Samantha Holden’s 1965 Impala & 1940 Ford coupe

Samantha Holden grew up immersed in car culture watching her dad build street machines. Her two current rides are a race-look '65 Impala and '40 Ford coupe hot rod

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

Samantha Holden is the epitome of a dyed-in-the-wool petrolhead, having spent her formative years watching her dad, Graeme, create wild street machines. She’s since nurtured her own taste for sweet rides with a race-look 1965 Chevrolet Impala and a 1940 Ford De Luxe coupe hot rod.

First published in the March 2024 issue of Street Machine

Sounds like your dad strongly influenced you.

Yes! Dad was a single father to my sister and me since I was five years old, though we had an extensive hot rod family of friends.

Between the 60s and the 90s, he built a Y-block-powered EJ Holden; roof-chopped his ’54 Chev; chopped an HQ LS Monaro; created a half Ford/half Holden, split through the centre, for the ’86 Street Machine Nationals; and set a record salt racing his ’53 Ford Victoria, which he still holds. It’s safe to say I grew up neck-deep in cars!

And it was a ’40 Ford that stole your heart?

As an 11-year-old, I took a ride in a friend’s 1940 Ford coupe; I still remember the leather smell, the sound of the flathead and the manual stubbornly not going into reverse. I was sold – I had to have one!

Finally, in 2019, I headed to the States to look for one. The day before I headed home, I met Bill Monteleone, a hot rod builder who’s worked with Stan Betz and Von Dutch. Within 10 seconds of seeing his ’40, I knew it was the one.

Although I think that 84-year-old Bill and his wife Helen were shocked that a 31-year-old Australian girl was buying their car, and without the help of a dad or boyfriend!

Tell us more about the Ford.

I just love this car! It’s been featured in The Rodders Journal and attended the Bakersfield Nationals and Grand National Roadster Show. Bill built the car in 2008, and since it landed in December 2019, I’ve only added the 15-inch SS Cragar wheels and Vintique steering wheel, along with a few items for registration.

It’s running a mild 327ci assembled by Art Chrisman in 2005. Bill told me, “I’ve been putting Chevys in Fords since ’62 here in California. Don’t you worry about what people say; this is real hot rodding.” Behind is a TH350 and a nine-inch. The chassis is TCI with a Mustang II IFS front end, power steer and Vintage Air.

What about your Chevy Impala?

It’s a 1965 Chev Impala coupe running a high-compression 350 Chev with Dart heads, backed by a Muncie four-speed. Dad purchased the Impala back in 2000, and when he toyed with selling it last year, I snapped it up. The Impala holds many memories; I was 12 years old when he bought it, so I was small enough to slide in the car and steer it off the trailer, and often I’d help Dad with some of the two-man jobs.

I grew up watching that car change from a factory Impala to a 60s-style Super Stocker; it’s the right kind of cool. Now I plan to resurrect some of the styling Dad had toned down – get the nose back up with some fresh springs, headers out under the guards and 60s-style racing wheels.

Girls — wanna be famous? Become an Iron Maiden! Email car details, pics (2MB+) and contact deets to [email protected]. You and your ride could appear in the mag!