Readers’ rockets: XE Falcon, WB One-Tonner, XP Falcon, HZ panel van + more

We check out some of our readers' rides from the 2023 Summer Special of Street Machine


Shelby Graham
Ford XE Falcon

“This is my 1983 XE Falcon S-Pack. It was a factory auto, 4.1-litre six-cylinder car, but I swapped that out for a T5 manual transmission, 302 Cleveland V8, and an EL XR6 LSD to run disc brakes on the rear. I bought the car for $2000 off a friend four years ago.

He’d purchased it from a paddock in Albury, and the car had sat for 20 years before that, but he put a battery in it and drove it all the way back to Melbourne! The car has next to no rust apart from the surface rust. I am slowly fixing things on it, but will be leaving the patina.”

Dean Morton
WB Holden One Tonner

“I bought this WB a year ago after wanting something that ticked more boxes than just a driveline and a set of wheels. It’s an ’82 Tonner with a healthy 355 stroker, Tremec six-speed and nine-inch with 4.11:1 gears. It makes a healthy 400rwhp and is a heap of fun on the street, and it gets plenty of attention and love from everyone.

It’s currently unregistered after being red-stickered in a blitz that was done on ANZAC Day weekend. I’m currently working through the list from the engineer to get it all certified and back on the street.“

Brenton Walker
Ford XD Fairmont

“My 1981 XD was bought from a property near Bendigo, and I’ve owned it for almost five years. I had all the undercarriage stripped out and sandblasted, painted and re-bushed about a year after buying it; then it sat in the shed for another year in the ‘too-hard’ box.

It finally got panel and paint in December 2021, and club rego in September last year. It runs a 550hp, Pavtek-built 393 Clevo with CHI heads, paired to a manualised C10 with a 4000rpm converter. The rear end is a shortened nine-inch with Truetrac and 3.7 gears by Aikman Engineering, and it rolls on 17×4.5 and 15×8.5 Street Pro wheels. Brent Boyle sprayed it in Nardo Grey, and the Fairmont trim holes were welded up and the antenna deleted.

The interior was retrimmed by Gayles Auto Trimming, and uses ED XR front seats. It was never built to be a race car, but it’s a heap of fun on the street, though I haven’t had it out much yet thanks to the beautiful Victorian weather.

Daniel Hayden from DJH Automotive was the brains of the build – I’m a carpenter by trade, so the thing would have been held together with batten screws and framing nails if it wasn’t for him! Next up is an EB Falcon with a hot little Windsor and Weld ProStars, inspired by the June ’91 Street Machine cover.”

Rhett Nankervis
Volkswagen Taro

“I first found out about the Volkswagen Taro in 2011 through doing some research on old HiLuxes. In an odd bit of badge engineering in the early 90s, Toyota HiLuxes were sold as VWs throughout Europe.

To my surprise, my mate Ben had not only heard about them, but he had a new-old-stock grille badge, tailgate badge and even hubcaps in his collection! Over the years, the Taro had been in the back of my mind, and when a workmate told me he was thinking of selling his very clean ’96 2WD HiLux dual-cab a couple of years ago, a plan was hatched for a new shop truck!

We spent the next 18 months collecting parts. A Taro kit was kindly donated, and a new chrome front bumper and apron were sourced. We also tracked down a Mk1 Golf Caddy ute tailgate from South Africa and a hard-to-find, smooth-sided SR5 tub. Another workmate grafted the Caddy script into the SR5 tailgate.

The suspension was dropped four inches, and with a little engineering and machining, we fitted up some polished 15-inch Porsche Fuchs wheels in keeping with the VW theme. Just like the original Taro, the Toyota 22R four-cylinder mill remains. We are saying it’s finished, but there has been talk of an engine swap – maybe a VW TDi, or even a 4.2-litre Touareg V8.”

Nathan Freeman
Ford XP Falcon

“Hey guys, here’s my 1965 XP that I’ve built in my shed, mostly by myself with some help from mates. It’s got a mild 289 Windsor, C4 and an LSD BorgWarner diff, along with a twin 2.5-inch stainless exhaust system.

The body sports custom orange paint, and it rolls on 17×7 American Legend Salt Flat Racer wheels. Inside is custom diamond trim in orange and grey, along with a full Auto Meter dash.”

Ford AU Falcon ute

“Here’s my daily-driven 2002 AU Falcon ute. Yes, I know, AU! My plan was to prove you can make an AU look as good as anything else. I’m slowly going through the drivetrain, but it has had everything replaced, with Monroe GTs and King SLs all ’round, a Whiteline sway-bar and XR6 Turbo brakes.

It’s running 19×9.5 and 19×11 Aodhan DS02 rims, with 255/35 and 275/35 tyres respectively. It retains the Intech and five-speed for now, but there’s a Truetrac ready to installed, and plans down the track include a turbo Barra.

The bodykit is a TS50 front bar with Pursuit side skirts and rear bar, while the bonnet is a custom fibreglass item from Savage Bonnets Sydney. The door strips have been replaced with B-series items to clean it up, and it has a fibreglass roof spoiler as well. F150 LED tail-lights and a B-series tailgate finish up the rear. The headlights have received the T-series black-out treatment, which I did myself, like everything else done to the car.

It’s still a work in progress as well as a learning curve, but it’s my daily and I’m stoked with how it’s turning out.”

Scott Musgrove
HZ Holden panel van

“I purchased my HZ van from a paddock in Newstead just over four years ago. Dubbed the ‘Patina Streeter’, it was looking like a longer-term project until the ‘Big C’ hit, which meant I had plenty of time at home. So I just got stuck right in and got it done.

It’s nothing super flash; it’s running a thongslapper and Trimatic, and is pretty on the inside and rough-and-ready on the outside, pretty much like me! The Center Lines give it that pop, and it turns a few heads now we’re out cruising!”

Dazza Pollard
Holden HJ Premier

“I really love how people are getting into the sleeper look. I’ve had a TPI Chev and TH700 from an ’89 ’Vette in my 1975 HJ Prem for 22 years now, and prior to me owning it, it was my dear old dad’s car.”

Holden VH Commodore

“Here are a few photos of my backyard-built VH. Under the bonnet is a 440hp LS1, with new heads and cam on E85. It’s also tubbed and transbraked. If I couldn’t do something myself, my mates helped, or they knew someone who knew someone.

I just got it back after two years in my mate’s brother-in-law’s paint shop. I’m so pumped, and it hasn’t missed a beat!”