EDEN Flack is one of the new breed of car enthusiasts shunning more traditional Gen Y rides and immersing themselves in the kustom kulture scene. “I did the whole Commodore thing early on,” says Eden. “You know – bodykit, pearl paint and supercharged donk – but after selling it for a fraction of what I’d spent I decided it was time to build stuff where raw character and personality makes the statement.”
The sore experience with the Commodore swung him towards the two-wheeled scene for a few years, where he built a heap of custom bikes that he either flipped for profit or took on as customer projects. As the main man behind the Temora-based Eden’s Engineering, the car- and bike-focused Eden’s Customs is presently a sideline deal to his general fabrication and machining work. “We all know the attraction – it’s a real thrill to make something cool out of nothing. So a few years ago I started to collect old cars, bikes and parts from local farms and businesses before the scrappies strip them bare, buying stuff cheap and hopefully making something out of it.”
Case in point is Eden’s FC dirt-dragger, Dirtbag, built especially for this year’s Chopped. “I’m a member of Junkers and went to Chopped in 2012 as a spectator,” he says. “I was totally inspired by what I saw, came back and immediately got busy.”
Within a week Eden had bought a running 308 and Trimatic out of Sydney and hatched a plan for the humble FC languishing behind his shed. “I’d owned the FC for a few months and bought it as part of a package deal from a local farmer. He had a Jailbar on his scrap pile that I was keen on but he had to move the FC to free the truck. I figured I’d drag its sorry arse home, too.
“It’s funny, y’know, the only reason I even knew of the Jailbar was because I’d actually looked at buying the FC 15-odd years ago. And it was rooted back then [laughs]. It’s one of those cars that’s too far gone to put back on the road but too good to scrap, so it’s perfect for a track bruiser.”
Eden began the Frankenstein transformation by yanking the seized grey motor and shoehorning the V8 into the cramped confines of the FC bay. “It was a tight fit due to the wide V of the Holden donk and the fact that I kept the factory FC steering and front end. But I wanted the car to be all-Aussie, which is why I stayed away from a narrower Chev.
To handle the extra power and intended thrashing, Eden fabricated a hidden chassis from scratch that ties the undercarriage together but doesn’t detract from the exterior appeal. The factory floorpan and sills are rotten to the core, so it needed something to stop it tearing in half when the go pedal is smashed. The 308 runs a four-barrel Holley and secret grind cam – not even Eden knows the specs – but has more than enough grunt to torch the skinny 13-inch hides off the 1000kg Special. “I don’t actually know what’s been done to the engine but it’s pretty cammy. The scrap-built headers and flamethrowers peeling through the front guards make it sound tough and look wild, too. Fuck it’s loud, though. It scares the shit out of people when I fire it up, but it always makes them grin!” [Laughs]
Rounding out the running gear is a Hurst-shifted Trimatic, shortened V8 tailshaft and stock Banjo diff that has had the centre welded to try and prolong its life. The lightweight and ample grunt has so far been kind to the toothpick axles, too, but Eden will pack a few spares when he heads to Newstead just in case. “I’ve given it an absolute pizzling so far and it just zings the tyres that quickly and easily that I don’t even think they cop much load,” he says. “Dirt will be a heap easier on the driveline too, so fingers crossed.”
Brakes all round are rebuilt factory drums fitted with a driver-operated T-piece that pokes nicely through a rust hole in the floor and clamps off the rear brakes for even less driveline restriction. The suspension is also stock but has been dropped three inches at the front and a whopping seven inches at the rear.
Come Christmas 2012, the FC was all but done, running and torching tyres like a champion, but it was another ten months ’til Chopped. “I was twiddling my thumbs so thought I may as well chop it. I’d never attempted a roof cut before and figured the FC was the perfect test bed to give it a go; if I fucked it up it didn’t really matter.”
Eden had seen a few FEs and FCs sliced in the past but was adamant that his version would be different. “I didn’t want to go down the coupe path with welded-up rear doors and wanted the curve and bulge of the roof to better match the proportions of the window holes.” To that end, Eden sliced four inches from the front, which tapers to a neat six inches at the rear for a more Sloper-esque appearance. It works a treat with the humble Aussie FC styling cues, and is made all the more impressive when you take into account it was Eden’s first attempt at roof surgery. Careful blending and texturing of the paint at the weld points has kept the hard-earned patina intact, with extra care taken through the process to ensure the moss and mildew still holds pride of place! The remaining paint is “55 years of mother nature” factory two-tone. The recently applied signwriting is the work of local artist Ricky Hard.
“Temora is a small town of about 6000, and 5990 of those folks don’t really understand what I do,” says Eden. “People don’t seem to ‘get’ the FC and are always asking when I’m going to paint it or fix the rust. They stare at me blankly when I tell them it’s meant to be that way.”
Eden’s current project will no doubt further add to the confusion, it being a 40s Chev truck built on a Toyota chassis. “I’m using an older Stout chassis to make rego easier but have outfitted it with later model Hilux running gear,” he says. “It’ll run a similar 308 combo and feature plenty of one-off parts. Outwardly the truck will be very ratty looking, so as my daily driver it’s sure to keep the local tongues wagging.”
Don’t despair, Eden, you’re amongst friends here.