Posts Tagged ‘classic car’

Cover Cars: Andy Roberts’ Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses


17 Oct

Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Andy Roberts’ Trio of Volkswagen Samba buses were featured on the front cover of issue 59 of VW Magazine Australia (VWMA). The trio consists a 1957 23-window, 1960 23-window and 1963 21-window model and surely makes it one of the more impressive private collections in the country. The fact that they’ve been immaculately restored and catalogued just adds to the appeal. The feature also marks my fifth front cover of VWMA 🙂

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Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Feature Car: Adam Cleary’s 427ci 1957 Buick Special


11 Jul

Some cars take a while to be truly ready for a photo shoot. For Adam Cleary’s incredible, air-bagged and big-block powered 1957 Buick Special, that period was a little over two years from the first time I called him to the morning we did the photo shoot. When you do a build this extensive, sometimes there are just some niggling issues that take time to resolve. I like to think the wait was worth it. It was featured in the June 2018 issue of Street Machine.

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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.

Adam Cleary's 427ci 1957 Buick Special

Adam Cleary's 427ci 1957 Buick Special

Adam Cleary's 427ci 1957 Buick Special

Adam Cleary's 427ci 1957 Buick Special

Feature Car: Beauchamp Family 1960 FB Holden ‘WILDFB’


02 Jul

The Beauchamp family’s incredible 1960 FB Holden phantom coupe appeared in the June 2018 issue of Street Machine. It’s not every day I get to shoot something that is so comprehensively modified as this. From the chop top and two-door conversion, to the one-piece flip front and twin-turbo Lexus V8 – it’s one crazy beast. And the execution is flawless.

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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.

Beauchamp Family 1960 FB Holden

Beauchamp Family 1960 FB Holden

Beauchamp Family 1960 FB Holden

DIY HERO: Don Mills’ Epic 355ci HD Holden Premier Home Build


12 Jun

Don Mills' 1965 HD Holden Premier

DIY HERO

Don Mills proves it’s possible to build an incredible, trophy-winning HD at home in the shed
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Don Mills' 1965 HD Holden PremierThere’s no denying it: labour costs on an extensive vehicle project can easily amount to more than half the total expense. Yet despite this staggering fact, many of us are either unwilling or unable to get in there and perform more of the spanner twirling ourselves. This might be through a lack of spare time, a lack of space or a perceived lack of skill.

Then, there are guys like 57-year-old Don Mills from western Sydney. A retired computer technician, he didn’t spend his working life working on cars, yet he’s spent the last few decades turning trash into treasure in his garage, mostly learning as he went along.

A devout Holden fanatic, Don has owned a long line of cars wearing the Lion badge. “I currently own an HD wagon, HR ute, HR van and this HD Premier,” Don says. “But since 1973 I’ve had an EH wagon, FB sedan, FE ute, EH sedan, HR van, LC XU1, FC sedan, HR sedan, LJ GT-R, HR Premier, LC GT-R, HT Monaro, VK Calais, another LJ two-door, FB ute, another VK Calais and a VR Senator.”

Don forgot to mention that his current daily is an HSV V2 LE Coupe.

So, it goes without saying that after almost four decades of Holden ownership, he knows his way around the quirks and eccentricities of just about every model Holden built. It could be fair to say that this pristine and classy HD Premier is the culmination of everything he’s learned thus far – and what a result.

Originally purchased way back in 1980, there isn’t much left of that original car today. “The body shell is actually a replacement,” Don says. “The original shell had some rear end damage that was just too hard to fix. It’s actually been rebuilt five times over the years.”Don Mills' 1965 HD Holden Premier

As you’ll read numerous times during this article, Don completed the bodywork himself in his double car garage at home – this included the prep’ work and the paintwork. While he says he’s not entirely happy with the final result, the Sea Mist Jade metallic looked great during our photo shoot and complemented the two-tone tan and chocolate interior inside.

“The paint and panel was probably the hardest part of the build for me,” Don says. “Mainly because I don’t think I’m very good at it. It’s painstaking hard labour and I’m lazy and impatient!”

Despite Don’s own misgivings, you’ll find more of his paint work inside the cabin, including the dash that Don filled and smoothed before adding a slew of carbon-faced Autometer gauges and Vintage Air vents and control unit. Let your eyes wander downward and you’ll see the neat custom centre console Don fabricated himself. It houses a sunken switch panel and the shifter that’s connected to the T56 6spd ‘box below.

Everywhere else you’ll find tan and chocolate coloured vinyl trim that was one of the few things not completed by Don. Hy-Tone in Riverstone put together a nice package that covers a set of VK front buckets and the original Premier rear bench as well as some custom door trims, the roof lining and dash pad. Pop the boot lid and you’ll see the theme extends out back, too.

Don Mills' 1965 HD Holden PremierThere’s no stereo in Don’s HD and that’s because he’d prefer to listen to the tunes emanating from the twin 2.5in exhaust connected to the 355ci stroker Holden up front. Yep, you guessed it: Don did all this himself too, save for the initial machining process.

Based on an HX 308ci Holden 2-bolt block, Don built himself a tough combination that uses a lot of Pro Comp parts for the rotating assembly and a pair of their alloy heads that Don tells us are straight out of the box. The top end is just as tasty, boasting a venerable VL Group A SS twin throttle intake that’s been ceramic coated for greater thermal efficiency and sheer good looks.

“It fired up as soon as it had fuel pressure,” Don says. “Going for that first drive down my street with no body panels on the car was pretty memorable. It had no interior, so I had to sit on a milk crate.”

Even though power and ETs are yet to be put to the test, Don has been enjoying getting the car out to local shows, like the NSW All Holden Day, which is where we first laid eyes on a number of his Holdens all lined up in a row. Don is understandably proud of his achievements, but from what he tells us, we’re pretty sure next time we see the car it’ll be wearing a fresh coat of paint.

What a DIY hero.

Owner: Don Mills
Colour: Sea Mist Jade metallic
Bodywork: Deleted door and boot locks
Engine Type: HX 308ci
Engine Mods: Pro Comp 3.48in stroker crank (355ci), Pro Comp 5.7in rods, Pro Comp pistons (10:1-comp’), King bearings, Pro Comp alloy heads, Camtech hydraulic cam’ (0.511in lift, 230˚ duration, 110˚ LSA), Camtech pushrods, Yella Terra Platinum-series 1.65:1 rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, high-volume oil pump, Aussie Desert Cooler alloy radiator, twin 14in thermo fans, 100A alternator, billet alternator bracket, VL Group A SS twin throttle intake setup, 30lb/hr injectors, VN fuel rails, VS Commodore distributor, Haltech E6GMX ECU, Bosch 044 pump, alloy surge tank, VS FPR, RPC alloy fuel cell, alloy intake piping, K&N breathers
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Home built tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel system, stainless mufflers
Gearbox: T56 6-speed manual, 11in single-plate clutch
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 final drive, Detroit Locker, 31-spline Moser axles, Strange alloy centre
Brakes: P76 front rotors, Commodore rear discs, HZ front calipers, firewall-mounted 8in twin-diaphragm booster, 1in-bore master cylinder
Suspension: HD cross member, stainless tubular A-arms, Pedders shocks, Pedders front springs, reset rear leaf springs, 25mm front sway bar, 19mm rear sway bar, UC Torana rack, R31 Skyline steering column
Wheels/Tyres: 15x8in Performance Superlite rims
Other mods: LJ Torana bonnet hinges, relocated battery
Interior: Billet Specialties steering wheel, VK Commodore front seats, tan and chocolate vinyl retrim, tan vinyl roof lining, filled and smoothed dash fascia, custom centre console, Vintage Air A/C setup, carbon-look instrument fascia, Autometer gauges, alloy pedals, tan carpets, custom door trims
Stereo: N/A
Build Period: 2 years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Windsor Engines, Metropolitan Driveshafts, Competition Warehouse, Hy-Tone – Riverstone, “My neighbours Ian and Adrian for their help and encouragement”

SO COOL: Leon Julien’s DIY Kustom FC Holden Wagon


12 Jun

Leon Julien's 1959 FC Holden Wagon

SO COOL

There are FC Holdens and then there is Leon Julien’s FC wagon. Built under a 3x6m marquee, this blown six retro rocket is a total winner
Words & Pics by: www.hoskingindustries.com.au

Leon Julien's 1959 FC Holden WagonWe’ve featured the gamut of custom cars in our time: from high dollar workshop builds with no interesting back story attached, right through to some of the most bare-bones, DIY, budget builds with stories of heroic feats of self-taught snapper twirling the world has ever known and everything in between. Then there’s 37-year-old Leon Julien and his FC wagon known as FCCOOL.

“I’ve had an interest in FC Holdens since I was about six years old,” Leon says. “My uncle had a van that he ended up rebuilding. But it wasn’t until year seven in high school that I travelled over night from Sydney to Grafton in that van that I made it a life goal to build my own FC and do the same trip.”

By rights, we should not be drooling over Leon’s retro-chic FC, but instead looking on lovingly at an FE sedan. “I only bought the FC wagon as a parts car for the FE I was building,” Leon says. “But when I got it, I realised it still had nine months rego on it, so I drove it for those nine months and became attached to it.”

This was way back in 1995, when grunge was still going about its business of killing hair metal and the country was emerging from the ‘recession we had to have’. With the decision made to swap trajectories and rebuild the wagon, the dash and the engine block from the FE sedan were swapped over to the FC, but it can’t have been much to look at at the time.Leon Julien's 1959 FC Holden Wagon

“It had house paint covering any repairs when I got it,” Leon says. “There were undressed welds, dents whacked out with a hammer and mould on the roof and bonnet, but it had a good running grey motor and three-on-the-tree.”

This is where the story starts becoming truly remarkable. Without the aid of even the most rudimentary single-car garage to work in, Leon resorted to performing the bulk of the work on the car under the meagre shelter of a 6x3m marquee!

Over time, Leon restored the existing metal work and significantly altered it along the way. Look closely, past the more obvious custom grille (featuring door knobs as depicted in a ‘how-to’ article from 1963) and slanted 1953 Edsel head light mods, to the shaved handles and side chrome, frenched tail lights and aerial holes, front indicators, EK tail gate, radiused door openings and bonnet treatment. Leon’s FC is a smorgasbord of tasty metal mods that’ll have you gawking for hours – all performed in the front yard!

“One of my favourite moments during the build would have been the morning after I put the final coats of paint on,” Leon says. “I was pulling all-nighters in the driveway, watching the sun rise as I put parts back on the car while neighbours peered through their blinds, thinking I was nuts.”

Leon Julien's 1959 FC Holden WagonLeon’s retro-rific rig isn’t all about the bodywork, though – as impressive it is that he could pull off such a good job in the front yard. The FC also boasts a tough little Holden six.

Built around the 179ci that Leon originally had in his FE, Westend Performance built him up a nice 208ci stroker using 3.3L rotating parts, held together with ARP studs and fasteners. The cast head was ported and treated to a meaty solid valvetrain, helping the breathing even further. If that weren’t enough, Leon went about fabricating a trick blower setup using a Commodore-spec’ Eaton M90 supercharger that he’s got rigged up to run 8psi.

This combo is backed by a Trimatic and an old Banjo rear end that’s holding up to the punishment so far. “I’ve been running this engine block since 1994 and have given it a good workout in that time,” he says. “I don’t really understand why people always say these things are weak.”

“I built this car for the odd trip down the drag strip, carting the family on long distance trips to car shows and cruising around town,” he says. “It goes like the clappers, drives quite smoothly, doesn’t use a lot of fuel and has pretty good throttle response. I love that it also seems to get more attention than a lot of other high-dollar builds.”

With a slew of trophies under its belt already and with the Julien clan attending plenty of shows up and down the east coast, the FC is sure to continue winning fans the more it’s seen. However, it’s unlikely to look the same each time you see it, with Leon continually working to improve the package.

All hail the DIY king!

VEHICLE: 1959 FC Holden
OWNER: Leon Julien
BODY: White/blue two tone (high opacity white, tinted with green/blue tinter under white pearl), custom grille, frenched tail lights, all seams welded, EK tail gate, door corners radiused, guards welded to body, shaved handles, side trim shaved, twin frenched aerial holes, hood corners radiused, frenched indicators, canted 1958 Edsel headlights
ENGINE: 1964 179ci Holden six (stroked to 208ci), block decked and O-ringed, Holden black 3.3L crank, 3.3L rods, ACL Race Series pistons, ARP mains stud kit, ACL bearings, ported cast head, copper head gasket, Camtech solid cam’, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Manley pushrods, straight-cut gear drive, JP high-volume oil pump, EH sump, 2x 14in thermo fans, HQ V8 radiator, 85A alternator, Ross balancer, custom blower pulley, modified HS8 SU carb’, Eaton M90 supercharger (8psi), regraphed Bosch VK Commodore electronic distributor, Crane Cams LX92 coil, Crane Hi6 TRC-2 w/map sensor, custom wiring harness, Mallory Comp 140 fuel pump, Mallory billet FPR, 6-2-1 headers, 2.75in mild steel exhaust, H&M muffler
TRANS: Trimatic, 2800rpm stall, modified valve body
DIFF: Banjo, 2.78:1 final drive, LX Torana tail shaft
INTERIOR: Repainted EH Holden steering wheel, custom plush pile carpets, white vinyl roof lining, chromed instrument cluster fascia and glove box, NOS 1960’s Stewart Warner gauges, JVC head unit, Rockford Fosgate power amp’, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Diamond Audio rear speakers, Sony 6x9in behind factory dash grille, Dynamat Extreme sound deadener
SUSPENSION: HR Holden front, Pedders front springs, Gabriel shocks, reset rear leaf springs, adjustable Gabriel rear shocks, on-board compressor and control solenoids for rear, HR Holden steering arms, EH Holden steering column, 50x50mm box from sub frame to leaf spring hangers
BRAKES: HR Holden front discs, HR rear drums, Bendix pads and shoes, VH40 booster, braided lines
WHEELS: Stock 13in steel rims
THANKS TO: West End Performance, Active Transmissions, Motorsport Connections, Better Brakes – Blacktown, American Autos, FC/FC Holden forum, GMH Torana forum, OzRodders forum

BLAST OFF: Ditch Jones’ Show-Stopping Blown Holden HR Ute


24 May

Ditch Jones' HR Holden Ute

BLAST OFF

Ditch Jones just wanted to take his HR to the next level. What he did was propel it into the show-scene stratosphere
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Ditch Jones' HR Holden UtilityYou’re looking at the most famous HR in the country. There. We’ve said it. No point beating around the bush or acting like we’re showing you the latest car on the block.

However, Ditch Jones’s 1967 HR Holden ute carries with it a remarkable story that’s really only fully coming to fruition now. See, Ditch has been working hard to get the HR into a position where he can finally relax a little and put some kilometres on the odometer.

Yeah, we know, right!?

But let’s hit rewind for a second and get a little history under our belts. Ditch and his HR go back a long way: around 20 years, in fact. Back then the ute was a largely original, 179ci-powered driver that had only recently been refinished when Ditch bought it for the princely sum of $6500 – in mid-1980s money.Ditch Jones' HR Holden Utility

Even in those early days the ute was a trophy winner; wearing kidney-hole alloys and boasting Premier trim. Being a Canberra local until recently, he and the HR were even there for the birth of the Summernats.

Over time, Ditch put plenty of his own taste into the HR, changing the way it looked and drove and winning more trophies at the same time. But thanks to his willingness to drive the ute to each and every show he entered, the ute slowly became a little tired and Ditch found that it was getting harder to keep up with the other builders. The main issue for Ditch was the undercarriage – Dragway 5-spokes and hot pink accents still winning favour at the time.

This is where the story starts getting really complicated – complicated because it can simply be very difficult to write about such a large number of seemingly endless modifications that have resulted in vehicle that may in many ways still resemble an HR Holden, but is so far removed from one that it almost defies description.

Ditch reckons there are easily 100 different body mods in his ute alone, without counting the scores of modifications to be found inside and underneath the car. The wheelbase has been stretched 100mm to properly centre the front wheels in the guards, the front wheel arches were raised 35mm to offer better steering travel and the sills were extended by around 35mm – a mod’ that makes the car look lower and just a little chopped.

Ditch Jones' HR Holden UtilityStill on the body, the side glass and window frames have been deleted and both front and rear screens are flush fitting with the front glass coming down further than stock. The rain gutters were shaved, as were the doors that are now suicided. Up front, the bonnet was extended to the windscreen with the cowl removed and re-fabricated underneath with custom billet hinges. Custom billet hinges also hold up the doors that hang from strengthened B-pillars and the A-pillars were reshaped so that prominent swage line across the top of the guards ran right up and over the car.

There are dozens more body modifications to be listed (see captions), but the HR isn’t just a combination of its fancy panels. Gone is the HR’s original chassis. Ditch and Drago originally tried to build the ute while retaining some of the HR’s original architecture, but three months in, Drago bit the bullet and scrapped everything only to start again with a clean slate. Now, the HR runs a ¾-chassis with a tubular front end that Ditch says could take any power plant he ever chooses, but we get the idea that the yellow menace will forever be powered by a Holden six. Not that this ute runs any old inline six banger.

Based around a 3.3L 202ci six, the engine boasts the refinement it needs thanks to the boost generated by the Fisher 4/71 supercharger bolted to the side. Wanting the look of an injected setup, while retaining the 700cfm blower-prepped Holley, Ditch approached Garlits about adapting one of their injector hats to suit and the result is ‘sex’ cast in alloy form.

Drago and his team had to move the engine and gearbox back 100mm to accommodate Ditch’s desired 4in blower belt. While they were at it, they also lowered the combo into the bay by some 65mm that helped sit everything in horizontally, but also meant only the blower hat protruded from through the super smooth, boxed-in and extended bonnet. Not only that, but the sump then sat perfectly in-line with the flat floor pan.Ditch Jones' HR Holden Utility

Truly masters in the art of metal fabrication, SCV created the entire interior out of steel. In fact, Ditch says the only fibreglass to be found anywhere is the trick tail light housings that house equally neat LED assemblies.

Inside the cabin you’ll find a swoopy design that completely disguises the ute’s 44 years. Teal micro-suede covers the modified Cobra one-piece seats as well as the false floor panels, custom door trims and rear bulkhead as well as that intricate roof panel that until now has not been seen in a magazine. There’s no question that the ute set a new benchmark when it hit the show scene a few years back with consecutive Top 10 spots at Summernats 20 and 21. Just look at the design of that delectable floating centre console pod that houses the shifter, switches and Dakota Digital airbag controls.

Ditch Jones' HR Holden UtilityDitch was once quoted as saying that he planned to race and cruise the HR and while that hasn’t happened yet, he and Ziggy’s Hotrods have been working to bring that final element to fruition. Now a resident of NSW’s Hunter region, he and the ute have spent plenty of time at Ziggy’s workshop where a significant proportion of that insane undercarriage have been modified to better suit driving.

Gone are the coil-overs, making way for Air Ride airbags and the front end utilises a Rod City stainless setup. The HR still uses 330mm Hoppers Stoppers rotors front and back, but the show-spec’ items were replaced by functional ones. Perhaps the only real set back preventing Ditch from putting some serious kays on it now is the ridiculously tiny 20L fuel tank.

We didn’t realise it at first, but Ditch later admitted that our driving shots represented the first real driving he’s done in the HR since all the new suspension work was completed and looking at some of the shots we took, you could see the tension in Ditch’s face! With the maiden voyage over and done with – and the ute passing with flying colours – let’s hope those original plans to race and cruise the HR finally come true.

Owner: Ditch Jones
Model: 1967 HR Holden
Colour: PPG ‘Ditch’s Twisted Lemon’ and Diamond Silver
Bodywork: Custom steel grille, modified headlight buckets, shaved and narrowed bumpers, revised wheel arches, extended sills, shaved door handles, suicide doors, deleted window glass and frames, custom tail light assemblies, shaved and moulded tailgate area, shaved rain gutters, re-shaped roof swage lines, flush-mounted glass, stretched bonnet and deleted cowl, 1-piece front clip (all steel), Euro-style headlights
Engine Type: 3.3L Holden six
Engine Mods: Ben Gatt custom O-ringed 9-port head, ACL Race Series pistons (8.1:1-comp’), offset-ground crank, race-prepped rods w/ARP rod bolts, Crow solid roller cam’, 700cfm Supercharger Series Holley DP, Fisher 4/71 supercharger, custom Fisher manifold, Mick’s Metalcraft radiator, Scorcher billet dizzy, Pro Comp ignition, modified Kilkenny rocker cover, billet breather, 4in blower belt, Garlits blower hat
Power: Enough
Exhaust: Custom ceramic coated headers, ceramic coated mandrel-bent exhaust
Gearbox: Trimatic, 2800rpm Dominator stall
Diff: 9in, 28-spline axles, Strange 3.98:1 final drive, mini-spool
Brakes: 300mm Hoppers Stoppers rotors, 4-piston front calipers, 2-piston rear calipers, braided brake lines
Wheels and tyres: Showwheels Matrix billet rims (17x7in front, 19x1in rear)
Suspension: Rod City stainless steel front end, Air Ride front and rear airbags, ¾ chassis and ladder bar rear end, adjustable panhard, custom steering column, Commodore rack, box and tube chassis
Interior: Custom all-steel dash and interior, custom floating centre console, B&M Pro Ratchet, Dakota Digital airbag controller, Showwheels Matrix steering wheel, Autometer gauges, 6-point roll cage, teal micro-suede trim, modified Cobra race seats
Other Mods: Wheelbase stretched 100mm, billet door hinges, billet bonnet hinges, engine moved back 100mm and dropped 65mm, LED lighting in engine bay and under body
Stereo: N/A
Build Period: 4 years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Sefton Concept Vehicles, Ziggy’s Hotrods, G-Trim, PPG, Showwheels, Shannons, Meguiar’s, MirrorFinish, Geof’s Garage, Gen-Tech Performance, Hoppers Stoppers, Covercraft, The Chop Shop, Probag, Bluewire Motorsport, “A big thank you to Lea, Luko, Kev and all my friends who have helped me along the way”

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

MR. FANTASTIC: Brian Apap’s 355CI ‘MRSLR’ Holden Torana


22 May

Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden Torana

MR. FANTASTIC

Brian Apap’s incredible MRSLR LX Torana is well known on the scene – for good reason
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden ToranaPersonalised number plates can be funny things. While many owners no doubt order their custom plates as a means to giving their vehicles a sense of personality or notoriety, some cars almost seem like they were destined to wear their plates from the beginning. Brian Apap’s LX Torana sedan is a good example. While the car may wear the plates MRSLR, its larger than life appearance – it’s immense attention to detail and blinding Barbados green paint – makes it seem like the plates merely earned THEIR spot on the car; not the other way around.

“I bought the Torana around 10 years ago,” says Brian, a 39-year-old primary producer from Sydney’s North West. “In the first year of owning it the car was stolen. Luckily it was found.”

Lucky for us perhaps, because we now get to witness the grandeur that Brian was able to create with the LX over a five year period ending in late 2005. Immediately after the build was completed, the car scored itself a spot in the Top 60 at Summernats – a feat is achieved again twice more in the following consecutive years.Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden Torana

Incredibly, that retina-searing green paintwork is far from new. “The paint on the car is around 20 years old,” Brian confirms. “I haven’t changed it in my time of ownership, except for the engine bay that got repainted during the build up.”

What an engine bay it is! With a flat firewall and smoothed inner guards and rails, the LX boasts a bay most car lovers would give a right nad for and it houses something just as sweet in the shape of that 355ci stroker. “The car had a 253ci and 4spd manual in it when I bought it,” Brian explains. “All the driveline has been replaced.”

Based on a 308ci Holden V8, the motor was stroked with the help of Lunati rods and CP pistons that create a high 11.5:1 static compression against the ported VN heads. It runs a ton of lift thanks to a Crow roller cam’ and the engine makes use of the breathing capacity via an 850cfm Barry Grant and highly-polished single-plane intake with a 1in spacer in between. Power is untested, but Brian believes it to be between 400 and 450fwhp.

Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden ToranaBacking up the aggressive combo is a T350 that runs a manualised valve body and nutso steep 5300rpm stall. This sends the grunt to a narrowed 9in that replaced the old Banjo and houses 3.7:1 gears and an LSD centre. Then it’s a quick trip along the axles to the brilliant 15in Billet Specialties rims that measure an impressive 10in wide under the bum.

As you can see by gazing over the photos, the car is much more than an engine and driveline. Indeed, step inside the cockpit of the sedan and you’re greeted with the sweet, intoxicating scent of leather as your eyes pan left to right, top to bottom. About the only things not covered in leather is the floor that boasts white Mercedes carpet and the roof lining which is matching beige velour. Then you’ve got the myriad billet pieces; many of which are custom one-offs like the pedals and switch panel under the dash. Pop the boot lid and you’re greeted by a space that’s been trimmed and detailed to match the cabin.Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden Torana

It’s this level of detail that has helped Brian’s Torana take out a number of top awards since its completion including Best Interior at the 2007 Toranafest, Best LX Sedan at the 2008 All Holden Day and Best in Show at the 2010 Toranafest – no small feat against the impressive vehicles that frequent that event each year. But with so many accolades and recognition, is there anywhere else left to go?

“I’m in the process of building another Torana,” Brian says. “I’m hoping it’ll be better than MRSLR, but I don’t want to give too much away just yet.”

You heard it here first folks and having seen the painted body shell up close for ourselves, we can tell you that it’s going to grab plenty of eyeballs and cause plenty of dragging chins once it’s unveiled. Stay tuned!

Owner: Brian Apap
Colour: Barbados green w/blackouts
Bodywork: SLR kit, colour-matched bumpers
Engine Type: Holden 308ci
Engine Mods: 355ci stroker kit, 4-bolt mains conversion, Lunati rods, Childs and Albert rings, CP pistons (11.5:1-comp’), ARP head and mains studs, ported cast VN heads (flow 560hp), Ferrea valves, titanium retainers, K&N catch cans, alloy radiator, billet throttle linkage, alloy air cleaner housing, braided oil and fuel lines, polished single-plane intake, Crow Cams roller cam’ (0.680in lift, 252˚ duration, 106˚ LSA), Manley pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1 roller rockers, painted block and heads, billet caps, High Energy sump, oil cooler, 850cfm Barry Grant Demon carb’, 1in alloy spacer, MSD ignition, Holley Blue fuel pump, 120L drop tank
Power: 400fwhp/299kW (claimed)
Exhaust: Ceramic coated tri-Y headers, twin 3in stainless exhaust, stainless mufflers
Gearbox: T350, 5200rpm Dominator stall, manualised valve body
Diff: 9in, 3.7:1 final drive, LSD
Brakes: VT front calipers, HQ rotors, rear drums
Suspension: Pedders front shocks and springs, Pedders rear springs, Pedders rear airbags, narrowed steering arms, polished steering column
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Billet Specialties rims (7in front, 10in rear)
Other mods: Battery relocated, trimmed boot, smoothed bay
Interior: Billet Specialties steering wheel, VT Clubsport front seats, polished B&M Pro Ratchet, billet foot pedals, custom beige leather trim, custom door trims, white Mercedes carpets, velour roof lining, Autometer tacho, custom switch box, trimmed sill cover panels, custom instrument fascia
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Pioneer front and rear speakers
Build Period: 5 years
Cost: $70,000
Thanks: Jake Bain, Joe Bartolo, Carline Mufflers, Richmond Automatics, Kreative Enterprises, Pedders – Blacktown, My wife Noelene and our four kids

NATURE’S FURY: David McGinniss’ 428ci 1969 Mercury Cyclone


22 May

David McGinniss' 1969 Mercury Cyclone

NATURE’S FURY

Meet one of Ford’s rarer motorsport-influenced models, the NASCAR-homologation Mercury Cyclone
Words and Pics by www.hoskingindustries.com.au

David McGinniss' 1969 Mercury CycloneBy the mid-1960s the popularity of stock car racing was booming, leading to what many would call the sport’s golden age late in the decade with cars like the Ford Galaxies, Richard Petty’s Plymouth, Ford Torinos and Mercury Cyclones, much like the example featured here that belongs to David McGinniss. Indeed, NASCAR was largely dominated by Ford in the mid to late 1960s – a time when the race cars still had to be close derivatives of road-going models (homologated) like our dearly missed Touring Car series here in Australia up until the early 1990s.

Back then, racing was fierce, exciting and supremely dangerous. Vehicles one or lost not just on driver ability, but also on the inherent qualities of the vehicles themselves. OE manufacturers were still living by the ethos of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ and as a result, designed and built their cars to go fast.

Introduced in 1968, this iteration of the Mercury Cyclone came in various trim styles, including no fewer than 10 different engine combinations in the two years of production, when steel and oil were both still cheap. However, David’s example is a rare beast. This is a legit Cyclone CJ: one of only 3261 built, which is a piddling little number considering the volumes in which Ford used to build cars.David McGinniss' 1969 Mercury Cyclone

‘CJ’ stands for Cobra Jet, referring to the great lump of iron wedged between the sturdy chassis rails of the Cyclone. Measuring 428 cubic inches, it’s no small engine and came with an advertised output of 335bhp back in the year of its release. Besides the 429ci Boss that the NASCAR versions of the Cyclone were running in competition, there was nothing bigger or more powerful in the Ford line up than this bruiser.

Earlier in the model’s history, a few different variations on the body style existed, like convertibles and non-fastback coupes that were all known as Cyclones. Interestingly, by 1969 this was no longer the case, with non-fastback shapes known as Montegos and Comets, with the fastbacks – the same as David’s here – called Cyclones.

David originally purchased the Cyclone way back in November 1989 in original condition. Indeed, as it sits today most of the vehicle is true to factory specification including the interior, wheels, brakes, diff’ and C6 auto’. It’s still a matching-numbers 428ci, however David did rebuild the engine around 15 years ago, keeping pretty close to the original parts list save for a Mondello steel crank, better bearings and rings as well as the 735cfm Holley on top.

“It’s been an amazing car,” David says. “15 years on and it still drives fantastically.”

David McGinniss' 1969 Mercury CycloneNot afraid to make proper use of such a rare Ford, David piloted the Cyclone through the twists and turns of the Targa Tasmania on a number of occasions in the mid to late 1990s. The car performed well in its class, earning a second place in its class in 1996 and 1998. Considering the car’s weight, the weight over the nose and the archaic brakes and the fact he could steer it through the course is even more impressive. Take that Eric Bana!

While David says that owning the car has been a wonderful experience, he does admit it hasn’t always been a total walk in the park. “Finding spare parts for it has probably been one of the hardest parts of the rebuild and keeping it going,” David says. “That, and trying to convince people it isn’t a Torino!”

Sadly the glory days of truly exciting homologation motorsport have passed (not discounting the excellent racing the smaller and privateer classes do), so it’s nice to know there are still beautiful mechanical reminders of those times around to remind us. With dedicated and capable owners like David McGinniss there to keep these cubically endowed beasts on the road, we’ll hopefully have them around to enjoy for many more years to come.

Who knows, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see an end to the current NASCAR and V8 Supercar boredom and return to some touring car excitement again on day. Imagine what the manufacturers could come up with then!

Owner: David McGinniss
Vehicle: 1969 Mercury Cyclone
Paint: Dulux Barlot red
Styling: Factory
Engine: 428ci Cobra Jet
Engine Mods: Mondello steel crank, stock rods and pistons (10.5:1-comp’), Pro Seal file-back rings, Clevite bearings, 735cfm Holley carb’, alloy catch can
Power: 410fwhp (305kW), 440lb.ft, 13.49sec ET
Exhaust: Custom 4-into-1 headers (2in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel exhaust, twin mufflers
Gearbox: C6 auto
Diff: 3.55:1 final drive, LSD
Suspension: Bilstein front and rear shocks, 19mm front sway bar, variable-ratio steering rack
Brakes: Factory
Wheels/Tyres: Factory
Interior: Factory
Tunes: Factory
Build Time: 5 years
Bucks: $38,000
Who’s Responsible: Coasteer Automotive, Brenton Chere for the paint

Feature Car: Graham Battersby’s Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle


21 May

I photographed Graham Battersby’s Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle for VW Magazine Australia and it appeared in the May-July 2018 issue, which is still on shelves nationwide now. Such a cool beastie.

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.

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle