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Mighty Car Mods :: Mighty Melbourne Meet

Earlier this month Melbourne played host to a Mighty Car Mods meet and with a massive turnout expected, both Marty and Moog came down to see what the Victorian car scene had to offer.
Rather than our usual running commentary we thought we would take the opportunity to catch up with Marty and ask him a few questions about the show and cars in general.

GSS – Hi Marty, thanks for catching up with us. Let’s start with your first car and what is your favorite memory about it?
Marty – My first car was a Kermit Green 1975 Holden Gemini TX. 1600cc of pure power. It was an absolute bucket but it cost $300 and arrived on a tow truck with many parts broken and missing. I’m not sure if this is what kick started my love for fixing up beater cars and making them mad but I knew almost nothing about cars, so armed with some tools and a Haynes Manual I set to work fixing it so it would pass its roadworthy. It didn’t. A few times.

GSS – What was your least favourite memory or experience with the Gemini TX?
Marty – I remember the exact moment the engine blew. That split second where the accelerator and the amount of forward motion your brain expects suddenly differs and to add insult, the oil pressure light glows bright red as if pay back for all the harassment the engine got while it was in my hands.

GSS – If money was no object, what car would you have to own?
Marty – Up until we made Episode 19 of Season 1 (How to Time Travel in a DeLorean) I would have said that car. But after I drove one, I realised it’s better off staying as a ‘Dream car’. That said they’ve been made fast with 2JZ’s and other crazy conversions, but no amount of JDM transplanting is gonna make it travel through time – neither will a Flux Capacitor purchase off ebay, apparently.

GSS – Is there a car you love but know you could never drive in public?
Marty – The cars I drive around, some would consider pretty embarrassing anyway. My newly built daily the ‘Blue Turd’ gets absolutely slammed by people like Jeremy Clarkson who say it’s everything that’s wrong with the motoring industry. I disagree, it’s a machine like any other car that can be made to do exactly what you want with the right skills. I’m sure Jezza’s that into engine conversions but after swapping in a 1.3l engine from a Sirion GTVi the car is a HEAP of fun to drive and own.

GSS – How did you and Moog become friends?
Marty – We were working at the same recording studio, he was writing and producing music and I’m an Audio Engineer by ‘trade’ so between recording songs and soldering stuff, we’d talk cars. Moog had a clean 180SX and after we realised we had the same appreciation for boost we became friends!

GSS – Mixing friends and business can be hard, have you guys had a smooth or bumpy road to get where you are today?
Marty – We decided from the beginning that being mates comes before everything else. We’re lucky that while we do have some sponsors who help us do what we do, we’re still independent and can decide our own destiny. The show takes up most of our free time when we aren’t working our 9-5 jobs but we still manage to hang out, eat pizzas and shoot zombies whenever possible.

GSS – When did you realise what you guys were doing was getting serious?
Marty – For me it was the first week of the Autosalon Tour in 2010. We’d been at it for 2 years at that point and were enjoying every minute. We’d been asked to travel around to all the shows and video the action as well as get up on stage. Perth was the first destination, I thought we’d be flying well under the radar in a place that far away from home but it was not to be. Moog and I realised that to get anywhere around the show we had to split up – and run! Or else we’d be stopped by heaps of fans who wanted to meet us – which is one of the best things about the show!

GSS – Did you ever have moment when you thought you were in too deep?
Marty – A few month ago I got asked to commentate on a drift event. I’ve been to plenty – and love drifting! But I realised pretty quickly that the actual process of commentating is a total black-art and you either have it or you don’t. I have a new appreciation for the jabbering that you often ignore at events, the guys brains are going at a million miles an hour to be able to come up with things to say.

GSS – While trying to stay under the radar have you ever had a crazed fan moment?
Marty – Moog had a fan appear to hyperventilate and then burst into tears at one of the Autosalon shows. He is also wildly popular with the Mums’ of some of the younger fans… I call it ‘Mooglemania’ – in honour of the Beatlemania that would have struck them when they were young.

GSS – Traveling all around Australia to visit car meets and events, have you found any state follows any unique trend or particular make more than another state?
Marty – Hard to say about particular makes and models, although its true each state does have slightly different trends as to the kind of mods. We’ve noticed this has a little bit to do with what you can get away with, as engineering and defect laws change and come in, some mods are just too hard to have on a daily driven car.

GSS – Are there any mods you have performed on a car and immediately regretted or have you completely ruined a car?
Marty – Yes, the entire Honda Civic build. It was done in jest, and to prove a point – that a car can still look great and modified, but doesn’t have to be so. We copped a bit of heat over that, which we were expecting but had some great laughs along the way. The brembo brake covers welded to the rear drums is one of my favourite ‘mods’ of our show so far.

GSS – People are always very keen to show you their cars, have you ever been shown a car or a modification that has horrified you from ether a taste/style point of view or just plan unsafe?
Marty – Well, we horrified ourselves when we set to work on the TRD Laser. It was our Season 1 Finale and our first proper tongue in cheek modding video. It repulsed us but still holds a place in our heart because of its beautiful flame paint job, and poorly installed bonnet scoop.

GSS – What has been your favorite car to work on and why?
Marty – I’ve got a soft spot for the Charcoal Subaru we built up last year. We found it in a paddock in Coffs Harbour with a blown engine looking very sorry. We documented the restoration and engine swap which turned it into a practical, good looking and fast daily driver. It was great to be able to drawn on all the knowledge I’d gained from owning Subaru’s in the past and do it right, but still do it on a budget and have a record of the whole experience.

GSS – What is your favorite time saving tool that you couldn’t be without working on cars or filming the show?
Marty – Battery powered Impact Gun. I wish I could reclaim all the time spend jacking up cars and spinning wheel nuts off one by one. Its the first tool I recommend people buy when they’ve covered the basics of spanners and sockets and whatnot. Shove a 19mm socket on the end and buzz off a wheel in less than 5 seconds. Awesome on the driveway and at the track!

GSS – Having bought so many cars over the years, have you got any tips for checking the quality of a car before handing over your hard earned?
Marty – That’s a tough one. I’ve been stung a few times myself with cars that looked fine. I slowly realised what I was doing wrong – buying cars in the dark!! Always try and view it in good light, it makes it SO much easier to see accident damage. I’m not bothered by mechanical issues in most cars these days, cause with the right knowledge it can all be fixed. Panel damage is not always the end of the world, but I’ve seen so many good cars ruined by dodgy repairs that have leaked water and then rusted, that I try and shy away from that as much as possible. I hate rust!

GSS – The show has been going on for quite some time, how have things changed to keep it fresh and new?
Marty -The formula is much the same as it’s always been. Sure our production standards have risen as we’ve acquired better equipment and refined our ideas, but you can watch an episode from Season 1 and Season 4 and the format will be fairly similar for an average episode. One of the ways we’ve kept it fresh is to do specials every now and then like ‘How to build a Zombie Proof Car’ where we use household items to protect a newly acquired car against hoards of zombies or ‘Buying Parts from Japan’ where we cut up a car in a rice paddy and send it home!

GSS – You guys always manage to post videos from events you attend so quickly, is this just something that came with practice or do you plan out shots and a rough game plan before you arrive?
Marty – One of the great things about Youtube and Online media is that it CAN be done so quickly. We’ve learnt a lot over the years about production and streamlined the way we do things. Both of us can plan, shoot and edit an episode and we’ll often switch roles depending on what the episode needs. Moog is a musical genius and his biggest talent is being able to create music that perfectly suits the feel of the video. Every video of our national tour had a different sound track, which Moog had recorded in the days before we left. We’d then shoot it, jump on a plane home and I’d be setting my alarm for 4am when the final render and grade were done, so I could set the video live.

GSS – So out of both Moog and yourself, who has the most ‘colourful’ driving history?
Marty – I think I’m a few points up on Moog, possibly because of the amount of driving I do! We try to attend events all around the country so I’ll find myself on the road to Melbourne, Brisbane and even Tasmania quite often. There’s been the odd tangle with Victoria’s ‘awesome’ speed cameras but I try to keep it pretty sedate on the streets – pick your moments and save the craziness for the track!

GSS – So you have been all around Australia and now Japan, where would you boys like to head to next?
Marty – We’d love to head to the USA. We have a lot of fans from over there. There’s a North American meet up happening in Canada in June so I’m planning to head over to that. We get contacted daily by fans from all over the globe asking us to come and check out their car scene which is awesome!

GSS – What is your ultimate car movie and why?
Marty – Turbo’s and Temples by Mighty Car Mods – excuse the plug but making that feature length film about Japan and it’s car culture we experienced first hand around Hokkaido was one of the best experiences of my life so far!

GSS – Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Marty!
Marty – No problem boys.
To check out all the crazy things these boys with cars, do head to http://www.mightycarmods.com/
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page, we have a massive competition starting next month!!
Thanks for reading,
– Gwyn.
Photos: Melvin-Tang-Design-Photography

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The drift obsession runs deep! Watch out I may even try to battle you on Assetto.

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