In the build: Blown Hemi-swapped Austin A40, Rides By Kam-built HG, V8-powered AP6 Val wagon + more

We check out some of our readers' awesome projects in the build from the January 2024 issue of Street Machine


Rob Bennett
1948 Austin A40

“I’m building an Austin A40 running a 354 Hemi, which has been pushed out to 364ci using the stock crank and rods, Ross pistons, Comp cam and Total Seal rings. Heads are ported factory castings with Chrysler shaft rockers. On top is a Blower Shop 8/71 supercharger and two boost-referenced Holley 750 carbs, while down below there’s a Milodon oil pan.

The transmission is a basic shift-kitted TH350, which runs back to a limited-slip Ford nine-inch diff with 3.50:1 Richmond gears. The A40 body sits on a fabricated chassis, with a four-link and coil-overs out back and a narrowed LJ Torana crossmember and rack on the front with Koni adjustable shocks.

Wheels are 15×6 front and 15×10 rear Wheel Vintiques, wrapped in 165 and 295 tyres respectively. The interior includes an Austin 1800 bench seat, a Dakota Digital dash, and buttons from Billet Automotive Buttons to control the MSD ignition, Spal engine fan, Davies Craig transmission cooler fan, starter and Holley fuel pump.

The Hurst Lightning Rod shifter has been modified with the addition of a reverse lockout lever and neutral safety switch, while the Lokar handbrake is mounted on the trans tunnel. The rollcage and harnesses are yet to be fitted.

The lights, wipers, demister and ignition key are in a box mounted up above the windscreen, and the car has been completely rewired using a Painless kit to run the lights, wiper motor, indicators and more. An owner-built relay and fuse board runs all the engine functions. The car has just completed its first short test drive, and I hope to have it finished by the time you read this.”

Grant Nolan
HG Holden

“My 1971 HG is currently in the build at Rides By Kam on the Gold Coast. It’s getting a small-block Chev on nitrous to power it, and will also receive full custom trim, independent front suspension, new paint – the whole works.

The car is called NO JOKE, which it definitely won’t be once the Rides By Kam crew are done with it! I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can hit the street in it!”

Ben Gee
Holden VC Commodore, Nissan Skyline Silhouette, Holden HQ Kingswood & 1960 Chev Impala

“Thought I’d show you my four current builds. My dad bought the 1981 VC Commodore for me as my first car, and it’s currently getting a full-tilt build. It’ll run an RB30ET, TH400, Gazzard Brothers rear end and a Strange nine-inch. It will roll on Weld wheels, receive custom trim inside, and a full custom respray outside.

I’m also building my 1988 R31 Skyline Silhouette for the second time, this time running an extra-special boosted Barra conversion, T56, and all the goodies from an F6, making the engine bay look OEM. It’ll be a 536hp sleeper!

Next up is something everyone can get behind: a 454 big-block Chev-powered HQ Kinger with a TH400 and nine-inch. It’s in the shop right now to get two 80mm turbos slapped onto it to make it a ridiculous weekend cruiser!

Finally, my 1960 Chevy Impala is having its W348 motor rebuilt after it dropped two valves two weeks after I bought it. It’s almost done and ready to go back in; I’m just waiting on assembly. But while it’s been off the road, it’s had the front end dolled up with chrome upper/lower arms, as well as new wire wheels, gold trims throughout, full airbag suspension, a custom boot set-up, cruiser skirts and a beautiful interior.”

Jessie Lefoe
Holden VK Commodore

“My dad and I are currently rebuilding my 1985 VK, which I’ve had for eight years. It’s a standard six-cylinder car, but I’ve decided to upgrade it with a VN-headed 304, backed by a Turbo 350. Eight years ago, we did a quick closed-door respray to get it on the road, but this time we are giving it a bit of TLC.

It’s been a great dad-and-daughter project, and I have learned a lot along the way, although there is plenty of work left to do. I want to be able to run it at the drags for some fun but also have a nice street car to cruise in.”

Vera Schoch
Chrysler Valiant AP6

“I’m building this factory V8 AP6 Valiant wagon for our eldest daughter, Vera. It’s a rare car, as it’s only one of 363 V8 wagons made, and I found it as a roller underneath some trees in the middle of nowhere.

It’s now undergoing a budget rat rod/patina/barn-find build for her, but as she is only seven years old, there’s still plenty of time to get it sorted. An original A-block 273 engine has been sourced, and a cable-shift 904 transmission is on its way from the USA thanks to my Stateside mates Tom and Michael.

Vera is really enthusiastic and gets stuck in to help, but she prefers working with power tools than cleaning up parts. As it’s her car, she makes all of the important styling decisions, like the BorgWarner LSD being painted bright pink – that will upset the purists too, which is a bonus!”
Words: Jeremy Schoch

Bradley Mifsud
Holden HQ Monaro

“Here is my 1974 HQ GTS Monaro currently in the build. The car has been in the family for almost 40 years; it was my grandfather’s pride and joy, and he drove it daily. It means a lot to me, as it reminds me of many cherished memories I shared with him. I was lucky the car stayed within the family, and about six years ago I purchased it off my uncle.

It needed to be stripped and rebuilt from scratch, so I was straight into stripping it down so I could get it blasted. Surprisingly, it was a very clean shell considering it was driven daily and in all types of weather.

The original motor and auto have been set aside, as I didn’t want to modify the engine. It will be now running an LSX 454, TH400 and built nine-inch. There’ll be Wilwood brakes all ’round, coil-over suspension, tubular control arms and mini-tubs, and it will be fully engineered.

I’m a tad excited to get it running so I can enjoy it and take it to some shows.”

Got a sweet ride that’s currently in the build? Email photos (minimum 2MB each) and details to [email protected].