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TRACK ATTACK: Steven Lacey’s 480hp, 365ci Holden LX SS Hatch


24 May

Steven Lacey's Holden LX Torana

TRACK ATTACK

Steven Lacey’s genuine LX SS is living the on-track life it was always meant to
Story and Pics by Ben Hosking

Steven Lacey's Holden LX ToranaIt’s no secret that the Torana, in its many various guises, has been a formidable competitor on the nation’s race tracks over the previous four decades. Light weight and nimble, the LC and LJ coupes tore up the Bathurst circuit in their day and the legend and fanaticism that surrounds the A9X LX hatch is rarely matched by any other make or model.

Perhaps it was this mythology, legend and racing heritage that attracted a young Steven Lacey to the LX hatch back in 1993 when he first laid eyes on the example you see before you today. “I bought the car in the summer of 1993 from a guy that lived on the north beaches of Sydney,” remembers 42-year-old Property Asset Manager Steve. “My first impression was that I had to have it.”

Already boasting a red 308ci V8, Top Loader and 9in, the car had been dropped to its knees with an angle grinder, but Steven could see the potential. “The seller wouldn’t let anyone drive it. He took us for what could only be described as a ‘hell ride’,” says Steve. “We were either stopped or flat out, with the arse of the car hitting every bump in the road.”Steven Lacey's Holden LX Torana

Steve had to convince his mechanic father that this was the car was for him. His dad thought the car was a death trap, but he haggled on the price and the next day Steve was back to pick up his new car. “It was here that I discovered that the car was unregistered due to unpaid speeding fines,” smiles Steve. “I don’t remember exactly how much I paid to get the car re-registered, needless to say the guy got much less in his pocket that he wanted.”

Naturally, for a car that’s been with the same owner for 17 years, the development process has ducked and weaved in numerous directions as time has passed. Outlasting at least two engines, including the original 308ci and a later 330ci stroker the LX now runs a 365ci combination based on a VT roller block.

LW Parry Engineering bolted together the sturdy stroker using a Scat crank and 5.7in H-beam rods – a set of dish-top JE pistons completing the rotating assembly with a static compression of 10.75:1. The cast heads were ported to flow 530hp and filled with Isky springs, Crow retainers and Yella Terra 1.65:1 shaft-mount rockers with the valvetrain controlled by a Comp hydraulic roller cam’.

Steven Lacey's Holden LX ToranaBoth the bottom and top ends of the engine are held together firmly with ARP studs, while the bottom gains ever greater strength with a stud girdle. After all, longevity and reliability are two things that can help win races and Steven wins plenty.

Still in the theme of strength and reliability, Steven turned to Mal Wood Automotive for a Tremec TKO600 5-speed manual ‘box. Built like the proverbial brick out house, they’re just the thing for hard driving. It uses an ACE organic single-plate clutch and sends torque down a balanced 3in tail shaft to the old 9in that now runs 28-spline axles, 3.5:1 gears and a True Trac centre.

Unbelievably, Steven is still running a braking system that many would call prehistoric. The front end uses relatively small 276mm HQ rotors and calipers while the rear end is even worse, with the original drum brakes still groaning under the pressure. Despite this, the car hasn’t only been competitive in its class; it’s actually been taking home plenty of silverware.Steven Lacey's Holden LX Torana

“We are looking to improve the brakes, suspension and possibly go to a full-floating rear end in the future,” assures Steven.

Speaking of suspension, the car runs a relatively rudimentary setup, with Selby springs front and rear, along with Koni adjustable shocks and a 24mm front swaybar. It’s been set up with 4.5˚ negative front camber and 5˚ positive castor which wouldn’t be much help on the street, but helps the car stick to the track like shit on a blanket.

Like much of the car, it’s a fairly subtle manipulation of parts that create the environment Steve needs to work his on-track magic. Much of the original SS trim remains, with a Bond 6-point alloy roll cage and Cobra Monaco race seat being the two main deviations from classic 1970s-era appeal. Even the Speco 3in tacho looks pretty retro.

Steven Lacey's Holden LX ToranaSteve runs two sets of wheels on the Torana, with one set of 16in BBS rims for the street and a set of custom two-piece wheels for the track measuring 17x8in up front and a whopping 17×9.5in out back; making full use of those A9X flares. They’re 305/40 Yokohama AO50 tyres wrapping around those rear hoops.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for the LX though, with a huge stack almost putting the car permanently out to pasture in early 2010. “Whilst running at ECR, the Torrie broke an axle in turn five,” remembers Steve. “The driver’s side rear wheel went under the car, pushed the fuel tank through the floor, splitting it and then catapulted the car about eight feet into the air.”

The damage was extensive, bending the chassis at both ends. However, with the help of companies like Macri Motors, LW Parry Engineering, Panorama Smash and Neale Wheels, Steve says his sojourn to the legendary Mt Panorama a mere four weeks later would never have been a reality.

“I had the opportunity to run the full circuit at Bathurst,” beams Steve with the memory. “It was an amazing experience to do in the Torana. We were clocked at 216km/h up Mountain Straight, 160km/h across the top of the mountain and 247km/h down Conrod. It’s an awesome piece of road.”

Let’s hope this little white LX continues to pound the pavement for many years to come.

Owner: Steven Lacey
Colour: Heron white, Brilliant black
Bodywork: A9X
Engine Type: VT Commodore 5L
Engine Mods: Mains girdle, Scat 355ci stroker crank (small rod journals making 365ci), 5.7in Scat H-beam rods, JE pistons (10.75:1-comp’), JE rings, ARP mains studs, ACL bearings, ported cast heads (flow 530hp), Isky valve springs, Crow retainers, custom catch can, Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam’ (0.600in lift, 248˚ duration, 108˚ LSA), JET Engineering pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1 shaft-mount rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, JP high-volume oil pump, custom sump, custom thermo fan, Aussie Dessert Cooler 4-row/triple pass radiator, 750cfm Holley 4150 HP Ultra carb’, 1in spacer, Torque Power single-plane intake manifold, K&N filter, MSD Pro Billet distributor, Crane Hi-6 ignition, Crane LX92 coil, Mallory 140-series pump, Holley FPR, upgraded fuel lines
Power: 480fwhp (380kW), 12.4sec @ 116mph
Exhaust: Castle tri-Y headers (1.75in primaries), twin 3in mild steel exhaust, single Hurricane muffler
Gearbox: Tremec TK600 5-speed, ACE organic single-plate clutch
Diff: 9in, 28-spline axles, 3.5:1 final drive, True Trac centre, balanced 3in tail shaft, heavy duty unis, tail shaft loop
Brakes: Slotted 276mm HQ front rotors, PBR calipers, drum rear, Bendix Street Race Track (SRT) pads
Suspension: Selby springs, Koni adjustable shocks, 24mm front swaybar (4.5˚ negative front camber, 5˚ positive castor)
Wheels/Tyres: Custom two-piece 17in rims (8in front, 9.5in rear), Yokohama AO50 tyres (225/45 front, 255/40 rear)
Interior: Cobra Monaco S driver’s side race seat, Speco tacho, Autometer gauges, 6-point alloy roll cage, 4-point Williams harness
Stereo: N/A
Build Period: Ongoing
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: LW Parry Engineering, Macri Motor Repairs, Liverpool Exhaust, Mal Wood Automotive, Gear Exchange Services, Wilson Fibreglass, Panorama Smash Repairs, Bond Rollbars, Neale Wheels, Miller Chassis, Gordon Leven Motorsport Tyres, Hercules Competition Engines, Croydon Racing Developments, Brabond Brakes

Feature Car: Michael Ceyhan’s Ford XD Fairmont


26 Mar

Michael Ceyhan’s immaculate Ford XD Fairmont appeared in the March issue of Street Machine. It runs a 434ci Dart Eagle-based stroker that’s run a 10.9sec ET, but Michael says he didn’t build the car to race. Front to back, top to bottom – including the detailed undercarriage – it’s a fitting testament to as beloved dad.

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Michael Ceyhan's Ford XD Fairmont

Michael Ceyhan's Ford XD Fairmont

Michael Ceyhan's Ford XD Fairmont

Feature Car: Tom Banks’ 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop


28 Feb

Tom Banks’ tough 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop runs a stout 360ci small-block that makes over 430rwhp. I got to photograph it for the last issue of Chrysler Action.

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Tom Banks' 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop

Tom Banks' 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop

Tom Banks' 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop

Feature Car: Stephen Barrie’s Holden LX Torana


05 Feb

I recently photographed Stephen Barrie’s incredibly smooth LX Holden Torana hatch for the January issue of Street Machine. It was the second time I’ve been lucky enough to get this car in front of my lens. Every time I see it, the mirror-finish black paint (the car was a rare factory black option to start with), it just blows my mind.

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Stephen Barrie's Holden LX Torana

Stephen Barrie's Holden LX Torana

Stephen Barrie's Holden LX Torana

Feature Car: Steve Santos’ XY Ford Falcon ‘BOSSXY’


02 Feb

I was asked to shoot Steve Santos’ awesome, modern take on the classic XY Ford Falcon for Street Machine magazine and it appeared in the January 2017 issue, which was on sale last month. The car boasts plenty of retrotech features, with the most obvious being the supercharged, quad-cam, injected Boss engine from the late model Falcons. Then there is, of course, those monstrous 22in Simmons FR rims!

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Steve Santos' XY Ford Falcon

Steve Santos' XY Ford Falcon

Steve Santos' XY Ford Falcon

Feature Car: Tristan Wright’s XD Ford Falcon


21 Dec

It isn’t often that you see nicely modified XD and XE Ford Falcons. They seems to be the forgotten children in the Ford family, which is a shame when you consider how tough the boxy shape looks with the right stance. Tristan Wright’s XD was photographed for the October issue of Street Machine and boasts a 434ci Dart-based stroker and a ton of class.

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Tristan Wright's XD Ford Falcon

Tristan Wright's XD Ford Falcon

Tristan Wright's XD Ford Falcon

Feature Car: Jim Ayoubi’s Ford XC Falcon Hardtop


17 Nov

This is the second time I’ve photographed Jim Ayoubi’s incredible show-stopping XC Ford Falcon Hardtop. Most photographers probably aren’t lucky enough to get this close to cars of this calibre once. The 770hp, 408ci, 8/71-blown coupe is truly a work of rolling art and was featured in the November issue of Street Machine.

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Jim Ayoubi's Ford XC Falcon Coupe

Jim Ayoubi's Ford XC Falcon Coupe

Jim Ayoubi's Ford XC Falcon Coupe

Cover Car: Alex Vines’ HSV VX Senator for Street Commodores


14 Sep

Alex Vines’ HSV VX Senator made it onto the front cover of the last issue of Street Commodores magazine, which was on sale last month. It was the second time I’d been lucky enough to have the Senator in front of my lens – a 550rwhp, Vortech-blown beast with big tubs and deep, deep billets.

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Alex Vines' HSV VX Senator

Alex Vines' HSV VX Senator     Alex Vines' HSV VX Senator

Street Commodores - Issue 268

Feature Car: KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore SS


11 Sep

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in the Russo Performance workshop some months ago, committing three of their recent Commodores to ones and zeros for Street Machine magazine’s LSX Tuner special issue. This one, a VZ Holden Commodore SS, makes over 1050hp at the treads thanks to a massive 88mm BW turbo.

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KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore

KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore     KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore

Feature Car: Anthony Fava’s HDT VK Group C Replica


26 Jul

My photo shoot on Anthony Fava’s wide-body HDT VK Group C replica was featured in issue 265 of Street Commodores, which graced newsstands a few months back. Sorry for the delay! 🙂 Enjoy some free wallpapers.

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As always, we’ve got a series of FREE desktop wallpaper images for you to enjoy. Simply CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails below to visit our Flickr page where all the goodies lay in wait for your visit.

Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica

Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica     Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica