Make Them Shine car show

Photography by: 4V Images

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Eleven years ago, the idea was raised at a monthly Thunderbird club meeting to conduct a car cruise from four separate areas in Melbourne, to the Royal Children’s Hospital to make a donation for the Good Friday Appeal.

Make Them Shine car show
Even the Batmobile made an appearance

The state director at the time made a call to the Royal Children’s Hospital to see if they would accommodate such a request, and he was then given a phone number and told to contact the Kids Day Out committee to see if anything could be done.

After months of communication back and forth, the green light was given to hold the first ‘Make Them Shine,’ a classic car show held back in 2015 in conjunction with the Kids Day Out event inside the Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre for the Good Friday Appeal.

It proved that a classic car show at a children’s event was a major drawcard and fitted in very well with the surrounding fundraising efforts.

The first classic car display helped raise $15,147 and each year it has grown from strength to strength. Each year the number of display cars has been capped at 80 vehicles, but the numbers of volunteers has substantially grown. 


After eight shows in a 10-year period, including two COVID years raising money for 3AW’s Neil’s Wheel, ‘Make them Shine’ has raised a total of $404,976.76.

The current 200-plus volunteers who partake in shaking cans to help raise funds has been formed from the show’s humble beginnings, and the number of volunteers keeps growing every year with more and more people willing to help in any way they can.

Nearly every member and volunteer of the ‘Make Them Shine’ family has a story to tell with a link to the Royal Children’s Hospital in some way, leaving a lasting impression or experience in their lives.

The 2024 event once again proved to be just as popular with over 120,000 patrons walking through the doors to an impressive display of Aussie, American, Euro and Japanese classics, and even an array of movie cars from the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine to a stunning first generation Batmobile.

The kids and parents alike had the chance to sit in some impressive machines, with one of the major drawcards being an immaculate Kenworth truck kindly provided by Paul Phillips Transport and even a Holden Statesman limousine nicknamed ‘Zeus.’


Not only was it an impressive display for the kids, but it’s a rewarding day for the local classic-car community, which has banded together for not only a great cause, but one that has also benefitted our hobby, hopefully creating some interest to future generations of car enthusiasts.

The Thunderbird Owners Club of Australia would like to thank all of its supporters, some of whom have been with the event from its inception, they are: K6 - Kool Kruisers and Killer Klassics Kar Klub, Mark McDonald Automotive Services, Wayne Elliot Family, Marco Paolucci Family, Melbourne Old School Cruisers, Showcars of Melbourne, The Geelong Car and Bike Club, KustomKraft, All Things Classic, Smoking Aces, Paul Phillips TPT, Northern Gal, and our own resident DJ, The Danmann & the Gorgeous Anna.

Let’s not forget the sponsors, some who have also been supporting ‘Make Them Shine’ for many years: Techniblock, Tufflift Hoists, Euro Precast, King Lake Pub, Rocvic Auto Repairs, Zagame Automotive, Melbourne Trophy Center & LMB Knitwear, and Unique Cars Magazine.

It’s one of the most enjoyable days knowing that we are there to make a difference to the children of the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Stay tuned for the 2025 event details, via the ‘Make Them Shine’ Facebook page or visit 

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