LS7-powered 1934 Ford Coupe

Terry Pyle has had a string of tough cars over the years, but this LS7-powered hot rod tops the lot

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

TERRY Pyle reckons everyone paints their hot rods either red, black or purple, so he was just trying to be different by building a white one. He admits it took some convincing to bring the painter around to his way of thinking, but he got there in the end, and he couldn’t be happier. If you’re wondering, this particular hue is off the new Mustangs and is called Oxford White. “When I bought the chassis and body I told them I was going to paint it white and they said: ‘Terry, you never see a white hot rod.’ I said: ‘I know, I just want something different.’”

First published in the January 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Chris Thorogood

The colour isn’t the only point of difference with this hot rod. With its tough LS powerplant and wheel/tyre combo, it borrows a lot from current street machine styling trends – which isn’t too surprising as Terry has a long history in that scene.

“I’ve always had cars and always chased the drag racing scene since I was 16 years old,” he says. “I’d be a millionaire by now if I hadn’t spent all my money on cars.”

This isn’t his first hot rod, either. “I had a really nice ’32 tudor, it was a killer car,” explains Terry. “I was at the drags and popped a good wheelstand in it, and then a bloke walked up two seconds later and said: ‘Do you want to sell the thing?’ Biggest mistake I ever made!”

On the bright side, the sale allowed Terry the opportunity to build this killer ’34 three-window.

The project started off with a body and chassis from C&W Components and a sheet-metal full-floater diff from Race Products up in Queensland. Terry then had the car sent back south to Shane Marshall, who set the whole thing up with a heavy focus on getting it to go quick in a straight line.

To get that done, the traditional buggy springs were forsaken for a tubular IFS from Rod-Tech in the front. Out back, the aforementioned sheet-metal nine-inch is located using a Pro 9 four-link and anti-roll bar. Adjustable Afco coil-overs keep it off the ground and will allow fine tuning on the track. Finishing off the chassis side is a four-point rollcage with removable door and roof bars, a requirement as there’s a fairly high probability that this car will run well into the nines.

A Race Products full-floater sheet-metal 9in holds 4.11 gears and hangs off a Pro 9 four-link set-up and Afco coil-overs

If there’s one part of the car scene that hasn’t been totally overrun by the #lstheworld crowd, it’s the hot rodders. It might be that they’re a little bit averse to change, or it could just be that LS engines look like shit, and there’s nowhere to hide in the open engine bay of a hot rod. Well, a quick look at Terry’s engine throws that whole theory out the window. With all of the plastic thrown in the bin, the coils relocated to under the engine, and the addition of a tunnel ram, Terry has created a very handsome-looking donk.

The bronzey-gold finish on the rocker covers and intake are reminiscent of the Dow 7 coating that was applied to magnesium back in the day, so there’s a little bit of a nod to tradition, but that’s about where it stops. The intake is also plumbed for the Wilson nitrous kit, which will provide an extra 150hp on top of whatever the LS7 produces.

A big part of tidying up an LS is relocating the coil packs from on top of the rocker covers to somewhere else. Underneath the engine is the perfect spot

That figure hasn’t been finalised yet, but with an engine built by Tim Holmyard – owner and builder of a seven-second, nitrous-assisted VX Commodore – you know it will be more than ample. The Dart block sits under a pair of Higgins Race Heads topped by a couple of Accufab four-barrel throttlebodies on that gorgeous Shaun’s Custom Alloy intake. The suck/squish/bang/blow is handled by a Holley Dominator ECU tuned by Jeff Johnson from Streetbuilt Racing in WA.

“All Jeff has done is put a soft tune in it to get it going and set all the safety settings, but I ran out of time for the full tune,” says Terry. “I’m just hanging out for him to come back over here. They all reckon I’ll shit myself when it gets a proper tune in it.”

Terry reckons the race buckets are quite comfy and nicer to drive in than the bench seat he originally fitted

Bridging the gap between the engine and diff is another stout bit of gear, a Reid-cased Powerglide built by MDT Race Transmissions. It’s full manualised, has a TCE 5000rpm stall and is air-shifted by a Precision Performance Products shifter. The car was originally fitted with a bench seat, but a couple of race buckets have gone in to keep the tech inspectors a little happier. The doors have been trimmed in a modern and tasteful style by North Central Motor Trimming, and the dash features a simple layout with a Racepak IQ3S dash in front of the driver and the switches laid out along the bottom edge of the dash and above the windscreen.

While traditional hot rodders would put six analogue dials on the dashboard, Terry opted for a much more contemporary solution in a Racepak IQ3S dash

Externally, the car features all of the lumps and bumps that Henry Ford designed; exposed hinges, door handles, mirrors, parachute – okay, maybe that last one Henry never envisioned, but it is definitely a necessity.

Wheels and tyres are a make or break part of a hot rod as they define the era of the build. In the 1930s it would have been wire wheels, the 40s steel wheels and blackwall tyres, the 50s saw steel wheels and wide whitewalls, and in the 60s, the mag wheel came into fashion. By bolting on the Weld V-Series rims, complete with beadlocks, you drop the car right smack bang in the middle of current trends.

Hot rods were always influenced and inspired by what happened on the dragstrip, so it’s good to see that it is still the case in the 2020s as much as it was in the 1950s. What was that about hot rodders being averse to change?


Paint: Oxford White

Type: 427ci LS7
Inlet: Shaun’s Custom Alloy tunnel ram
Induction: Twin Accufab throttlebodies
Heads: Higgins Race Heads
Cam: Comp Cams
Crank: Lunati
Radiator: Aluminium

’Box: Reid-cased Powerglide, full manual
Converter: TCE 5000rpm stall
Diff: Race Products sheet-metal 9in, full-floater, 35-spline, 4.11:1 gears

Front end: Rod-Tech IFS
Shocks: Afco coil-over
Steering: Rack-and-pinion
Brakes: Wilwood (f & r)

Rims: Weld Racing V-Series; 15×3.5 (f), 15.×10 (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson 26×6.00 (f), Hoosier 29×12.50 (r)

Big thanks to my son Troy Pyle who spent many hours with me putting the car together; Shane Marshall; Mark Vale at AV&M Auto Painters; Tony at TDR Engines & Race Parts; Tim Holmyard Race Engines; Nathan at Exhaust Bros; Matthew DeSpirt at MDT Race Transmissions; Jeff at Race Products