A hot rodder who’s energy and foresight cemented street rodding in Australia as an organized and respected family sport, and a deserving recipient of the ASRF Legends Award; Bob Dykes.
Bob’s passion for hot rodding started from reading rod magazines from the USA in the mid 50s. By 1957 he was hooked! Bob drove an Austin 7 at the time, but his first V8 was a 1935 Ford sedan. It was swapped for a 1932 Ford sports coupe, which he proceeded to transform into a roadster with a fixed windscreen from a ‘38 Ford. He then acquired an Allard, a British car with an aluminum body and a hot Ford Pilot side valve V8. The sidey was soon retired and replaced with a 1942 Caddy V8 and all before 1965. By then, Bob had become the proud owner of a Y block-powered ‘32 Ford sedan, cut down into a custom tudor dubbed ‘Sedoupe’.
In the early 60s, he was an establishing member of the Rockers Hot Rod Club, of South Melbourne and Essendon. He convinced the club to draw up a constitution, the club then changed its name and in January 1963, he became a founding member and first secretary of the Thunderbirds Rod and Custom Club. Bob was President from 1966 to 1977. He also served as President of the Victorian Hot Rod Association and Co-Meeting Director at Riverside and Calder drags until 1971.
Bob saw that this exciting new sport needed to become organized if it was to be taken seriously by all participants, as well as the Government regulated departments. In 1967 Bob, was a founding member of the Australian Hot Rod Federation (AHRF) and the first Victorian State Director. His wife Nola confirms that time was given up from their honeymoon to attend the meeting in Albury! The AHRF was the governing body of both drag racing and street rodding in Australia.
The inaugural ‘Two States Rod Run’ in 1971 (SA and Vic) and again in 1972 was organized by Bob Dykes and Bob Moule. This success soon led to a bigger event with Bob Dykes as Nationals Co-Ordinator assisted by a small helping group. With Bob’s passion and drive, the first Australian Street Rod Nationals, held in 1973 at Narrandera, NSW, became a reality, heralding a new and exciting era for rodding in Australia as a family sport.
In late ‘73, the drag racing community split from the AHRF to become ANDRA. Bob was voted in to be the new National Director of the reformed organization which was the Australian Street Rod Federation, or ASRF. He held this position until 1989, acting as National Coordinator of nine Australian Street Rod National events in four different cities. Bob is particularly aware and thankful for the support given to him by the State Directors and National Secretary, June Cartledge, along with wife Nola and their sons.