Readers’ Rockets: HJ Monaro, Ford Galaxie, ’56 Chev hardtop, One-Tonner + more

We check out some cool readers' rides from our 2021 Yearbook


Steve Lane
Holden HJ Monaro

“I’VE had my Monaro for about eight years. Originally it was used mostly for drag racing, but I’ve since made it more streetable. Powering her is a four-bolt 454 GM Mk IV block, 30thou up. It runs ARP head and main studs, a polished GM steel crank and Scat H-beam rods with ARP 2000 bolts.

The Dart 320cc Pro1 heads run Jesel rocker gear, PAC springs and stainless valves, and the cam is a Comp solid-roller with Crower Hippo lifters. On top is mechanical Crower eight-stack injection on E85. The gearbox is a built Powerglide with a 4800rpm converter, while a nine-inch with billet 31-spline axles, Richmond 4.11 gears and a Strange Pro Iron centre lives out back. It rests on Gazzard shocks with moly adjustable arms.

The motor has been built to handle a 250-shot of nitrous at a later date, but has run 10.20@133mph with a carby, no rear anti-roll bar and 50/50 shocks, so I hope to run into the nines naturally aspirated with the injection and rear end upgrades.

Thanks to Al Farrer from Farrer Race & Performance and Scott and Skye from Willy’s Wash ’n’ Wax, as well as my family.” Photos: Steve Kelly

Chris Osmond
Ford Capri

“I’VE owned my Capri for 20-odd years now. I got it off a mate minus a motor and gearbox. I love pro street-style builds, so the car has been chopped and ’caged. She runs a pump-fuel 383ci Windsor combo consisting of a Dart four-bolt block, steel crank, H-beam rods, SRP forged pistons, a solid-roller 690-lift cam and a set of Brodix heads filled with all good gear, built by Jason at CPE.

The gearbox is a Hughes three-speed, manual-shift, reverse-pattern C4, hooked to a four-inch moly tailshaft with Strange components and a moly sheet-metal nine-inch with 31-spline Moser axles. It has 15×4 and 15×10 Convo rims with custom beadlocks. I sorted the panels and painted it in Quicksilver in the shed at home and finished it off with traditional striping. There are a few more things I’d like to do, but I have a few cars now, so the love needs to go around!”

Brenton Wilde
Ford EA Fairmont Ghia

“I’D ALWAYS wanted an EA SVO, and I bought this one at the age of 20 in 2009. It was in a sorry state, with the typical wheelarch and top-of-windscreen rust. It now runs a stock AU bottom end with a JMM regrind cam, Crow springs and vernier cam gear up top. The turbo is a 76mm unit. Behind the mill is a tough manualised BTR trans with a 3500rpm converter and transbrake, spinning a built 3.5-inch tailshaft and BW75 3.45 diff.

I hit Heathcote Park Raceway in early 2019 and managed to finally hit my goal of a 10.99@125mph with a stock AU bottom end, BTR and BorgWarner diff in a full-weight street car. Later on I ran a 10.8@126mph on a 35-degree day. I was over the moon with that result. At that point I decided to retire the car from racing for now and focus on tidying it up cosmetically, as I had let it lack a bit in my pursuit of speed.”

Will Taylor
Ford Galaxie

“THIS 1972 Ford Galaxie LTD, aka PIG335, runs a 400ci big-block Ford, C6 auto and nine-inch diff, all from the factory. It was once one of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s government vehicles, ordered from the USA and converted and plated here in Australia. After being sold to a private owner, the car underwent a few minor modifications to replicate an original Las Vegas Sheriff 335 highway patrol vehicle. Lights were purchased from an original decommissioned vehicle and a complete sticker kit was ordered through the police department.

The car is totally original besides the obvious additions, and is an awesome six-seater cruiser for my family! It really turns heads (lights and siren are fully functional), and has been used for a variety of fundraising events. Shortly it’ll to go in for a driveline refresh, and maybe a sneaky cam swap.”

Sean O’Brien
1956 Chevrolet hardtop

“IN THE 1990s, my dad and I bought our ’56 Chevs from California as a family project – mine a hardtop and his a matching coupe. Both have matching colours, interiors and almost matching regos. The interiors of both cars were completed by Pat at Sunshine Motor Trimming, and we did the right-hand-drive conversion ourselves. The whole family was involved in the builds, including my sister and mother, who have since passed on, so these cars hold close sentimental value for me and my dad.

My car sports a 406ci Motown block with all the good gear, thanks to Nino at Riverside Motors. Four-bolt mains, SRP pistons, roller cam and oversized roller lifters help enhance the reliability of the healthy V8. The alloy heads and single-plane manifold work well with the unique induction system I came up with. I purchased a big soup pot and turned it into a cold-air intake, with the cold air being picked up from under the car. It’s made a big improvement to performance, as well as helping the engine stay cool when driving on hot days. The motor makes good power but is still reliable and not too aggressive.

A TH350 full-manual trans and 5500rpm stall send 650hp down the chrome-moly tailshaft to the nine-inch rear. I sent the car to John Holzer at Prostar Motorsport for the mini-tubs, where one thing led to another; the rear end now boasts floating axles, a four-link and Wilwood brakes. Big 325 boots now fit under the rear, with Prostar rims all ’round. Although it still needed some sorting out, I took the car to Calder and managed to get three passes in with a PB of 11.1@126mph. I’d like to thank all involved in the build, including Nino and John for their workmanship.” Photos: Caprice Photography

Jock Conlon
Holden One-Tonner

“I HAD an HQ Premier when I was a young fella. I’d converted it from a 202 to a 308 and it was in mint condition, but I sold it and regretted that ever since. A couple of years ago, I decided it was about time to get something old again, and when I saw this ute online, I couldn’t resist. Besides, it was just down the road, so I went for a look, and it was love at first sight.

It’s got a HJ Premier front, HX grille, ‘blue’ 253, Holley 600, Edelbrock manifold, extractors and a lumpy cam. It drove a bit like a wild animal before, and not in a good way, so I rebuilt the front end and now it’s on-point.

I reckon my 2014 SV6 Storm would probably flog it, but the ute is about the whole experience – the feel, the old-school smell, even the noise of the clock ticking just before I fire it up. The 253 sounds awesome and never fails to put a smile on my face.

It does the same thing to my son, Hugh, and for me, that’s priceless. It’s therefore not going anywhere, ever. It’s my pride and joy.” Photos: Darren Gerlach

Send photos of your car and a few details of what went into the build to Readers’ Rockets, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166 or email [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of prints as we are unable to return your photos.