Readers’ rockets – Chev coupe utility + HJ Sandman tribute + VF Valiant + more

We check out some of our readers' cool rides from the October 2022 issue of Street Machine


Phil Burchell
1952 Chevrolet coupe utility

“Here’s ‘The Bombshell Babe’, my heavily customised 1952 Chev coupe ute. She’s running a healthy, old-school 383 small-block, TH350 and Truetrac nine-inch diff.

She has a host of modifications, including a four-inch roof chop; custom interior; Pontiac tail-lights paired with front Morris Minor blinker lights frenched into the custom-rolled rear beaver area; and of course the stunning hand-painted artwork by Kane’o Custom Kreations.

That’s just the tip of this mobile iceberg! A rolling tribute to the brave men and women of the RAAF, The Bombshell Babe is what happens when you combine an obsession with cool old custom cars and a passion for cool old warplanes.”

Holden HJ Sandman tribute

“I am a tank crewman in the ADF, a hardcore street machiner, and one half of a father-and-son HJ Sandman build. I was 14 when we got it, and we put rego on it when I got my Ls. It was heavily bogged and had been sprayed a few different colours over the years with rattle cans.

We were not too worried about the dents, and the next weekend we tried our hand at panel beating. We decided on the Aquarius Blue/orange combo, as we’d never seen it anywhere else, and painted it ourselves in the shed over a few weekends.

All the chrome bits, odds and ends are all original. Everything that wasn’t broken was cleaned up, polished or painted chassis-black and put back on. I bought a 350 crate motor for it for $5000 once I got my full licence, and it has been a peach.

It runs an M20 trans because they are cheaper than an M21. Dr Chev ripped the banjo diff’s internal organs out, so a 10-bolt transplant was performed. This ute was really enjoyable to build with my dad, and now is my daily driver, wood hauler, Bunnings runner, cruiser, show car and club car.”

Michael McMullen
Chrysler VF Valiant

“Here’s my 1970 VF Valiant hardtop. It runs a freshly built 440 big-block with Trick Flow heads and an APD carby on an Indy manifold, making 472hp. Behind that is a fresh, reverse-pattern, manualised 727 ’box, operated by a TCI shifter.

Wheels are RC Comp fronts and V-Series Welds wrapped in 295 ET Streets on the rear. It’s got four-inch fender pipes, which sound awesome. Inside are Auto Meter gauges and a Pacer dash.

It’s also got a new ARE radiator with twin thermo fans, a Davies Craig electric water pump and fan controller, new CVR electric water pump, and CalTracs with adjustable Competition Engineering shocks.”

Michael Zammit
Lotus 340R

“Here’s my Lotus 340R, one of seven in Australia. There were 340 made back in 2000 in the UK. I’ve owned this one (build number 197) for the past two years and have added quite a bit of carbonfibre to help bring the weight down to 693kg. It’s pushing out 250rwhp from an N/A four-cylinder Rover engine.

I’m always on the hunt for more power, so I’m currently doing a coil-on-plug conversion and new Link ECU. Hope you like it as much as I do!”

Shane Jenkins
Ford EF Falcon

“This is my 1995 EF XR8 ex-police car, known to us as ‘Ella’. It’s my toy and daily driver. The engine is the original Ford 5.0-litre, but it’s had the original manifold swapped out for an Explorer item.

The four-speed auto has been fully manualised and runs a 2800rpm converter. Ella rolls on a set of 18-inch REV Classic Series rims and is lowered all ’round on Pedders suspension. It runs a modified Redback exhaust to give it that deep V8 sound.

An EL XR bodykit has been fitted to the doors. Future plans include a rear venetian, sunroof, Fairlane interior with woodgrain panels, and ultimately a 347 stroker and manual swap – all in good time!”

Deon Cook
Ford XE & XF Falcons

“Here are both my cars. I built the purple one from the ground up in six weeks for my wife Danielle during the first COVID lockdown.

It runs a heavily worked 250 crossflow and is a cool family cruiser. My wife and I found the wagon as a one-owner car sitting in a shed and bought it for $1500. We later found out it’s a genuine four-speed S-Pack. Winning!”

Paul Borg
Holden HT Brougham

“My HT Brougham runs a 308 and Trimatic combo, and will soon have a ProCharger under the bonnet. I love it! I’ve had it for a bit over three years. When I saw it pop up for sale I couldn’t resist, as I had one as my second car when I was 20. It’s painted Verdoro Green, with new black vinyl going on soon. I use the car as my daily.

It’s shithouse on fuel, but cool to drive!”