More Holdens of Milwaukee Young Street Machine of the Year

Rounding up another range of YSMOTY Lions, from six-pot cruisers to HSV weapons


While a new generation might be coming of age without seeing new Holdens in the dealers, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm for the mighty Lion in our first Milwaukee Young Street Machine of the Year!

While the sheer number of Holden entries means we can’t show you every single car, here’s another highlight reel. Remember, YSMOTY entries are still open but close tomorrow (Friday 23rd June), so check out all the entry details here!


“My ‘78 HZ Kingswood ute has been in the family for around 30 years, being my uncle’s B’n’S ute (hence the back window) back in the 90s. I always loved it and eventually bought it when I was 17, with it needing a lot of love. During the resto I rebuilt and spruced up the 308, fitted a T5 manual gearbox and a Borgy rear end with 3.45s and an LSD. Since being finished it’s been to a couple of drag events and also featured on RBT, which wasn’t my finest hour!

It’s mainly taken out when I get a bit of time off from driving the truck, and it does a lot of highway kilometres which never cease to put a smile on my face. The only real plans for the future are to do up a stout 355 with another five-litre block I have laying around, and I’d like to fit retro air conditioning to it, but most of all I’d love fuel to get cheaper so I can justify driving it more often.”


“This 1975 HJ wagon is my first car, with a 202 and three on the tree. It took four years to rebuild and repaint in the back shed. Once registered I drove her about 20km around my hometown, and three days later my mates and I drove nearly 2000km around Victoria, following the big boys competing in Drag Challenge 2019! We loved every minute.”


“I’m a 19-year-old third-year apprentice panel beater, and I’ve just bought one of my dream cars — a VL Commodore. My VL is a genuine LW5 factory turbo BT1 ex-cop car, a shed find that has been parked up since around 2007. I paid a fair bit for it, but it’ll be worth it in the long run I reckon. My plans for now are to get it running and licensed with the (relatively) original body work.

It’s gonna need a lot of new interior pieces, the boot floor and spare wheel well replaced, as well as engine and driveline work. I’m aiming for it to have about 400hp which should make the tiny VL fly as I’m used to big Falcons. Eventually I’ll strip it down and do a whole resto on it, but I’m just gonna have fun in it for now. I’m hoping to have it on the road by the end of the year.”


“I’ve had this 1976 HJ since I was 18. It has red 202 with a 149 head, a cam, and the usual work. It’s paired to an Aussie four-speed and 3.55 banjo LSD. It went good! I’m currently repainting and doing rust repairs to the car myself in the garage, and fitting a Holden 355 stroker.”


“This was my late father’s ‘82 VH SL/X Commodore. We bought it together in 2007 or 2008 from a holiday park off an old bloke near Port Macquarie. Back in 2018 we started the engine swap together, going from a blue 202 to an injected 304, with plans for a 355 stroker. He passed away in 2019 and left the car to me, I was 19 at the time.

I got to work with all the help I could get to paint it in the same green it had during his ownership. So far the plans have changed from an injected 304 to a carby 355 with a T5 behind. It had VK bars but I’m putting the chrome ones back on.”


“I bought this car as a shell when I was 14. It is an ex-sergeants car from Sydney, hence the SRGGMH plates. My dad and I have since put many hours into paint, panel and mechanical work.

It now has a 355 stroker backed by a fully-manualised Burko-built Trimatic with a 4200 stall. It’s soon to have a 9-inch diff with 3.7 gears. There’s also airbag suspension in the rear and a stereo to match. Nothing over the top, but a fun pub runner!”


“It’s a 1974 HJ Kingswood with a hot little 186 and Aussie four-speed. The car was my 16th birthday present; mum and dad bought the car back in 2014. Dad did all the bodywork, the paint was done by CT Custom Repairs, and the interior was done by Resurrected Auto Upholstery.”


“This is my 1986 VL Commodore. When I brought it about a year and a half ago the paint was extremely faded and the body wasn’t in too good shape. I made the decision that it needed a respray but didn’t want to spend the money to get it professionally done, so I decided to do it myself.

I spent multiple months getting it ready by sanding and priming it, and made a spray booth in our shed. I wasn’t sure how good it would turn out as I had never painted a car but I am extremely impressed with the finished product. It currently has a stock N/A RB30, but I have plans to turbo it.”


“My car is a VT SS built as a dedicated burnout car. It’s powered by a tunnel-rammed, E85-guzzling LS1 with a manualised Turbo 400. The car was competing in burnout competitions in stock form as a sponsored car from my dad’s clothing company. Eventually Dad took over competing in the car and after some persuasion it was time for me to have a go. At the age of 14 I had never driven a car before and entered my first competition. I jumped in the driver’s seat, had a quick driving lesson in the car park and ended up winning my class. I was instantly hooked.

With two previous drivers, ABUSED needed a lot of TLC. My dad and I worked all day and night in our driveway (sorry, neighbours) doing 99 per cent of the work ourselves. The original fuel tank was replaced with a cell in the boot and the rear quarters have been reinforced with 3mm plate steel. We added a VQ rear end to effectively minitub it and save some of the quarter panel damage. Because we do all of our own repair work, reducing the hours l have to spend sanding and respraying is very helpful. I added rear airbags, a Calais interior and hydro-dipped door panels. The most exciting change was doing away with Dad’s old paint and respraying with my own colour scheme to finally make the car feel like my own.

We are regularly working to add new features to the car and bring my absolute best to every competition. I was lucky enough to enter the burnout world seven years ago. Since then I’ve been able to travel the whole of Australia, compete in competitions in nearly every single state, and meet some of the most amazing people. There have been many highlights, too many to list here, but I am thankful for all the adventures, the good times, and the support I’ve been shown. I look forward to many more years in the scene and who knows what changes may be in the future!”


“It’s a 1977 HZ ute I bought a year ago from the original family for $10k. It’s had a pretty rough life! I had to replace the fuel tank for the roady; it looked like someone went at it with a hammer and tried to fix it with filler. The drivetrain was nothing special, running a 202 and column shift manual with a non-LSD banjo. It wasn’t dropping oil, but burning it up like crazy. I was putting five litres in it every two weeks. It also copped a snapped axle and jammed shifter linkages, plus a rear uni joint failure. I guess that’s what happens when you daily drive a 45-year-old ute. Six months ago I did a drivetrain swap, so it’s now a warm blue 202 with a Celica five-speed and BorgWarner M78 LSD. Wheels are Speedy Californias.

When I got them they came with tyres, but I had to replace the rears because one delaminated on the highway. I later found out they were older than me! It’s also got an old school analog VDO tacho. It’s a solid ute with nothing more than a 10 cent piece size of rust throughout the whole car. It’s been an experience for sure, but I’ve found out pretty quickly that it’s hard to daily drive something like this and also work on it, let alone have the money to do so. It’s even harder finding someone to do the work that’s beyond my equipment or ability.

I’ve recently got my own place with a garage, so hopefully I can get stuck into it. It may not be the cleanest looking and it’s definitely not the fastest, but it’s mine and I love every bit about it.”


“This is a 1986 VL Calais with a Walkinshaw kit and Brocky rear wing. I bought this car from Queensland last year and it’s been my pride and joy ever since. It’s a naturally aspirated RB30 auto, has a completely reupholstered interior, has extractors and a full exhaust, and is sitting on 20-inch HDT wheels with Bilstein shocks. I’ve tidied it up so far and fixed some issues but it’s still a build in progress.

I try to take it out every weekend and enjoy it as much as I can. She’s seen a few places! My plan is to eventually turbo it when I can and make it a really nice weekend car. People tell me not to drive it and leave it in the garage, but it loves to be taken out and driven spiritedly!”


“This is my 1964 EH wagon. I am 16 years old and my mum and dad bought it for me as a project when I was young. We bought it from a local who had purchased the car brand new in 1965, and it had 64,000 miles with the original three-on-the-tree and 149 red motor. They paid $1500, but it had suffered a front-ender. Building this car with my dad has been a great experience, learning new skills with heaps more to come.”


“I bought my 2001 VX ClubSport fully stock when I was 19 and still on my Ps, with intentions to make it a tough street car. I patiently waited six months to get my blacks and used it as a daily for a year, before taking it off the road to start the build.

I took the whole driveline out and put in a built 403ci stroker LS, built reverse-pattern T400, and Truetrac with 3.9s. It’s also got a twin three-inch stainless exhaust, E85 fuel system with surge tank, fuel pumps and all Speedflow 200 Series hose and fittings, plus a Haltech digital dash and custom wiring.

I also repainted and tidied up the engine bay in the process. All of this work except the wiring was done by myself in my garage over two years, with some help and advice from some good mates along the way. It took a long time and a lot of patience to do it myself but the sentimental value and satisfaction of driving it every weekend is something that money can’t buy!”


“Dad got me this HJ wagon for my 15th birthday back in 2020. He swapped his WR450 (which he bought for $1000) for the wagon. My Dad and I restored the car ourselves. I haven’t done any power mods since I’m on my Ls, which limits what I can do. I love going for a cruise and just watching kids smile, but most of the time it’s adults that give me a wave or a thumbs up. Gotta love the grandpa spec longroof!”


“This is my 1975 HJ Kingswood. I started this project when Covid first started. During that time I did an entire nut and bolt rebuild on it with the help of my brother and friends. This includes a rebuilt 202 red motor, running a Crow cam, flat top pistons, XU-1 inlet and exhaust valves, a 350 Holley carburettor, and electronic ignition. Exhaust consists of Pacemaker extractors and a custom made stainless steel V-band system. The transmission is a rebuilt four-speed manual.

The car had also had a bare metal respray in Toyota’s 1G3 metallic gunmetal grey. I’ve completely re-wired the car myself while undertaking an automotive electrical apprenticeship, in which I’m now qualified. Blood, sweat and tears have truly gone into this old girl. Cheers!”


“I bought my HSV VX ClubSport when I was 17 years old from a little country town called Yass. Life with this car started as my daily driver to college which then turned into a weekend cruiser. My intentions with the car were to always maintain a clean example of these HSV iconic models, but for it to be a menace when it wants.

I’ve always liked the VX ClubSport as they are starting to become rare to find, and I believe mine represents itself immaculately for its age. The car received a full respray in its factory Phantom Black two years into the build. The LS1 has a custom-grind cam package by Russo Performance, followed by a 1000hp TH400 by Paul Rogers paired to a GJ drivelines single-piece tailshaft. The car continues to be a work in progress which is driven not hidden, with future plans to let it whine with an LSA supercharger.”


“I bought this van as a project less than a week after I got my Ps. It took a further 2-3 years to get her back on the road with the appreciated help of a couple skilled mates. Unfortunately the restoration workshop I bought it from did a quick money grab and turn around, so I’ve had to re-do everything. She’s now sporting a 308 and M21 and full brand new GTS interior. It’s been a perpetual project with the classic 1 step forward 2 steps back process. She won’t win any awards too soon, but hopefully people can appreciate it as it is like I do.”