Readers’ project cars in the build

A varied cavalcade of works-in-progress from our readers


Chrysler VG Valiant
Daniel Ward

“MY VG has been up and running as a leaf-spring radial street car for a while now, all built in my 6x6m home shed. But I’ve used the racing downtime to do a rebuild, with the main aim of getting it up to IHRA safety standards with a decent rollcage, parachute and race seat.

I’ve also fitted sound deadener to make it more comfortable on the road. In terms of horsepower, I’ve upgraded the intake, throttlebody and intercooler. It is currently running a stock-bottom-end LS1 with Holley EFI and S366 BorgWarner turbos. The driveline consists of a Powerglide, PTC converter and a shortened 8.8-inch rear, driving through a 275 radial.

To fit the rear tyre, I split the tubs and moved the shackles in. On 13psi, the car has shown 700rwhp and ran a 6.1@117mph pass over the eighth-mile. Next steps are to fit a built 5.3-litre LM7 motor and upgrade the converter and gearbox. Hoping to go a lot faster!”

EK Holden
Steve Gale

“WHEN I bought my EK two years ago it was as stock as they come, and I won a trophy for Best Original at a car show. Then I got it tubbed at Ultimate Metalworks by Brad Grech and the team, in order to fit a 15×10 rim and 295/50/15 tyre under the bum.

I drove it around for a while with the fatties and 138 grey motor, and it was a cool cruiser, but things have changed since then. It now runs an LS2 with RHD eight-stack injection, backed by a six-speed manual. I’ve also added a Rod Shop IFS front end and a custom four-link out back with Viking coil-overs, as well as a Competition Engineering anti-roll bar.

There’s a Rod Shop transmission tunnel and I custom-made the tailshaft tunnel. I also crafted the custom 17/8in four-into-one extractors. Inside is an E-Stopp electric handbrake, a Holley seven-inch digital dash and Vintage Air air con.”

Toyota Stout
Travis Dean

“I BOUGHT my Stout from Ben at Mex’s Garage; he was going to build it himself but decided he needed a larger car for his family. Once I got it, it spent time at a workshop in Newcastle to have the chassis built, but I ended up paying for a partially built chassis. So it went in storage for two years until I had my own place to attempt to build it myself.

The majority of the suspension parts were bought off the shelf and modified to work for my chassis. It has had 2001 HiLux control arms grafted on and the rear end is a chrome-moly Competition Engineering four-link kit with a shortened HiLux diff, which allowed me to fit 275 drag radials.

The engine is a 2JZ-GTE VVT-i, backed by a Toyota A340E automatic transmission. I fabbed the engine and trans mounts myself. I’m yet to tackle all the rust, but I’m only going to do the structural rust and keep the patina, as I feel it’s earned it.

Thanks to my mates Ben, Harley and Rod for their help.”

1969 Chrysler VF Valiant hardtop
Matt Kemp

“THIS is my 1969 VF hardtop. I was looking for a Valiant I could chop up into a drag car and not feel guilty about doing it, so this was the perfect candidate, as it was destined for Sims Metal until I made the previous owner an offer for it.

It now has a 406ci twin-turbo Duramax diesel in it, back by a 4L80 trans and nine-inch diff. It’s currently at Reaper Performance Diesel in Perth having the pipework, rollcage and four-link done. Then it needs wiring and a ratio change and will be ready to upset some people!”

1981 Holden VH Commodore
Daniel Sharpe

“I WOULD like to show you my COVID-19 project: my VH Commodore. It’s gone from a 308 to a 355 stroker, and I also took the Trimatic out and replaced it with a shift-kitted TH350 with a 2500rpm stall converter.

The car has had fresh paint and interior and sits on genuine V5 Simmons rims.”

Chrysler VG Valiant
Dick Scaife

“HERE’s my old VG. It was a one-owner Regal that only had 65,000 miles on it when I bought it. I drove it like that for a couple of years before deciding to turn it into a drag car. It now has a stroked 438ci B-block Mopar mill, backed by a 727 and 3.55:1 diff.

It has run consistent high 11s, but I’m now doing some upgrade work on the trans and the motor, which will get improved heads, inlet, carb and solid-roller cam. I hope to have it ready for track opening – it should be quicker!”