Proud Belmont owner Bruce Cole takes us under the hood

Photographers: Simon Davidson

Proud Belmont owner Bruce Cole takes us under the hood

This article was originally published in the June 2013 issue of Street Machine.

Cool van, owned it long?

Nearly two years. It’s a factory 307-powered V8 Belmont so is a pretty rare thing; apparently only three were made. Its first owner, George, ordered it from Suttons in Temora. He was a mechanic and specifically wanted a V8 windowless van. I’m the third owner and have all the paperwork from when it was new – log books, receipts, even his CB licence!

V8-BELMONT---READER'S-CAR-OF-THE-WEEK-ownerHow did you find such a rare-spec ride?

I saw it on eBay and was hooked straight away. I’ve long been a fan of HK-T-Gs and was looking for a new project, so this ticked all the boxes.

Did it need much work?

I did a full rebuild over 18 months. It was a good rust-free country car but had lots of dents. George must have touch-parked it later in life as every panel was smashed. Mate Peter Robinson did the body. He did his apprenticeship on these so knows his stuff.

V8-BELMONT---READER'S-CAR-OF-THE-WEEK-rearIt looks fantastic, was a resto always the plan?

No way! I’d already bought a 600hp 434-cube Chev for it but after delving into its past I just couldn’t bring myself to mess with it. I did my homework to make it spot on, even down to the correct dash finish and paint. It still runs the original Air Chief radio and ram’s horn manifolds. The only changes I made were a twin system, chrome widies and a slight lowering job; era-correct mods but stuff that’s easily reversible.

V8-BELMONT---READER'S-CAR-OF-THE-WEEK-engineIs this your first van?

I owned a few in their heyday including a tough 351 XE Falcon. I love the rarity of vans now and the fact they are something ‘different’. The van really strikes a chord with people; I love driving and showing it.

Any future plans?

Just to enjoy it. It’s a dry-weather car. I get it up on the hoist often to give it a wipe down. It’s pretty spoilt.

V8-BELMONT---READER'S-CAR-OF-THE-WEEK-badgeAnything else on the go?

My wife’s HT Monaro is now finished and the other Monaro is close. I’d like to build a V8 Belmont ute to have a pigeon pair, so we’ll see what turns up.