Readers’ project cars in the build

Masterpieces in the making from the sheds of Australia - part 15


Holden HQ coupe
Danny Clarke

“HERE’S my big-block HQ coupe project. It’s running an 800hp, 565ci Dart Big M engine and TH400 ’box. It’s been tubbed, and a custom boot floor has been added. The CDS Engineering rear end uses Viking coil-overs, a 35-spline Strange nine-inch diff with Moser axles, and Wilwood brakes.

Holden HQ coupe build

The rest of the floor and tunnel has been raised, and the front end uses United Speed Shop tubular arms with coil-overs. It also has RetroRack power steering, along with Rod Hadfield drop spindles. Under the rear guards sit 15×10 satin Center Lines with Nitto 325/50 radials. When it’s done, it’ll have a Barbados Green GTS exterior and factory-inspired GTS houndstooth interior.”

Ford XD Falcon
Paolo Boni

“THIS is my Barra-swapped XD Falcon build that is almost finished. It has a TBRE-built motor with a GTX42 turbo on a 6boost exhaust manifold.

Ford XD Falcon engine bay

It breathes through a Plazmaman intercooler and intake manifold, and made 730hp on the run-in tune on 23psi. The driveline is made up of a Gilroy’s TH400, going to a Gazzard Brothers rear end with a 35-spline nine-inch diff.”

1972 AMC Javelin
Baz Hammon

“I’VE owned this AMC Javelin for 10 years; I’d always wanted one since I was a kid. It was an Aussie-assembled RHD AMI car that was featured in Street Machine’s Readers’ Rockets section many years ago – I recognised it from there when I first saw it. The car was very ordinary when I purchased it; it had to go back to bare metal due to humidity blisters all over it. The paint and panelwork has slowed down the project, but thankfully it’s home now. The running gear was also a mess; the block was full of Chem-i-Weld and kept overheating. When it’s back together, it will run a fresh AMC 401/410 engine being built by Dalgleish Engines. It’ll also have a manualised 727 trans, 4000rpm stall and Dana 4.56:1 rear end. Wheels will be Auto Drags – 15×6 up front and 15×8.5 rear.”

1986 Holden VL Calais
David Gates

“I HAVE a 1986 VL Calais that I’m currently swapping a fully built Toyota 1GZ-FE 5.0-litre V12 into. It’ll have twin Proboost GTX3076 turbos, forged rods and pistons and Darton sleeves. The driveline will use a TH400 trans and a built Borgy diff.

Holden VL Calais build

It’ll have a six-inch reverse cowl to fit the engine, but other than that the exterior will look stock when it gets resprayed in the factory colours, and it’ll have Weld Magnum wheels. The inside will also stay relatively standard with the Madeira trim. The plan is for a debut at Drag Challenge in 2022, so wish me luck!”

Toyota Crown
Tash Weltsch

“ON BOXING Day last year, my husband Brenton and I started on a crazy journey to pull my beloved Toyota Crown off the road and remove the trusty but very slow 4M motor and ’box to make way for the slightly more powerful LS1 and 4L60 gearbox. With lots of planning, the project has been running pretty smoothly, with only a few hiccups along the way. Currently we are at final mock-up stage of the accessories to make sure everything fits before painting parts and final assembly.

Toyota Crown engine bay

We had to custom-make a mid-hump sump, and have also added new engine mounts, radiator mounts, trans mount, custom headers – the list goes on. All the work has been done in-house by Brenton and myself, working nights and weekends. There’s still a little more work to be done, including making an airbox, plumbing the remote oil filter and cooler, and the dreaded task of wiring in the custom standalone loom. I’m proud of the amount of progress we’ve made so far, and we’re aiming to have it ready to be fired up in the next few weeks.”

1945 International KB5
Craig Doig

“THIS is my 1945 KB5 International tow truck. I started with just a cab, but due to the original DUNEDOO 24HR TOWING signwriting still visible on the doors, I decided to build myself a hot rod tow truck. It’s powered by a Ford 292 Y-block with a three-speed manual trans.

International KB5 engine

It’s got a custom intake with four two-inch SU carbs, water-cooled marine exhaust manifolds and plenty of period items throughout. Rear wheels are 18×15.5in but with dual tyres on handmade adapters. It’s still not finished, but getting close.”

Holden LJ Torana
Tim Rehn

“I BOUGHT my LJ Torana on my 15th birthday in 2006 and planned to have it on the road for my Ps. That didn’t happen. I cut the rust out, replaced the smashed front panels and rear quarter, and resprayed it in the original Purr Pull in my parents’ shed, then parked it for nearly 15 years while life got in the way. I bought a set of Ford-pattern Mawer wheels at the start of 2020, which meant changing stud pattern, so I’ve gone with P76 discs and Wilwood calipers on the front and a cut-down XR6 diff in the back. It’ll have a hot 202 with two-inch SUs, backed by a Celica five-speed, and I can’t wait to drive the wheels off it soon.”

Holden VY Commodore SV8
Simon Wormington

“HERE’S my 2004 VY SV8. It’s running an LS1 with a Proboost 42 turbo and TH400 conversion, making a healthy 600hp. I’m planning on taking it to the drags this year to see how quick it’ll go. Most of the work on the car has been done at home in the garage with my mates, the missus and my four-year-old son all helping out.

Holden VY Commodore engine bay

The tuning was done at Edge Automotive & Performance in Toowoomba. Future plans include mini-tubbing it and possibly a installing a rollcage. Then we’ll be seeing how far we can push it and having a go at Street Machine Drag Challenge.”

Ford F100
Adam Thomas

“THIS is my 1969 F100 project. It’s a US import that sat with a mate for about 20 years. Running gear is from an HSV VF GTSR, including the LSA engine, TR6060 transmission, full rear cradle and third member, pedal box and booster, all rotors and calipers, wheels and bimodal exhaust.

Ford F100 engine bay

I toyed with using the front strut set-up, but after talking to Curley from Southern Chassis Works, I decided to go with one of his custom front ends manufactured to my dimensions, with a torsion sway-bar sourced from the US. Extras include a Vintage Air unit, Dakota Digital analogue gauge cluster, Hurst shifter, keyless start and electric/hydraulic power steering. It’s currently in the wiring and plumbing stage. Being a spray painter and engineer, I’ve done all the work myself with the guidance of a VASS engineer.”