Readers’ project cars in the build

We check out some of our readers' project cars in the making from the March issue of Street Machine


Nash Pasquazzi
Holden HJ Kingswood

“This is my HJ Kingswood build. It started life as a 202 and three-speed manual, and I bought it in 2019 out of a shed, where it had been sitting for about 10 years.

I drove it around for a year or so exactly the way I found it, but eventually I got tired of the underpowered 202 and built a nice little 355ci Holden V8 for it, matched with a TH400.

Unfortunately, after only a few short drives, I had an engine bay fire and burnt the majority of the car (above). It then sat untouched for six months while I decided whether to rebuild it or throw it in the scrap heap.

I bought a complete HJ for a donor car for a roof cut and all the interior I lost. It was rusty, but it had the bits I needed.

I did all the rust cuts and metalwork myself, and I was lucky enough to have a mate do all the bodywork for me to straighten her right up before I got to put the paint down.

It now runs a 427ci small-block Chev that makes 660hp, which I built at home, backed by a transbraked TH400 and nine-inch diff.”

Jaan Nihver
1963 Jaguar S-Type

“I’m in the middle of putting an Aussie Falcon motor into my Jag S-Type and giving it a bit of a Cyberpunk 2077 theme for something totally different. I found the car in Castlemaine in a garage packed with old cars, including Peter Brock’s Austin!

The Jag had been stripped back to bare metal by the old bloke I purchased it from, and then life had got in the way and it had sat there for 30 years. Apart from the surface rust, the car had very little rust at all considering its age. It was missing the engine and transmission, which was perfect, as I’d been looking for a unique 60s car to convert to a Falcon heart.

I initially purchased a VCT AU engine and started to mock it up in the car (pictured). However, that mill’s now on the back-burner, as I’ve recently acquired a Barra and all the turbo gear for it, so I’ve decided to use that instead.

The trim has seen better days, so a modern twist will be added while maintaining some originality in the styling.”

Troy Ibbett
Chrysler VF Valiant

“Three years ago, I bought this VF Valiant with the intention of my father and I doing another project car together. Unfortunately, a few weeks into owning the car, my father passed away, and I was left thinking what to do with it.

I used to be into the drift scene and had an R31 Skyline that was sitting around not being used, so I decided to band together with a mate and my cousin to help me do an engine transplant of the R31’s RB30DET into the Valiant.

First, a good mate of mine helped fix up the rust areas and get the VF nice and straight. I then gave the Valiant to my cousin, who took it to his work at the RAAF for some training with his engineering students, and what returned was a rolling shell ready for my RB30 to be installed into.

We’ve also fitted new brakes, differential, a straight-cut manual Nissan gearbox, full interior, and new or renewed trims. I’ve also added some digital gauges to monitor its heartbeat, a Link ECU to control the RB, and a slick set of wheels. Right now, it’s making a peak of 677rwhp, and the first drive was out of this world!

I’ve never had a car as cool as this. I do hope my dad is looking down smiling, as it has been an adventure and a half.”

Matthew Tirchett
Holden VK Calais

“I purchased my 1984 VK a few years ago with the intention of building a good, solid, reliable V8 for it. As everyone knows, though, once the ball starts rolling, things change, and before you know it, you’ve spent some serious money.

It’s been a father-and-son build; after we lost my mum a few years ago, my dad didn’t really know what to do with himself and I had always wanted to build a car with him, so we bit the bullet and got stuck in. The motor now is a 355 stroker built by Shane’s Race Engines in Wollongong, running a Scat crank, custom-ground cam, alloy heads and an ICE ignition system.

It made around 540hp at the crank, with a bit more still in it. Behind the engine is a 600hp-rated Trimatic built by Hugo at Race Glides, with a TCE converter, while the Borgy diff out back has a Truetrac centre and 3.9:1 gearing. We’ve done some cosmetic stuff as well, including shaving and painting the engine bay and repairing all the interior trim.

Right now, it’s in the wiring stage, and it should be ready for its first start by the time you read this. It will hopefully be done for Street Machine Summernats 36, and I can’t wait to get out and use it.”

Stephen Lister
Holden VC Commodore

“This is my 1981 VC Commodore, powered by a blue 202. My ultimate goal is to build it into a cool cruiser that turns heads. So far I’ve pulled out the interior to assess the rust situation, and bought a new-old-stock radiator support panel and new steering wheel.

I’ve repaired some of the rust on the car and got the motor running on its own. I plan on putting a cam, valve springs and a bigger exhaust on it, as I’m 17 years old, so I’ll have to make do with the 202 for now. This is my first build, and I’m loving it so far!”

Ben Coghlan
1978 Ford F250

“This is my 1978 Ford F250 that’s currently undergoing a full ground-up rebuild. For power, it’s got a 393-cube Cleveland V8 with 3V heads and a nice big cam.

It was built by Warren Eustace, and it’s putting out 585hp. The rest of the driveline consists of a C6 auto and shortened nine-inch with a Truetrac centre. It’s coming along nicely so far, and hopefully it’ll fulfil my vision of being a nice cruiser.”

Ryan Massingham
2012 FPV GS ute

“I’m currently doing a revamp on my previously factory-supercharged Miami V8-powered FG FPV ute. I’ve removed the 1900 Harrop supercharger in favour of a ProCharge Turbos Garrett 85/80 turbo, which has been installed under the tub to keep it stealthy.

The original ’box has been swapped out for a TH400. All the fab work has been done by All Street Performance & Fabrication, while I’m doing the rest of the work at home in a typical two-car garage with no hoist. The car was previously making 700hp with the bigger blower, but now I’m shooting for 1000hp out of a stock-bottom-end turbocharged Coyote!”

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.