This wild Holden LJ Torana Mod Rod concept is finally getting unveiled at this year’s Meguiar’s MotorEx. The original artwork was done for Street Machine’s Expression Session by Geoff Haggarty

Photographers: Guy Bowden

IT’S been a long time in the making – 18 years if you’ve been counting – but one of the most memorable Expression Session concepts from the pages of Street Machine is about to become a reality. Based on designs by Jeff Haggarty – the man who went on to become lead designer at Holden – the Torana Mod Rod will finally see the light of day at Meguiar’s MotorEx on 25-26 July at Sydney Showground.

The hot rod-inspired LJ Torry will be part of the Freestyle Rides Inauguration, so we can’t really show you any completed photos – that would spoil the surprise. The other reason is, builder Chris Varney is absolutely flat-out making sure the car will be ready. “I’m busting my butt to get it done and madly trying to put it all together,” he says. “It’s just come back from the painter and it still has to go off to the trimmer. All the billet pieces on the car I made myself; I sent 52 pieces to the polishers.”

While the Torana has been cut up quite a bit – and a few restorers might be crying in their cups of tea – you’ll be happy to know that Chris has kept it all GM. “I could have put a nine-inch in it, but I ended up using a VN housing that was modified to use the Torana trailing arms. I kept it the stock width and it worked out perfectly for how I wanted the wheels to hang out.”

While the original artwork suggested an FJ Holden dashboard, Chris has stuck with a more traditional layout for the dash, but the interior will feature a full-length console and four bucket seats.

Aside from the obvious body modifications, there are plenty of other custom touches to this car. “If someone looks under the car – although it will be tough to do because it sits so low – they won’t see anything except a couple of oil coolers,” Chris says. “Everything has been run through the chassis rails or through the centre console to keep it really clean underneath. The sidepipes are functional but it will have a different set of extractors and a full exhaust for rego.”

While it has been in the works for quite some time, you have to admit that Chris was pretty brave in taking the project on in the first place. “The car has moved nine times since I started building it,” he says. “I’ve missed my daughter’s high school formal and her wedding, but the car will be ready to take my two granddaughters to school.”