Readers’ rockets

Daily driver V8-powered HR ute, Magnusson-supercharged HSV Senator, 1000rwhp turbocharged XR6, Barra-swapped ED Falcon, LS-swapped EJ pano plus more


Ian Fenton
HR Holden ute

“A white HR Holden ute has been a dream of mine for many years, and now it’s come true! I bought the car about five years ago in pieces, and I’ve since done a full nut-and-bolt resto in my back shed. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this car, while a few Jacks went into me to get me through!

“It runs a 5.0-litre V8, four-speed auto, independent front rack-and-pinion steering, mini-tubbed nine-inch, and Houndstooth interior. It’s now my daily driver.”

Peter & Natalie Kowalski
HSV Senator

“This 2012 Senator is my husband’s weekend cruiser. He initially added a Magnuson Heartbeat supercharger to the 6.2-litre V8 to make 522hp, but he has since installed an upgraded cam, high-stall converter, lifters, high-boost pulley upgrade and Xspurt 1000cc injectors, and it made 649hp on the dyno.

“He had it wrapped in orange and black, and painted the rims black and the brakes yellow to really set off the body colour. He also installed full Air Lift airbag suspension and a Manta three-inch exhaust system.

“Inside, he has binned the factory shifter in favour of a Ripshift, and also added paddle shifters. I would like to thank the team at Formula Tech Performance for the great job they did – I’m sure we will see them again soon, as hubby has more to do on the car!” Words: Natalie Kowalski

Joel Giddings
FG Falcon XR6

“I purchased my 2014 FG II XR6 in 2018 as a bone-stock, naturally aspirated car with a six-speed ZF6 automatic transmission. However, I eventually caught the desire for more power, so in 2022 I began researching and saving up to build the car how I wanted. I got in contact with the crew at Monsta Torque in Perth, where owner Rob Harvey collaborated with me on a plan to turn the FG into something wild!

“I opted for Rob’s stage three XR6 Turbo built engine package, rated to over 1000rwhp. This included forged Manley rods and pistons, ARP head studs, ACL bearings, Monsta Torque main girdle, Crow race valve springs, billet oil pump gears, billet backing plate and bolts, Ross Race Series balancer, heavy-duty timing chain kit and many other high-end components.

“I also added a stage three Process West intercooler, Plazmaman billet inlet manifold, 1650cc injectors and an externally gated Pulsar 3584 Gen 3 turbo. Mal Wood Automotive supplied a Tremec T56 Magnum gearbox, while the 3.5-inch single-piece tailshaft is from GJ Drivelines. I also upgraded the factory diff and axles, and added Monsta Torque’s Haltech kit that included a dash, keypad, ECU and wiring harness.

“The plan was to ensure each mechanical component could withstand 1000 horses at the wheels. With careful tuning on both 98 and E85, Rob was able to push a safe 806hp from the small-frame Gen 3 turbo, but I have plans to upgrade that to a Pulsar G40 or G42 to hit that magical 1000rwhp figure.

“My work as a community mental health professional inspired me to use the FG’s rear window to promote suicide awareness and mental health crisis line numbers, and it’s certainly done its job, as it’s sparked countless conversations! A massive thank you to Rob, Kate, Nathan and Chad at Monsta Torque in Perth.” Photos: Jack Tomkinson (Instagram @tomkiny)

Scott Arthur
Ford ED Falcon

“I bought my 1993 ED Falcon stock as a rock and have spent the past five years making it what it is today. It runs a built Barra with upgraded rods, pistons and studs, along with a built BTR transmission using parts from DTM, and a custom TCE high-stall.

“An uprated GJ Drivelines tailshaft runs back to a plain-jane Borgy diff with a spool. There’s Koni adjustable shocks up front and Viking double-adjustable items out back, with Lovells Low springs all ’round. On E85, it made 482rwhp on only 15psi of boost.

“With a bigger wastegate actuator and ’cooler, I’m hoping to pump around 25psi into it and see what happens. The BTR, diff and body are all to receive more work in the future.”

Steve Grindle
1966 Ford Mustang GT

“This genuine Mustang GT came into my family’s possession just over eight years ago. She is a San Jose-built, Raven black car that is bone stock bar the obvious Street Pro Convo wheels, which measure 15×7 on the front and 15×8.5 on the rear.

“Further upgrades down the track will include a nine-inch rear with Moser axles, chassis connectors and a 500hp, Dart-block 347 stroker. Apart from the block itself, the majority of the parts for the new mill have already been gathered, including JE pistons, Scat forged crank and rods, Comp Gold roller rockers and AFR 185 Renegade heads. Eleven-second quarters will be in this car’s future, and she will see plenty of summer cruising, too.”

Shaun Richardson
EJ Holden panel van

“This is my 1963 EJ pano that I and my great mate, the late Scott Ribbons, saved from a paddock nine years ago for just 50 bucks! Over the past few years, my mates (Luke, Chad, Rob and many others) and I built a chassis for it and slapped a carburetted Shorty’s Performance 403ci LS in it, which makes 486hp at the hubs.

“The rest of the driveline consists of a built reverse-pattern Turbo 350 with transbrake, and a shortened 35-spline nine-inch. Future plans are to better the 10s the car now runs via a healthy shot of nitrous, and to cut a heap more laps at Summernats. Big thank you to the wife/boss Debbie for allowing all my late nights at the workshop playing with my ‘bottomless pit’, as she calls it.”

Hunter Dunnage
Holden VZ Commodore SS

“This 2005 VZ is my pride and joy. She sports a factory 5.7-litre V8 as well as a cam modification to make the car sound even meaner. Not much has been done to the car since I bought it, though I bought a new radio for it. I want to keep it as mint as possible.

“This beauty looks wonderful and is truly a dream to drive. I do plan on entering it into a car show next year to show her off a bit.”

Want your pride and joy featured in the mag? Just send some photos of your car (minimum file size of 2MB each) and few details of what went into the build to [email protected].