Readers’ Rockets: ’47 Chev pick-up, turbo Barra-powered VN Berlina, barn-find EL XR6 + more

We check out some of our readers' rides from the September 2023 issue of Street Machine


Grant Coombs
1947 Chev pick-up

“My ’47 Chev pick-up started life as a dual-wheel truck, but has since had a ground-up restoration. We started off with a cab and two doors; Wade Dobbs, a local fibreglass hot rod builder here in Rockhampton, helped me build the chassis. It uses Heidts independent front suspension, a four-link out back, and coil-overs front and rear. Power comes from a crate CT525 LS3 with Holley Sniper EFI, backed by a Turbo 350 gearbox, 3000rpm stall converter, and a nine-inch with 3.55:1 gears.

“The interior, headers and twin three-inch exhaust are all custom. It’s taken two-and-a-half years to build, and I had it ready for Rockynats 2023. The doors read ‘Coombs Motors Est. 1967’, in honour of my dad, Ray Coombs, as this is where my passion comes from.

“Special thanks to my partner Jade; kids Brock, Brayden and Jordana; Dad and Mum; Wade Dobbs; and my auto electrician nephew Rhyce Philp. Thanks for looking at my pick-up!”

Rohan Caddick
Ford EL Falcon

“In 2018, I found a bunky old EL XR6 that had been sitting in a barn for many years. Dad’s friend was also selling an FG XR6 turbo at the time, and knowing the FG had the stronger engine, I had my sights set on it. However, within three days of owning the FG Barra, a timing chain guide broke and it skipped a tooth, so during 2019 I started the first rebuild.

“Then drama struck. I was out trail riding with some friends and had an accident resulting in three broken vertebrae, four broken ribs and a pneumothorax, with a 4cm hole in one lung. I was airlifted to hospital, and my recovery slowed me down a bit with the engine rebuild, but eventually I finished it, doing all the work in my home shed with a little help here and there. Unfortunately, it had low oil pressure, which I didn’t realise until it was too late, so it needed to be built again.

“Before I did that, though, I stripped the EL to a bare shell, cut out a bunch of rust and straightened the sills. I replaced all the bushes, zinc-plated everything and undercoated the whole body. After the trials and tribulations, I finally made it to engineering, and it passed.

“I drove the car around for a few months and then decided to get the paint and bodywork done. She now wears a custom shade of N9 Navy Blue, which looks mint. Check out the build at The Average Garage on YouTube.” Photos: C Barnett Photography

Malisha Mouneimne
Holden VN Berlina

“My partner and his father have cars, and I wanted to build one, so we thought, ‘What would be different and reliable?’ This is what we came up with: a Holden VN Berlina with a Ford Barra gas motor, a Zoo Performance compact 42mm turbo, a Powerglide and a BorgWarner diff with 3.45:1 gears. It was tuned by Seres Engineering to make 704hp.”

Eugene Wong
Holden VK Calais

“My 1984 VK runs a stock 308 with a small cam for the time being. It has a shortened VL diff with a Truetrac centre and 3.45:1 gears. The brakes have been upgraded to VT ones, with a matching booster and master. Besides that, she’s just a stock Calais with a Trimatic, but the plan is to put in a 355 sometime next year to get her moving.”

Chris Burdo
Ford XP Falcon

“Hey legends, thought I’d share some pics of my ’65 XP Falcon. It has a 302 Windsor, C4 and nine-inch. I purchased it four years ago, but six weeks into owning it, during a weekend drive with the fam, someone pulled out in front of me at a T intersection and totalled the car.

“With a lot of help from friends and family, she’s back on the road like she never left. Special thanks to my father-in-law Joe for doing the bodywork and Uncle Glen for painting it!”

Ean Rapley
WB Holden ute

“The build of my ute started 23 years ago; it was maroon when I first purchased it. Later in life, it was flooded at a Moorooka panel shop; it had a new fully rebuilt 355 and Turbo 350 gearbox, which had to be stripped down and rebuilt again.

“After winning Best Presented Street Car at Powercruise in 2010, I needed to find out why I had no top gear – turns out an O-ring was missing! I was almost set for 2011 Powercruise, but discovered a split in the bore, so after a new block, cam, roller rockers, distributor, manifold, Holley and nine-inch diff, the car went like a dream. However, I took my partner for a spin out the back of Laidley, only to hear nuts and bolts spitting out everywhere.

“After parking it ’til I had a replacement gearbox, I finally crawled under to remove the ’box and found that the flexplate was torn to shreds, and my 3500rpm converter had lugs and one bolt still in it. After a new heavy-duty flexplate was balanced, the ute is running strong again, 23 years later!”

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.