The line between a show car and a street machine has blurred over the past decade or so. People still build finely detailed, beautifully crafted vehicles to be displayed at shows, but now the engineering underneath them is often focused on being able to enjoy all the hard work, money and time wrapped up in a classic car build – you know, actually driving the thing.
First published in the August 2022 issue of Street Machine
Freshly unveiled at Rockynats 2022, this epic Torana treads that fine line between immaculate Elite show car and ballistic streeter. And it was built off a genuine six-pot ’69 LC GTR!
Called BUCKL UP, the Dart LS-powered LC has so far made 730rwhp with just 6psi of boost on pump fuel, though it has been built to withstand 30psi on methanol. But there is so much more going on under the skin than just a stonking powertrain.
“The Torana was brought to my workshop as a standard, driving GTR Torana, with stock wheels and a six-cylinder with triple carbs,” says Corey of Street Elite Industries in Brisbane. “It looks like a very simple, tidy LS Torana build, but it is a very complicated car. It was one of the most challenging cars for me to build to get the concept right for the owner, Josh, to meet his requirements of being able to do street driving, go radial racing or roll racing, but with a high-end finish, a classy look and all the mod cons. Not many old-school cars are cruising around with a paddle-shifted 1000hp at the wheels with air conditioning and power steering!”
What you can’t see under that amazing House of Kolor Shimrin2 candy paint is a wholly re-engineered platform, featuring a full chassis, tube front crossmember, parallel four-link with track locator rod and anti-roll bar, custom steel dash and console, full rollcage, custom fuel tank, and a double-skinned floor. Aesthetic upgrades include traditional improvements like tucked bumpers and shaved gutters; flush-fit door handles from Kindig It; flush-fit, rubberless front and rear glass; and one-piece side glass.
The twin Precision 6062 turbochargers and Turbosmart wastegates have been rear-mounted, which required 2.5-inch intercooler pipes to be run through each sill. The stock shallow sills were extended 60mm to hide the piping, and the front valance was also brought down 60mm to fit the custom PWR intercooler, while a custom belly pan was also added for improved cooling.
As BUCKL UP was always intended as a street car, Corey took extra time to ensure it would comply with Queensland engineering regulations. “We have a whole separate exhaust system so the turbos can easily be removed, the oil lines capped off and the car run in aspirated form on the street,” he explains.
With such a complex and involved build, Corey points to the involvement of some local legends for the knockout result. “Chris and Craig from BMV Engineering were responsible for the full chassis, sheet-metal work, floorpans, tubs, ’cage, metal dash and console, custom fuel tank, turbo mounting and rear part of the exhaust, plus all the body mods like flush windscreens, tucked bumpers and mounting components,” he explains.
“All body, paint and assembly was completed in-house by Street Elite, and Street Elite’s Wayne and Jason, along with Dean from Pro Touring Fabrication, need a special thanks for their involvement in this build. We worked with some great guys in the automotive industry to produce this car.”
Aaron Tremayne from Tremaniac Racing put together one heck of a stout 427ci LS for the little LC, starting with an alloy Dart block, Callies Magnum crank, Oliver billet rods and custom Diamond pistons.
Rather than using conventional Gen III cathedral-port or Gen IV rectangle-port heads, the team chose deep-breathing, CNC-ported Brodix NxtGen BR7 heads running huge LS7 square ports, matched to a Brodix NxtGen billet intake manifold. A custom-grind Tremaniac Racing hydraulic-roller cam works Johnson high-rpm lifters, while a Dailey three-stage dry sump system keeps the oil at the right pressure and a Holley ECU controls the whole show. There are two 5lb nitrous bottles also plumbed in under the intake manifold, just to throw some more spice in this sauce.
“A lot of people don’t realise it’s twin-turbo,” says Corey. “Josh didn’t want to pop the bonnet and see the turbos on show there. It’s going to the hub dyno soon, and we’re going to wind her up to 20psi on E85 – or maybe a little bit more – which should take us over 1200hp at the tyres.”
The Street Elite crew knew the LC was going to end up packing serious horsepower, so the hardware in the drivetrain is all A-grade. A Coan bolt-together billet converter and Protrans TH400 take the strain from the 7.0-litre LS, while a carbonfibre tailshaft and sheet-metal nine-inch with 35-spline full-floating axles, 3.7 gears and Wavetrac LSD get the grunt to the tarmac.
Unlike most big-power streeters we see today, there is no ratchet shifter poking through the custom console. Instead, gears are selected either by push buttons on the console or the paddle shifters behind the tiller.
“It has been very hard to jam all the horsepower and technology into a little car and then finish it to a very nice standard,” Corey says. “You don’t see a lot of the engineering underneath this car. The original plan wasn’t to go to this level of finish, but Josh has very nice taste as he comes from very nice daily drivers, but he also wanted a street car and to go radial racing.”
Ultimately, this project is noteworthy not just because it is beautifully finished but also for how many features and how much engineering has gone into a cohesive, clean and tough package.
“This would be the most complex car I’ve built in 20 years, and Chris from BMV said the same thing,” Corey sighs. “There are a lot of parts in it, but the key is making them all work together and be functional. The LC has been built to enjoy. Josh had to be able to jump in it and drive the thing decent distances with no issues.”
We can’t wait to see Josh’s ’65 Mustang fastback that Corey has been hooking into. While most people only undertake one really big build in their lifetime, Corey assures us that Josh is really going to town on the Muzzy, and we can’t wait to see it.
1969 HOLDEN LC TORANA GTR
|House of Kolor Shimrin2 Candy
|Dart LS Next alloy 427ci
|Brodix NxtGen CNC billet intake, custom PWR intercooler, Accufab 102mm
|Twin Precision 6062
|Brodix NxtGen BR7 CNC, Comp rockers, Trend pushrods
|Custom Tremaniac Racing hydraulic-roller
|Dailey three-stage dry sump
|Bosch injectors, custom fuel tank, Holley billet fuel pump
|PWR custom radiator, electric water pump
|Custom four-into-one 2in headers, 3.5in turbo-back system, Hurricane
|Holley EFI Smart Coils
|Coan billet bolt-together
|Sheet-metal 9in, Race Products 35-spline full-floater axles, Wavetrac
centre, 3.7:1 gears
|AFCO double-adjustable coil-overs, King Springs, tube crossmember, billet
steering rack, electric power steering
|AFCO double-adjustable coil-overs, King Springs, parallel four-link with
track locator, anti-roll bar, full chassis
|Wilwood 330mm discs and four-piston calipers (f), Wilwood 285mm discs and
four-piston calipers (r)
|WHEELS & TYRES
|Intro billet; 19×8 (f), 20×12 (r)
|Invo 225/35R19 (f), M/T ET Street 305/35R20 (r)
Corey, Wayne, Jason and all the guys at Street Elite Industries; Chris and Craig at BMV Engineering; Aaron at Tremaniac Racing; Bryan at Exhaust Innovations; Craig Rogers and Chris Bakker for the interior; Dave at Annvid for assisting with interior work; Mark at Blackneedle Upholstery; Ash at Wiring & Tuning Solutions; Fred at Protrans; Macca at Suspension Dynamics; Zane at House of Kolor Australia; Ray at Western Suburbs Differential; Dean at PRO Touring Fabrication; Jacob at Black Shine Detailing; Kilner’s Engineering; PWR; Glass 4 Classics; Competition Coatings