– Words: Michael Zomaya. Photos: MJ Digital.
A few weeks ago we received an invitation from Top Secret Imports to an event called Men and Machines. For those of you who don’t know what Men and Machines is about, don’t worry, neither did we. A brief explanation of last year’s event by Top Secret Imports quickly had us confirming our attendance; how could you possibly decline an event on a private property that crushes cars with an excavator, has a skid pan with a helipad on the way?
Men and Machines is run annually. It’s an initiative started by men from the local churches. The focus of this year’s event was to raise money for the building of schools in third world countries.
We arrived a little early, but it wasn’t long before the cars started to roll in. This 1930’s Ford utility made sure it was noticed coming up the driveway.
The invitation was also extended to bike owners. We loved seeing this Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica roll-up.
Cars were even getting delivered on tilt trays, something that i’m accustomed to!
Ambassadors CMC, were one of the sponsors of Men and Machines. The noise of fifteen Triumph and Harleys arriving together was intimidating.
Similarly, Top Secret Imports were also a sponsor and brought down some of their exotics to put on display.
The Top Secret Imports line up consisted of two Lamborghini Gallardo’s, ‘RARIII’ the Ferrari 360 and an Aston Martin DB7. Following these cars through back streets and seeing the attention they received driving together was comparable to that of a rockstar, especially when they came on song!
Naturally there was always a crowd surrounding them with Garry and Jack from Top Secret Imports nearby to answer any questions or queries.
I’ve never seen a hovercraft before, but Men and Machines had two on display.
The North Western Metro Highway Patrol showed their support for Men and Machines and brought down a few highway patrol cars.
Although a Christian bikie club, the Ambassadors sure look the part!
Venturing into the shed, we spotted this gorgeous Chevrolet Corvette C1.
Lovingly restored and modified it was looking even better than it did when new.
Modern wheels made way for bigger brakes, hinting at the running gear upgrades underneath.
That’s right, an up-to-date V8 swap with supercharger thrown in for good measure.
On the other side of the shed, we spotted the entire range of Honda CRF dirt bikes lined up beside each other.
There were even bikes on display. The Quintana Roo Illicito (black) along side the Merida carbon framed road bike (red). These bikes weighed under 9kg each!
This very tidy 1M coupe belonged to one of the guests. With a 3.0L twin turbo, the 1M is certainly an understated car. It’s a shame that only 130 of these were able to make our shores.
There were two Ram 1500 Laramie’s on display. The size of these things is ridiculous, they put my VW Amarok to shame!
Hitachi was also another sponsor of Men and Machines and brought down their latest Zaxis-5 ‘mini’ Excavator.
Lexus of Chatswood was in attendance with their CT 200h that was used in the Lexus Celebrity Challenge at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix. To our surprise, they actually still track this car! We would love to see a CT ‘F’ variant of this hatch.
All guests were required to park their cars outside the property with transport to the event covered by this 6-seater Polaris Ranger!
With 760cc and 40hp, the AWD Polaris has a towing capacity of 1 tonne. It was making continuous trips back and forth all night.
Men and Machines was not short on variety. This speed boat had something special upon close inspection.
Yes, that’s right – A twin-turbo V8! Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to hear this beauty start up.
Harbourside LAC also received an invitation and brought down something special, their latest promotional vehicle, a 2014 Porsche Panamera 4s.
The car was donated by Porsche Centre Willoughby to support the Police with increasing community engagement.
The Panamera sure ticked that box at Men and Machines. We couldn’t get a single photo without a crowd around it!
Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 pulling 309kw with 520NM of torque. Good enough for 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds.
Although it boasts a top speed of 286km/h, the Panamera 4S won’t be used in high-speed chases and is purely utilised for promotion.
Something about the standard highway patrol car just doesn’t look right once you’ve seen the Panamera.
MV Agusta is a lesser-known Italian bike manufacturer compared to Ducati, but those who do know love these race-bred machines.
Based on the legendary Ducati 900SS, the Mike Hailwood Replica was offered by Ducati after Hailwood won the 1978 Isle of Man Formula One motorcycle race.
Mike Hailwood was one of the most successful riders of his time, retiring with 9 world championships under his belt. Ducati built around 7,000 of these bikes and they can still sell for top dollar in good condition.
This Harley was flawlessly presented, a true credit to the owner. Nothing had been overlooked or left untouched.
Perfect leather work for the seat and panniers complemented the rest of the bike.
Kit cars based on the classic Lotus 7 are perfect for track days; super lightweight and powerful to boot, when you drop in a turbocharged Audi motor like this one.
No car event is complete without a Honda! Sure enough, we found this track dedicated EG stripped and equipped with Bilstiens, roll-cage and a set of semi’s. Judging by the quality around, we could only guess that something powerful was under the hood.
The atmosphere throughout the night was great. You could really sense that everybody truly appreciated everything on display.
Even ‘Sparky’ the family dog (how cliche) was enjoying himself.
After a few hours we were called in for dinner. With the event named ‘Men and Machine’ salad was not an option. A gourmet BBQ with various cuts of meet was on offer with many going back for seconds.
After dinner it was time for a short presentation. The best seats in the house were snapped up pretty fast. We weren’t too game to ask these guys to move over.
Bill Miller (left) is the man behind Men and Machines. After a brief introduction he passed the microphone over to Stu, an Ambassador representative who gave us a spiel about their club and purpose behind it.
Next up was the ‘Men and Machines 2013 People’s Choice Award’ – It came by no surprise that the Habourside LAC Porsche Panamera 4s won the award.
Inspector Dean Lindley collected the award on behalf of the Habourside LAC.
After the presentation was complete, the guests were back outside mingling and admiring. Top Secret Imports display vehicles were amoungst the crowds favourite.
It’s not everyday you see a booster seat in a Lamborgini. Garry’s son from Top Secret Imports, Jagpal felt right at home riding shotgun.
Jack (also from TSI) and his son, Jagpreet also enjoyed their time at Men and Machines 2013.
After a few more drinks and some cold snags the night started to wind down. The quantity and quality of machines on display was amazing, especially considering everything on display was brought down for the day by Bill’s friends and supporters.
We would like to personally thank Jack and Garry from Top Secret Imports for the invitation and Bill Miller for the hospitality throughout Men and Machines. Bill has done an amazing job holding such an event and we hope he continues the tradition in 2014!