Country singer Adam Brand has petrol running through his veins. Perth-born, he was immersed in cars and motorsport from day one.
“My dad and uncle were car dealers and spray painters so it was in the blood,” he says.
“Mum was taking me to Claremont Speedway in Perth when I was in nappies. I think it was always going to be part of me.”
This early exposure to cars didn’t keep him from sticky situations.
Aged about three, he recalls, “My dad and uncle had just finished spray painting a car that was sitting in the shop. I jumped in the car and was playing and somehow put it into gear and it rolled into the wall and re-crumpled the newly painted front end.
“It probably only moved a couple of metres but my very first memory of cars was having a hit.”
Brand didn’t fare much better with his first car, a 1970 Toyota Celica. However, this time he had a hit, the consequences could have been much more severe.
“I was going around a country road and it was a little bit greasy going around a bend,” he says.
“I went off into the grass and it dug in and rolled about six times. I wasn’t hurt, I was fine.”
Despite this experience Brand thinks back fondly on the little pale yellow coupe with a vinyl roof, mag wheels — and a “hot dog” exhaust that meant he could be heard coming a long way off, even if the Celica’s “gutless” engine wasn’t getting him anywhere very quickly.
These days Brand drives a Mitsubishi Triton dual-cab ute, which he loves for its practicality and versatility.
“I renovate little houses now and again and I go fishing so I always like to have a ute. And now it comes in handy. Every second day I’m at Bunnings,” he says.
Brand also has a 1957 Ford F600, pulled out of a paddock and restored with the help of a friend. He dropped in a Ford V8 of course — a Cleveland 351 — even though it sits on a Holden one-tonner chassis.
His love of utes goes way back: “Over the years I went through a huge phase where I was just in XR8 utes. I just loved them and drove around Australia in an XR8 ute with a canopy on the back and spent three month on the road just travelling.”
Brand’s love of Aussie V8 utes didn’t stop there. He competed in the original GT-production V8 ute racing series in Australia, known in the early 2000s as V8 BRute utes. The series competed on the same schedule as the V8 Supercars.
“I always had a passion for racing and as I grew up it never left me,” says Brand.
“I started to do a little bit of racing myself and I was very lucky to be involved with the BRute utes in those early days when (the drivers) were mavericks.
“It has always been something I loved — not something I have ever been exceptionally good at but I’ve been able to hold my own and stay safe,” he says.
He reckons he was the exception to the drivers who took the BRute utes a little more seriously — he was just the country singer who would turn up for four races a year, competing with a massive grin no matter where he finished.