Readers’ rockets: LX SS Torana hatch, ratty Galant, 800hp XY ute plus more

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



“I was lucky enough to make the top 16 finalists in the Young Street Machine of the Year comp last year, so I thought I’d share some more photos of my Mustang with your readers. Over the course of three years, this COVID build had all of my time and attention, and now it runs a Dart 363 putting out 580hp at the flywheel.

“Behind that is a built C4 and a nine-inch diff. It rocks pearl paint with blacked-out trim and black chrome. It’s fully engineered and driven all the time.”


“This is my ratty 1975 Chrysler Galant known as RANCID. It runs a 3800 V6 running on methanol, backed by a T5 five-speed and R31 Skyline diff. It was built in 18 days as a bit of a fun bomb, and it’s quickly become a reliable stress relief tool.

“Future plans include a wash, a service and a rear tyre change!” Photos: Clutch Kick Photography


“My 1983 VH Commodore is also my first car, bought back in 2016 for $500 when I was just 16 years old. It was a primer-patched unfinished project still running its original blue 202 six-cylinder and Trimatic. We gave it a tidy-up and respray in the factory Alpine White in time for me to drive it to school the following year.

“Before long, though, I blew up the engine, so a five-year full rebuild commenced in 2018, which included an LS and Turbo 400 conversion along with a VL BorgWarner diff and VS fuel tank. A switch to Morpheus Purple paint from the VE colour charts changed the car’s look, along with new custom BCI 18-inch pursuit rims.

“The current LS has the usual cam, lifters and spring upgrades, and goes well. That said, I’d like to do an LSA swap for some extra power, and shorten the diff a touch. My family and I attend heaps of shows and events around South-East Queensland, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me out along the way.” Photos: Steve Kelly


“This VN Calais came into my life over 20 years ago as a grandpa-spec example running the stock 5.0-litre, and I’ve since spent a lot of time ruining it! It has gone from lowered with rims, to a basic cam/Starr Performance manifold combo, to how it currently sits with a Dewar’s Performance-built 355, FTI Powerglide from DTM, and a Supa Trik built nine-inch.

“The current build started with a broken valve spring in the old combo and took the better part of 10 years. I’ve tried to keep it as Australian as possible, having thrown a number of parts from Reidspeed, Lowe Fabrications, Bullet Engineering, Tuff Mounts and others into it, while also doing as much possible at home with the apprentice, my now not-so-young fella William, and I dragged Dad into it when he visited from interstate.

“Along the way, I’ve learnt a bit about every aspect of getting it done, from welding through to auto electrical. It arguably would have been cheaper and easier to go LS – it definitely would make more power per dollar – but supporting the little guys continuing to work with the old Aussie 5.0-litre is important to me.

“The plan now is to actually drive it, and I’m hoping to get out to the Holden Nationals as well as Summernats next year, while continuing to make improvements and refinements along the way. My wife probably thinks it’s finished, but the joke’s on her, I guess!”


“I bought my XY ute 18 years ago from a paddock in Ovens, just outside Myrtleford. Since then, it’s had an extensive rotisserie rebuild and I assembled it myself. It runs a new 434 built by Frank Marchese of Dandy Engines, which put out 804hp on the engine dyno.

“I took it to Bright Rod Run recently and won the President’s Choice trophy, which was totally unexpected, but I was extremely proud.”


“Back in 1987, when I was six years old, I got home from school one afternoon to find a bright green LX Torana SS parked in the driveway. My dad was standing there with his camera and a smile on his face; we took a few quick pictures, and then it was off for a drive around the block. I knew right then that this car was to be mine when I was old enough to drive, which finally happened in 1999 when I turned 18.

“A mate of mine was a painter, so we rubbed the car back, took the stripes off and gave it a fresh coat of 2K paint. It looked great – until it got backed into. I decided then that I was going to do a full resto on the car. We rebuilt the 253 with 40thou-over ACL pistons, a mild street cam, a bit of head work, four-barrel Quaddy, and a set of extractors. It’s not going to break any speed records, but it moves along okay.

“The gearbox is an M20 Aussie four-speed, and up back is a standard banjo diff. I started working for a mate at his body shop so I could learn to do bodywork and paint, and we worked on my car when we had spare time. We took it all back to bare metal, fixed all the little dents and rusty spots, then primed and blocked back, stuck it in the booth and blew on some Dulux PPG Panama Green and D800 clear.

“Inside, the front seats have been re-covered in original Slate Grey with Herringbone inserts, and the front door trims and carpet were replaced. It’s not concours, but it looks great and turns heads at all the meets. Big thanks to Garry and Ray for all the help with the build.”