Ash & Gary Low’s Holden LX Torana & HZ Kingswood

Father-and-son duo Gary and Ash Low prove you don't need a bent-eight to be great

Photographers: Rich Welch

It is like they always say: like father, like son. For Gary Low and his son Ash, using old-school six-pot power to upset the V8 crowd is a family tradition – one that has seen the birth of two stunning street machines.

This article was first published in the August 2020 issue of Street Machine

“It all started with Dad,” says Ash. “He’s had a lot of Minis and some V8s in the past, but really a lot of Holdens, and most of those were six-bangers.”

Being a panel beater by trade, Ash had no trouble handling the Torana’s bodywork. What was more difficult though was choosing a colour; Ash finally opted to swap out the factory brown gold for a pearlescent Renault gold

As a teenager, Ash went through a couple of chrome-bumpered lions before settling on the LX Torana you see now. “It was supposed to be a quick tidy-up, but the car quickly went back to bare metal,” he says. While the outside got some love, it’s under the bonnet that really has our attention.

“It was originally a 202 car, and we then did a few different things before putting this built 179 in there now,” says Ash. The 179 has been thumped out to 206ci thanks to a nice bill of parts. A 202 crank was slotted in, teamed with some Starfire rods and ACL pistons to raise the compression to 13:1. The bottom end was finished off with an Ivan Tighe custom-grind stick, sealed in by a heavily modified head adorned with a Redline triple-carb manifold and a trio of FAJS carbies. Sucking on E85, the package makes around 200rwhp, but for Ash, that wasn’t his main aim. “The boys use the dyno as more of a tuning tool than anything else, so the power level can always change,” he says.

The Torana’s 179 mill was taken out to 206ci and put together by Trevor Owen Race Engines, and is a bit left-field in feeding the triple carbs with E85 to help tame the 13:1 compression ratio

Since its completion, the Torana has run a best of 12.97@104mph, shifting through a modified Trimatic ’box and HiLux rear end. The Torry has taken a stack of trophies both on track and in show, being a bit of a head-turner. “We wanted 13-second quarters when we built this engine, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Ash says. “People don’t really believe it’s not a V8 when it wheelstands off the line, and they love to see something different with us running the sixes.”

Gary’s HZ was a minter when the boys picked it up, having been restored a few years beforehand, and was only missing the engine and gearbox

On the other side of the garage is Gary’s HZ Kingswood, sporting a snotty 202. Much like his son, Gary’s love affair with six-banger Holdens kicked off quite early on. “It all really started when I was a young fella, because not everyone could afford a V8 back then,” he says. “We’d mess around with the sixes because it’s all we had, and it’s just something that’s stuck.”

Having spent nearly 30 years messing around with Minis, Gary opted to go back to his roots and grab himself an old Holden. The HZ was a good roller when the boys picked it up, really only needing an engine and ’box. Prior to that, the duo had been racing a seriously stripped-out VC Commodore, which ended up donating its driveline to the HZ.

Unlike the Torana engine, the HZ’s mill was put together by Ash and good friend Andrew ‘Hobo’ Hoey, who guided him through the process. The set-up is very similar to the engine in the Torana, using the same triple carbies and intake manifold

The 202 is actually the matching-numbers engine from the Torana, so as Ash puts it: “It’s all been kept in the family.” It’s also copped its fair share of work, including Starfire rods, ACL flat-top pistons, a ridiculously lumpy Crow cam, a reworked Yella Terra head and the same intake manifold and carby set-up as the Torana’s mill.

“It makes it a tough street car; I use it a couple of times a week and people are surprised by the noise – half the time they think it’s a V8!” says Gary. On E85 it pumped out 200rwhp – much like Ash’s Torry – but Gary opted to dial it back to 180rwhp on PULP for a more practical street cruiser.

While Ash’s car has had loads of success at the track, Gary’s HZ is yet to hit the strip in anger. Being Toowoomba lads, they both frequent Warwick’s eighth-mile strip, with a lot of street miles in between. “It’s good to see Junior following in our footsteps, but funnily enough the people at the track say we have more of a brotherly relationship than father and son,” says Gary.

Needless to say, if you see these boys cruising around the streets of Toowoomba, don’t assume you’ll have an easy time keeping up with them!


WHILE the Low boys may have two pearlers already in their stable, they aren’t slowing down with the project cars. The family recently bought Gary an FE Holden Special sedan for a 70th birthday present, which he and Ash are going to build as a 60s/70s-style gasser. The plan is to use a triple-Weber Holden red motor, and the car will roll on a set of big-and-little jellybean mags for that period look.


Ash has amassed a decent set of silverware with the Torana, both on track and on show. His biggest achievements have been the Fastest Street award at the Six-Banger Nats in 2018 and taking out his class at the Nostalgia Drags in 2017

Paint: Renault gold pearl

Brand: Holden 179
Capacity: 206ci
Induction: Redline triple-Weber
Carbs: Triple FAJS 45 DCOE
Head: Modified standard
Camshaft: Custom solid
Conrods: 202 Starfire
Pistons: ACL
Crank: 202
Exhaust: 15/8in extractors

Gearbox: Trimatic
Converter: TCE 4500rpm
Diff: HiLux, Truetrac, 4.33:1

Suspension: Lowered adjustable (f & r)
Brakes: HZ Holden (f), HiLux (r)

Anthony McBurney; Justin Vayro; Rob Hendry; Andrew Sutton; Andrew Hoey; Robbie and Jimmy at Muffler Kings Toowoomba; AutoBarn Toowoomba; Trevor Mitchell at Tricky’s Automatics; Ken Stevenson for the auto electrics; Trevor Owen for the Torana engine and J-Tune for the tuning on both cars; Gary Craig at Repower Engines for the machine work; Rick Welch; Ash’s partner Chrissy Hilton and of course Deb (Ash’s mum; Gary’s wife) for the incredible support


Paint: Caribbean Turquoise

Brand: Holden 202ci
Induction: Redline triple-Weber
Carbs: Triple FAJS 45 DCOE
Head: Nine-port Yella Terra
Camshaft: Crow custom solid
Conrods: 202 Starfire
Pistons: ACL flat-top
Crank: Standard balanced
Exhaust: 1½in extractors

Gearbox: Trimatic
Converter: TCE, 5200rpm
Diff: LSD banjo, 3.55:1

Suspension: Lowered Monroe (f & r)
Brakes: Standard (f & r)