WHEN West Australian Kelvin May’s close mate and panel van lover Big Jamie suddenly passed away, Kelvin and his mates decided they would buy a panel van and do it up as a tribute. “He couldn’t be buried in a panel van so we decided to do this tribute car instead,” Kelvin says.
The Holden HX van you see here was saved from being crushed for scrap metal, and the plan was to turn it into a full-blown custom street machine. However, as many of us know, things don’t often go to plan. “The car ended up being full of rust and it was going to cost a lot of money so we thought we’d change direction slightly and turn it into a hot rod,” Kelvin says.
Now obviously this is far from a traditional hot rod, especially since it’s what people in hot rodding circles would call a later-model car. But all of the front panels have been removed, leaving the engine, front wheels and suspension fully exposed just like a rod. The engine is a warmed-up Holden 202 six with a ported cylinder head, custom intake and exhaust manifolds that Kelvin made himself, and Stromberg carbies.
The spider web theme came about when Kelvin was mounting the radiator. “I thought the traditional radiator support tubes looked a bit boring, so I used a spider web-style metal structure.”
The spider theme continues inside, with the custom interior that Kelvin has made, grafting a web pattern into the hoodlining and door cards. The factory dashboard has been ditched for a custom set-up with a simplified single analogue dial and air-con controls. In the back things get really exciting with a TV, DVD player, blue neon lights, nine-speaker sound system and that tiger blanket. The roof and footwells have also been trimmed in white furry carpet.
If you’re wondering what the go is with the timber window covers, this is the story. “I bought the car with the windows ready to fit, but whoever chopped them out originally must’ve had a few drinks on the job because the openings were all wrong and the windows didn’t fit. So we made it a woody instead!”
We caught up with Kelvin for a chat about his crazy creation at the Equinox South West Indoor Motor Show in Busselton WA.