Readers’ project cars in the build

Wild creations taking shape in the garages of Australia


1942 Ford Jailbar
Edmund Ho

“MY FORD Jailbar sits on a modified ’35-’40 Ford passenger-car chassis. Running gear is a Toyota 1UZ-FE with a mid-mount GT3582 turbo. The cab was picked up from Cobar and was a real roughie, with bullet holes in every panel and a turret like a dimpled passionfruit.

The chassis was pretty rough too, and was brought home to Sydney from Mullumbimby. I built the chassis in a jig, and after fixing the rust, I kicked the rear of the rails up, boxed the rails and built out the crossmembers, adding a triangulated four-link suspension system and Series 2 Jag front end, all on airbags.

Bodywork has been extensive, with a two-inch chop of the cab, custom-built tub and running boards being the more noticeable modifications. All of the work has been done by me in my home garage after hours. The finish is getting closer, but there’s still a bit more in it to see it done.”

1985 Nissan Bluebird
Scott Brown

“HERE’S my latest money pit, a Nissan Bluebird wagon I’ve had for three or so years. I decided that the original motor needed a freshen-up, so it came out and went in the bin. That’s when things got out of hand. It now has a 1UZ-FE 4.0-litre V8 out of an SC400 Lexus. Behind that is a T56 six-speed manual ’box.

The diff was replaced with a shortened AU Falcon diff with a Truetrac centre on custom four-link bars and Viking double adjustable coil-overs. Front suspension is now S13 Nissan Silvia coil-overs. Front brakes are yet to be determined.

Exhaust is a full mirror-polished, stainless-steel, twin 2.5-inch to single three-inch custom system. The car rolls on Performance Wheels Formula rims – 17×7 up front and 17×9 on the rear. It has heaps of custom parts such as the sump, engine and gearbox mounts and engine bay sheet metal, and I have plans for a full-length sheet-metal centre console. I want to have it running shortly so I can start panel and paintwork and have it done for Summernats 2022 – providing we’re all allowed to go!”

Holden VN Commodore
Luke Maxwell

“HERE’S my VN S-Pack project. It runs a solid-roller-cam 355ci Holden V8, good for 490hp at 6100rpm. Behind that is a Powerglide with a TCE converter and a nine-inch Truetrac rear end. It’s been ’caged and mini-tubbed. It also has a smoothed engine bay, custom trim and been resprayed. It’s been in the build for the past six years or so, and now it’s close to completion. Aside from paint, trim and motor, everything on the car has been done at home in the shed with my old man. I’m keen to join in on future Drag Challenge and Powercruise events.”

Holden Camira
Eli Johnson

“MY CAMIRA is currently getting a full rear-wheel-drive conversion with full tubs and a McDonald Brothers Street four-link rear. The donk is a Holden V6 4.2-litre stroker with a GTX3584 turbo, running into a Turbo 400. Rear wheels are Weld 15x12s running 325/50/R15 tyres.”

HZ Holden ute

“THIS is the HZ ute I bought not too long ago in Riddells Creek, Victoria for $750. She’s missing the motor and interior, but she’s had a whole front-end rebuild. She has a 10-bolt diff and deep-dish jellybean rims. I plan to chuck a 202 in her for my Ls and Ps, but once I’m off my Ps, it’ll be replaced by a 253 from a Torana.”

Holden VY Commodore
Rhys Kirkham

“I’VE got a rebuild currently in the works on my twin-turbo Ecotec VY. It features an L36 Ecotec forged rotating assembly, JE pistons and Spool rods, while up top is a custom intake comprising a Holley LS intake top grafted to the Ecotec manifold, and a Bosch 82mm drive-by-wire conversion. The turbo system includes Corn Fed Boost T4 turbo manifolds, two custom 70mm GTX3584R turbos and a 50mm Turbosmart wastegate.

It’s been converted to a T56 manual and runs a 3.7:1 KAAZ two-way locker. I wired in a Link Fury G4+, road-tuned it myself to get all the fiddly bits out of the way, then took it to my tuner, Justin Pitsikas at Bye Performance in Welshpool, WA. I blew the compressor cover off my old turbo at 24psi (made 589hp on an old Boost Obsession T3 manifold and 67mm GTX3582 combo), so that’s when I decided to redo my entire set-up from scratch. This time I’m aiming for 850-1000hp, going for two records: best ET for a V6 manual Commodore (currently 9.6@144mph, held by Jason D’Ambra’s GUN38T VS Commodore) and highest power figure with the factory crank (around 866hp, also held by GUN38T).

Myself and Corn Fed Boost over in Queensland are both competing for this. He has a major head start, as his already makes 846hp. You can see the progress and history of this build either on my YouTube channel, RKGarage, or my Facebook build page, VY V6 Turbo Commodore Build EcoJet.”

Datsun 200B
Zaaron Titmarsh

“THIS is my Datsun 200B wagon in the build. This is the second car I’ve built for Drag Challenge. It’s running a Dart Windsor, full-manual C4 and a sheet-metal nine-inch. Rear suspension is standard Datsun leaf springs with a two-link anti-roll bar and coil-overs. Rear wheels are 15×8 ProStars with 235 radials. Front struts are standard Datsun. It has a custom five-stud conversion and bigger brakes, with 15×4 ProStars up front shod in 185-wide tyres. The car has been resprayed to the original baby blue.”