Looking at John Moy’s stunning FC ute, it’s bloody hard to imagine that it was nothing more than a neglected, rusty pile of metal when he first got his hands on it. “It was a very rusty car; it had no floors, the sills were severely rusted, and even the subframes were gone,” says John. “Even the sand blaster bloke said to me, ‘You won’t get much car back when we’re finished.’”
First published in the October 23 issue of Street Machine
But John, a semi-retired builder, was set on an FC as his next major project and could see well beyond the rust to the potential the ute had to fulfil his vision. “I love the shape of the FCs, especially the bonnet,” he says. “I wanted a car that looked like an unassuming FC on the outside, but with something modern and unique under the skin for an engine.”
That’s where the Toyota 1JZ-GTE turbo powerplant comes into play, which was largely influenced by John’s son-in-law. “He’s mad about those engines, and showed me how capable they are with very few mods,” John explains. “I also didn’t want to go a V8 as it’d be harder to get engineered, and the 1JZ’s capacity suited the rules for engineering here in Queensland perfectly.”
The FC needed a hefty amount of repair and modification before a JZ could be installed, though. John didn’t just want to fix the rust and chuck an engine in; he chose to heavily strengthen the chassis in the process. “I have a Datsun 1200 with a CA18 turbo in it that’s a bloody handful, so I wanted to make sure the FC was well equipped for the 400rwhp I was going to throw at it,” he says.
To make that happen, John enlisted the help of the boys from Rust Rat Kustoms. They rejigged the rear end using a McDonald Brothers Racing chassis that goes all the way to the front K-frame, along with setting up the four-link and positioning the fuel cell. “They also helped map out the floor and lower section of the firewall to fit the engine and the gearbox, as well as tackling all the major rust repair in the sills,” says John.
Spinners are American Racing Torq Thrusts, measuring 15×8 in front and 15×10 in the rear. John and the boys from Rust Rat spent a lot of time ensuring the wheels cleared the factory FC bodylines while maintaining a good stance
Rust Rat also took care of the major bodywork and laying down the beautiful Olinda Green and Adobe Beige paint, and then John did the rest. “I cut the thing up, built the engine, did all the reassembly work and built the false floor for the tub, so I was as hands-on as I could be,” he says. “I can’t thank the boys at Rust Rat enough; they even helped me set the ride height on the wheels, which was a very important aspect of the build to get right.”
Up front, the crummy 1950s steering box was ditched for a complete Castlemaine Rod Shop IFS conversion with rack-and-pinion steering. As a result, the FC sits on Viking coil-overs under all four corners, with Wilwood stoppers in the front. “They also sorted me for the engine mounts to suit the 1JZ; I just modded them slightly to get the engine sitting exactly where I wanted,” John says.
John put a lot of effort into keeping the engine bay as tidy as possible, including making from scratch the filler panel that covers the custom radiator and intercooler
As for the 1JZ-GTE itself, John snagged it from a Cressida that’d undergone a botched engine conversion. “The seller couldn’t get it running, so I bought it as an unfinished project to use the engine and ’box,” he says.
That Cressida mill is an earlier, non-VVT-i JZ that John gave a simple freshen-up with a pair of 272 Kelford cams, a Pacaloy valve spring kit and a conversion to Yaris coil packs. To reach John’s 400rwhp goal, there was no need to touch the 1JZ’s robust internals; it’s on the outside that you’ll find the good hardware. Sitting atop a 6boost exhaust manifold is a Garrett G30-770 turbo using a 50mm wastegate. A billet fuel rail with 1000cc injectors feeds the standard (but beautifully polished) intake manifold with 98 pump fuel, and the whole lot is controlled by a MicroTech LT16 ECU that was also pillaged from the Cressida wreck.
John’s a chippy by trade, so he and a good mate hand-made the false wooden floor that covers the 65L fuel cell and diff. “I had a mate who does kitchens for me put the two-pack clear on the wood; it took 12 coats to get that shine!” John says
On the rollers at Cleveland Dyno, the package made John’s 400rwhp goal comfortably at 18psi, with scope for plenty more. “The tuner, Scott Hoffman, wanted to turn it up, but I’m more than happy with that power,” John says.
The trans is a Toyota A340 four-speed auto, shift-kitted with some MV Automatics magic and rocking a 3000rpm ASNU converter. The diff is an R31 Skyline BorgWarner Torque Locker LSD, shortened by John, with billet axles and Pintara 4.11:1 gears.
The FC has been completed for just on 12 months now, and it’s very special to John for a key reason. “I was building it as my wife Linda was suffering from a brain tumour, and unfortunately she didn’t get to see it finished,” he says. “Linda helped me pick the colours, but at the time we didn’t know that the name of the Olinda Green was so similar to her name,” he continued. “Because of that, I feel like I always have a part of her with me in this car. It was meant to be.”
John’s hard work has paid off, with the FC placing in the Top 10 out of 258 cars at the 2022 Eliminators Hot Rod, Car & Bike Show on debut. It also took home silverware for Best in Show at Bad Ideas in May this year, and received incredible attention at Cooly Rocks On.
Inside, the FC instrumentation is all still intact, with the B&M shifter being the only major giveaway to what lurks underneath the bonnet. The original bench seat has been modified, with stitching by WA Canvas & Auto Trim
The FC’s unbadged powerplant does leave people a bit confused, but John enjoys that. “The number of people who’ve mistaken it for an RB would be in the hundreds, I reckon!” he laughs. “I’ve had one or two question why I didn’t go with a V8, but overall the reaction has been super positive everywhere I’ve taken it.”
As for John’s future plans with the FC, they’re pretty simple: “I just want to enjoy it,” he says. “It’s not often you build a car and say you’re 100 per cent satisfied with it, but this car is the exception. There’s nothing I wish I’d done better or would go back and change; it’s exactly what I was after and more. I’m very proud of this one.”
A PowerTune Digital dash feeds John the vitals from the MicroTech ECU, as adapting the 50s Holden gauges would have been quite the mission
1959 HOLDEN FC UTE
|Paint:||Holden Olinda Green/Adobe Beige|
|Fuel system:||Raceworks pumps, 1000cc injectors|
|Cooling:||Custom Beenleigh radiator|
|Exhaust:||6boost manifold, 3in system|
|Ignition:||Yaris coil packs|
|Diff:||R31 Skyline, 31-spline axles, 4.11:1 gears|
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES|
|Front:||Castlemaine Rod Shop, IFS, Viking coil-overs|
|Rear:||Four-link, Viking coil-overs|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 285mm discs (f), R31 Skyline 260mm discs (r)|
|Master cylinder:||Twin ARC|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||American Racing Torq Thrust; 15×8 (f), 15×10 (r)|
|Rubber:||Vitour Galaxy; 215/60R15 (f), 265/50R15 (r)|