Readers’ project cars in the build – part ten

Let's take a peek into a few more garages to see some of the cool and crazy stuff being tinkered with


Dodge Charger
Kent Lobb

“THIS is my 1968 Charger, which I purchased out of Tennessee two years ago. About 18 months ago I decided to take it off the road and treat it to new floors, sills, rear quarter panels, front fenders and hood. While it was at the panel shop, I saw a third-gen 8.3-litre Viper V10 engine for sale.

I knew I needed it, and before you knew it, I had that in bits, forging it and shoehorning it into the ’68 with a BorgWarner turbo on each side, mated to a manualised TH400 trans. I am currently working on the Wilwood brakes while I wait on a few more engine bits to arrive in the country, and then it will go off to get wired up and tuned and then painted.

Can’t wait to get in and drive it again with the new powerplant!

1975 Holden HJ Statesman
Craig Kilgallon

“THIS is our HJ Statesman De Ville in Tuxedo Black. I bought it over a year ago as a regoed roller; it had previously been used as a burnout event car. It’s currently running a GM 572ci crate motor with a recently overhauled top end and a fresh coat of DNA paint. It is coupled to a TH400 with a 4000rpm Dominator converter and 35-spline, 3.7-geared Truetrac nine-inch.

We’re currently in the process of completing an engine bay refurb, including smoothing the firewall, inner guards and rad support. Panelwork has been completed by me, with paint by my good friend Jake Willie. The car also has all-new suspension, overhauled and powdercoated. We’re hoping to be back on the road in time for family Christmas cruises and Motorvation.”

Holden HQ Kingswood
Ross Weeding

“I BOUGHT my HQ Kingswood two years ago. I had a Lone O’Ranger four-door GTS when I was 20 and always regretted selling that, so this was its replacement. It went off to local guy who works out of his house for the floorpans to be replaced. It was stripped back to bare metal and all rust was removed. We have since decided to change it to a GTS mock-up on the outside, but we’ve stayed with the car’s original plated colour of Juniper Metallic – how good does the fresh paint look!

Since then, that bird’s nest of a 308 has been removed, replaced with a 454/TH400/nine-inch drivetrain. Additional tricks include Pacemaker extractors with dual three-inch exhaust; remote oil filters; thermo fans for the radiator and transmission; lowered suspension; strengthened mounts all ’round, battery relocated to the boot – the list goes on!

We are just rubbing back the final paint and then it’s off to upholstery. Did someone say Italian leather?”

Ford XW Falcon
Matt McDonald

“I PAID NZ$1000 for this XW 17 years ago. When I picked it up, it had been sitting in a garage for 18 years, and was only seven kilometres away from the car yard where it was sold new. The owner had painted it with a brush, so it wasn’t the flashiest of cars. When I bought the XW it was a six-cylinder, but I turfed that in favour of a blown 351 Cleveland with a four-speed Top Loader and nine-inch diff.

I have upgraded the interior to BA XR6 leather (front and rear seats and centre console), but have kept the Falcon GS dash. Practically all the work has been done by me, including the engine build, full panelwork and the interior, although I paid the professionals to paint it.”

Victa Ride-on Mower
Brendon Riley

“HERE is my mocked-up build. It’s a 70s-era Victa Series 7 8-30 ride-on mower that is being stuffed with a 302 Clevo, C10 and IRS diff centre with custom axles. And it will still mow the lawn!

The build will be tunnel-rammed, with open headers, big cam, Cragar front wheels and chromed steelies on the rear. It has been mostly designed and built by myself, with help from close friends and specialist machinists.”

Holden HG Premier
Ashley Thomson

“THIS is the HG Prem I’ve been working on. I’ve owned the car for nearly two decades, but I only got stuck into it about four years ago. The engine is almost ready to hit the dyno; it’s a BK Race Engines-built 372 ci SBC running twin Garrett GTX4202 turbos. Steve Metcalfe is currently building me a tough 4L80E to send power to the 35-spline nine-inch with Truetrac.

It has an IFS front end from Southern Chassis Works. The car has been mini-tubbed and runs Calvert mono-leaf springs and adjustable shocks. Shane Robinson built a removable six-point IHRA-spec ’cage and removable parachute mount for it. I can’t wait ’til it’s finished and ready for a few runs down the quarter so I can get used to it before attempting Drag Challenge.”

Bedford Truck
Steve Humphrey

“HERE is my ’55 Beddy. It was originally a local woodcarting truck; I pulled it from a paddock and have been working on it for the past seven years.

It’s running a Powerhouse-built 540ci Dart big-block with an 8/71 supercharger, backed by a Turbo 400 trans, three-inch chrome-moly tailshaft and a Ford nine-inch with a Strange centre.

It also has a three-inch stainless exhaust, Wilwood brakes and Classic Instruments gauges. I’m just getting the engineering sorted now that Melbourne has lifted restrictions and can’t wait to get to some car events!”

1993 Ford Festiva
Adam Ward

“HERE’S something a little different for you. This is my Festiva, which I bought for $150 and then poured a silly amount of money into eBay parts in order to turn it into a rally car to race at the Beverley Off-Road Motorsports Association (BORMSA). It’s about to get a proper six-point rollcage and then paint. It runs a 1.3-litre Mazda B3 motor and the stock five-speed, and I’m about to weld the diff in it.

Rally mods include a 52-inch quad-stack light bar; oil cooler; Password JDM tow eyes front and rear; steel 15-inch rims from a Hyundai Elantra; Kumho Ecsta Gravel 205/65R15 rally tyres, coil-over shocks from a Mark II Golf; 2005 Ford Fiesta TCR strut brace; mushroom filter; Subaru WRX seats; RJays five-point harnesses; eBay bonnet and roof vents and fender flares; and rear wing and brackets made from old real estate For Sale signs. You can see more photos of the build on my Instagram @Festy_AF. As far as BORMSA rules go, there’s really not many! You need a secured battery and fire extinguisher, a Motorsport Australia (formerly CAMS) L2S licence and club membership – that’s it!

It’s the cheapest form of motorsport I’ve been able to find.”

Holden HX Panel Van
Dion Pool

“HERE is my HX panel van. It’s a 308-powered, TH400-shifting, 3.08 LSD-geared money pit! It’s not a Sandman but a rare stamped two seat-optioned car from the factory. It has a WB Caprice front end and GTS dash so far, but there’s still loads of work to go. The bodywork is mostly completed, but it will be a nut-and-bolt resto by the time it’s finished. A great project for myself and my 12-year-old son.”