Readers’ Rockets: ’64 Impala, Ford Escort + XD Falcon, HZ ute, FE panel van + more

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


Wiremu Searancke
1964 Chevy Impala

“This is my 1964 Chevy Impala convertible. I bought it off a guy in Canberra, Wayne, who had it in the build with his late father since 1987.

He reluctantly sold it to me in 2019, as he couldn’t finish it without his father. I had Samuel Burns at BLVD Garage help me finish it off.”

David Fitzsimons
Ford Escort

“I have owned my 1973 Mk1 Escort for 24 years, except for a period of seven years where I sold the car to help pay for my first house. Fortunately, I was able to buy it back at the end of last year. This is the second build I have done on this car, and it’s along the lines of an improved production circuit car.

It runs a Ford Focus two-litre Zetec engine, converted from FWD to RWD and fuelled by twin 45 Webers. The gearbox is a Sierra Cosworth two-wheel-drive T5, and the diff is an early four-wheel-drive HiLux LSD. It runs a stripped interior, full rollcage, custom dash, race seats and harnesses.

The exterior has custom hand-made flares stretched from the original guards, plus front and rear spoilers. Brakes are Wilwoods, with six-piston fronts and four-piston rear calipers, and it rides on coil-over front struts with adjustable inserts and adjustable rear shocks.

Wheels are 17×8 Challengers with 215/40 semi-slicks for shows, and 15×7 Challengers for the track. This was a seven-year build, mostly done on my driveway at home, and there are no plans to ever sell it again!”

Nick Seguna
XD Ford Falcon

“I have always loved XDs. When I was 19, I had a white one – a six-cylinder with a rollcage and by far the cleanest XD around. At 21, I needed some cash, so I had to sell the car.

Twelve years later, I bought another XD, which I pulled apart myself. I got it sandblasted at home and got the project started. Being a cabinet maker by trade, I am good at working with tools and knew how to spray. I was very lucky that the body wasn’t bad, with very minor rust that was cut out by Phil Xerri.

From there, I sanded and prepped the car, made up the colour and sprayed it, which was the first time I’d sprayed two-pack. I was so excited. The original motor needed a rebuild, but I couldn’t afford it, so I bought a second-hand 351 just to get the car on the road. The plan was to one day rebuild the original motor. I had Damien Lowe build me a drop tank, and I organised a nine-inch diff with 3.55 gears.

Bit by bit, the car came together. It was built for my family and I to enjoy. I did the majority of the work myself with help from my wife Vicky, kids Ashleigh and Matthew, and father in-law Chris. After 10 years, I met Tristan from T-REX Racing Engines, and he built me a 700hp Clevo using the original block. I cannot thank Tristan enough. He knows his Fords!”

Dave Ailey
HZ Holden ute

“I’ve owned this 1978 HZ Holden ute for 23 years, with plenty of kilometres travelled in its old look. Having just completed a new rebuild, it sounds and goes much harder with its new stroked BT1-block 308, solid lifters, Yella Terra roller rockers, L34 heads, Edelbrock Performer manifold and Brawler 750 DP carby, putting out 384hp on the engine dyno.

It’s hooked to a stage two-kitted Trimatic, 3000rpm converter, three-inch tailshaft and narrowed VS SS Commodore diff. It all looks the goods with a 2.5-inch to three-inch polished stainless-steel exhaust, all done in-house. I also fully detailed the undercarriage and engine bay.”

Glenn Mors
FE Holden panel van

“I’ve owned this van for about 14 years now. It has all-Commodore running gear: a V6 Ecotec, Turbo 700 and shortened VN diff, with VT parts used for the interior.”

Xavier Smith
Datsun 1200 ute

“This is my 1985 Datsun 1200 ute. Since buying the car at the age of 15, I have been working on it as much as possible, and finally finished it recently, having just turned 17. I have fully replaced the tray with a plasma cutter and got the measurements of the original folds and applied them into the new tray.

The paintjob was super faded, so I resprayed it back to the original Butter Yellow colour. I replaced the wheels with Nissan TRX rims and painted them in a light grey. Once I had the Datto sitting on the wheels, I wasn’t happy with the height, so I chucked some two-inch lowering blocks in the rear and bought some S13 adjustable coil-overs from Supafatto, giving it a nice and clean stance.

I have learnt so much over the past two years from my step-father, who has worked on it with me for so long and sacrificed many hours for me. I still have the original A12 1.2-litre in it, as well as the original carby. It did end up having ignition issues, so I switched from points in the dizzy to electronic.

I have many ideas for it for the future; I even thought about a 13B rotary, but I could also go with a basic SR20 or CA18. It’s not a bad-looking car; it obviously has its imperfections, but it drives well and is a good daily.”

Matthew Knowles
WH Holden Statesman

“Here’s a pic of my big boi! It’s running a freshie LS1, a built ’box by Paul Rogers, and a built diff with 3.7:1 gears.

It’s got the best of everything, top to bottom. Not too bad for an old WH! Cheers!”

Send photos of your car and a few details of what went into the build to Readers’ Rockets, Street Machine, Unit 9/3-5 Gilda Court, Mulgrave, Vic, 3170. Or email [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of prints as we are unable to return your photos.