Surf’s up! FX Holden woody wagon

Want unique? Gary Schulz threw a blown 350 Chev into the only FX woody in the world

Photographers: Tony Rabbitte

You reckon the Snowy Mountains Scheme was a big project? Just check out this wondrous woody crafted by Gold Coast residents Gary and Maxine Shultz. This thing is more like a new car with FX
styling cues rather than a customised humpy, with a ton of custom bodywork, blown Chev powerplant and a mix of Toyota HiLux and UC Torana underpinnings.

First published in the October 2002 issue of Street Machine

Gary isn’t sure where the inspiration came from to build a woody but once the bug bit, he was gone.

“My first idea was to start out with a factory-built car,” he says. “I went and looked at a ’46 Ford, which had been used as a taxi in South America, but the thing was a basket case. But with all the work we have put into the FX, it would have been much easier to restore the ’46!”

The build started with a restorable FX sedan but the only original parts that ended up in the finished product were the rear guards, firewall, windscreen surround, front quarter vent windows and door handles. Gary drew the concept on paper, Expression Session style, then took his plans to an engineer.

“I told him what I wanted to do and he took me through everything that I’d need to get right to make it legal,” he says. “It’s the only way to go, you have to go through the right channels.”

That’s for sure. The classifieds are littered with projects that could not be registered because eager customisers reached for the gas axe before the rule book. To earn its blue Qld modification plate, the FX had to be built safe, with side intrusion bars, child restrain points, burst-proof locks and roll-over protection.

With the legal hurdles clear, Gary set to work. He cut the firewall, windscreen surround and inner guards from the FX and placed them over a 1985 HiLux chassis.

“I made the floorpan out of sheetmetal, formed and folded it myself, flat all the way through,” says Gary, “I channelled the body over the chassis six inches to give it a nice low ride height, but retain practical suspension travel.”

As the rear doors on a FX sedan form part of the rear guards, this section of door was cut and grafted to form a one-piece fender. A fibreglass flip front was fitted and a frame fabricated from box steel tube. Then it was time to start working with the wood! Gary made dummies of the roof, one side and the rear from pine, then took it to good mate Les Wilson who did the real thing in American white ash.

“Les is a genius. The front doors have three angles and a twist and he got it perfect,” Gary says.

The woodwork is polished and covered in several coats of Aussie marine two-pack to ensure a long life, while the metal and fibreglass is resplendent in DeBeer Yellow Chrome duco.

The wagon is a triumph, but with no plans to follow, even Gary had his doubts about how it would turn out. You see, not only did Holden never make a woody, they only made one prototype FJ wagon. All this car’s proportions all came from Gary’s head.

“It wasn’t until I was three quarters through the build that I was confident it was going to be okay. I kept waiting for some impossible engineering problem to crop up, but it never did, thank Christ!” There were plenty of tricky problems though, like getting the rear door locks and window winders to function.

“The rear doors ended up being much thicker than original, so I couldn’t use the factory winders,” Gary says. “I had to cut the guts out of the factory door and weld it to the frame of the new door, complete with all the mechanisms. Then the doors were too thick for the factory handles, so I made new ones from aluminium.”

Neat details abound, such as the rear taillights. Hella semi trailer lenses were cut down with a diamond saw and fitted to a wooden bezel.

However, the key to the success of the project was the retention of the FX’s characteristic grille, bumpers and headlights, which give the wagon a factory-style aura.

The dead cool interior is trimmed in beige leather, with comfy Subaru buckets and HR Premier rear bench, while the dash is a custom job, filled with Auto Meter Hot Rod Series gauges and kick-arse modern audio.

As you’d expect. the FX has claimed its fair share of tinware, scooping Top Wagon, Outstanding Engineered Elite Street Machine and a place in the Top 20 Elite at Summernats 15. The FX also scored People’s Choice at both the 2001 Brisbane and Gold Coast Hot Rod Shows.

“I’m starting to use the wagon a lot more now,” Gary says. “It’s coming to the end of its show life. Most people have had a chance to look at it, so now I can enjoy driving it.”

Lucky then that this show winner drives real nice. The whole schebang weighs in at just 1520kg (much less than a new Commodore) and with a blown 350 Chev under the convenient flip front, this is one custom that can boogie with the best of them – even on the LPG that it sucks.

Gary was a keen long board rider up until a few years back, when car building started to eat into his surfing time! He won’t have many opportunities to hit the waves in the near future either, with a ’34 Ford woody project already on the boil.

“It’s gonna be out there,” Gary chuckles. Can’t wait!


Just as the ’49-’51 Mercury coupe is the quintessential custom car base in the US, the FX-FJ Holden has been by far the most popular car for Aussie metal magicians. While not all attempts at reshaping Australia’s Own have proved successful, many classic creations have been created over the last 40 years, including convertibles, pillarless two-doors, sexy coupes and mean chop tops.

It’s also interesting to note that unlike their Seppo cousins, Aussie customisers throughout the decades have placed equal emphasis on serious horsepower upgrades to match their wild body work. Here are some of the best that have been featured in Street Machine.


Colour:Yellow Chrome
Engine:350 Chev
Blower:Weiand 4/71 equivalent
Induction:Twin 435 Impco LPG carbs
Steering:UC Torana
Gearbox:Turbo 350
Converter:2500rpm stall
Diff:HiLux 3.55:1
Trim:Beige leather
Gauges:Auto Meter
Seats:Subaru front, HR Premier rear
Rims:Dragway 15×6 (f) and 16×8 (r)
Rubber:Bridgestone 165×60 (f) and 265×60 (r)