Building the dream from the road up

If you ask Waz for a picture (with him in it) this is what you get. He's a man who prefers to let his work speak for itself.

It kind of feels that it wouldn’t be out of place to call Warren Buggraff Mr Rockynats.

More than thirty of the cars he has built over the year’s have graced past events and the locally based custom car builder, well respected in the Rocky car community, has taken away more than his fair share of silverware and prize money from past events.

This time around he will be using the event to unveil one of his highly prized creations at the popular car and bike festival – something a little special.

“We build a car every year for someone for the Rockynats,” Warren said.

“Sometimes it’s a car for myself or customers but this year it’s one for the wife which we’re debuting at the Rockynats.

“She’s a car nut just like all the rest of us.

“I’ve never built or finished a car for her before, but I traded in a Torana on some work that we were doing and the customer sort of paid me with a car.

“I was only going to give it a coat of paint and flip it. But she came along and said “I wouldn’t mind that one” so one thing led to another, and it turned from just a paint job to a ground-up restoration – new everything, turning it into a mock-up SLR 5000 which is fairly spectacular.

“We are debuting that as an unveil in Elite Pavilion.”

It sounds like he really might have outdone himself this time but then cars are always a passion project for Warren, always have been.

“I’ve always liked cars from day dot,” he said.

“I could never really afford to pay someone to do something for me when I was a teenager and, in my twenties, so I basically just taught myself.

“Through years of experience I’ve got to a stage where everyone saw the work I was doing and said, “can you do something for me” and one thing led to another.

“Thirty years later I’m still doing the same thing.”

His thing is pretty spectacular – Hot Rods you could cruise the street in, beautiful, stylish and vintage but with all the mod cons needed to drive in modern conditions.

“We specialize in Bonnie and Clyde era cars with the running board from 1932-1936s all the real early stuff,” he said.

“Like the ZZ Top car, all that sort of stuff. That’s sort of our niche market we don’t compete with anyone else in town. The next shops that do the same thing are a couple in Brisbane and one in Townsville.”

Wazrodz and Restorations is a name that rolls off the tongue.

“My name’s Warren and we build hot rods so that’s what I called the business,” he laughed.

“The cars we build are hot rods. Hot rods are designated as pre 1947 vintage cars that are basically modernised by putting modern running gear, modern suspension and modern brakes, air conditioning, electric window, central locking and cruise control.

“If you see some of the older cars and they look like they are a little bit of an upgrade, most of them are as much of a modern car as anything else driving down the road now.

“I have had a couple of my own. I don’t drive one every day because I’ve got to have a work ute to pick up and deliver stuff. But I use to have one but someone offered me more money than it’s worth, so I sold it and just bought a Mazda or a Toyota ute to drive round in.

“I usually go quite well at the Rockynats. I’ve been doing the car show circuit since 1985 with various modified early Holdens and then, by accident, I got into early vintage cars that I turned into Hot Rods.

“But between Rockynats, Summernats, Victoria Hot Rod Show, Brisbane Hot Rod Show, Townsville Wild on Wheels – all of those I’ve won quite a lot of awards and my customers that we’ve built cars for have won heaps as well.”

It’s obviously something he loves doing – creating almost entire cars from the ground up bar suspension components etc and upholstery (there’s an upholsterer up the street from him).

“I get to come to work every day and play with people’s toys, spending money on cars, playing with cars that I’d enjoy working on for myself let alone someone else – and get paid for it,” he laughed.

Read more about Rocknats on page 7

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