1963 AP5 Valiant Regal – reader’s car

Holly Giddings built her ’63 AP5 Valiant Regal as a home-school tech job, tutored by her revhead dad, Dave.

Photographers: Greg Forster

FREELANCE make-up artist Holly Giddings built her ’63 AP5 Valiant Regal as a home-school tech job, tutored by her revhead dad, Dave. The four-year labour of love taught the now 22-year-old a heap of skills and patience, the pay-off being this rad cruiser.

You must’ve been a teenager when you bought the Val.

Yeah, I was 16 years old and I had hoped to learn to drive in it. Little did I know it would take so long to complete! I always wanted something different, and as I’d rarely see any Valiants, let alone AP5s, it was the perfect fit.

Easy to find?

I was young and my budget was small, so it took a little while to get something that didn’t have a ridiculous amount of rust or need too much work. I found this on eBay in Minyip, and I instantly fell in love. So we took the eight-hour round trip to bring it home.

What was it like?

It was extremely run-down, with a bit of rust. Dad and I have pretty much done a full restoration, doing everything ourselves apart from the seats.

Tell us about the resto.

I drew up the plans, including the classic red, blue and white theme. We did the bodywork and rust repairs, and added new windscreens and a complete rubber kit. Then inside we laid new carpet and headlining, and had the seats re-trimmed by Hughes Auto Trimmers. We sprayed it with custom-mixed satin blue paint with a gloss white roof. Rick Keyzer did the pinstriping as a finishing touch.

I also added the window visor and rear venetians, for an old-school look. The wheels are standard 14s, widened on the rear with stock caps. Underneath, the front end and brakes were rebuilt. We’ve lowered it with the torsion bar suspension wound down and two-inch lowering blocks on the rear. It sits at a perfect height – nice and low but still practical for driving.

Are you happy with the result?

Yes, it’s exactly to plan. There’s something special about having built not bought; it’s truly yours. I also learnt a lot of general car knowledge about how things work and why, and what really goes into restoring a car from scratch.

What’s she running?

A 225ci slant-six with extractors and a 2.5-inch sports exhaust. Behind is a push-button 904 Torqueflite and a standard diff. The original motor and transmission were shot, so we found new ones to rebuild.

What’s been the highlight to date?

Getting it registered and taking it to the 2015 Bright Rod Run for the first time. It was exciting yet daunting, as I’d hardly driven it before embarking on the five-hour trip. Luckily there were only a couple of minor hiccups and it hasn’t skipped a beat since. Now I just cruise it and take it to local shows.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Definitely my Dad. Without his endless hard work none of this would’ve been possible. Thanks Dad!