Readers’ project cars in the build

Back into the sheds we head to see some of the cool stuff that's coming down your pipelines - part 16


1957 Chevrolet wagon
Steve McCumber

“YOU may remember this car from when it got a brief mention in your mag a while ago. After a battle with a medical issue I’ve been having, I’m happy to say the build on the Chev is almost done at last.

Chevrolet wagon engine

It’ll have a blown 434ci small-block Chev topped with a 14/71 blower. The trans will be a two-speed TH400 Pro Outlaw ’box, with a carbon front clip and composite doors. It’ll be finished in 2K paint.”

Model A chassis & SOHC cammer engine
Tony Webster

“HERE are some pics of my original Model A project. The chassis has been boxed and drilled/tubed with about 100 holes, along with another few hundred holes in the bracketry. The front axle is a standard Model A item with a suicide buggy spring and split bones. The rear end is a new Winters Champ quick-change. I’ve made the ladder bars, and it will be torsion-bar rear – not fitted yet. It will run a 179 Holden six that has been in the family for many years – I purchased it when I was 15, rebuilt it and put it into my first car, an EK Holden. My brother Rex and I then built our FJ drag car and put this engine in that car. The gearbox I’m using also came out of that car. The body will be a 1928 steel Model A roadster; it will be a hiboy.

I am building this car with my nine-year-old grandson, Max Sharp, to teach him as much as possible about old-fashioned, back-to-basics hot rod building. Our intention for the car is to enter events like the Mud Run, Rattletrap and the Nostalgia drags.

Also pictured is my blown 427 Ford SOHC engine. I had known the whereabouts of this rare engine for 40-odd years; it was part of a collection of other rare engines, and when the opportunity arose for me to purchase it, the deal was done. I don’t know a lot of its history, but after a close inspection, we think it is still brand new. We can see that it has blower pistons instead of dome pistons, which we believe were fitted when the blower was put on. We will pull the engine apart and check it all out prior to using it. Then we’ll fit this mill in my ’32 three-window coupe, with a five-speed manual and a Winters quick-change. It will run on alcohol – should be a fun drive.” Photos: Ben Hosking

Ford XD Falcon ute
Mark Head

“I BOUGHT this 1981 Ford XD ute back in 2013 for $1600. It was stock as a rock, with a six-cylinder 250 and column-shift BorgWarner auto. The only rust was in the rear quarters, which was easy to fix, but I had a lengthy to-do list to get it roadworthy, including rebuilding the front end. My good mate John helped me out with the LPG side of things, as it had a multi-valve tank that had to be replaced. I didn’t like the original bench seat, so I fitted buckets instead and door trims that I got from an XE ute. In 2014 I swapped out the six for a 302 V8 from an XE Fairmont wagon, along with a C4 auto (rebuilt by Endurance Automatics) and LSD diff.

Ford XD Falcon ute interior

I finished the conversion a week before the Deni Ute Muster, where I entered the driving events, but I had a starting issue all weekend. It turned out to be a broken wire in the wiring loom going to the gearbox, which I got fixed by an auto electrician. In January 2018 I drove to Wonthaggi and entered the Bass Coast Ute show, where, to my great surprise, I came second in Best Classic/Restored and got a medal for Furthest Distance Travelled. But by about mid-year, I cracked the shits and pulled the Clevo out of it. I also found rust in the driver’s-side sill and torque box area. My mate Dunolly Dave helped me repair it, but then it sat for a couple of years. Last year I wanted to get the car driveable again, but COVID hit and I got made redundant. I’ve done little bits and pieces since I’ve been unemployed, but nothing major as yet.”

Holden Kingswood

“I’VE been rebuilding this Kingswood from the ground up over the past four years, and I’m getting really close to finishing it. It has had a complete bare-metal resto-mod, and is now set up with an LS and an auto.”

Ford XY Fairmont wagon
Casey Thomas

“I thought you might be interested in my XY Fairmont wagon build. It’s named ‘Black Betty’ thanks to my 11-year-old daughter and the song of the same name. I bought it when I lived in the UK back in 2016. It had 23,000 original miles on the clock and ran the original 302 and auto. I drove it around England for a few years and then shipped it home. It’s been a daily since the first round of COVID 2020 lockdowns, and has now done 33,000 miles. It’s now getting a turbo green-top Barra, Paul Rogers TH400 and Top Notch Race Cars nine-inch, along with chassis connectors, with help from Speed Parts and Hallam Performance for the motor.

Ford XY Falcon engine

The Barra will have all the go-fast bits, including a BorgWarner SXE 369 turbo, Atomic pump and gears, XR6 Developments head studs and valve springs, water-to-air intercooler, Plazmaman inlet and 6Boost turbo manifold, with the whole shebang controlled with a Haltech ECU. It’ll also have a full Wilwood brake set-up, Tuff Mounts, fuel cell, icebox and the all-important roof rack. The fibreglass bonnet, guards and bars from Alfa Motorsport will aid in the weight stakes.”