Methanol, 1500hp, and a blower through the bonnet. We take a look back at Anthony Trevaskis's 540-cube big-block '64 Holden EH - our cover car from April 2010

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

This article on Anthony’s EH Holden sedan was originally published in the April 2010 issue of Street Machine

WE CAN argue the merits of legal versus illegal streeters until the cows come home but it doesn’t change the fact that some cars, while not exactly streetable, are just pure, unadulterated fun.

Anthony Trevaskis’s EH Holden definitely falls into this category.

Anthony — Trashy to his mates — takes this blown and injected EH everywhere and the grin plastered across his face settles the ‘real street’ argument for him.

Talking of cows, Anthony’s don’t come home any more. “I was a dairy farmer,” he says, “but I sold my cows. Now I’m just doing hay and all that sort of stuff.”

Holden -eh -agro 64-rear -sideThe career change left him with a bit more time to himself so life’s a little more laid back these days, he reckons.

But what’s a guy to do in the off season? Why not slot together a mega-horsepower monster to run some numbers and fry the tyres whenever the urge hits?

“I’ve been into cars and ridden bikes my whole life,” he says. “I used to have cars when I was younger, then I got into the road bikes, had a Harley and a Yamaha R1, all that sort of stuff. Then everyone started falling off and hurting themselves and I thought: ‘Hmmm, time to get out of that, and back into a car again.’ Once the kids come along, you think: ‘Yeah, one day I’m not coming home.’”

Street machiners tend to covet the cars that were around when they were growing up. Guys in their 60s love cars from the 40s and 50s, the rides their parents owned when they were kids. So guys in their 40s, like Anthony, have a hankering for EHs, HKs and XW Falcons. Just think, some day AU Falcons might be considered cool.

Holden -eh -agro 64-front -nwOkay, maybe not.

Anthony had a more specific desire than most: “Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted a black EH. Big-block, blown, injected and tubbed.

“I’d heard of a car in Shepparton, which had been sitting around for a couple of years,” Anthony recalls. “Someone had bought it but then never did anything with it. It was just a roller but it sounded like something I could do something with, so I went around and had a look and after a week of hassling the guy, he ended up selling it to me.”

As a starting point it was good and bad. On the plus side were a tubbed rear, three-quarter chassis and a full rollcage.

“It used to be a drag car back in the early 90s, and had a blown and injected big-block,” Anthony says.

Holden -eh -agro 64-burnout“But it was pretty rough. When I bought it, the car had no firewall; yeah it was pretty rough. I just gave it a complete makeover, everything new from top to bottom.”

The ex-quarter horse also sported fibreglass panels for the boot, bonnet and guards but Anthony wanted some genuine 60s steel on his ride so all that stuff went.

With the firewall already cut, the opportunity was there to set the engine up properly. Apparently back when the car ran as a drag racer, the engine sat very forward with no radiator — seriously old-school.

“One of my mates and I recessed the firewall to fit the engine,” Anthony says. “Because it was an old-school set-up, I pushed it right back. I don’t know how far back I went — probably five or six inches.”

Anthony reckons the body was pretty good otherwise, with no rust or damage. “It was a really good solid shell, it’d been garaged its entire life, probably.

“Initially I was going to get a real good paint job done but I couldn’t get anyone to do it properly; I just got stuffed around for 12 months. In the end I was like: ‘I’m just going to paint the bloody thing satin black.’”

One of the guys from around Shepparton — “I don’t know his name, I just know him as Pronger” — ended up doing the bodywork and paint.

With the aim of getting the car up and running, Anthony found a secondhand donk to fill the vacant space at the front — a 468ci big-block Chev.

“I rebuilt that and put a 250hp nitrous kit on it,” he says. “I raced it with that and did a 9.4@150mph. With the 250 gas kit it didn’t hook up; it just black-tracked the whole quarter.”

With that kind of capability, you’d imagine the EH was a fair bit of fun but it all came crashing down at Springnats a couple years ago.

“I broke it, out on the skidpan, and I didn’t even know,” he admits. “When I got back to the pits, Sandy says: ‘That’s not running right!’

“We broke a roller lifter — it was all secondhand parts when we built it; I did it all the wrong way. So it broke the roller lifter and that went down through the engine and wrecked it.”

The good news was Anthony had a brand new Scott Shafiroff-built 540ci stroker on order from the US.

“It came over as a long motor; nothing from the heads up. The bottom end was dynoed; it came with dyno sheets and everything. They dynoed it with a single carb and on pump fuel — it made 790hp.”

It’s all top-shelf gear across the board. Callies crank, Oliver rods and Wiseco pistons all squeezed into a Dart Big-M standard-deck block. If there’s a physical manifestation of the term ‘bulletproof’ then this engine should be it.

At 790hp with a single carb the 540-cube donk would have been a healthy addition to any cool ride but Anthony decided to amp up the insanity with a BDS 8/71 blower and an Enderle Big & Ugly injection hat. Setting up methanol injection takes particular skills, so Anthony tapped Sandy Graham (aka Doggy) on the shoulder.

“It hasn’t been on a dyno but I’ve been told by blokes who set up this sort of stuff that it’s making between 1400 and 1500hp with the tune we’ve got in it now.

“It just smokes the tyres! It bounces on the limiter in top gear, and that’s with those big Sportsmans on it. We’ve never had it hook up yet.

“The plan is to do a whole new diff for it. I just want to go a full floater diff with fabricated housing, 35-spline axles and disc brakes. I’ve got to do that before I race it, otherwise I’ll end up in the wall.

“Then I’ll put some big new slicks on her and load it up,” he says with anticipation in his voice. “I want to run some numbers, see what it does. I’d be happy with a low eight or something. It should run in the eights; the engine’s probably capable of sevens, it’s just the car [chassis] that isn’t.”

Until that happens, though, Anthony’s happy to keep giving it some stick wherever he can.

“I just take it to car shows and Powerskid comps — they’re my favourites,” he says. “I’ve been in one burnout competition but I don’t intend on going in any more — it’s not built for that.”

So what does the family make of it? “The missus doesn’t think much of the car but the kids love it. Jack, he’s three, he just loves it. He and Abby get in it with the ear muffs on at car shows, and we cruise around.

“I drove it around Bright for three days. It got plenty of attention but I got away with it. I did get pulled up on the Saturday night and the cop was like: ‘What are you doing, driving a drag car around the streets?’ but I was pretty friendly to him and he let me go. I didn’t muck around or anything. The cop goes: ‘I pulled you up because you’ve got a bald tyre,’ and I said: ‘And what else?’ and he said: ‘I don’t know where to start with everything else.’”

Even without scoring fines, cruising can be an expensive exercise as Anthony discovered during a recent trip to Summernats. Nothing went wrong — he just cruised his arse off all weekend and the fuel bill was hefty.

“I used 600 litres of methanol cruising around Summernats. I just drove it, drove it, drove it. I didn’t even do any of the events. I hate lining up for something. It’s not like you can just start these cars up, turn them off, start them up, turn them off. You end up having to push them all the way down the line.”

At the moment Anthony admits the car isn’t exactly up to show spec but he’s just happy to use it rather than worry about looking after flashy paint or winning trophies. But that might change after he’s done everything he wants to do.

“Down the track I want to do an interior, probably in red leather or something, and do a nice black paint job. But everyone I talk to about black paint, they’re all talking 20 and 30 grand. I’m not going to spend that sort of money. I’ll have fun with it for four or five years and then, when I’m not using it as much any more, then I might go that route.”