Blown and injected, Holden V8-powered LX SL/R Torana

It took two builds in nine years to get there, but Ricci Camilleri’s LX Torana has finally fulfilled his childhood dream

Photographers: Ben Hosking

RICCI Camilleri had built himself a nice LX Torana – good, but not great. It was a neat little street car, tidy enough to turn heads and even score a magazine feature, but as far as Ricci was concerned, it just wasn’t quite up to scratch.

First published in the November 2021 issue of Street Machine

“For that first build, I’d painted it yellow, as that was the colour of the SL/R my dad owned when I was a kid,” Ricci says. “As a street car, it was pretty good, but I’m a perfectionist. The body wasn’t as straight as I wanted. Also, the paint and the gaps were not as good as I would have liked. This and some other stuff drove me nuts.”

The only solution was to tear it apart and go again.

“The smartest thing I did this time around was to involve Paul at ProFlo Performance. Having done a great job on my ’57 Chev, I knew he’d understand my dream and bring my vision into reality.”

With body and paint being the biggest issues with the previous build, they were first areas addressed. Carl Galea spent bulk hours finessing the panel fitment, straightness and gaps. Then Mick from Harry’s Restorations filled his gun with a tweaked version of an Audi red to give the LX a whole new look.

“I’m not telling anybody what we did with the colour, as I don’t want anybody to copy it,” says Ricci. “It looks incredible out in the sun; it really pops.”

Even though he’s more than happy now, Ricci was initially mortified when it came back from paint. “I knew it still needed to be blocked, but it was full of peel and the panels looked wavy,” he said. “My cousin Steve Falzon and I went at it with 1200, but it wasn’t doing the trick. I rang Mick to complain, but he told me to block it with 800, as he put on tons of clear. I was hesitant, but it worked, and it’s now dead-smooth.”

With the body and paint looking a million dollars, it was time for ProFlo to take over. “At Powercruise, I watched these blown cars blast past me, so I knew I wanted that,” says Ricci. “Other than that, I told Paul to do whatever he thought best.”

Having built the car’s previous 355ci stroker Holden, Paul this time stepped things up to 383 cubes, with a COME steel crank, Callies Ultra rods and custom RaceTec slugs.

To go with the extra cubes, Paul worked his magic on a set of cast-iron VN heads, with the comp coming in at around 10:1, and also specced the matching solid-roller cam. However, the real party piece is the 8/71 Blower Shop supercharger and Enderle Bird Catcher hat sitting on top.

ProFlo is well known for cleverly converting traditional mechanical injection systems to modern EFI. Hiding inside the scoop is eight 2000cc injectors, while a throttle position sensor (disguised as an Enderle barrel valve) is adapted to the side of the butterflies. The ECU is a FuelTech FT600, which also doubles as a digital dash.

The result is 754wrhp, with more tuning and refinement to come.

“COVID lockdowns intervened, and Just Engine Management hasn’t finished tuning,” says Ricci. “Although built to run E85, it runs a flex-fuel sensor, so they’re also doing a 98 tune just in case I ever get stuck. Initially I was against building the engine for E85, but I was completely over the overheating issues I had with the previous set-up. Paul assured me that E85 would solve all those problems, which is what sold me on it.”

The brawny mill sits in a smoothed and sanitary engine bay highlighted by plenty of bling and tons of powdercoating by Damien and Jason from Lowe Fabrications. But Ricci resisted the temptation to give the car’s undercarriage the same show-quality treatment.

“I really wanted to plate and smooth the underside as well – make it full show – but Paul talked me out of it, saying, ‘As soon as you get a few stone chips, you’ll get pissed off and never drive it.’ I’m paranoid now about damaging it – so yeah, I guess he was right.”

Connecting the snarling Holden V8 to the sheet-metal nine-inch is an Al’s Race Glides-built full-manual TH400.

To achieve the ride height he was after, while simultaneously enhancing ride quality and cornering capability, Ricci opted to fit one of United Speed Shop’s gorgeous Magnum front ends. ProFlo re-engineered how this piece bolts into place.

Originally, four bolts went down through the top of the chassis rails into the K-member. The tops of those factory holes have now been smoothed over, and short studs were added to the Magnum front end that poke up into the chassis rail and are fastened via nuts inside the rail. “For me, the lower the better,” says Ricci. “I love the stance of the car. That’s why I went with the Magnum front end.”

Out back, ProFlo built a custom parallel four-link set-up to better handle the grunt. Trying their best to put the prodigious power down are sticky Pirelli P-Zero hoops wrapped around American Legend forged billet wheels.

Mark Sant from Ontrak Auto Electrical fully rewired the car. Instead of the usual gaggle of fuses, circuit breakers and relays, he opted for a Moristech power distribution module. “He did an incredible job,” says Ricci. “You can’t see a single wire. He also recommended the FuelTech system.”

Rather than just plonk the digital dash and the small O2 readouts either side into place, Julian Pereira from Empire 3D Printing & Design Studio printed a whole new fascia and matching glovebox lid. “They were a complete pain to paint, but well worth the effort, as the way it’s all integrated looks almost factory,” Ricci says.

Jason from Big Wheel Minchinbury continued the factory-style look by retrimming the Recaro seats in SL/R material, matching the doors and back seat. The B&M Quicksilver shifter and RetroSound stereo unit have also been made to look like factory pieces. I bet only diehard Torana aficionados will notice the custom grey seatbelts!

“Steve Falzon and I handled final assembly of the whole car,” Ricci says. “We both spent a solid month detailing the finished car – eight hours a day, four weeks straight!”

Ricci had started pulling the LX apart in March 2018, with the transformation finally complete in March this year. Unfortunately, because of COVID lockdowns, he hasn’t really driven it much at all. “From the few miles I have put on it, it’s incredible,” he says. “Paul kicked it out of the park; it’s now the car I always wanted. Since I was a kid, it’s been my dream to get my car featured in Street Machine. I couldn’t be happier!”


Paint: Audi Red
Brand: 383 Holden V8
Induction: Enderle Bird Catcher
Blower: TBS 8/71 billet 
Intake: Newby
ECU: FuelTech FT600
Heads: VN cast iron
Camshaft: ProFlo solid-roller
Conrods: Callies Ultra
Pistons: RaceTec custom
Crank: COME Racing steel
Oil pump: Peterson
Fuel system: Triple Walbro pumps
Exhaust: ProFlo 2in primary headers, dual 3in ceramic-coated exhaust
Ignition: Eight LS coils, crank trigger
Gearbox: TH400 reverse-pattern, manualised
Converter: TCE 4500rpm stall
Diff: Sheet-metal 9in, Strange 35-spline centre
Front: United Speed Shop double A-arms, QA1 coil-overs, United Speed Shop manual
Rear: Tubular upper and lower arms, Panhard bar, Strange coil-overs
Brakes: Baer calipers and discs (f & r)
Master cylinder: PBR Commodore
Seats: Recaro
Steering wheel: Holden SL/R
Dash: 3D-printed
Instruments: FuelTech FT600
Shifter: Quicksilver
Rims: American Legend Phantom three-piece; 19×7 (f), 19×11 (r)
Rubber: Pirelli P-Zero; 225/35R19 (f), 305/30R19 (r)

Paul Sant and crew (ProFlo Performance); Mark Sant (Ontrak Auto Electrical); Jason (Big Wheel Minchinbury); Mick (Harry’s Restorations); Carl Galea (bodywork); Julian Pereira (Empire 3D Printing & Design Studio); Damien and Jason Lowe (Lowe Fabrications); Steve Falzon (final assembly & detailing)