Readers’ rockets: XA panel van, Valiant Wayfarer, Pontiac Trans Am + more

We check out some of our readers' cars from the June 2021 issue of Street Machine


Toby Allen
XA Falcon panel van

“I’VE been building my panel van for the past three years. I bought it from a WA panel beating tech college, where all the young and old lads had saved it from a crusher.

Ford Falcon panelvan

It was a very clean body with a POS slapped-together 250 crossy, which came out straight away after I found a running but crusty P6 LTD with a 351 Cleveland, nine-inch and FMX (which I later ditched for a T5). It’s now running mint.

Ford Falcon panel van

It’s decked out in the back with a custom interior and decent functional space. It’s running a Fairlane front and I recently put on some restored, very rare Japanese Enkei EK86 wheels – seven-inch fronts and 8.5-inch rears.”

Laurence Rogers
1970 Valiant Wayfarer

“IN DECEMBER 2019, I bought this ute from extended family near Eumungerie, NSW after it sat in a paddock for several years. Over the next six months, with the help of friends and family, I completely rebuilt the suspension, brakes, cooling and fuel systems.

For a 50-year-old farm ute, it wasn’t too hard to revive, and passed a blue slip inspection in August 2020. It’s running the original 245 Hemi with a single-barrel Carter I got at a swap meet for $15, with a three-speed column manual. Plans are to put in a hotted-up 245 with a 350 Holley and a rebuilt three-speed ’box.

Valiant Wayfarer interior

Big thanks to Mitch Rogers, Cleveland Murray, Ben Keller, Joey McMillan, Gordon Trebley, Aaron Henry, Richard Seymour, Callum Grant, Henry Kosef and Cliffy for your help, advice and time. Also thanks to Hannaford Tyre, Dubbo Windscreen Specialist, Regional Auto Supplies and especially IronKnuckles Fab & Customs.”

Dan Robson
Nissan R31 Skyline

“THIS Skyline Silhouette is the second R31 I’ve owned, purchased in 2001. With my passion for the old Group A days, my plan was to get closer in style to the two-door HR31 Gibson Motorsport GTS-R. Over the years, the car was modified with Japanese imported parts such as the headlights, front bar vents and unique GT AutoSpoiler and Group A GTS-R rear boot spoiler. The car was stripped and resprayed in 2003 in Spies Hecker two-pack factory colour with a heavy amount of gold pearl. Interior was sourced from a 1988 Nissan Skyline SVD GTS (one of 200 built), including the Scheel seats.

Nissan Skyline engine bay

The original RB30 was modified with some head work and Wade GTS-grind camshaft with the addition of a Group-A homologated GTS-R exhaust manifold with a T3/T4 intercooled turbo. Nistune ECU was programmed and tuned by Shane at CMS Performance. The Impul Silhouette C1 wheels are 17x9in and were completely overhauled by Barrel Brothers with wider lips and painted centres. I always wished Nissan Australia had released a turbocharged version of the Skyline. Considering how successful and cult the VL Turbo became, it has always been a ‘what if?’ had Nissan followed suit. Nevertheless, I now own a Skyline Silhouette, as it should have been from the dealership!”

Tony Hales
1977 Pontiac Trans Am

“I HAVE owned this car for nearly six years. It was imported into Australia in 1996 and converted to RHD, having originally been a California car. It has factory power steering, power windows and a/c. The paint is Starlight Black, wheels are Rambler 17x8in all ’round, and the suspension runs lowered front springs and shocks with reset rear leaf springs, so it sits nice and low. Engine is an original Oldsmobile 403.

Pontiac Trans Am interior

The block was bored 30thou over with a ground crank, new pistons and rods, ported and polished heads, bigger cam, Edelbrock manifold and Holley 850 double-pumper carby. It runs a Diamond 2400rpm stall converter in front of a TH350 transmission with a B&M shifter. Diff is a 10-bolt. I grew up being obsessed with Smokey & the Bandit – especially the car from the original. It took me a lot of years to get to the point of affording one, and then finding exactly what I wanted, but I eventually got there. There’s lots more to do to the car, but I guess they are never finished.”