Reviving the Australian muscle car: The Drive South Hatch

Ever wish you could have a brand-new version of an iconic 1970s Aussie muscle car, full of the latest tech? Drive South is working to make that a reality

Photographers: Drive South

We all pine for the lost 70s Aussie classics, lamenting the ones that got away and the missed opportunity to spec and order one brand new. But Andrew South reckons all is not lost: he plans to build brand-new cars with iconic 1970s looks but with modern running gear, under the name Drive South.

First published in the July 2024 issue of Street Machine

Andrew says the idea came to him when he was en route to pick up some beaten-up car parts for his Torana hatch project. “As I was driving there, I was thinking, what am I doing? I’m buying all these parts; it’s costing me a fortune and I gotta restore them,” he says. “Why don’t I build a new car? Is that such a crazy idea? What would that look like?”

As he already owns an original LX Torana built for events like Targa Tasmania, it made sense to Andy to model his first car off that Aussie muscle icon.

The Drive South car will use a composite hatchback body on an aluminium chassis, built under the same principles as modern-day Supercars race machines. Andrew initially explored using a full steel body but found it to be far too costly for an exercise of this scale.

“It’s designed using CAD and will feature an extruded and bonded aluminium platform chassis – the same methodology used by Ferrari, Lamborghini and high-end Audis such as the R8,” he says. “The chassis will be fully load bearing, allowing the use of lightweight fibreglass composite bodywork.” The chassis, composite body and 95 per cent of the components will be manufactured in Australia.

Andy aims for the car to be fully road-compliant and registrable under the Low-Volume Manufacturer legislation. “That status allows for 100 cars a year, and I think that would be a pretty decent achievement,” he says. “If we can do that, we’re doing pretty well.

“Under the skin will be a GM Performance LS3, TR6060 manual or 6L80 automatic gearbox, and a nine-inch IRS incorporating a 35-spline Strange centre,” Andy continues. “It’s about blending modern technology with classic 70s styling.”

The front end will be a double tubular A-arm arrangement with coil-over shocks, while brakes will be 320mm discs with six-piston calipers all ’round, covered by 18-inch forged aluminium wheels.

There’ll also be a full leather interior, digital dash and multimedia system. Modern comforts will include air con, electric-hydraulic power steering, power windows and push-button start.

As we write, the prototype is scheduled for completion in late 2024, and Andy will begin the compliancing process from there. The end goal is to have the Drive South Hatch available for sale to the public, with warranty and full registration just like any other new car.

While final pricing is not confirmed, Andy has ballparked a price tag of $250,000. “I’ve priced it around that of an original hatch in good condition,” he says.

If it tickles your fancy, you can find out more at