Readers’ Rockets: VK Commodore, HQ Holden, XT Falcon, XB Falcon ute + more

We check out some of our readers' rides from the June 2020 issue of Street Machine


Craig Meston
1986 Holden VK Commodore

“MY VK is a purpose-built burnout car running an LS1 383 stroker, built and tuned by JC Racing in Sydney, and makes 480rwhp on E85. It’s backed up by a two-speed ’Glide and nine-inch. It also has a six-point chrome-moly rollcage and a tubbed, ladder-bar rear end with coil-overs.

Wheels are Showwheels KWC013s – 20x12s on the rear and 20×8.5s up front. Earlier this year I was a Summernats 33 Last Chance Wildcard Shootout entrant and made it through to Masters qualifying.” Photos: Bright Design

Corey Wallace
1971 HQ Holden

“MY HQ is currently running a fresh tall-deck big-block Chev by BluePrint Engines that made 755hp on the engine dyno. It has 10:1 compression, a Holley 1050cfm carby on pump fuel 98, Super Victor manifold, Comp cam and forged bottom end. I brought the car off my wife’s uncle Bob in 2006. He was fighting cancer at the time; a year later he passed, so I never got to take him for a spin with the car all fixed up. It had a 383 in it when I bought it; that wasn’t enough power for me, so I sold the SBC and my mate Stu suggested I put a big-block in it.

Over the next few months we did the swap in his shed, using his hoist and a borrowed engine crane. We ordered a lot of new parts for add-ons. We went with extractors that were supposed to fit tall-deck BBC-into-HQ swaps. They didn’t, and had to be modified. There is also all-new wiring, brakes and bushes. Behind the mill is a TH400 trans and a 3200rpm converter by The Converter Shop. Kuluin Mufflers modified the tailpipes, and I’ve added a Bodycraft drop tank for extra fuel, as the car is on full rego. I haven’t run it down the strip yet, but hopefully it should run a mid-10.”

Jarrod Dean
1963 EJ Holden

“MY EJ wagon is so much fun to drive. It runs an LS1 with T56 six-speed manual. The engine is stock, but the gearbox has a Mal Wood short-shift kit. Underneath, there is a modified HR front end, a shortened BorgWarner rear end with 3.90:1 gears and LSD, and four-wheel disc brakes.

The original interior has been redone, and we’ve added retractable seatbelts, Bluetooth stereo, power steering, air con, central locking, and even cup holders in the middle armrest. It’s a great sleeper, having run a best of 12.80@108mph down the quarter at Willowbank in full street trim, just running on 98 fuel.”

Kym Harvey
Ford XT Falcon

“THIS is my first car. I saved up money working on the farm every school holidays and bought this when I was 16 from the original owner’s son. Back then it had a 200ci six, column-shift auto and 8¾-inch diff. I cooked the engine when I was 22, which gave me the motivation to finally put in the 351 that had been sitting in the shed for a few years.

But after installing that, it looked weird to have a shiny new engine in the same old car, so I pulled the engine back out and undertook a three-year, bare-metal rotisserie rebuild to turn it into a tough street car. The 351 Windsor is now backed by a manualised C10.”

Chris Anscombe
1974 Ford XB Falcon ute

“I DRAGGED the ute from a rubbish dump near Glenmorgan, Queensland in 1985. It has had several builds over the years, starting with a 250 six, three-speed on the floor, Emerald Fire paint and 14x7in jellybean mags. In the 1990s, it went 351/FMX auto/nine-inch, with dark Mica Green paint and Stryker rims.

Then in the mid-90s, I built another 351 with 310rwhp, backed by a Top Loader and 4.11:1 diff, sitting on 15×8 and 15×10 Drag Lites. Since then, I fitted billet Intro rims, did a bunch of mild custom body mods and added a two-tone green/magenta paintjob. It now runs a 500-cube, roller-cam BBF with FiTech dual-throttlebody injection and an 8/71 blower.

There is a JW Bell-kitted TH400 and a Truetrac 3.55:1 nine-inch behind it. Underneath is a McDonald Brothers front end, A1 coil-overs and Kelsey-Hayes four-spot brakes. The custom interior features Recaros, a Racepak dash, harnesses and rollcage. I recently gave it a satin green metallic wrap, and am currently switching it to E85 so I can wind up the boost.”

Steven Parrey
Holden VK Commodore

“MY VK belonged to my late pop; he’d owned it since 1986. These days, it rocks an L98, six-speed manual and nine-inch diff, with Wilwood brakes and a four-link rear.

The whole car is gapped 5mm. I will have it forever; my family loves to cruise in it and my six-year-old daughter is always egging me on.”

Russell Hulm
WB Holden van

“I BOUGHT my WB panel van in 2002 from the local wrecking yard. It was the classic project I’d been looking for. My initial plan was to rebuild the mechanicals and give it a lick of Barbados Green paint, so I stripped it down straight away. As it had a good body and front end, I set about the panelwork and getting it painted; me being in the trade helped give the project a handy start.

But that’s when the build’s direction changed. I was convinced I should go all out and produce something different, and with Harlequin paint being all the rage at the time and panel vans being on the wild side anyway, well, you can see how it turned out! I turfed the 253/four-speed for a slightly better 355/TH400 combo, then set about doing the interior and tidying up the look of the van. I did 90 per cent of the work myself with help from some talented mates and local businesses. All up, I spent 10 years building the van, eventually finishing in 2012. In 2015 I travelled to the Van Nationals in Bathurst, where the van won Top Paint and the Frank Lee award. I never meant to build it as good as it’s turned out – it just sorta happened!”

Stephen & Michelle Watterson
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air & 1967 VE Valiant

“WE PURCHASED the Bel Air six years ago out of the USA as a stock 350/TH350 combo. As a six-seater, it made for a great family cruiser for club cruises and even a few laps around Lakeside. After owning it for five years, we decided to swap in a blown engine! We purchased a crate 383 with a 6/71 blower, twin carbs, TH400 full-manualised gearbox and the old-school scoop out the bonnet, and added American Racing Torq Thrust wheels. This was the long-term goal we wanted for the car: keeping it old-school and streetable but with enough power to have fun when needed.

We bought the Val a couple of years ago, as Michelle always wanted a cruiser for herself. We are the third owners, and it is a very straight car and very original. It came with a tired 225 slant-six from a ute, and the wife drove the car week in, week out for school runs and the like – while the late-model Camry sat in the driveway! Late last year we made the decision to rip the 225 out and rebuild it to the original specs, but we added Pacemaker extractors, Torqueflite gearbox with three-on-the-tree and a new paintjob in the original Twilight Turquoise.”

Gianni Rosson
1978 Holden UC Torana

“I’VE had the UC for about 10 years – minus a year when I temporarily sold it to a mate! But I couldn’t go without it, so when the time was right I made it mine again and embarked on yet another rebuild. I’ve added nitrous to the Holden 355 stroker, bringing power to 450rwhp on pump 98. I also smoothed out the engine bay, ironed out all the wiring, went to an electronic water pump, and decked out the boot with a nice fuel system, battery and bottle.

It’s an effort to get the 235 ETs to hook up, but the built Turbo 350, 4800rpm stall converter and 4.11:1-geared nine-inch makes for good times with the right foot. It’s my street machine, and the True Street Car Club allows me to enjoy the car through the many events the club organises. Every other weekend I get seat time at roll racing and eighth-mile days to enjoy the tyre-frying, old-school power. I hope to get the car into the 10s next time out on the quarter-mile.