Readers’ project cars in the build

We check out some of our readers' awesome project cars in progress


Dylan Rickard
XB Fairmont

“My uncle Steve bought this XB Fairmont GS back in the late 80s when it was a GT mock-up in the original Apollo Blue. After a few years and a few different issues, it got stripped back to bare metal, bogged up and put in primer, then put in the shed for 23 years. But in 2011, Uncle Steve passed away. At the age of just 13, I begged my mum to let me have the car, and after a lot of persuasion my aunty gave it to me to eventually get it back on the road. I got a job in mid-2014 that meant I could start work on it, and that’s about when Mad Max: Fury Road came out.

That gave me the inspiration to make it a bare-metal car, so some mates and I grabbed the angle grinders and stripped it back, then clear-coated it. Since then, I’ve built a very healthy 351 Cleveland with open-chamber 4V heads. It has a 750 Holley, Torquer intake manifold and other cool gear, including an 80s-spec camshaft that gave it some good shove while I was on my Ps. I drive the car regularly and it’ll always be a work in progress. Despite all the offers, I’ll never sell it, as it’s become a part of me.”

Jay Duca
Honda Odyssey

“These Honda Odysseys are normally just an aspirated K24 four-cylinder front-wheel drive, but I’m converting this one to RWD with a turbo 2JZ! Underneath are Nissan 350Z front and rear ends, and as you can see, the 2JZ has had to be mounted pretty far back.

I’m in the early stages, and it’ll start life as a 600hp build and then work up to a 1200hp combo. The goal is to have it at Summernats, but I’d also love to do Drag Challenge in it eventually.

All the build progress can be followed on my YouTube channel, Low Standards.”

Scott Perks
HZ Premier

“I’m building a 1978 HZ Holden Premier, which I bought in pieces and had resprayed. My dad cleaned up the front end with new bushes and suspension, and we fitted some new wheels and tyres. The interior is getting a full conversion from brown to black. The rear end is a rebuilt Salisbury diff, while the gearbox is a Turbo 700.

The 5.0-litre is out of a VP Senator, and we’ve done a hot cam, lifters, timing chain and those kinds of basic mods. The exhaust has Pacemaker headers running to a full three-inch system. There’s a lot still to do, but we’re looking at getting it on the road really soon.”

Dylan Hawker
Nissan S13 180SX

“My project is a 1993 Nissan 180SX that I’ve decided to drop a 6.2-litre supercharged LSA crate motor into. After years of drifting with the not-so-trusty SR20DET, I’d found it to be super unreliable and I was constantly breaking things. I was always chasing my tail and very rarely got a full day at the track out of it.

After working two jobs and saving hard, I finally made the decision to start a build that I’d been dreaming about for years. I was originally planning on running an LS1 I had lying around the shed, but I managed to get my hands on a brand new LSA crate motor direct from Eagle Performance.

In the process of building the car, I met my now-best friend Millie, who also works as a mechanic. She’s been a huge part of getting the car to where it is today. We’ve definitely shared some moments around this car, including laughter, sweat, lots of swear words, and immense joy and excitement when the S13 rolled out of the shed for the first time.

I couldn’t have done it without her! The car is nearing completion, including a recent dyno tune making a safe 500rwhp. It’s seen the track twice without any dramas, so the next step is to upgrade the rear end, as the stock diff isn’t quite up to the job, and then some paintwork and cosmetics.”

Matt Zimmerle
XH Falcon panel van

“Meet Li’l Piggy, my dad’s 1996 XH Falcon van. She’s been in the family for five years. In that time she’s been lowered over a nice set of wheels, we replaced the bench seat with a pair of buckets, and added an AU Falcon centre console and a wooden sports steering wheel.

The biggest change is under the bonnet, as we’ve just finished doing a Barra swap, which, along with the four-speed auto, came from a BA Futura.

The plan is to make Li’l Piggy a nice cruiser for me and Dad, and we’re also in the midst of doing a Fairmont/Fairlane front-end swap.”

Simon Estall
Toyota HiLux

“My 1980 RN41 Toyota HiLux – I call her ‘Beccy’ – has been a bit of therapy for me over the past few years while I’ve been fighting depression. Thanks to time spent during Covid, she now runs, drives and does everything that she should with a 1UZ-FE swap.

The engine and four-speed auto for the ’Lux came from a 1990 Toyota Celsior. The reason for the swap was because over the years I’ve used Beccy to cart plenty of 1UZ engines, so I thought it was only fair that she finally got one herself.

The hardest part of the build by far was decoding the Celsior wiring to use in the HiLux, as I wanted all the factory stuff working as if Toyota had built it that way from the factory.

The car didn’t require any body or chassis mods for the swap and is in the final stages of being engineered. She’ll be repainted soon in Holden’s Regal Peacock green over Toyota Steel Blue grey.

I took my 14-year-old son for a drive in it recently and his exact words were, “Dad, I’ve gone blind!” “Why?” I asked. He answered, “My eyeballs hit the back of my head when you stood on it!”

Brendan Townshend
1937 Oldsmobile

“I’m in the process of building this 1937 Oldsmobile F37, into which I’m putting a Holden 202 and T5 manual gearbox. The body of the car is pretty patina-clad, but despite what you’d think, there’s actually no structural rust.

I’ve had the car for almost a year now, and hopefully it’ll be on the road in a couple of months. I’ve also got a Sandman panel van in the build, so there’s plenty to do.”

Got a sweet ride that’s currently in the build? Send photos of it along with some details to: In The Build, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166 or email [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of your prints as we are unable to return photos.