftermarket shocks on it, I can put CalTracs on it Ė it doesnít matter.

Did you enjoy Red CentreNATS?

Weíve already booked our accommodation for next year. It was the only Challenger there; thereís a few more in Darwin, but theyíre not on the road.

Do you think the event will put a rocket up some people to finish their cars?

I do, mate. Everyone Iíve talked to, Iíve said theyíre mad if they donít at least go down for a look. s