Readers’ rockets: HQ Tonner, LX Torana, VE Valiant, WB van + more

We check out some of our readers' cool rides from the August issue of Street Machine


Jordan Musarra
Holden HQ One Tonner

“I’ve had my HQ Tonner for 10 years. It was my first car, bought for me by my parents for $1000. I had always been interested in modifying cars, having grown up watching my dad build his ’34 roadster. When I got the Tonner, it was running a 202 red motor and an Aussie four-speed.

I began a nut-and-bolt resto on the car eight years ago by stripping it down to a bare chassis. After getting the chassis powdercoated satin black, I restored all of the suspension components with Pedders springs and Competition Engineering shocks. I then decided to replace the old and tired 202 with a modern LS2 6.0-litre. I wanted the motor to look more old-school, so I swapped out the stock intake for an Edelbrock Victor Jr with a 4150 four-barrel throttlebody. To help the motor breathe, I replaced the stock manifolds with four-into-one Pacemaker extractors.

I’m running a Turbo 350 trans with a 2500rpm converter, and to support the power of the new driveline, I had to upgrade the diff with a Competition Engineering housing and Strange Engineering nine-inch centre with a 4.11 full spool and 31-spline Moser axles. Brakes are Wilwood four-piston calipers and discs on the front and HQ drums on the rear. For fuel it has a custom drop tank in the rear with a Bosch 044 fuel pump.

The Tonner is rolling on Weld Magnums – 15×3.5 up front, and 15×10 on the back wrapped in 325/50 Mickey Thompson ET Streets for traction. It’s painted in an Alfa Romeo gunmetal grey with all the chrome blacked out to give it a modern look, and the interior is all black leather with a full custom Auto Meter dash. It makes for a perfect street cruiser that turns heads. I can’t wait to get it out on the drag strip very soon. I would like to thank my family, friends and my wife for supporting me throughout the build.” Photos: Sean Musu

Jayden Briers
Holden LX Torana

“Here’s my 1977 LX Torana, powered by a high-comp 355 stroker with a 288 solid cam and Holley Sniper EFI. The trans is a TH700 with a 4300rpm stall, and the rear is a CRS nine-inch with 4.11 gears. Brakes are Wilwood all ’round, behind 17×8 and 17×10 Hotwires.”

Michael Alavanos
Chrysler VE Valiant

“Where do I start? I’ve had a love of cars for as long as I can remember. I fell in love with the VE Chrysler Valiant when I was six years old when my father purchased one for a weekend cruiser. Ever since then I’ve always wanted one.

This is my 1967 VE Chrysler Valiant with a patina finish and candy-apple red rims. The roof also has a little graphic design on it. At the moment it has a 225 slant six, but my goal is to put in a 440 big block and to make it a tough streeter for the weekends.”

Karl Hummer
Ford XH Falcon ute

“I bought this ute off an elderly couple seven years ago (in saying that, I’m 60 myself). It was just an original, stock ’99 Longreach Tradesman ute. I went to visit J Mac Mechanical one day, just to ask how to make it sound better – maybe an exhaust system with a nice note, or even some head work – and I ended up deciding to leave the ute with them.

This was shortly before the pandemic began, so for over 14 months, it took up their hoist as delays continued. We were aiming for a true sleeper, but the bonnet would not shut due to the turbo Barra motor sitting higher, so we had to bulge the bonnet. Finally, the day came when I got the phone call asking if I would like to take the ute for a test drive. It wasn’t fully finished and had bits and pieces still to do, but I was so excited after such a long, drawn-out process.

Needless to say, the power surprised me on the slightly wet road! I gave it a little push on the accelerator at 60-70 kays and nearly lost it. I never did that again! I returned to the mechanic’s after the test drive and was still shaking a bit. The power is incredible at 326.7rwkW (438rwhp), especially with the ute being lighter than an FG Falcon. I ended up putting Center Line wheels and wider sticky tyres on the ute, and always have 200kg of weight in the tub to help with traction.”

Joshua Potts
Holden WB van

“Here is one of our cars that I would love to see in your magazine. It’s an ’81 WB panel van known as BLOWB. Engine is an SC14-supercharged 202, backed by an Aussie four-speed manual (soon to be five-speed) and original diff. It was purchased from my uncle’s estate, as we couldn’t afford his genuine XU-1. We built the 202 from my missus’s LJ Torana and then supercharged it for a bit of fun!”

Alex Martello
Ford XB Falcon

“This 1976 XB is my first car, which I bought at a Lloyds Classic Car Auction. It’s a dream come true. Cruising in an old-school, three-speed column manual car like this is the best feeling and always puts a smile on my face. Hanging around my dad and his mates doing up big V8s makes me excited to one day swap the 250 six-cylinder to a nice V8 engine.”

Jaiden Braendler
Holden LX Torana

“This is my 1978 LX Torana, running a 202 and Trimatic. My dad bought this car around 2008 as something for me to learn basic mechanics on. I have been making plans for this car since I was about 10 and plan to turn it into an SL/R 5000 replica. I have a 308 and Turbo 700 that I am building up and will put in it once I get my full licence, but for now, it is staying as is.”

Luke Latter
Ford AU Falcon ute

“I bought my manual 2002 AU Series III XR8 Pursuit 250 midway through last year, when I was 19 going on 20. I’ve done a bit of maintenance like replacing bushes as well as throwing on a nice set of extractors and an exhaust system to go with it. I’ve also added factory-optioned Brembo brakes.”

Matthew Zonta
Holden VL Calais

“The important thing about this 1987 Calais is that it is my first car. I worked every weekend and school holiday to afford it, from age 16 onwards. By the time I was 17, I was able to purchase my dream car, which happened to be owned by a family friend. At that time, the Calais was naturally aspirated, but after years of working and saving, I did a standard turbo set-up, and it progressed as time went by.

After many months of pulling apart the motor with mates and trying new set-ups, it now has an A8 bottom end, ported head with TX2 cam, and a Garrett 3582 turbo. It runs a 3.5-inch exhaust and makes 330rwkW on E85. This car means so much to me, as it is what I dreamed of as a 12-year-old. To make it a reality was special.”

Nathan Sacco
Ford BF Falcon

“My 2006 BF Falcon started its life with me as a P-plate daily driver with the usual mods. However, over the years the car has evolved into a 740hp monster. During the long Victorian COVID lockdowns, I decided to retire the car from daily duties and bring on its next version as a turbo Barra-powered beast, as it was previously naturally aspirated.

Things got out of hand fairly fast when the welder came out and the bay was shaved. All the go-fast bits came in and the car was tuned by the team at Maxx Performance, and it made 550kW on their hub dyno. It’s been a lifelong dream to own a car like this, and I finally have it thanks to many long hours in the home garage. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my car.

Hopefully one day I can run a 10-second quarter in it while retaining the T56 gearbox. My favourite thing about the BF is that I can thrash it on the track on Sunday and drive it to work Monday or even off to a car show.”