Readers’ project cars in the build

Exploring the sheds of Australia in search of automotive gold


Ryan Oldman
HZ Holden panel van

“I’VE owned a bunch of panel vans throughout my life, but about a decade ago I lost my pride and joy, a genuine HJ Sandman van, due to financial issues. This HZ pano is the replacement, which I bought around five years ago. It was built in July ’79 – and so was I!

I’ve had the body taken back to bare metal and resprayed in VF Commodore Red Hot. I reckon the custom black-and-silver Sandman decals I had made look wicked against the red.

The pano will run an L98 six-litre with a mild cam and single-plane manifold. Behind is a 4L60E, which I’m getting built up now with a 2200rpm stall behind it. Up the back is a shortened nine-inch with 3.55s, Truetrac and 31-spline axles. Those chromed 15-inch Pontiac Rallye II rims are off my partner Kylee’s HQ GTS coupe, though I plan to run Hotwires if I can get them in the offset I want.

The decking-out of the back end includes a full stereo and a bunch of side boxing; the design has been in my mind for such a long time, so it’s great to finally see it come together. I’m just waiting on some black plush fabric to arrive from the UK so I can finish it off.

There’s not much more to do; once the trans is done the driveline will be complete; then it’ll just be re-trimming the seats and door trims. Finally, I’ll get the suspension height sorted once it’s at full weight. My last van was dumped, but I want this to be legal so that I can drive it anywhere. Ultimately, it’d be awesome to take Kylee and our dog on a cruise around Australia in the van.” Photos: Carly Dale

Phillip Pascoe
Chrysler Valiant VF VIP

WHEN local Chrysler fan Phillip Pascoe moved to the USA more than a decade ago, he took along his twin-turbo 360-powered VF Valiant VIP to keep his toes in Aussie waters, so to speak. While living Stateside, he owned a number of cool Yankee rides as well, including a Dodge Hellcat that he was keen to bring back with him when he returned to Oz last year.

However, at around $45K to convert the car for local rego, the sums just weren’t going to add up. So Phillip sold the Dodge and did the next best thing, buying a 1500-mile Hellcat engine and gearbox from an insurance wreck and hatching a plan to repower his ever-faithful VIP. Back in Oz, Phillip entrusted the conversion to long-time Brisbane Mopar nut Scott Munro. Scott has six months of spare time invested in the conversion so far, much of which has been spent creating room in the VF to house the 6.2-litre donk and huge eight-speed ZF transmission.

“The underbody has needed major mods to make it all fit,” he says. “The transmission tunnel has been centred and widened, while the firewall now uses the hump from a wheelbarrow to keep it looking neat – it was a good-quality Sherlock barrow though!” The old turbo 360 mill was built well before turbos became the norm and was good for around 600rwhp, but the pair are hoping for 900hp at the wheels with this new combo after a tune and pulley upgrade. The rest of the car will remain as-is, with everything fitting under the bonnet and retaining its current VIP exterior livery.

Kobyn Marich
Holden HG Kingswood

“HERE is my 19-year-old son Kobyn’s Kingswood. It had major rust in the parcel shelf, inner quarters, window surround, boot and more. My son is learning how to build the car, and all the panelwork and chassis fab work was done at home.

I helped him with the full tubs. We’ll also be cutting out the floor and firewall to make them flat. The plan is to paint the undercarriage and boot sheet metal in body colour. It’s running an LS9 up front, while out back will be a custom four-link (in order to run a rear seat) and a sheet-metal nine-inch with 35-spline Rod-Tech full-floaters.

It will roll on billet Weld wheels and will be engineered for street use.” Words: Dwayne Marich

Steven Johns
1975 Chevrolet LUV ute

“MY Chev runs a turbo 2.4-litre stroker Isuzu 4ZD1, backed by a built Trimatic. The hairdryer is a BorgWarner S369SXE. It’s had a HiLux five-stud conversion all ’round, as well as coil-over suspension up front and custom CalTracs out back. All the fabrication has been done by me and my good mate Jeremy Beer from FabHouse. ”

Branton Dick
Ford ZF FAirlane

“I PICKED UP my Fairlane just over a year ago. I stripped it back to bare metal, removed all the rust and blocked the car completely straight. It has just been painted in a custom metallic green. I’ll be keeping it basically stock on the outside and putting a turbo Barra into it, creating a bit of a sleeper!”

David Verhey
1985 BMW E30

“HERE’S my BMW, which has had a six-litre L98 V8 swap. The engine is backed by a built 4L80, and a Ford nine-inch with Truetrac and 35-spline axles. The chassis rails and extractors are custom-made, and the independent rear suspension has been converted to solid-axle with a triangulated four-link.”

Mark Psaila
1966 HR Holden

“MY HR will be a pro street-style build, running Weld RTS wheels and a big 29x18x15 tyre out back. Up front is a 2JZ with a Garrett G42-1450 turbo, Brian Crower cams, Plazmaman intake and intercooler and an ATF billet adapter plate, backed by a Race Glide. Still lots of work to go!”

Adrian Chiappetta
Ford XC Falcon

“I’VE been working on my Falcon for just over a year now. It’ll be a complete nut-and-bolt restomod build with a Dandy Engines Cleveland in a shaved bay, a sheet-metal boot containing the fuel cell, a nine-inch, four-link rear end and a 295 rear tyre. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m loving every minute of it.”

Ben Jones
Holden UC Torana

“MY UC hatchback has been dubbed ‘The Mutt’. I’ve been building it for four years, but I’m on the home stretch now. It runs a twin-turbo V8 and a six-speed and has a three-quarter chassis. All the fabrication and engine work has been done by me in my shed, except for the ANDRA ’cage. It’s all built to meet ADR standards and is going through final engineering at the moment for full street rego.”

More project cars:

Readers’ builds – part one

Readers’ builds – part two

Readers’ builds – part three

Readers’ builds – part four

Readers’ builds – part five

Readers’ builds – part six

Readers’ builds – part seven

Readers’ builds – part eight