Home Australia Rusty ‘rat rod’ once condemned to car graveyard revs back to life for premier motoring festival

Rusty ‘rat rod’ once condemned to car graveyard revs back to life for premier motoring festival

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A burnt brown looking hot rod pickup truck on display at a car festival.

Jason King’s “COVID project,” once a rusty bucket on a large rural farm, now appears to have risen from the dead in a sci-fi movie.

The striking 1947 Bedford pickup truck, or “rat rod” truck, nicknamed “LOKJAW,” makes it difficult for Mr. King to get anywhere quickly.

“Dude, everywhere we go, everyone wants to chat,” King said.

Jason King’s 1947 Bedford pickup truck, nicknamed “LOKJAW,” on display at the 2024 Rockynats.(ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

Car enthusiast Calliope has just joined thousands of fellow revheads at Queensland’s biggest motor show, Rockynats.

The annual Easter long weekend car festival takes place in Rockhampton, central Queensland.

An aerial shot of cars and bicycles.

An aerial shot of the 1,600 record-breaking car and bike entrants at the 2024 Rockynats in Rockhampton, central Queensland.(Supplied: Rockynats)

King said he rescued the truck from a “car graveyard” and brought it back to life during the COVID pandemic.

“We are only the second owner. We got the truck at the old Raglan station… it was there in their (old car) graveyard,” he said.

“The family said, ‘You can have it as long as you do something with it and don’t sell it.'”

A rusty truck parked on a rural property.

Before becoming “LOKJAW”, this show was a rusty mess on a rural property in central Queensland.(Supplied: Jason King)

‘It looks like a medicine bag’

King made the truck wider and longer, and said he wanted it to stand out once he was finished.

“Yeah, something different. There was no plan, we just made it up as we went along,” he said.

A rusty looking truck converted into a van in a backyard garage workshop.

Jason King brought ancient wrecks back to life during the COVID-19 months on his Calliope property.(Supplied: Jason King)

“Queen bed in the back, legal four-seater bench in the front and almost 2,000 rivets holding it together on the outside and 600 rivets on the inside.”

He said LOKJAW was a show that intrigued fans at car festivals across the country.

A brightly colored shirt that says Rockynats 04.

Thousands of motorsport enthusiasts gathered in Rockhampton for the 2024 Rockynats at the weekend.(ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

“Well, we get a lot of different descriptions of it,” he said.

“But I think it looks like the old medicine man’s medicine bag and his cart selling medicines.”

An old hot rod truck, a van on a city road.

“LOKJAW” hits the streets at the Rockynats 2024 parade.(ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

A vintage hot rod that looks like an old medicine bag participates in a street parade.

Intrigued fans line the streets to catch a glimpse of the renovated rust bucket. (ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

The Kings of Rockynats

While LOKJAW turned heads in the fourth installment of Rockynats, winning the Top Ratter award for the second year in a row, King said his son, Shannon, was the one who came up with the nickname for the remains of the restored farmhouse.

“Lockjaw is a symptom of tetanus and tetanus is contracted by rust and is a rusty car,” he said.

King said this year’s Rockynats were very special for his New Zealand family, with four generations involved.

A little boy, his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather are standing in front of a dark-colored hot rod.

The four generations of car lovers in the King family: Jett (left), Shannon, Jason and Astley, at the 2024 Rockynats.(Supplied: Jason King)

“I think it was instilled in me by my dad next door,” he said.

“We all get involved in everything…sometimes too much.”

A man wearing a green shirt and a man wearing black clothing stand in front of a hot rod truck on display at a car festival.

Cars have been a big part of Jason King’s life thanks to his proud father, Astley.(ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

Rockynats organizers say this year’s event was the largest yet, with more than 1,600 participants in cars and bikes, a 15 percent growth compared to 2023.

A crowd on the side of the road watches a parade of cars.

Motorsport enthusiasts, young and old, filled the street parade at Rockynats 2024.(ABC Capricorn: Aaron Kelly)

King said his family would return next year with their star-studded beast.

“It’s a good event to take a look at all the other cars and see what everyone else is dreaming about.”

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