ASMF History

The highpoint of the Australian Street Machine Federation (ASMF) came with the publishing of the 1988/1989 rulebook in the December 1988 issue of Street & Custom magazine. Below is the scanned image from the short history section of the rule book.

Everything was about to change with the ASMF, the magazine industry and the Street Machining movement. Chic Henry had already run the first Summernats in 1987 and the editor of Street & Custom a few issues later was to forewarn of this threat to the competing ASMF-sanctioned national event the Street Machine Nationals. After this point the spectacular synergy of Summernats/Street Machine Magazine would transform the Street Machining movement, and lead to the demise of the national club infrastructure and competing magazines. The editor of Street & Custom got the boot shortly after this issue and he started up his own (copy cat) publication called Super Street.


Over the Easter weekend of 1975 in Griffith N.S.W., the first STREET MACHINE NATIONALS were held, hosted by the 55-6-7 Chev Club of N.S.W.. Although this was a very casual weekend, it was due to the success of this 1 st Nationals that it should become an ongoing event. Consequently, at Easter 1976 the 55-6-7 Chev Club of N.S.W. once again hosted the 2nd Nationals, again at Griffith. The interest generated within Victoria from these Nationals led to a meeting of interested parties at the residence of Ian Cooper, which in turn led to a newspaper advertisement being placed asking for modified car enthusiasts to help pioneer the formation of a body catering for modified cars in Victoria. With the first off[i]cial meeting of the V.S.M.A., the foundations for Australia’s first Street Machine Association were laid. Following meetings saw the development of the Association guidelines, and the aims for the sport, along with a formal Constitution being im­plemented.
The first V.S.M.A. run took place with the venue being Bundoora Park, at this run vehicles were scrutineered [sic], and trophies were presented during the day. With Ian Coopers involvement in the A.N.D.R.A. and his being unable to devote the necessary time to Street Machining, Dave Ryan stepped in as Chairperson. As interest and support for the V.S.M.A, materi­alised, Dave along with Alan Hale and Rick Martin began forming the basis for the 3rd. Street Machine Nationals (1978) to be held at Shepparton (VIC). Despite adverse weather, the Nationals were a resounding success with the continuing growth of the sport instigating similar Street Machine Association bodies within other States. This could be seen in the organisation of the 4th Nationals (1980) at Narranderra, N.S.W.. These Nationals were once again led by Dave Ryan with the help of Chic Henry from Old. and Rowan Wilson from N.S.W.. This interaction of the various State Bodies generated discussion for the establishment of an Australia wide Street Machine Body.
The gradual planning towards this body (to be known as THE AUSTRALIAN STREET MACHINE FEDERATION) led to the organising of the 5th, Nationals at Canberra, A.C.T. (1982), being run by the four State Street Machine Associations. This was the christening of the A.S.M.F., with Chic Henry being the first Director. Although the States could see the benefits of joining together as a National Body, the Director had a mountanous [sic] task before him as each State Association wanted to keep their own individual identities. The 6th Nationals (1984) were fast approaching and the organising of the event was to be a combined effort of the five State Associations, using the name AUSTRALIAN STREET MACHINE FEDERATION Inc. up front (OLD. N.S.W. A.C.T. S.A. VIC)
For these Nationals, after a tight decision, it was decided that a professional Promoter would be used to promote this premier event. In March 1984 some dramatic changes took place within the A.S.M.F. Inc. and Jim Wolf was appointed the new National Director and Chic Henry was appointed as Special Events Director. The A.S.M.F. Inc. then raised STREET MACHINE NATIONALS PTY. LTD., this company would become the ‘professional arm’ to promote the STREET MACHINE NATIONALS in the future. The 6th Nationals (1984) were held and again proved to be a huge success. It showed that the Street Machine movement was advancing at a rapid pace. It was not until July 1984 that all state Associations finally came together under the National banner. What was once only a futuristic dream finally became reality and the AUSTRALIAN STREET MACHINE FEDERATION Inc. was born.
The 7th Nationals were once again held in Canberra (1986), for this event a professional Promoter was employed. Once again this event was a success with over 1300 Entrants. In July 1986 the then current National Director, Jim Wolf resigned. At the following A.G.M (Aug ’86), Ray Arrowsmith the then OLD State Director was elected to the National Directors’ position. With the need for the A.S.M. F Inc. to become self reliant, a decision was made to promote the 8th Nationals and all State Show’n’Shines using our own resources, therefore the 8th Nationals was promoted, BY STREET MACHINERS FOR STREET MACHINERS.

6 replies on “ASMF History”

  1. So, seeing as you’re posting more of this straight history stuff (which is very interesting, BTW) why did Chic (seemingly) break away from the ASMF to host the ‘Nats in 87? By my reading of what you’ve posted, he was heavily invovled up to that point.

    As an aside, are you criticising the move from/demise of the national club infrastructre to the more commercial model?

    From the Four and Rotary perspective, the ANDRA/Summernats/Street Machine model of enthusiasm (tell me if I’m using your terminology the right way) certainly influences how some people think about what their cars should be and (more interestingly to me) what they think they should do with them.

  2. firstly, sorry for the delay in posting your comment. I didn’t realise I had turned on moderation when I was trying to figure out what had happened to some other comments.

    ok, off the top of my head. The crucial point is that for the 1986 7th Street Machine Nationals Chic Henry was employed as a promoter. He was working in this capacity as promoter for the ASMF. This 7th Street Machine Nationals was a massive success from all accounts, but it definitely left heaps of room for improvement.

    There had been a number of other problems over the years with the Street Machine Nationals. The previous 1984 6th Street Machine Nationals saw supreme court writs being issued against the promoter hired to run the event because of allegedly missing funds. (Eveything was sufficiently accounted for in the end.) The ASMF and Chic Henry decided to run the event themselves for number 7.

    Street Machine magazine sponsored this event. The ASMF and the magazine had a falling out over the positioning of the logos on the event’s banner (I think is the ‘event’ equivalent of a magazine’s masthead). Street Machine magazine wanted chief position and so did the ASMF. So the biggest sponsor, brought ot the event by CHic Henry as promoter, had a falling out with the ASMF. Other magazines were also pissed off about the relative lack of access to the action compared to journos from Street Machine.

    For the 1987-1988 Summernats (held on 31st dec 1987 on) Chic Henry worked as a promoter for a Canberra based company he had created for the Summernats. It is less a question of CHic Henry leaving the ASMF (as that had already happened for the previous event, 7th SMN), but Street Machine Magazine and Henry’s company excluding the ASMF from a new event they created.

    It is not a straight criticism of the demise of the unionist-style club structure (there were heaps of problems in the 1980s with people getting black bans and all types of shit!), far from it. The rise of the image-based pro-street movement and the correlative spectacularization of the culture by Street Machine magazine in the magazine and through the event of Summernats does not involve a simple relation to the scene or sport in general. What Street Machine magazine did was introduce a new way of mediating the relation between the hard-core enthusiasts and the broader general public that wasn’t facilitated through the club structure. This new spectacular mediation allowed more capital to flow — literally, in the case of a monthly Street Machine magazine and an annual Summernats — and along different circuits, so mass-spectator events producing capital for promoters who invested money back into the event, which gained bigger sponsors and more spectators and so on. This increased the amount of money in the scene flowing around at the highest levels and, in part, subsidising the sport as a whole for the lower-level enthusiast. (Note my use of ‘sport’ and ‘scene’ as there are two ways of conceptualising the same level of interaction.)

    However, the siphoning of funds from the club-based circuits of capital between mass-public, event and enthusiasts meant that the club-based infrastructure took a massive nosedive. This at the time was very bad on a social level, because it meant that the socialising function of the club and the sociality it afforded quietly died or simply didn’t exist for a whole generation of enthusiasts. However, this all changed with the internet as I am certain you are aware…

    ANDRA has nothing much to do with it. I have another draft post coming about the 1973 split in the AHRF ranks into ASRF and ANDRA. Australia has a different trajectory from this point on compared to the Hot Rod magazine and NHRA synergistic relation in the early years of US hot rodding. It is much more street based. It is where contemporary modified-car culture emerges (with the ‘street’).

    What is very interesting is that in the early years of the Fours scene (according to the mags, about 1988-1992) the editors and what not still used ‘street machine’ terminology. The rotars affected it, bucking the technological dominance of the V8s, and the 4-cylinders affected things on more of a stylistic level. It is not until the conjunction of turbo and import (and IT industry boom) that the hegemony of Street Machining in Australia is threatened. With the arrival and rise in popularity of drifting, the drag racing ‘pro-street’ style that so motivated the scene in the 1980s is similarly threatened.

    The millenial feedback of turbocharger technology back into the ranks of the V8s leads Mark what’s-his-name (writer for Street Machine with the WAR-440 alky burning blown chrysler) to describe 2003 or 2002 or something the “year of the Pump” he is referring to the boom in popuarity of first centrifugal superchargers and then turbochargers. However, I would argue that what actually happened is the plug’n’play style of modification of the imports (rather than the technology itself) fed into the political economy of street machining (workshops, events, cultural industry).

    That is an off-the-top-of-my-head draft of 1/3 my paper for the CSAA conference lol!

  3. Just wondering where the Street machine Assoc of SA inc comes into this? Anyone know much of THAT history? Am seeking history on SA and when they left ASMF and why and how etc.

  4. hey flic,

    I checked out the SMASA website, looks cool.

    My understanding is that the state associations were formed first, from clubs, individuals and with support of businesses and magazines, and then the ASMF was formed to take over the running of the street machine nationals. So it seems from the history in the ASMF rule book (pasted above in the original post) that the SA association was formed sometime between 1982 and 1984.

    I didn’t realise the SMASA actually broke away from the ASMF, I thought it was more a case of the power and prestige of the ASMF dissolving with the decline in the popularity of the Nationals (and increase in the popularity of the Summernats), so the State associations were left on their own to survive or die. This is the sort of research that can follow up the ground work of my research, or the sort of research I can do to turn this part of my dissertation into a book. I guess me or another researcher or person with an interest in this really needs to interview the original people involved in all this to do this research properly, if it is to be done. Unfortunately it is only a small part of my already too-big dissertation.

    On another note, from my reading of the history (basically 30 years of car mags and other newsletters etc), the SMASA is interesting on the rego/engineering side of things because off the top of my head it was at the forefront in the early-1990s with getting something organised similar to the ASRF TAC. I can remember an example of a rego’d early holden being big news in all the car mags and plenty of column space on the development of a collective relationship between the SMASA and the SA DMT. The rest of the Street Machine associations let private companies and what not take over the engineering side of things, but the SMASA tried to organise in a collective fashion for the good of their association members.

  5. Today is Sunday, 31st October 2010, just over three years after the above aticle was written here.
    I am one of the three founder members of SMASA and can relate what happened to SMASA in the early days and why it broke away from the ASMF.
    If, some time in the future, glen or flic read this… me
    i would be happy to talk to you.

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