Trevor Cass’s trophy-winning ‘Starfire’ EH Holden

Built nearly 45 years ago, Trevor Cass's renowned, trophy-winning 'Starfire' Holden EH still looks just as sharp today

Photographers: Geoff Paradise

If not for the Geoff Paradise-penned feature it received in the December ’81-January ’82 issue of Street Machine, you’d be hard-pressed to believe Trevor Cass’s ultra-classy EH was finished way back in 1978. And you might think that it’s probably undergone a rebuild or freshen-up in the 40-odd years since. Well, strap in for this: Other than a couple of minor paint touch-ups in 2016, Trevor’s EH – dubbed ‘Starfire’ – remains exactly ‘as was’.

First published in the July 2022 issue of Street Machine

It’s the same car that dragged home a cabinetful of silverware from events like the South Australian Hot Rod & Custom Show and the Victorian Hot Rod Show. Awards included Top Exhibition, Top Engine Bay, Top Paint and Top Street Machine. At the 5th Street Machine Nationals in Canberra in 1982, it scored Top Sedan and Best Engineered. Check the windscreen sticker!

“I’ve taken good care of it,” says a very understated Trevor. “It’s been driven in the rain probably less than 10 times since 1978. Yes, some of the styling – like the blue Cobra inserts in the HR bucket seats – is not something I’d do now, but I’ve resisted the urge to re-do the car, as it’s quite a time capsule. Other than the 17-inch billet wheels and the side mirrors, I haven’t changed anything.”

Another aspect that makes the EH such a standout is how well it’s detailed for a 70s build, with lots of smoothing, chrome, and polished alloy and stainless. Trevor believes the chrome has held up because bulk hours were put into properly preparing the parts beforehand. He also says: “Regularly giving the engine bay and underside the Armor All and Mr Sheen treatment, along with Meguiar’s on the paint, has kept it looking pretty sharp.”

What you see before you is actually the car’s third or fourth incarnation. Sold new on 19 June 1964 by John H Ellers in Somerton Park, South Australia, Trevor became the car’s third owner in 1969 when he purchased it from his father-in-law’s used-car yard in Thebarton. The EH was originally white, but the previous owner had painted it Plum, fitted the 179 six with twin carbs and a cam, lowered the suspension, and bolted up a set of wide steelies.

Trevor added some drivetrain and suspension modifications and drag-raced it a bit at Adelaide International Raceway, where it won Top Eliminator on one occasion. But racing misfortune eventually visited the EH and it was trailered home with what remained of the busted diff loaded into the boot.

The car’s transformation into a show-stopper took place between ’76 and ’78. It was treated to all-new panels and new tinted glass, mouldings, rubbers and just about everything else Trevor could get his hands on. The body and underside were painted in 12 coats of a customised version of Holden Brittany Blue, along with six coats of clear. The colour really sets off all the chrome and polish. The underside is just as detailed as the super-tidy engine bay, which features hidden wiring.

Other highlights include a hot 192 six-cylinder; triple HIF SUs off a Jaguar; 35/75 Waggott cam; port-matched head; extractors; M21 four-speed; HR disc-brake front end; Volvo GT disc-brake rear (3.54 ratio); sway-bars; and four-inch-lowered suspension with coil-overs out back to help the reset leaves.

Right through to the mid-80s, Trevor’s EH was considered one of Australia’s top show cars. It appeared in many publications apart from Street Machine; in 1981 it was on the cover of Australian Street Rodding and also appeared in Custom Rodder and RAA, as well as being immortalised in the poster art for the very first Street Machine Association of South Australia Show ’n’ Shine.

“In about 2015, I did want to modernise it a bit,” Trevor says, “which is why I switched to the 17×6 and 17×8 Intro Billets. It still had the original Speedy wheels and BF Goodrich TAs that I bought in 1976. They were only 40 per cent worn – that tells you how much the car has been out!”

Trevor still gets the EH out to cruise nights, shows and other events in SA, and it remains a true time capsule and indelible piece of street machining history.


Colour: Customised Brittany Blue
Engine: Holden 192ci six
Carbs: Triple SUs
Gearbox: M21 four-speed
Diff: Volvo GT
Brakes: HR discs (f), Volvo discs (r)