Ford XD Falcon + ’57 Chev + VL Calais – Readers’ Rockets

We check out our readers' cool rides from the February 2020 issue of Street Machine


Jay Smith
1981 Ford XD Falcon

“I’M A Ford man through and through and have always loved XDs. I had an XD as my first car and have had seven of them since then. I bought this one six years ago; originally it had a six-cylinder in it, but it now has a 460ci big-block with ported aluminium heads, a Lunati flat-tappet cam, Victor manifold and a 950 Quick Fuel carby, putting out over 1000Nm of torque. The motor was built by Brook Gunning at BTG Mechanical & Performance in Albany; he does a brilliant job and has built my previous engines.

The gearbox is a manualised Powerglide with a 3500rpm stall, but we’re now changing that to a 4500rpm stall, built by Dean at Fremantle Torque Converters. The rear end is a 31-spline nine-inch with a Truetrac centre, billet axles and 4.11:1 gears, with Calvert Racing split mono-leaf springs and CalTracs. It ran 11s at the Motorplex with the old gearing and suspension set-up, so I’m keen to do another run with this current set-up and the bigger stall.

We’re looking forward to racing the ol’ girl in Cash Days at Racewars in Albany in March.” Photos: Jordan Leist

Stephen Barks
1957 Chevrolet

“I BOUGHT the car seven years ago when I saw it come up for sale in the USA. I had a love of the NASCAR ‘Black Widow’ race cars for some time, and this was a pretty good tribute car. It had previously had a full body-off resto, and was built to factory specs except for the running gear, which was built to NASCAR specs.

The car is running a 370hp 327ci small-block Chev with a forged crank, 30/30 Duntov cam and solid lifters. It also has a close-ratio Corvette three-on-the-tree and a limited-slip rear end with 4.11 gears. I have replaced the factory front bar with a one-piece smoothie bar and had magnetic decals made up to display the car as it would have looked as a NASCAR.

Eventually I would like to do airbrushed ghost decals.” Photos: Ben Hosking

Neno Mihov
1986 Holden VL Calais

“MY PLAN for this VL was to build a nice and clean cruiser while maintaining enough performance to be competitive at events like roll racing, Powercruise and at the drags. The car started off as a basic rolling shell, and everything but the paint was done by my friend in his driveway over the course of three years. I didn’t really start with a clear picture of what the end product would be, so there were minor setbacks from changes of mind as we went along.

What we ended up with was an RB26/30 with Carrillo rods, forged Nitto pistons, a custom head and 282 Camtech cams. The motor was then paired with a Garrett GTX42 and fitted to a two-speed Powerglide transmission. The car made 720hp at 30psi; the plan is to push 40psi once I install a nine-inch diff. One of my favourite things about the Calais is the engine bay; it is extremely clean with all the wiring tucked away.

I still have plans to mini-tub, ’cage and tech the car. I am truly grateful for having such great friends who helped me with the build, including Ryan Acworth, 12 Volt Performance, Next Up Performance and my amazing wife Megan who put up with me during the build.” Photos: Matthew James Imagery