Readers’ project cars in the build

We check out some more of our readers' works in progress


Wayne Turner
Holden HX panel van

“After three years and $80,000, my dream car, WEAPAN, is nearing completion. It’s a 1976 HX panel van, which I built in my double garage, with the car spending the first nine months of the build on a rotisserie.

For power, it’s running a blown small-block Chev. A 4L80E transmission and a nine-inch diff get the power to the ground. Inside it has a GTS dash modified with Auto Meter gauges, and the top of the dash has been welded up to fit Vintage Air defrost vents.

Outside, the rear bar has been shaved by 50mm for a 5mm-gap fit; there’s no external bar on the front because there’ll be a customised dual grille fitted. It also has Kindig It shaved door handles.

I worked a lot of late nights to get it ready for the Gold Coast Car Show at Mudgeeraba. The next step is to install the rear interior once that gets finished.

Chris Coyte
1947 Plymouth Deluxe

“This Plymouth Deluxe started out as a four-door sedan, but I’ve chopped it about six inches and then channelled it another four. As you can see, I’ve deleted the two rear doors as part of that, and suicided the two front doors.

All the running gear is pinched from a 2006 Chrysler 300C, with the 5.7-litre Hemi V8, five-speed auto, front and rear subframes and even the four-wheel disc brakes. I’ll also be using the 300C’s dash and climate control.

I’ll reupholster the heated front seats and give the car central locking, electric windows and all the modern stuff.

It’s currently driving (at least around my yard), and I’ll hopefully get her on the road soon.”

James Wingate
Holden HZ One Tonner

“Here’s my girl just after she got back from the paint shop – big thanks to Jole Styles from Styles Industries for the paint and panel. It’s taken three years to get to this point, as we took the car back to bare metal and have replaced every nut and bolt, all done at home in my shed.

When it’s done it’ll be running a hot small-block Chev with a Turbo 400 ’box, nine-inch diff with CalTracs bars, and all the good stuff. We’ll be out at Heathcote on the drag strip soon!”

Clifford Hardacre
Nissan Skyline R33

“My R33 Skyline is a GTS-T model, and it still had the RB25DET turbo in it when I got it. Unfortunately, at Red CentreNATS 4 I blew up the engine, so then I decided to put an LS1 in it.

The engine has an 8/71 blower with an Enderle Bird Catcher hat, along with an MSD ignition box and Holley EFI, and it’s backed by a Powerglide. I’ve been building it slowly over the past couple of years, and I plan to debut it at Red CentreNATS 8 for its first burnout comp as part of my honeymoon with my partner in Alice Springs.”

Clinton Browne
Holden VK Commodore and two VL Calais

“I’ve got a few Commodore projects on the go: a VK SL and two VLs. The VK is a factory 308/four-speed car that had been stripped for all its good bits after it was in an accident in 2002.

It’s currently getting a full ground-up rebuild with a new 308 and four-speed, HDT bodykit, HDT Aero wheels and a Scheel interior. The first VL is a 1987 Calais that has been sitting in storage for many years.

We’re going through the process of getting it back on the road for my father to enjoy while his HQ ute is getting rebuilt. The second VL is my car, a genuine SL Turbo five-speed manual, which is getting a full rotisserie restoration as well.

I found it behind a workshop in country NSW, where it had been sitting for quite a few years.”

Paul Harring
CH Chrysler hardtop

“I bought this hardtop back in 1990 for only $2000, with a 360 V8 and a single-rail. It was only on the road for a week before I started taking it apart. Now the engine is a warm, injected 360 Mopar V8, with a Mopar M1 manifold, Crane roller rockers and cam, and ported Edelbrock heads with Ferrea 2.08 and 1.60 valves.

It has Pacemaker headers that’ve been ceramic-coated and modified to clear the rack-and-pinion steering, leading to a custom 2.5-inch exhaust using MagnaFlow mufflers. The subframe has been notched to let the exhaust sit higher.

The shaker is from a 1970 ’Cuda, while cooling is taken care of with a radiator from a NASCAR. The trans is a Stage Two Torqueflite 904 with a 2500rpm converter. The rear end has a modified Control Freak four-link to get the low stance I wanted, with a nine-inch diff that has 3.55:1 gears bolted to a Truetrac centre.

The front suspension is stock apart from some Rod Shop drop spindles and Firm Feel tubular upper control arms. The body is all still Chrysler apart from the Mazda MX-5 door handles and the hole in the bonnet. The colour now is Cobalt blue, and the tail stripe is straight silver with Cobalt mixed in.

The interior is in the process of being done, using Honda Civic front seats re-covered in black leather, with a fabricated centre console and Speed Hut Gauges.”

Kane Harvey
Ford XW Falcon ute

“I’ve been building this 1969 XW ute with my mates, with plans to make it a street/strip machine. I bought the car off a mate over four years ago, and after it got sandblasted I nearly gave up on the idea because of how bad the body was. Then I met a guy who later turned into a good mate, who offered his well-renowned services, and he got to work to help me get this thing done.

We jigged up a four-link set-up after I chose the wheel size I wanted, which also required bodywork to make them fit. We borrowed a rotisserie, which the car stayed on for a few months (much to my patient wife’s disgust) while the rear of the chassis was tied to the front end and the rollcage plates were welded from underneath. Another mate did a great job of welding those up.

The whole build has only been tackled on Tuesday afternoons after work over a few beers, which is why we’ve decided to call it ‘Mates’ Rates’ – hence the M8SR8S plates. Once we got it on the ground, my mate did all the tinwork it needed, and I can’t thank him enough.

It’s running a turbo Barra with all the usual goodies, a C4 ’box and a Strange 35-spline rear end. It should go okay by the end of it, but after four years and the mates I’ve made with it, I don’t care what it runs down the quarter now. It’s been a great adventure so far!”