Video: Wild custom FJ Holden coupe

Anthony Fuller blends steel and style to create a ground-pounding custom FJ Holden coupe

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Curves and chrome: the automotive style of the 1950s is a baseline for a lot of car crafters, even if they were born decades later. Like 32-year-old Queenslander Anthony Fuller, for instance. He works as a panel beater at resto specialist Weavers Autobody Restorations in Beenleigh, and in his spare time, he created this terrific FJ Holden two-door coupe built to a ‘factory’ theme.

First published in the June 2022 issue of Street Machine

Like many of us, Anthony got into cars through his dad. “He always had shitty old cars!” he laughs. “I grew up in the back of old Holden wagons and stuff, so that’s what got me into it. Dad’s still into cars – he has a couple of FE/FCs and they’re both on the road.”

Being a car-loving kid is hardly unusual, but how many of them grow up to envisage, let alone build, a wild humpy two-door like this? “It was quite a drawn-out deal,” Anthony says of the project. “It’s been on and off all the way.” In fact, the build has taken him more than a decade to complete.

Anthony explains how it all began. “I bought an FJ ute when I was at high school,” he says. “I began my apprenticeship and eventually swapped the ute for two FJ sedans more than 10 years ago. One of them was okay and the other wasn’t quite so good. Actually, it’s probably best to say they were both rooted!”

In other words, they were perfect for what Anthony had in mind: a fun mud-runner like what he’d seen at the Chopped Hot Rod & Custom Festival in Victoria.” Going there gave me the idea to create a two-door paddock-basher that I could take,” he says.

With that goal set, Anthony got to work on his two humpies. “We chopped them up after beers at our workshop Christmas party,” he explains. “Then they sat outside the workshop, looking like yard art, for about six months. But then some ideas started coming together and I got back into it.”

Initially, Anthony’s build budget was “nothing, except lots of time”. But his increasing pride in what he was creating eventually meant investing some dollars as well as sense. Thankfully, plenty of scrounged and swapped parts – and skill-swap favours with mates – kept the bill relatively low.

The build was progressing nicely when a trip to Summernats made Anthony realise he could make the FJ into much more than just a fun cruiser. “I came back from that event thinking I could make it nice and shiny,” he explains. “At that stage, I’d put a lot of work into it, so it made sense to raise the level of quality going into it.”

Body-wise, Anthony wanted to make the FJ look more like a 1940s Chev. “I picked up a stack of post-war style traits,” he says.

With the rear doors given the heave-ho, the front doors were extended and an FJ ute’s rounded rear upper door corner was the starting point for the door glass. “The side glass is custom-cut,” he says. “It was too difficult to make the rear glass raise and lower, so that’s now fixed [in place].”

Surprisingly, the windscreen is the original height and rake, with the roofline tapering away towards the rear. The bonnet has been bulked a bit to visually balance the longer body.

Underneath, plenty of work was put into getting this ol’ gal to scrape. “There’s a few secrets there!” Anthony laughs. “Everything sheet-metal under the car – floor, tunnel, firewall – is new. Pretty much the whole thing is on a custom chassis; by the time I’d put some of my ideas into practice, there was nothing original remaining.”

To get the car this low, the new tunnel lies about two inches under the seat – not much more than the thickness of the foam. The rear axle – a narrowed Commodore item on a fabricated four-link – can rise above the level of the original floor. “The rear tyres tuck up inside the body,” Anthony emphasises. “They’re not just inside the wheelarches anymore.”

The front suspension was a little easier. “It has its FJ subframe, but it has an HR Holden crossmember in there,” Anthony explains. “I’d do it differently now, but I couldn’t afford anything too fancy.” The hardware up front includes later-model HQ spindles with associated bigger brakes, a Commodore steering rack and Slam Specialties airbags.

The car’s driveline is a gentle surprise. Anthony liked the idea of using something era-correct, which might make one expect a grey Holden six, maybe fitted with twin carbs and some shiny bits. Nope. Instead, he’s gone with a 1950s Chevrolet 235ci Blue Flame six, giving the car more than 100 extra cubes over a stock FJ. The mill was a leftover from a ’53 Chev truck engine swap, and it adds to that ‘GM Concept Car’ look and feel.

The coupe’s colour rounds out the ‘factory’ theme; Anthony has dubbed the shade ‘Budda’s Boat Grey’. “I was originally going to do a more modern colour,” he admits, “but the bloke next door, Budda, was painting his boat and he showed me some colour chips.”

The ‘FU’ model designation is a clever play on Holden’s 1950s model codes – not to mention a cheeky, er, acknowledgement of the ‘Wrecked A Classic’ mob. “I still call it ‘FJ’ to people who might not get it!” Anthony laughs.

So with this decade-long project finally on the road, what’s next on Anthony’s agenda? “I need to repay some favours,” he laughs.


  • Stock-height/angle windscreen and A-pillars
  • Rounded door frame top edge
  • Relocated B-pillars
  • Front doors stretched
  • Custom lengthened door glass
  • Custom fixed rear side glass
  • Bonnet peaked 2.5in
  • Reshaped sills
  • Front wheelarch edges lifted
  • Wheelbase stretch
  • Reshaped rear turret
  • Turret tapered rearward
  • Rear wheelarches relocated further back


Paint: Wattyl Colourthane ‘Budda’s Boat Grey’
Brand: Chevrolet Blue Flame 235ci
Induction: Stromberg carby
Internals: Standard with stainless valves
Sump: Modified for Holden crossmember
Cooling: Thermo fan
Exhaust: Fabricated dual system
Ignition: Pertronix electronic
Gearbox: Chevrolet three-speed manual; column shift
Diff: Narrowed Holden Commodore BorgWarner
Front: Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags, Monroe shocks
Rear: Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags, Monroe shocks
Brakes: HQ Holden discs and PBR calipers (f), Commodore drums (r)
Master cylinder: XY Falcon
Rims: 17in smoothies, FX Holden hubcaps (f & r)
Rubber: Excelsior 4.75/5.00×17 (f & r)

My wife and cats; Russell Weaver at Weavers Autobody Restorations; Gremals for paint; Craig Statham at CCC Auto Electrics; Kevin Gibson for trim; Troy for mechanics; Tanksy for sandblasting; Nav at 3D PrintMe; Budda for the paint/spray booth; my parents for supporting my habits; all my friends and family that have come and gone over the years of this build