The TAFE team at Bathurst gets wrecked racers back on track overnight in a furious session of flying sparks and spray paint. Some blokes seem to rattle off world-class restorations in a matter of weeks, while others labour daily for years, yet remain knee-high in dust and rust. So when WA brothers Roger and David Williams told us they started building this classic ’62 EK Holden 18 years ago it left us slack-jawed.
First published in the April 2004 issue of Street Machine
“We bought it back in 1986 and we planned to take it to the first Summernats at the end of ’87,” explains David. “We’d never painted a car before, but had a go at it. Candy apple. We painted each panel separately, every weekend.” And when everything was hung back on the shell, the pair realised that each panel was a slightly different colour.
With the car looking like a picnic blanket, the pair didn’t bother taking it to Summernats.
“We went anyway, as spectators,” David says, “and saw lots of guys over there with flared guards. Over here in WA there weren’t any. And we saw lots of cars with blowers through the bonnet. Same thing. So that gave us a reason to take the paint back to metal and begin again.”
But they botched the guards, admits David. “Too much heat made them wonky. We took the car to a highly-recommended workshop, but they no better than before. Frustration crept in and work ground to a halt.”
The car sat safe in a big shed the pair had built especially for the EK (complete with pit and rotisserie), and other pursuits got priority. Then Roger suffered a severe stroke, leaving him paralysed on the right side of his body and unable to talk. The mobility returned, but he was laid low for a year, and almost a decade passed before the boys fired up the EK project again.
“In 1999 we found a bloke called Les Rowe, a body restorer who helped us out with some old-fashioned skill and lead wiping,” David says. The boys then decided i might be a good idea to do the whole car at once.
With such a lengthy break since it was dismantled, reassembling the car proved a challenge. “We had all these parts that we’d taken off, cleaned up, sandblasted, painted and boxed for what we thought was one year,” Dave says. “It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle putting it all back together again!”
Inspired by what they’d seen at Summernats, the pair decided back then that a supercharger might be fun. While there, they happened to flick through an old Street Rodding magazine and found an article on Bob Fischer blower kits for Holden sixes. Bingo. The blower they found sat around doing nothing all these years, too, as did the engine, which was rebuilt in 1987. It runs a Yella Terra head and a Waggott cam over almost standard internals and the blower pumping in 7psi boost. The engine runs a 2mm decompression plate, rather than low-comp pistons.
“We weren’t really sure if we could get away with running the blower,” explains Dave, “so we had the engine built to suit a carby, then fitted the decompression plate. That way, we can take off the blower and take out the plate if we had to, and simply refit a Holley 350.”
The gearbox is from an LJ Torana GTR and the diff is HR. Completing the old-school driveline is an HR disc brake front end with Castlemaine Rod Shop drop spindles and two-inch lowered coils. “It’s a bit too low,” concedes David. “It struggles over speed humps. I think we may have to bring it up a bit.”
Chair-maker David and his linesman brother refoamed and resprung the seats before getting Autopolstry to make up the new covers and door trims.
The boys bought extra carpet and vinyl to do the boot themselves. “Mate, women love the white interior. I don’t know how many times we’ve been asked whether we hire it out for weddings.”
The car finally made its long-awaited debut last October, at WA’s Street Machine and Hot Rod Spectacular, where it won Top Street Machine. They followed this up with a Top 10 trophy at Motorvation 2004.
“We get a brilliant reception with this car,” states David. “It really strikes a chord. It was also an honour to have Owen Webb congratulate us on our paint job. Basically, we’ve tried to do everything ourselves. If we stuff it up, then we ask for help.
“The whole thing for us has been to be patient, do the research, and end up with something good.”
While there have been many great advances in forced induction for Holden sixes over the last decade (think custom turbo and centrifugal blower set ups, EFI and CRS budget blowers), it’s damn hard to beat a GM pump swinging off the side for sheer visual impact. Bob Fischer of Bob Fischer Automotive advises us that he still makes his red motor blower kits, but only to special order. They retail for $5300, including pump, manifold, pop-off valve, drive pulley system and blower support.
DAVID & ROGER WILLIAMS
1961 EK HOLDEN SEDAN
|Spray Chief Candy Apple Red
|Holden 186, bored to 192ci
|GM 4/71, Fischer manifold
|Genie extractors, 2.5in stainless
|Regraphed distributor, JP hi-vol oil pump
|Torana GTR M20 four-speed manual
|Veem Engineering custom
|3.36:1 HR LSD
|HR crossmember and discs, 2in CRS dropped stub, Monroe GT gas shocks Lovells springs
|Monroe GT Gas shocks, 1in lowering block, HR drums
|15×6 & 15×8 Dragway DB108
|195/50 & 225/50 Sumitomo HTR