Readers’ Rockets: EH Holden, XM Falcon ute, ’57 Chev wagon, XC Fairmont + more

Some of our readers' cars this month include a neat family-heirloom EH Holden, a former Street Machine feature car XM ute and an LSA-swapped '57 Chev wagon


Steven Bacich
1963 EH Holden

“THE EH was my dad Len’s first car. He bought it in 1966; we still have the receipt somewhere. It was then my first car as a teenager, but I was in a bingle in 2004 and it took 15 years to get it back on the road.

I like to think that I just improved the car rather than modifying it. It now features an all-new original interior, new Eden Blue (the original colour) paintwork and a neatly detailed and warmed-up six with triple SUs.

It runs an all-synchro three-speed, VS Commodore diff, IFS front end and disc brakes all ’round. I have special memories of completing the build at my dad’s place before he passed away in April this year from a brain tumour.

My father enriched so many lives with his humour, wit and kindness. He was a legend and the EH is his legacy. Thanks, Dad.” Photos: Jordan Leist

Brad Donaldson
Ford XM Falcon ute

“THIS is my 1964 XM Falcon ute. It had a build around 1999 and has remained pretty much untouched since then. It runs a mild 302 Windsor, 650 Holley, Edelbrock intake manifold, a mild hydraulic cam, flat-top pistons and electronic ignition.

The trans is a C4 with a 1800rpm stall, backed by a nine-inch LSD with 3.45 gears. Brakes are XB drums out back and XF vented discs up front, with a TF Cortina booster mounted under the dash.

The ute rolls on Weld Draglites – 15×5 front and 15×7 rear. The interior is a mix of grey vinyl and velour, which looks like it was done yesterday even after 22 years. The paint is old-school acrylic done by my uncles Brett and Shane.

It was a feature car in Street Machine (Nov ’02) and remains a true survivor.” Photos: Marcus of MPH Productions

Trampas Corman
HQ Holden

“IT ALL started after I asked around for a clean HQ to suit a resto. It didn’t take long to find, as one was parked under a tree no more than a kilometre away. After inspection and bargaining, it was mine – with one catch: Tom, the original owner, wanted me to restore it and look after it. So it all began. It took nine years and lots of nights in the shed to complete.

Out went the 173, three-speed and banjo diff. The motor is now a Craig Carrison Race Engines 383ci SBC. It runs 11:1 comp for the street, a billet 950 APD carb, JE pistons, Crower rods, Callies crank and Brodix heads, making just under 600hp. It’s a perfect hot streeter. It’s backed by a two-speed Powerglide, 4000rpm TCE converter and a 35-spline nine-inch with 3.7:1 Strange gearing. Weld wheels (including the beadlocks) completed the look I was after.

The body itself was in excellent condition for its age, but a bare-metal respray was the only option, done at Riverland Enhanced Vehicles. Rust work was done and the best panels sourced to ensure this will last another 50 years. A four-inch reverse cowl was fitted to contain the motor, and the whole lot was painted in Platinum Metallic. The interior was kept as factory as possible, including the front bench seat for cruising, and is trimmed all in black. It’s also got all-new glass and wiring. The first outing was my daughter’s Year 12 formal. I recently took Tom, the original owner, for a cruise, which made all the money and hard work worth it. I don’t think they are ever finished, but I always like improving and upgrading.”

Simon Borgas
Ford XH Falcon XR8

“THIS is my 1998 XH Falcon XR8 manual ute. There were 624 XH XR8s built in total – 316 were manual, and just 67 were painted in Hot Chilli Red. This is the only one with a factory Tickford bodykit, air con, cruise control and ABS.

The 5.0-litre Windsor has Edelbrock Performer heads, a Crow cam and roller rockers. It was tuned by BPT Motorsport in Perth and now makes 277rwhp. I did all the rust repairs, panel and paint myself. This is an awesome machine to drive, and I hope you guys like it!”

Adam Galvin
Ford XC Fairmont

“MY XC Fairmont GXL runs a 427ci Clevor with CHI Kaase 400 heads. On E85 it makes 750hp naturally aspirated. I have a nitrous kit on it as well, so with a 150hp hit it makes 930hp. The donk was built by MCE. Transmission is a C10 built by DTM Transmissions with a 5800rpm Dominator converter.

The car is mini-tubbed and runs a 12-inch rim with a 325/50 ET tyre. Out back is a ladder-bar/coil-over set-up. It also has a six-point moly rollcage, and has had plenty more stuff done too.”

Shane Hather
1957 Chevrolet Wagon

“THIS is my ’57 Chev wagon, ‘LilyMay’. Power comes from an LSA crate motor, backed by a six-speed manual TR6060 and nine-inch diff. Wheels are 20×8 and 20×10 Ridler 695s, with 225 and 275 rubber respectively.

It was a two-year build, and I’ve now had the car on the road for two years and covered 25,000 kays. It’s used for beach, holiday, shopping and car show trips – the way it’s supposed to be used! We eat fish and chips on the tailgate, go surfing, come home and then go to a car show.”

Jordan Cowley
Toyota Cressida

“I BOUGHT my Toyota Cressida over 10 years ago from its original owner, stock as a rock. Not long after, the 7M decided to blow its head gasket, so a 1JZ was dropped in with a Garrett 35R turbo, cams and E85 to make 600rwhp, all with a standard bottom end. The shift-kitted A340 auto has a small stall converter and is operated with a B&M ratchet shifter.

Body and paint were carried out by my little brother, who wasn’t happy when I told him I wanted the black and grey two-tone after he spent a lot of time hand-fabbing the metal fender flares and the rest of the bodywork! I haven’t taken it down the quarter in a few years, so I’ll be taking it out soon to hopefully crack into the 10s.”

Jack Davis
Holden VH Commodore

“MY 1983 VH Commodore was bought when I was 17 (I’m now 25). I first built a 308 for it and put 100km on that motor. Then I went for a ride in a mate’s turbo 6.0-litre ClubSport at Powercruise, and it was all downhill from there!

The 308 went up for sale, and I proceeded to build a turbo LS1 with a TH400 behind it. It now makes 685hp at the wheels. It was built 100 per cent at home in the shed on jack stands, with the help of mates and my old man.”