Barry Hall has gone from occasionally losing control on the football field and flooring an opponent to flooring his beloved Holden ute and revelling in the loss of control.
The former AFL champion forward has been a revhead since he was old enough to post pictures of 1963 split-window Corvette Stingrays on his bedroom wall. Hall still rates the car as his dream machine but his attention has turned towards larger capacity machinery.
These days Hall drag races a HJ ute with a WB front end. He reckons the 632-cubic-inch V8 (that’s 10.4L) is good for a seven-second quarter-mile run, providing he has enough time to dial it in.
“We ran 8.3 seconds first time out and I’ve since gone eight flat,” Hall says. “The thing about drag racing is they say if the car looks slow and in control, it’ll be a quick time.
“That kind of defeats the purpose for me. I like keeping the boot into it and the car squirming and you’re thinking, ‘I’m not sure I can pull this back up’ but then you do.
“It’s an absolute adrenaline rush.”
Hall doesn’t just turn up and drive. He and brother David run a workshop — Barry Hall All Automotive — in Wallan, Victoria, and work on big block engines when they’re not working on regular clients’ cars. His dad gets the blame for his love of Holdens and interest in restoring and racing cars.
“My dad gave me my first car, a 1966 Holden HR, when I was 16. The deal was I could have it if I fixed it up. Working on that Holden red motor taught me a few things and that passion for cars has been with me ever since.”
Hall vividly recalls his father’s orange and black HT Monaro as the original source of motoring inspiration.
“He rarely drove the Monaro but when he did — and you’d hear it start up — I’d be running outside saying, ‘I don’t care where you’re going but I’m coming’,” Hall says.
“He’s still got it. It is all matching numbers and with a bit of work is probably worth $250,000-$300,000.”
Hall’s daily driver is a Mercedes-Benz ML63.
“It’s basically the tow-car,” he says. “It probably doesn’t fit in with the whole big-bore Holden thing but it is just an easy to drive car with a bit grunt when you need it.”
Hall occasionally taps into that reserve when he’s trying to merge on a freeway.
“I get fed up with people who speed up not to let you in to that gap when you’re merging and because of that, the traffic stops. It’s frustrating and no one wins,” he says.
Barry Hall’s vehicles will be on display at this weekend’s Meguiar’s MotorEx custom car show at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Flemington.
There will be no shortage of sporting superstars and TV personalities sharing their passion for cars. Among others are rugby league star Corey Parker (and his Cadillac Coupe DeVille) and racing legend Allan Moffat.
On show will be 500 of the craziest custom and modified cars in the country, worth more than $40 million. Among the attractions are the House of Kolor Inauguration, Drift Cadet drifting demonstrations, Team D-Max 4WD rides, freestyle motocross, dyno testing, live music — and 400 Real Street cars.
If you require further inspiration, Chip Foose will be talking cars, meeting fans and getting involved all weekend. The international auto guru and star of Overhaulin’ will be signing autographs at the 3M stand from 1.30pm on Saturday and 11.30am and 2pm on Sunday.