Readers’ rockets: Family heirloom VC Valiant and more!

LS1-swapped Suzuki Mighty Boy burnout ute, family-heirloom VC Valiant, survivor graphic ’Cuda, supercharged V8 TC Cortina plus more


We check out some of our readers’ cool rides, from the January 2024 issue of Street Machine

Hayden Phipps
Suzuki Mighty Boy

“Here’s my 1984 Suzuki Mighty Boy burnout ute. It was in bad shape when I bought it – it’d had a few wall hits from the pad and looked a bit worse for wear, so we basically did a ground-up build on it with full paint and panel, carried out KC Customs here in Darwin.

“It runs a cammed 5.7-litre LS1 running a 750cfm Quick Fuel carb and Super Victor manifold, good for around 380hp. That’s backed by a built TH400, Final Drive tailshaft, and a four-link and shortened BorgWarner diff with a billet centre and 35-spline billet axles.

“Apart from the paint and panel, it was all built in the shed with a few mates. The ute runs on methanol and is definitely a challenge to steer around the pad! It’s naturally aspirated for now, but we have plans for a blower to go on soon.”

Sam D’asta
Chrysler VC Valiant

“My Dad purchased this Val back in 1978 for $995 at a Glen Waverley car yard. It was always garaged, and Dad really looked after it, but once he passed away in 2017, I took the car over. My wife really wasn’t a fan of it, as she’s always been a V8 girl, so she teed it up with a good mate of mine to respray it for my 50th birthday.

“We started stripping it through COVID, my mate’s dad did all the bodywork and repairs, and then my mate sprayed it – all for the cost of materials. Then it was off to the mechanics, where I had a fresh 318 built with a stage three cam, and then the 3.23:1 Truetrac diff with 31-spline axles.

“I can’t thank my good friend Andrew Martins and his father Andrea Martins enough – without them I would not have done it.”

Jordan Davis
Ford ZH Fairlane

“I purchased this 1978 Fairlane 500 from my uncle in December 2012 for the bargain price of $1500, especially since it had the optional wind-back sunroof. It was a regular daily driver for about four years until I got the bug and started to add a few little mods, including tidying up the engine bay thanks to my mate Hal Sims, who helped me sand back and paint the bay and under the bonnet.

“Two years later, the rear main seal finally went, so it was time to get the Clevo rebuilt with a bigger cam, Gilmer belt, and twin AU thermo fans to help keep it cool. We then rebuilt the trans with a shift kit and a 2800rpm stall converter.

“It rides on 14×8 12-slotters at the front and 15x9s out back, and the car has been lowered all ’round. This year more work was done to it, including adding a black-powdercoated tunnel ram, twin 350 Holley carbs, and numerous other parts in the engine bay changed to black for a different look. It’s a great old cruiser that’s just loud and turns plenty of heads, whether I’m on the way to a car show or just going for a lap around town.

“I would like to thank Justin Beattie from Bathurst Mechanical for all the hours he put into the car, and Russell Medlock from Rusty’s Restorations for the amazing job he did with bonnet.”

JJ Sonday
1974 Plymouth ’Cuda

“Greetings! Here’s my original-owner 1974 Plymouth ’Cuda with 37,000 original miles on the clock.

“It was painted in 1981 by the legendary metalflake artist Hank Z, and is a true rust-free 70s survivor from north-east Pennsylvania!”

Graydon Nielson
Holden VY Calais

“This is my blown L67-powered VY Calais Series II, BADL67. I’ve had the car since July 2019, and drove it pretty much stock all through my years as an L-plater, but once I got my Ps in March ’21, the mods started! As a P-plater in Victoria, an LS swap was off the cards, so I started with just the normal pulley upgrade to a smaller one, and a cold-air intake from Mace Engineering. I then lost my licence in June 2022.

“I considered selling the car, but I stuck with it. I added an air-to-air intercooler, and then got the car dyno-tuned at Boost & Tune Solutions in Melbourne, where the L67 made 229hp and 653lb-ft on stock headers/cats.

“I’ve since added a set of Pacemaker 5061 headers to let it breathe a bit easier, some high-flow cats made up by Chris at South Geelong Exhausts, and finished it off with a 2.5-inch X-Force cat-back with both mufflers, which gives the exhaust a nice note without attracting unwanted attention.

“Recently, I sourced a Crow cam kit with 222/[email protected] lift and 135lb valve springs. The 4L60E is shift-kitted using a TransGo stage two street/strip kit with a dual stainless-steel-ring Corvette servo, for that firm shift when giving it some curry.

“The car also has a four-bolt tailshaft from a VT, which runs into a 3.9:1 Truetrac LSD. Overall, the VY is really nice to cruise around in and have a bit of fun with mates. It owes me about $8500, but I don’t plan on selling it any time soon anyway.”

Andrew Miles
Ford TC Cortina

“My 1973 TC Cortina wagon features custom paint, a supercharged 347 stroker V8, C10 auto with 3200rpm stall, strong Mustang eight-inch LSD at the back, and three-piece Simmons B45 rims. It is fully engineered and registered in Victoria.

“I bought it three years ago from, my uncle, Bryan Pearce, who built the car. Since I’ve owned it, I have redone the interior, and I take it out most weekends for family cruising with my wife and young two kids. It’s an awesome little family wagon.”

Wineo Kosij
Ford XE Fairmont

“My 1982 Fairmont runs a balanced 351 crank and 302 rod combo topped by a 750cfm Brawler carb. Behind the mill is a built C4 trans and a shortened BorgWarner diff with Truetrac and 3.7:1 gears, done by Wade at All Trans Mechanical in Dubbo. I’m keen to take it to Summernats and hit up Skid Row!”

Harold Clatworthy
Holden VF Commodore SS-V Redline & Toyota HiLux

“I’m an Aussie expat who has been living in Waingaro, NZ since I was a young bloke, and I currently have two utes for both work and play. I bought my manual 2016 VF SS-V Redline out of Christchurch back in 2017, and had its 304kW LS3 bumped up to 380kW with a stage four kit by the folks at XAIR Performance in Pukekohe. It’s run a 13.3-second best at Meremere Dragway, and of course I fitted the ‘LSTUTE’ plates for this being the last Holden ute model.

“My HiLux had 529,000km on the clock when I bought it, but the 22R engine had a blown head gasket, so I fitted a second-hand engine with only 200K on it – low mileage compared to the first one!

“The planned pressure wash just to clean the green moss off it turned into a full body-off rotisserie restoration, and I need to thank my dad, Andrew from Streetneat, for all his help. I use it as a work truck for my bobcat and digger business, Skid N Dig Ltd.”

Send photos of your car and some info to: [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of prints as we are unable to return your photos.