Cars part of Newcastle culture

YOU don't need statistics to confirm Newcastle's deep-rooted car culture.

Coal might have been responsible for the city's industrial foundation, but it was petrol that ignited generations of its youth.

Nowhere has the passage of modern motoring history been witnessed more faithfully than at Nobbys beach car park on Friday and Saturday nights.

Descending on the famous car park after cruising the beaches or Hunter Street in everything from bongo vans to pimped up Astras has been a rite of passage for generations of local kids.

Perhaps Bob Hudson captured Newcastle's car culture best in the chorus of his 1975 The Newcastle Song:

Anyway there was this mob of blokes driving down Hunter Street

in the front seat of the hot FJ

with chrome plated grease nipples

and twin overhead foxtails,

and the coolest of them all,

who got to sit near the window,

was young Norm.

Then there was guitarist Les Hall and drummer Herman Kovacs, the Hunter "gang" behind Ted Mulry's hit Jump In My Car from the same year.

Two decades later, Newcastle Regional Museum celebrated our car love affair with the Auto Fetish, The Mechanics of Desire exhibition.

Rising petrol prices and the suffocating forces of conformity within the motoring industry have taken some of the grunt out off Newcastle's proud car culture over the past decade.

WRXs may have replaced the Cleveland 351s in Hunter Street and flip-flop paint replaced burnt orange as the colour or choice, but Newcastle will probably always love its cars.

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