IN THE distance, I can hear that unmistakable whine: a Roots-blown V8. Seconds later, a luminescent green, tough-as-nails AP6 Valiant powers around the corner, the sun glinting off the twin-carbied blower towering through the bonnet. The tough and tidy AP6 easily pulls up and a smiling Lucas Hurley disembarks from the luxurious cream cockpit.
This article was first published in the July 2020 issue of Street Machine
Straight away, Lucas enthuses about his chosen powerhouse. “The 6/71 is awesome,” he says. “It’s so torquey; it just torches the tyres. It’ll fry the rubber at 100km/h or whatever speed you’re doing; you have to be careful.”
“The flashiest thing on the car is the diff,” Lucas explains. “It’s a mega-buck Competition Engineering 9in that’s chrome-moly fabricated. It’s 35-spline, so while it might be overkill, nothing will break”
When it comes to tough Mopars, the AP6 is rarely a model that comes to mind, but that’s precisely why Lucas wanted to create a blown, fat-arsed, radiant green example. “From a young age I was reading car magazines and wanted to build a half-decent AP6,” he says. “My mission was to build something cool that I could take to car shows, spin the wheels, but also be reliable and drive like a new car. I wanted a less-is-more look – simple, clean and fast.”
Oddly enough, Lucas got the ball rolling on the project before the car itself had even been purchased. “I bought the APSIX number plates on the internet late one night; that meant that I had to find a car for them to go on. I bought the plates 12 months before the car!” he explains.
“Originally I went with big-diameter billet rims, but soon realised it was not quite the look I was after,” Lucas says. “So I replaced them with the Pro Street-look Weld Magnums, with beadlocks on the rear”
“I already had a mint, factory V8 AP6 in original condition, which was one of 11 in light blue with a white vinyl roof and black interior. That car was too rare to cut up, so I sold it and bought this tidy, one-owner base-model AP6 sedan.”
Powered by a slant-six, this AP6 was a rust-free minter in Alpine White, but Lucas was more than willing to wield the gas axe over his newly acquired ride. He stripped it in readiness for its mega-makeover, then made provisions for the copious driveline upgrades, including a tubbed bum to balance the planned tower of power up front.
After spying a similar colour at Summernats, Lucas had Kool Cars & Kustoms in Townsville mix this PPG custom metallic green with gold pearl. The result is a gleaming, neck-snapping paintjob worthy of this tough build
“I hadn’t owned a 6/71-supercharged car and always wanted one,” is Lucas’s simple logic behind his chosen power adder. Topped with twin 850cfm E85 carbs, the howling Weiand blower feeds a 410ci stroker engine based on a Mopar Performance R3 block, brimming with everything required to take a beating.
“It’s been on the dyno but could only get to 500hp before the low-profile tyres spun up,” Lucas says. “We gave it a few pulls and it couldn’t do it, but now I’ve changed the rims and tyres I’ll try it again – I’d say it’s good for 800hp at the fly.”
Taking the punishment down the line is a TCI 904 Torqueflite with an ATI 3500rpm stall feeding a custom chrome-moly tailshaft, which runs back to an all-business Competition Engineering chrome-moly fabricated nine-inch.
Lucas further invested in sufficient stopping power to pull up the blown 410-cuber, bolting APC discs on all four corners. Wheels are now Pro Street-spec big-and-little Weld Magnums, wearing beadlocks on the rear.
Lucas has affixed the polished 6/71 blower to a tough 410ci small-block Mopar, stuffed with a Crane cam, Diamond slugs and a 4in Callies DragonSlayer stroker crank, running on E85
The colour is fairly in-your-face and not something you’d expect to see on an AP6 – but then neither is an enormous polished blower. “A mate sent me a photo of a Nissan Silvia in a similar green at Summernats, and the billet and chrome really stood out against the green – it was an excellent combo,” Lucas says.
Kool Cars & Kustoms in Townsville were tasked with the panelwork and paintjob, and with no rust to fix, they instead got cracking on deleting the fuel filler and aerial before laying down the incandescent PPG custom-mix metallic green with gold pearl.
Less is more inside, with Ed’s Motor Trimming stitching cream leather over modified Mazda 323 front and AP6 rear seats. A quartet of Auto Meter gauges neatly fill the small gauge panel, while the finishing touches are the SAAS Classic Series tiller and B&M Pro Stick shifter
“Once I got the Valiant into my air-conditioned two-car shed – it’s Townsville, we have to have a/c – I spent three to four hours every night piecing it all back together,” Lucas says.
“It took six years to build, and not without a few dramas,” he continues. “Brand-new parts failed, including cheap and nasty fuel fittings, and there was some dodgy chrome plating. Now I’ve fixed all of that and I’m really happy with the way the car has turned out. I get a lot of comments; people go nuts over the green. I first had big billets on the car, but I prefer the Pro Street look so swapped to the Weld Magnums. Next, I’m going to change up the rocker covers.”
While APSIX has all of the Pro Street feels, Lucas has no interest in testing its mettle at the track. “I have a black VH Charger I’m rebuilding that is more of a race car,” he says. “APSIX has no ’cage, and it’s hard to clean the dirt out of the cream interior, so I’ll just cruise it for a bit.
“It’s funny; I remember back to when I was starting to get into cars as a 13-year-old and older people would tell me that I’d grow out of it,” Lucas muses. “But now I’m 46, and I still want fast, fun cars!”
1966 VALIANT AP6 SEDAN
Paint: PPG custom metallic green with gold pearl
Donk: 410ci, Mopar Performance R3 block
Induction: 6/71 Weiand supercharger, twin 850cfm Quick Fuel E85 blower carbs
Manifold: Max Wedge
Heads: Mopar Performance alloy
Pistons: Diamond forged
Crank: Callies DragonSlayer 4in
Oil pump: Melling
Fuel system: E85, MagnaFuel 500
Cooling: PWR alloy radiator, Spal thermo fan
Exhaust: Ceramic-coated block-huggers, 3½in stainless exhaust system, MagnaFlow muffler
Ignition: ICE 7-amp system
Trans: TCI 904 Torqueflite
Converter: ATI 3500rpm stall
Tailshaft: Custom 3½in chrome-moly, billet Mark Williams yoke
Diff: Competition Engineering chrome-moly 9in, Moser aluminium carrier, 3.5:1 Richmond gears, Detroit Locker, Moser 35-spline axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: 2in drop spindles, Mopar 1in torsion bars, QA1 shocks
Rear: 3in-lowered leaf springs, Strange shocks
Brakes: APC four-piston calipers and 330mm slotted discs (f), APC two-piston calipers and 300mm slotted discs (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood 1.1in
Other: Late-model Chrysler stud pattern
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld Magnum; 17×4.5 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber: M/T Sportsman; 26x6x17 (f), 26×12.5×15 (r)
Kool Cars & Kustoms; Carby Centre Performance & Mechanical; Ed’s Motor Trimming; Aitkenvale Auto & Dyno; KV’s Race Fabrication; Phat Wheels & Tyres; Stickman; Army Dave; Tracey and my family