MAN caves became quite the trend at the start of the 21st century. You could even find magazines on the newsstands dedicated to them. And they certainly have their appeal: cosy little hideaways to put all your stuff that the spouse would rather not see cluttering up the house.
First published in the March 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Ben Hosking
Perhaps the biggest problem with man caves and typical suburban garages is that they’re limited in size and scope. What if the ‘stuff’ you collect isn’t model cars and car magazines, but actual cars? Sure, over the years we’ve featured some impressive car collections in big garages and sheds, but this is probably the first time you’ll have seen one housed within a distribution warehouse!
Taking up residence in the back corner of Go Logistics’ distribution centre in Sydney, business partners and good friends Peter Violaris and Jim Raptis have spent the past handful of years buying and building tough cars to cruise and race in. They wrench on them after hours and never have to worry about running out of space.
“Jim and I started Go Logistics 15 years ago and have known each other almost 20,” Peter says. “Our business requires a lot of space and has done for the past decade or so. We both have very limited space at home, so keeping the cars here just made sense.”
The warehouse isn’t just a storage facility; it also houses everything the crew (joined by friend and colleague Stephen Davies) need to work on the various vehicles, including your typical hand and power tools, a hoist and plenty of bench space. At present, the collection numbers six, and Peter and Jim show no signs of stopping any time soon.
The first car to call the warehouse home was the white XT Falcon that some keen-eyed readers would have seen in drag coverage over the years. Bought in 2002, the sedan has been through numerous iterations and its well-earned exterior patina makes it all the more memorable. Currently powered by a high-revving, PULP-eating 363ci Windsor and backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed and nine-inch, the hefty sedan runs 10.5-second ETs all day. Peter has become crafty enough with the stick-shift to land the car in the finals of a few bracket meets, too. No easy feat!
“One of my favourite moments was when I was driving it to the track one morning and a new Porsche Panamera Turbo came up beside me on the freeway,” Peter recalls. “I looked at him and he gave me that ‘I’ve got a supercar’ smile. We slowed down to 60km/h and took off. That ‘supercar smile’ disappeared as he was watching my banged-up XT Falcon pulling away from his $300,000 car!”
The remainder of Peter and Jim’s collection started coming together in 2016. With Peter being more of a Ford guy and Jim loving GM machinery, the question became: what to buy that would make both of them happy? As some kind of middle ground, the pair decided to start off with Mopars. “The first one we bought was the ’67 ’Cuda,” Peter says. “We flew down to Melbourne and met a friend of the owner who showed us the car. He told us that it belonged to Andrew Bogut, who was in the USA at the time playing basketball. The car was amazing, so we did the deal and took it home.”
Following the successful purchase of the ’Cuda, the next car to join the growing family was a ’69 Dodge Dart a year later. “We were bored one afternoon, looking on the web for nothing in particular,” Peter says. “We spotted the Dart for a bargain and jumped on it.”
There’s nothing subtle about the Dart, especially compared with the ’Cuda with its custom interior, smoothed engine bay and various refinements. By contrast, the Dart is a sledgehammer to the face, with a blow-through 496ci big-block Mopar V8, 727 auto and Dana 60 powertrain. “This is the first car we’ve had with a transbrake,” Peter says. “The first time we took it to the track, it felt very violent when we let the button go – more so than our clutch cars. On the third run, the tailshaft had taken all the violence it was going to and said goodbye!”
In 2019, a bare-metal ’63 Futura found its way into the fold, bought direct from the USA and outfitted with a 418ci Windsor, strut front end, coil-over four-link rear, mini-tubs, sub-frame connectors, rollcage and all the stuff needed to pass a CAMS inspection. Yep, this one is built for corners.
“It’s set up for circuit-type racing,” Peter confirms. “The second time out, I beat my PB lap time at Sydney Motorsport Park in the Futura. Before that, I was racing my 2017 Mustang with a Whipple blower! We’ve raced it at track days at Wakefield and Luddenham and had it entered for the Flying Fifth at Mount Panorama in 2020 before COVID struck. The plan is to enter it into hillclimb and sprint events.”
One element that has tied all the current crop of cars together is carbs, but that’s changing with their latest build that is nearing completion. The 1974 LH Torana sedan you see here is powered by an LSA crate motor and backed by a TH400 and nine-inch. For all three guys, it’s been a steep learning curve. “We bought the car from a good friend as a roller,” Peter says. “It has new wiring harnesses and runs a Haltech 2500 with an IC7 digital dash. We’ve learned so much about EFI, sensors, DPOs, AVIs and fuel tables.”
As a result, Peter and Jim are now considering converting the ’Cuda and Futura to EFI as well, but it isn’t for everything, Peter says. “The XT needs to have a carb. I still think carbs have a place in a naturally aspirated drag racing application.”
Hidden up the back of the group is the last of the pair’s acquisitions: a rather shabby and unassuming-looking Fox-body Mustang that no one seems willing to claim as their own on the day of our visit. The ’89-model hatch is still a stocker at present, awaiting its turn once the Torana is complete. “Our plan is to use it to teach us about turbos,” Peter says. “We’ve got a 70mm On3 single-turbo kit for the stock 5.0-litre V8. We hope to run low 11s on the unopened motor before playing with expensive motors.”
Stage two for the Fox-body will be a Coyote V8 and twin turbos, where they hope to run in the eights as a street car – a great candidate for Street Machine Drag Challenge.
“We’re big fans of Drag Challenge and Hot Rod Drag Week; we love racing,” Peter says. “Go Logistics is a partner with Sydney Dragway and we sponsor the Super Street Class in the Atura Championship. We had the XT entered for the Sydney Drag Challenge Weekend that got postponed due to COVID. We’re hoping an annual Sydney event is introduced. Otherwise I guess we’ll be travelling south.”