Readers’ project cars in the build

We check out this month's crop of readers' works in progress


Chris Frendo
HR Holden

“Here’s my 1966 HR Holden. I’ve always loved the HR because my mum and dad had one, and funnily enough, it was the same colour as this one. I remember being driven around in it as a young fella. When the time came to search for a project, my wife and I ended up driving 14 hours to Ballarat, Victoria to buy it.

All the floorpans were cactus, with all four pans and front and rear tunnels needing to be replaced. While the grinder was out, we also decided to mini-tub the rear end for a nine-inch diff.

I’m running 10-inch rims on the back, because I’ve always liked the look of a low arse-end with nice rubber squeezed underneath.

Because it’s going to be engineered, I have installed a chassis kit with four-wheel disc brakes, retractable seatbelts and so on. The driveline consists of an LS1 backed by a Turbo 400 auto and 3500rpm converter. It’ll hopefully be fun enough for the track and comfortable enough to cruise with the family.”

Jack Martin
HJ Holden One Tonner

“I got this bad girl about three weeks before Christmas. It had a bunch of surface rust, hardly any interior and was running a 202 that needed work. So far I have changed the carby and filter and a bunch of fuel filters because it had rust in the tank.

Over my Christmas break from work, my mate and I painted the car in our workplace factory with little to no idea how to paint. I watched a lot of YouTube vids and read a heap online about the process.

She is currently back together, and I’m waiting for the interior to be put in.

I’m also going to build a new tray for her, and the plan is to build a 308 to go in her. Once I get a garage of my own, it will be pulled completely apart and professionally done.”

Barry Hammond
1957 Ford Customline

“This is my 1957 Customline, but the fact is I paid way too much for a rooted car. So far I’ve had the body off and had to fix the whole lot, adding new sills, floors, rear quarters, firewall and basically all the lower panels. Many times throughout the project, I’ve thought to myself, “What have I started?”

But I pushed through, and it’s a roller now. For power, it’ll be getting a mate’s mild and freshly built 289 V8 and Top Loader. It’s basically just wiring and plumbing left to go.”

Tom Bilston
Ford XF Falcon ute

“My 1986 Ford Falcon XF ute is a factory three-seater that’s been converted to a T-bar auto. I’ve always looked at these cars and said, “l’m gonna have one of them one day.” Then one of my good mates told me he knew someone that had one that he wanted to get rid of, so I took it.

It’s a pretty solid ute considering it was free! It was missing a few parts, but I had a lot of them already, as I’ve got two parts cars now.

The things I’ve done to it so far include taking all of the factory sound deadening out, as I’m halfway through replacing it with Car Builders deadening.

I put another bonnet and tailgate on it, as they were a bit straighter than the originals, and the next job is to fix the big hole in the floor and all of the rust. It’ll then get a quick closed-door respray in Raptor Coat, and I’m also going to mini-tub it, because l’ve got a set of Center Lines sitting there for it.”

Cody Sadler-Smith
Chrysler VH Valiant

“This is my 1971 VH Valiant sedan. I had been looking for a car for myself for a little while and wanted something I could add my own personal touches to. Originally, I wanted something running, but in 2016, I saw the ad for this sedan as a bare rolling shell for $1500 from Southport, Queensland.

Of course I bought it, and the build was meant to be a quick one to get it running. However, I realised that I wanted to keep everything in the VH as original as possible, which is a lot harder, as the parts aren’t as readily available. I have scoured the whole country for parts, including a VH grille that had to be tucked away in check-in luggage that we found in South Australia on a work trip.

First job on the car was a respray, as the orange with black stripe over the boot was flaking off and terrible, but overall the car was fairly straight and had very minimal rust. I went to a paint shop to get rid of the terrible paint and chose Plum Crazy purple.

There’s also a 265 Hemi with triple Webers and a four-speed manual ready to go in. It has been a long process – seven years, in fact – so hopefully it doesn’t take another seven years to finish!”

Brodie Treloar
HQ Holden

“My HQ started life as a Balmoral green-painted Kingswood, but now it’s being transformed into a GTS pro streeter with a full rotisserie build. All the metalwork has been done, including tubbing the rear to the rails to run the 275/60R15 tyres mounted to beadlocked Weld V-Series wheels.

The motor is a 440ci Dart LS Next with a solid-roller cam and assistance from some nitrous to hopefully dip this street car into the nines.

The engine is backed by a TH400 and nine-inch. Panel and paint are going to be carried out by yours truly, as it’s my occupation.

The aim is to hopefully get it in the Top 60 hall at Summernats, but other than that, I just want to cruise with family and friends and drive the wheels off it at Heathcote. Ideally, I want to run a nine in it, driving it to and from the track, and maybe a Drag Challenge is on the cards, too.”

Matt Goodwin
Ford XA Fairmont

“This old girl is my black beauty named ‘Sadie’. She’s a 1972 XA Fairmont coupe with my own custom touches and GT styling. She’s been in the build now for 10 years, with a ground-up restoration and fabrication work from the magical hands of Steve from Hotmods. It’s now been painted in Glasurit Black, with vibrant HOK Sunset Orange in the engine bay and under the bonnet and bootlid, all by Brett from BB Auto Refinishing, which really makes the engine bay pop.

Sadie’s powered by a 351-cube Cleveland making 468hp, with a C10 automatic and Quicksilver shifter. It also has an RRS steering rack, McDonald Brothers nine-inch four-link, QA1 rear suspension, Truetrac centre, Strange 3.5:1 gears and Moser 31-spline axles, and rolls on 15×10 rear and 15×5.5 front Auto Drags.

Nothing says muscle like those! I’ve shaved the door locks, kept the handles, and shortened the diff for perfect clearance to fit the 295/50 Mickey Thompson rubber out back, so no need for ugly rolled wheelarches. It’s been a long journey since it first came home on a trailer, but she’s exactly how I want a tough muscle car to be, and I’m just chipping away at the wiring at the moment. I try to do as much as I can myself, and I really enjoy it.

With two little scallywags who love sitting inside pretending to drive, I can’t wait to go cruising in Sadie with our fam soon – dare I say it, later this year!”

Got a sweet ride that’s currently in the build? Send photos of it along with some details to: In The Build, Street Machine, Unit 9/3-5 Gilda Court, Mulgrave, Vic 3170, or email [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of your prints as we are unable to return photos.