Blown 410-cube VF Valiant Regal 770

A who’s who of Sydney’s hot-car scene band together to transform this rare VF Regal 770 hardtop from an abandoned clunker to a trophy-winning stunner


Back in 2002, Arthur Mitsoulis was working on a Kings Cross construction site, and on his way to work each day, he’d drive past a VF Valiant coupe. “It hadn’t moved in a long time; it looked abandoned,” he says. “One day I stopped for a closer look and realised that, despite being buried under a mountain of dust and leaves, it was actually in very good condition. I left a Post-it note on the windscreen offering to buy the car.”

First published in the January 2023 issue of Street Machine

Much to Arthur’s surprise, he got a phone call that afternoon, and after some haggling, he snatched up that genuine Regal 770 coupe for the princely sum of $1000!

After a good wash and tune-up, it served as Arthur’s daily driver for the next three years, despite being a pretty rare model. “Few VF coupes are actually Regals,” Arthur explains. “Being a factory 318 Fireball, centre-console, bucket-seat car, it’s pretty special.

“As my career in the construction industry took off, I started doing too many kays, so the Val became a Sunday cruiser.”

Eventually, the hardtop’s original 318 began leaking and using way too much oil, and was replaced with a 408ci stroker crate motor, along with a built 727 auto and nine-inch. Unfortunately, the new engine proceeded to develop its own oiling issues, which sidelined the coupe for 18 months.

“Around 2015, I decided to pull the car off the road and fully restore it,” says Arthur. “That’s when I approached my good friend George Saad, who I’ve known since high school. George has built many cars, was a racer, and knows loads of people in the Sydney car scene through his 17 years at Rocket Industries.”

George sat down with Arthur to go over his plans for the car. “Arthur’s instructions were pretty simple: keep the grandpa-spec styling, but with an off-its-nut engine and driveline,” George says.

After completely stripping the car and mounting it on a rotisserie, Arthur and George set about dislodging 45 years of built-up grease and crud with a pressure washer, and were both amazed at the result. “Apart from a driver’s-side mirror, it wasn’t missing one thing,” Arthur says. “All the moulds are original; all the glass except for the front windscreen is original. The only rust was a bit in the back window and the bottom of a quarter – that’s it!”

“The front rails and sills were mint,” George adds. “Even the floors are 100 per cent factory sheet metal. There were no surprises after sandblasting.”

George’s brother Michael Saad from JT Performance then got stuck into the fabrication. The leaf springs were moved inboard, and the rear was mini-tubbed to accommodate the 20×12-inch Simmons FRs. JT Performance also set up the shortened nine-inch, which features a fabricated housing filled with a Strange alloy centre and 35-spline axles by Craft Differentials. To enhance driveability, the suspension was completely rebuilt and Strange adjustable coil-overs were added to each corner.

Next, the Val was sent to Ground Level Panel & Paint, initially just for a paintjob. However, once Arthur decided he wanted to unveil the car at Summernats, the paint and panel really had to step up a notch. With numerous awards to their credit, the Ground Level team were more than up to the task. The VF’s panels are arrow-straight, while the fresh covering of factory Alpine White is dead-flat and ripple-free.

That whole process took a solid 18 months, so during that time, George got onto the engine build. Nobody makes an off-the shelf blower kit for these mills, so George turned to Jeff Ramsay for the intake manifold and full blower set-up, as well as the EFI system hiding inside the Enderle hat. Matt Scala was tasked with assembling the angry 410ci small-block Mopar.

“Justin from Horsepower Solutions supplied all the Haltech gear and dialled in the tune,” says George. “It made 720hp on 98 PULP and only 8psi of boost. We could have wound the boost up, tuned it for E85 and made another 150hp easily. But 720 is plenty – it’s still super streetable.”

To cope with the new engine, Al’s Race Glides screwed together a tough 727 with a reverse-pattern valvebody and full billet internals.

Arthur’s attention then turned to the interior, and he was determined to source a particular burgundy-coloured, embossed Buffalo Hide vinyl trim. However, a two-year search turned up zilch. As luck would have it, though, Arthur was working on a building site where Steve Spirelis had a mobile café truck, and it turned out that not only was Steve a mad Valiant fan and a motor trimmer by trade (he owns SS Trimming), but he knew somebody who had a roll of the required vinyl! He was also more than happy to tackle the Val’s retrim – winning!

Steve’s brief was straightforward: full factory spec, including a rear venetian. “Steve killed it on the interior and the vinyl roof,” says Arthur. “It’s one of my favourite aspects of the car.”

Arthur is quick to point out that, aside from the engine and wheels, the hardtop is essentially a nut-and-bolt resto. “It’s not a GT, A9X or R/T – it’s not a race car, it’s an elegant cruiser,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to keep all the Regal’s exterior chrome work and stock interior.

“I wanted to restore this car for future generations,” he continues, “so I told George to build it as if it was his own. He’s so fanatical – happy to pull something on and off 20 times to make sure it’s right.”

Such fastidiousness was more than justified when the Val debuted at Street Machine Summernats 34, where it picked up a spot in the Top 60 and scored 3rd Top Coupe. Arthur even had a stab at Grand Champion!

“George handled all of the assembly,” says Arthur. “It was a mad rush to finish it for Summernats; we were still screwing stuff onto it at Canberra. I’m 49 and have never won a trophy for anything – this was my first ever!

“I don’t beat on the Val; it’s too nice,” Arthur continues. “It’s a bit like an old grandfather; you’ve got to take it easy on him. That’s why I have a few other cars, including a tough mini-tubbed, nitrous-fed, 433ci Chev-powered Capri.

And the AFRAY number plates? “The Val is pretty noisy; it is a bit of a public nuisance, which is the textbook definition of ‘affray’,” Arthur says. “[The plate with a double F] was already taken, so I had to settle for single F.”


Paint:DeBeer 2K Alpine White
Brand:Chrysler 410ci
Intake:Enderle Bird Catcher
Blower:The Blower Shop 6/71
Blower manifold:Jeff Ramsay Engineering
EFI:Jeff Ramsay Engineering
ECU:Haltech Elite 2500
Heads:Edelbrock alloy
Camshaft:Comp Cams solid-roller
Pistons:Scat H-beam
Crank:Scat steel
Oil pump:Melling
Fuel system:Aeromotive EFI (in tank)
Cooling:PWR radiator, 16in 3000cfm fan
Exhaust:Custom extractors, Flowmaster mufflers
Gearbox:727 Torqueflite, reverse-pattern valvebody
Tailshaft:3in with Strange yokes
Diff:HRP sheet-metal housing, 35-spline alloy Strange centre, 3.7:1 gears, Truetrac
Front:Reset torsion bars, Strange adjustable shocks
Rear:Inboard leaf springs lowered 60mm, coil-overs, CalTracs
Brakes:Wilwood 355mm discs and six-piston calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder:Wilwood
Rims:Simmons FR; 20×7 (f), 20×12 (r)
Rubber:225/35R20 (f), 335/30R20 (r)

Rocket Industries; Aeroflow Performance; Tim at Elko Performance; Luke at Hemi Performance; George Saad; Matt Scala for the engine; Alex and Tommy at Al’s Race Glides; Justin Simpson at Horsepower Solutions; Michael Saad at JT Performance; Red and Richard at Craft Differentials; Chris Spicer at CS Engineering; Callum Hinchcliffe at Adept Metal Polishing; Moose the detailer; Rocky Canto at Mould Repairs; Simon and Sebastian at Ground Level Panel & Paint; Scott Barter at Oxytech Powder Coating; Steve Spirelis at SS Trim; Mark Sant at Ontrak Auto Electrical; Chris Harden at Metal Restos; John at CK Sandblasting; John Saad; my wife Lucy and son Asher.