Luke Kestle’s big-block Holden HT Monaro in the build

Luke Kestle has been working on his junkyard-style big-block HT Monaro build during the COVID-19 lockdown, and started documenting the journey on YouTube

Photographers: Rick Welch

“IN MARCH this year I was working on concepts to promote our Motor Fab ’68-’71 Aussie Rivals Drag Day that was coming up in June. So I decided to drag my HT Monaro shell out of storage and slap it together junkyard-style in three months to debut at Aussie Rivals, documenting the journey on YouTube.

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

However, not long after, COVID-19 hit, so the Aussie Rivals day had to be put on the back-burner. But by this stage my new YouTube channel was receiving a lot of interest, and I learned that there were other Aussie YouTubers documenting their junkyard builds too, so I immediately came up with the idea of a YouTube builders race-off!

Straight away I started calling people out – Harry Haig from Haulass Garage and Scotty from Street Machine – and then Steve Metcalfe called me out. Presto – you’ve got yourself a build-off! With COVID still around, the details aren’t set in concrete yet, but it’s going to be a blast!

The Monaro will be powered by a 30thou-over 454 big-block Chev, complemented by a long list of second-hand bargains I’ve collected. It sports a set of AFR 355 heads, shaft-mount rockers, a Super Victor intake manifold and a 1250 Dominator carb (modified for E85 by Richard Horvat). The block, crank, rods and bolts are stock, while the hypereutectic pistons were in the motor when I rescued it from a burnt Silverado. It also runs a hydraulic-roller camshaft, high-volume oil pump, Rollmaster timing chain and Trend pushrods.

A huge thanks to Doug Day for looking after the machining. Trans is a TH400 built by Alex Russell, which will definitely smash the VS Commodore BorgWarner diff in the back! Suspension-wise, I’ve thrown the whole Motor Fab catalogue at the car. To top it all off, I’m shoving 250hp worth of nitrous down its throat! Check out Motor Fab Channel on YouTube to see the build progress.”