Readers’ Rockets: survivor 1974 ’Cuda plus more

Graphic '74 ’Cuda, L67-powered VX Commodore, VG ute, Packard Patrician plus more


Paul Sonday Sr
1974 Plymouth Barracuda

“My father, Paul Sonday Sr, purchased his 1974 ’Cuda in north-eastern Pennsylvania at the age of 19 in November 1973; it cost him $4500 cash, and he still owns it today!

“After he bought it, he spent the next 8-10 years customising it to the 70s street machine era. He purchased the 340 Six-Pack block and heads out of a wrecked 1970 AAR ’Cuda for $50, and heavily beefed up the engine’s internals and engine bay.

“The 727 Torqueflite auto was beefed up by Sepanek Racing Transmission decades ago, and an 8¾-inch diff with 4.11:1 gears completes the drivetrain. The Cragar SS mags were installed in 1977, while the paintjob was done in 1981 by legendary metalflake artist Hank Z.

“Inside, it’s got the full Naugahyde interior, floor mats and velour headliner, with true 70s blue fur on the rear deck – this was all done in the early 1980s. The car has just under 38,000 original miles on the clock, and has never seen any inclement weather, including rain. The factory wiper blades have never even been turned on, let alone replaced!

“It retains all its original body panels, glass, door/window trim, body mouldings, vinyl top (painted in diamond-dust white metalflake), fuel and brake lines, power steering box, head- and tail-lights, dashboard, centre console and shifter. It even has the factory eight-track player, which still works and sounds great!.

“The paint has never been wet-sanded, buffed, re-cleared or altered in any way since it was completed over 42 years ago. It’s arguably the finest surviving example of an unrestored, original-owner, rust-free, 70s street machine-era muscle car on the planet.” Words: JJ Sonday

Mitch Howard
Holden VL Commodore

“My 1988 VL Executive appeared in your In The Build section (SM, May ’21), and here’s the finished product! It’s had a full nut-and-bolt restoration over 2.5 years, built by me and a mate primarily in a shed.

“The car is a custom-mix burgundy/red on 20×8.5 staggered Pro Drag wheels. The body wasn’t ideal, but it’s now received a full SS Plus Pack bodykit, three-inch reverse cowl, shaved and relocated fuel filler and semi-shaved engine bay.

“At the moment she is running a cranky little carby-fed 5.0-litre, backed by a Hughes-built TH350 trans and a built Borgy with 31-spline billets and Harrop Truetrac. It’s also got a full HQ-inspired interior with Houndstooth seat inserts, vinyl rooflining and Premier-style door cards.”

Jefferson Stubbs
Holden VX Commodore

“This is my dad’s L67-powered 2001 VX. He bought it brand-new in ’01, but the car still has less than 100,000km on it, and the original paint is immaculate, with no scratches or dents. It is a simple build, running the factory supercharged L67 motor with a new air intake set-up, smaller blower pulley and Yella Terra blower snout, and the fuel rails have been changed and cleaned up.

“A cat-back exhaust system has also been added. The car has been dropped on SL suspension and rolls on special factory-option 17-inch five-spoke rims. A strut brace is getting installed in the car soon for better handling. A big sound system has also been installed, complete with a sub and touchscreen interface. The rear garnish has been changed to a VX Calais item, which turns a few heads, as it isn’t common.” Words: Nicholas Stubbs. Photo: N_s_Photography

Brett Montebello
Holden VG Commodore ute

“Around 20 years ago, the Dandy Engines crew had their run-around ute, and I loved it from first sight. I ended up buying it and had Lou from Dandy freshen it up. Me being me, I used to thrash it and break stuff, so I got over it and sold it.

“However, we all still talked about that ute for years afterward, so I eventually tracked it down and bought it back! It’s been a bare-metal, full nut-and-bolt resto job to get it sorted how I wanted. It’s running a 355 with Holley Sniper EFI and Hyperspark ignition.

“The mini-tubbed rear end houses a Truetrac diff with 4.11:1 gears, and it runs a Caprice front and VG Maloo rear. Hope you like it!”

Jazinta Allen
1956 Packard Patrician

“I would like to introduce you to my pride and joy. This is my 1956 Packard Patrician, ‘Penny’. I purchased her in January 2023 from America, and it arrived in Perth in July that year.

“Penny is the only car of her kind in WA, and one of only five in Australia. She is left-hand drive, and is as original as she was on the showroom floor. She runs the factory 374 V8, twin Ultramatic push-button auto, and electric seats, windows and antennas. She even has central locking.

“She is definitely a head-turner and has been a keen interest of the car community. Unfortunately, I was not able to bring her to Summernats 36, as she lives in WA.”

Joseph Refalo
Holden VL Berlina

“I have just finished an extensive build on my VL Berlina. It’s all been built in my parents’ shed, and it was a family effort to get it done.

“It runs a 383 Holden V8 with four-bolt mains, a grout-filled block, CNC-machined Edelbrock alloy heads and a solid-roller cam, and it puts out 593hp at 7000rpm on pump 98. Trans is a fully manualised Turbo 400 with a 4200rpm Dominator converter, sending the power back through a custom two-piece tailshaft to a fabricated nine-inch with a Strange Truetrac centre and 35-spline axles.

“There’s XYZ coil-overs up front, and brakes are rebuilt VT discs in the front and VL Turbo discs out back. Paint is two-tone Tuxedo Black and MX Grey. The interior has had a full retrim in NOS Madeira Red material, and all plastics have been refurbished.”