ALL ROUNDER: Willem Fercher’s LS7-Powered Holden LJ Torana

10 May

Willem Fercher's LJ Holden Torana

ALL ROUNDER

Street, strip and circuit: Willem Fercher’s incredible LS7-powered LJ Torana can do just about anything you want
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Willem Fercher's LJ Holden ToranaEvery now and then we come across a car that makes our pulses race and our palms a little sweaty. While out and about covering the 2011 All Holden Day in Clarendon, NSW, we came across a vehicle that did just that. Welcome to Willem Fercher’s awesome LJ Torana coupe: a car that seems capable of doing just about anything you could want it to and doing it well. Cruising, straight-line racing or hitting the corners, this purple LJ can do it all. It’s even at home looking pretty at local car shows.

Willem, proprietor of Winmalee Car Care, built the car to be adaptable and to excel in no matter what discipline he was to choose down the track. As you’ll read later on, he took several clever steps to ensure that anything would be possible, allowing different combinations of driveline components to suit the task at hand.

Purchased in 2009, Willem informed us during the photo shoot that the car had actually had a previous life as a speedway car. Considering the die-straight ‘purrple’ bodywork the car boasts today, we almost fell over at the statement. However, given the car’s long life as a racer, its life today with Willem seems perfectly fitting.Willem Fercher's LJ Holden Torana

Underneath the machine Willem equipped the coupe with plenty to smile about, including a CRS chassis strengthening kit, tubular upper control arms and a complete VX Commodore trans’ tunnel. “I did that to make it easy to swap from a manual to an auto’,” Willem says. “I run a T56 for circuit racing and a Craig’s Automatics-built 4L65E for drag racing. It also uses the VX cross member in its original bolt holes.”

At the time of our shoot the car was set up for drag racing and had the auto’ fitted, including a steep 5200rpm stall. This backs up what is perhaps the centrepiece of the entire car: the LS7. The normally 427ci alloy monster was stroked out to 445ci thanks to a Callies crank and rods, with Wiseco pistons compressing a diet of E85 up against a set of ported alloy heads to the tune of 14:1 static comp’.

Willem Fercher's LJ Holden ToranaIf horsepower is created by burning air and fuel, then it’s no surprise Willem’s LJ makes 600rwhp and runs an “easy” 9.96sec ET. Mounted atop a ported Carey single-plane intake is a staggering 2000cfm Edelbrock throttle. Coupled with a meaty Comp Cams hydraulic roller boasting 0.700in lift, this engine can breathe some big air. Waste gases exit via a set of custom fabricated headers with 2in primaries, which is about all it runs when drag racing. For circuit work and life on the street, Willem bolts on a pair of extensions with a pair of mufflers to quiet things down.

“The car is street registered, it runs 9s and in circuit format it has been as high as a Top 4 spot out of 80 cars at the Bathurst hill climb,” Willem says, proudly. “We’ve also had it around Wakefield where it’s run a best of 1min 10sec.”

No matter where you look on this Torana, you’ll find gobsmacking attention to detail that is far beyond what you’d normally expect to see in a car built to race. From the artful stainless fuel lines under the car to the symmetrical fuel lines and centrally mounted regulator in the engine bay, everything has been carefully thought out and expertly executed.Willem Fercher's LJ Holden Torana

It’s the same inside the car, where things like the carbon door trims and delete plates have been neatly fettled into place. The extensive cage has been colour coded and contrasts nicely against the largely black cockpit. Sparco Sprint buckets are the only chairs in here, with the rear bench deleted to make way for the cage and to save weight. It’s not all about forgoing comfort for speed however, with the cabin and boot space extensively covered in sound deadener to keep in-car noise as low as possible. Hell, the front half even boasts nice, fresh black carpets.

Willem is no stranger to late-model power plants. He previously owned a daily-driver VZ Commodore with a 427ci stroked LS3 that ran 10.8sec and the LJ’s recently completed stable mate is a circuit-racer VK HDT mock-up that also runs a stout LS7. “With the LJ currently set up for drag racing, I want to get it back to the track,” Willem says. “I’d like to explore 9.5-9.6sec ETs. It did the 9.96sec easily. We just needed more setup time.”

Owner: Willem Fercher
Colour: ‘Purrple’
Bodywork: GT-R spoiler
Engine Type: 445ci LS7
Engine Mods: Callies 4.1in crank, Callies rods, Wiseco pistons (14:1-comp’), Clevite bearings, ported alloy heads, PAC springs and retainers, ASE breather tank, Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam’ (0.700in lift, 270˚ duration), chromoly pushrods, Yella Terra 1.8:1 roller rockers, ARP head and mains studs, JP timing chain, Moroso oil pan, Meziere electric water pump, PWR alloy radiator, SLP oil pump, 2000cfm Edelbrock throttle body, K&N filter, ported Carey single-plane intake, stock relocated coils, GM rocker covers, VZ LS1 ECU, twin Bosch 044 pumps, Turbosmart FPR, 3L surge tank, 60L fuel cell, custom stainless fuel lines, Speedflow fittings
Power: 600rwhp (447rwkW), 9.96sec @ 133mph
Exhaust: Custom headers (2in primaries), twin 3in mild steel exhaust, ‘race’ merge collectors, muffler extensions fit for street and circuit
Gearbox: 4L65E, 5200rpm Circle D stall
Diff: 9in, 31-spline axles, Strange 3.5:1 final drive, Strange full-spool
Brakes: 326mm front rotors, 300mm rear rotors, 6-piston VTTR calipers, Carbon ceramic pads, Tilton pedal box
Suspension: King front springs, Koni front shocks, tubular upper front control arms, rear coil-overs, Selby rear sway bar, modified steering, Castlemaine chassis kit
Wheels/Tyres: 18in Oz 3-piece rims (8in front, 10in rear), A048 Yokohama tyres
Other mods: Mini tubs, battery relocated to rear, VX Commodore trans’ tunnel and gearbox cross member
Interior: Momo steering wheel, 100mm boss, Sparco Sprint buckets, deleted rear bench, carbon fibre door trims and under dash panels, RCI harnesses, B&M Pro Ratchet, full cage, chequer plate floor panels, sound deadener throughout, black carpets
Stereo: Carbon fibre blocking plate
Build Period: 12 months
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Winmalee Car Care, Craig’s Automatics, Diff Technics, Wholesale Suspension, Fibremaster, Bond Rollbars, Duspeed, Oz Wheels, ASE, Compton Excavation, Blaxland Auto Electrics

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