Posts Tagged ‘newcastle’

Feature Car: Gary Taylor’s 1965 Ford XP Falcon


04 Oct

This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of photographing this silver XP Ford Falcon. I previously shot the car for Street Fords magazine when old owner Andrew owned the car. Today, the car is owned by Gary Taylor and he’s spent plenty of time tidying it up and putting his own stamp on it. This photo shoot featured in the September issue of Street Machine.

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Gary Taylor's 1965 Ford XP Falcon
Gary Taylor's 1965 Ford XP Falcon
Gary Taylor's 1965 Ford XP Falcon

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle – June 26, 2019


18 Jul

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The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

I’m ashamed to admit it, but this was actually the first time I’d seen The Tea Party live. I’d been into their music since the 1990s and had seen one of Jeff Martin’s incredible solo shows way back in 2010 at Sydney’s The Basement. But I’d never been able to see The Tea Party.

Tonight, I was in for a real treat.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

The night was opened by local Newcastle ‘Alternative Punk’ four-piece Linear. What lucky little sods they were. While the crowd was still pretty thin for their performance, opening for such an established and respected international group is no small honour.

Linear’s songs were pretty solid and the musicianship was strong, too. However, the vocals let the band down and I’m sure that more than a few punters were left wondering why another of the countless hyper-talented local outfits weren’t chosen in their place.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

By the time The Tea Party took to the stage a little after 9pm, the NEX Theatre (still quite large despite the flanks being curtained off) had finally filled substantially. Opening with ‘The River’ from Splendor Solis, the band worked its way through a career-defining set that included tracks like ‘The Bazaar’, ‘Psychopomp’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Temptation’ and ‘Sister Awake’. They even managed to squeeze a faithful cover of U2’s ‘With or Without You’ right in the middle of ‘Heaven’s Coming Down’.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Despite the years, and Martin’s prodigious and prolific career, his rich baritone roar has lost none of its impact and intensity. He stalks the stage with the swagger of someone who’s been doing it all his life, part Jim Morrison, even larger part Jimmy Page. Yet (and despite the violin bow and double-neck Gibson SG usage) it never feels like pastiche. Martin has made it all part of his DNA and his performance is certainly a large part of the success of tonight’s show (and we’d bet, any Tea Party show).

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Bassist Stuart Chatwood is pretty restrained on stage. At times switching between bass and a few keyboards and pedals. Drummer Jeff Burrows, complete with Mod hairdo and endlessly chewing gum, is a dynamo on the kit and propels the Tea Party juggernaut ever onward.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Together, they make a hell of a racket for a three piece and tonight’s performance does nothing but cement their place in rock history and Australia’s heart. The Canadian band has always done well over here and if the new tracks they played tonight are anything to go by, they will continue to do so for some time to come.

Be sure to keep an eye out for tour dates in 2020 when the band tours on the back of its 30th anniversary.

Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel – June 23, 2019


09 Jul
Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel - June 23, 2019

It might have been a chilly, wet Sunday night outside, but within the cosy confines of the recently-rebranded Newcastle Hotel, piping hot modern metal was cooking up a storm. While we missed local opening act The Wandering, Taree progressive metal four-piece Diamond Construct continued their evolution from awkward teens to stage-pounding purveyors of dissonant chords and brutal breakdowns. Their latest release is garnering them some deserved attention and tonight’s almost-cruelly short 25-minute support slot shows they can impress even on a tight timeline.

Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel - June 23, 2019

Salt Lake City’s Chelsea Grin has darkened our shores a number of times in the past, but rarely with the same line up. The crushing deathcore four-piece has had 14 members within its ranks over the last 12 years and this tour saw new singer Tom Barber screaming his lungs dry in Australia for the first time.

Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel - June 23, 2019

While Tom is about the only member to make decent use of the small corner stage, they’re tight as hell, with drummer Pedro Viveros’ guttural vocals the perfect foil to Barber’s more razor-like fry screams. About the only downside of the performance is from a select handful of crowd members who wrongly presumed the rest of us wanted to watch them throw their limbs around the middle of the dance floor like epileptics with brain injuries. Sadly, this ridiculous, anti-social nonsense meant a large gulf was left between the front of the stage and the back where most were unwilling to risk a wayward fist or boot.

Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel - June 23, 2019

Illinois natives Born of Osiris have only managed to host nine different guys in the group over the past 16 years, and its core members have all been in it for the long haul for over 10 years. That cohesion clearly shows on stage tonight. It’s a polished display of progressive metal that boasts techy, classical flourishes over the top of bruising, tight riffage and twin vocalists Ronnie Canizaro and Joe Buras bring a real sense of urgency to the performance.

Born of Osiris + Chelsea Grin @ Newcastle Hotel - June 23, 2019

By the time the headliners took to the stage, there were no signs of the flailing-limb idiots and the dance floor was full of enthusiastic punters wanting to see the eclectic metal band perform a comprehensive set list of tracks from across its back catalogue. Guitarist lee McKinney’s axe didn’t quite cut through the mix as well as perhaps it should have, given his technical expertise, but overall the mix was thick and full and the audience lapped up every minute.

Definitely the best way to enjoy Sunday night in Newcastle this week!

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Live Review: Heistfest 2019 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019


16 Apr

36CrazyFists + Superheist + From Crisis to Collapse + BLKLST + Take My Soul @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Another Sunday gig at the Cambridge Hotel and another early start. Not a huge issue in and of itself, when the venue fails to list the correct start time on its own website until late into the afternoon of the show and you aren’t surprised when the bands on show tonight are playing to far fewer people than they would normally.

Take My Soul @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Sadly, one of Newcastle’s brightest new bands Take My Soul only plays to a couple dozen punters just after 4pm. Despite the lack of bodies, the modern, down-tuned, 7-string-wielding five-piece brings all the riffs as well as some stupidly tasty, crystalline clean parts that provide the perfect balm to the brutality of the heavy stuff. Their new EP is definitely worth checking out.

BLKLST @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Melbourne’s BLKLST is on stage next and the crowd is still thin on the ground, but the four-piece make a huge racket for a single-guitar band. Self-proclaimed as a nu-metal/hardcore hybrid, they’re pretty on the money, with the band’s singer showcasing some moves and vocal influences very reminiscent of the late 1990s scene that spawned bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and so many more. Super tight, the bass player offers some sick backing vocals, too. Definitely worth a watch.

From Crisis to Collapse @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

From Crisis to Collapse is next to inflict their aural assault onto the growing crowd. Based in Byron Bay, the five-piece wasted no time laying waste to the audience with Technicolor bogan front man Angus Carter seemingly equal parts mental and brutal. While his on-the-edge-of-sanity persona is enough to grab your interest, the group’s riff-laden song list does the rest, with more meat on the bone than your local butcher. Sadly their fleet-fingered lead guitarist is lost in the mix during lead breaks.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

When Superheist reformed in 2016, fans were suitably stoked to see the beloved metal/nu-metal band back on stages around the country. Back in the early ’00s, their albums reached into the Top 20 thanks to some cunning pop-sensibilities and excellent song writing.

So while tonight’s crowd might be there in part due to a strong sense of nostalgia, it’s not all down to their back catalogue. The set list is peppered with new tracks that are every bit as catchy and crushing as the old stuff – perhaps even more so, given their use of 8-string guitars for an even more guttural approach.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

While guitarist and brainchild DW Norton might be the only mainstay in the band from its heyday, the current line up proves full of energy and presence – particularly singer Ezekiel Ox (Mammal) who spends most of the set out in the middle of the crowd.

We’re assured that this won’t be the last Heistfest and with a line up of bands like this, we can’t wait for the next tone.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Finally, Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists launch onto the darkened stage. Calling the Cambridge main room half full would be optimistic, but those present are all enthusiastic to see the veteran four-piece in action – at times a little moshing can be seen splitting the crowd into two halves.

Around since 1994, the band’s catalogue has been consistently strong and drummer Kyle Baltus (a member since 2012) absolutely pounds the skins tonight, providing the perfect basis for some tight, intense performances. They may have been the most mainstream-sounding of the line up tonight, but there are enough punishingly heavy moments to make everyone happy.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Singer Brock Lindow must have cooked himself tonight, wearing a Parka for at least the first half of the 13-song set. His voice sounded great in the more sung parts, but proved a little raspy in the heavier sections. Guitarist Steve Holt really shined there, providing a mean roar when required.

This reviewer thinks the Cambridge has some responsibility for this gig’s small audience. With a University-oriented weekly show called ‘Sunday School’ happening from around 8pm, the venue clearly wants to have its cake and eat it too. Only problem is that they haven’t done enough to inform everyone else.

The fact that their own website listed ‘Doors at 8pm’ until mere hours before the event had to impact attendance and the bands are the ones that suffered. Otherwise it was a great show full of strong performances and you should definitely pencil in the next Heistfest for 2020.

Live Review: Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle – October 27, 2018


01 Nov

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

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First a word of advice: It can really pay to check the opening times for a gig on more than one website! Thanks to an erroneous door time listing on one ticket website, this humbled reviewer ended up missing the brutal Thy Art is Murder.

Thankfully I didn’t miss the mighty Killswitch Engage, who tonight were playing the role of main support. For some, that might seem like an odd place for a renowned international act. However, when you look out across the sold out room at NEX in Newcastle (the old Worker’s Club), it seems like a pretty shrewd move and one that will no doubt win the Massachusetts band plenty of new fans off the back of a typically super strong performance.

Formed in 1999, the band are veterans of the metalcore scene they helped create and it isn’t until you watch their full set that you remember just how many big songs they’ve had. Singer Jesse Leach is a better live singer today than he was in the band’s early days and handles the material of former singer Howard Jones with ease – which is no mean feat.

The entire group bounce around the large NEX stage with the hunger of a band still in their twenties and their tight set and road-worn professionalism will see them return Stateside with some extra record sales and downloads, for sure.

After a short break, Parkway Drive makes one hell of an entrance thanks to six concussion bombs and all the smoke machine action you would ask for. It’s just a taste of what’s to come for the capacity crowd here tonight, with the band bringing over $5000 worth of pyro, according to the pyrotechnician that ushered us off to stage left before those aforementioned explosions took place.

Indeed, Parkway could never be accused of not putting on one hell of a show. I’m pretty sure all the stage hire places in town would have been drained of their lighting rigs by looking at the stage setup here tonight. Thankfully, the musicianship lived up to the theatrics.

While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the band, I still found the whole experience too far removed from how I remember them when I last reviewed a Parkway gig in 2010. It felt like a different band to me. Despite Winston’s filthy screaming, newer material is more accessible (not a bad thing on its own), the band were all clad politely in matching black and it all seemed a little staid.

Now, I understand that a band needs to grow and evolve. These dudes aren’t the kids that took Australian (and indeed international) stages by storm over a decade ago. But that sense of danger and aggression wasn’t there. It sure as hell was in the crowd. In fact, the performance came to an abrupt halt after the fourth song in their set (‘Vice’) when an audience member was injured to the point of being stretchered out of the venue by paramedics.

After a 20 minute breather, the band launched into ‘Dedicated’ and the crowd went suitably apeshit. Realistically, if there are any grumblings in the Parkway fanbase over the group becoming the Aussie equivalent of Bring Me the Horizon or the ‘Nickelback of Deathcore’, you wouldn’t know it here tonight. It’s admittedly a tight performance, but one that felt a lot more one dimensional, with the exception of Winston himself, who clearly gave the show every ounce of strength he had.

Accuse me of resisting progress, call me stuck in the mud. I don’t mind. I just like my metal a little more dangerous. 10 points for being, by far, the biggest metal act in Australia right now, though. There isn’t another band on this continent hauling such a large production around – and you have to respect that!

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Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

LIVE MUSIC: Make Them Suffer @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – August 15, 2018


22 Aug

Make Them Suffer

Live Review: Make Them Suffer + Silent Planet + Oceans Ate Alaska + Thornhill @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Wed, August 15, 2018

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Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel has been playing host to a run of great metal shows of late. The latest gig to warm up the cold winter nights is Perth’s Make Them Suffer and despite being a mid-week show, Hunter punters turned out in their masses to witness a strong international line up of modern heaviness.

First on stage was Melbourne’s Thornhill who brought their own blend of contemporary metal styles to the proceedings. While they seemed a little self-conscious in front of the crowd, they brought with them some solid, dramatic progressions and some great, if well-worn riffage.

The UK’s Oceans Ate Alaska took to the stage in front of a half-filled room and proceeded to rampage like they were in front of a full house. Showing much more polish and cohesiveness, the five-piece boasted a great frontman in Jake Noakes, who stalked the stage with a brutal combination of screams, growls and hardcore shouts. From the blast beats, skittering riffs and finger tapping through to the breakdowns and sing-along choruses, Oceans had something for every modern metal fan and put on a very solid performance.

Perhaps the highlight of the night, LA’s Silent Planet made a big impact with their metal with a message. From themes of war and refugee welfare to mental illness, the band tore through a set that boasted metalcore at its core, but also included progressive traits for a sound that was at once mature and brutal. Singer Garrett Russell was clearly a bit of an eccentric, but that just added to the tension and sense of drama. Some fans up front looked as though they were having a religious experience.

After a short wait, headliners Make Them Suffer enjoyed a hero’s welcome to a darkened stage before they erupted into a powerful set of tracks from across their catalogue. The band were self-assured (coming straight from a sold-out show in Brisbane) and emitting a bruising energy that spilled into the crowd, where bodied flowed over the mosh barrier for the duration. At one point, singer Sean Harmanis instigated a Wall of Death, with half the audience politely obliging, no doubt causing more than a few bruises.

Currently touring on the back of their latest album Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer were taut, tight and left the Cambo audience wasted, sweaty and just a little damaged.

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Oceans Ate Alaska

Silent Planet

Thornhill

HOME-GROWN HERO: Adrian Coulter’s 380rwhp 6/71-blown LJ Holden Torana


18 Jun

Adrian Coulter's LJ Torana

HOME-GROWN HERO

Adrian Coulter’s 6/71-blown LJ Holden Torana is a true home-built masterpiece that almost cost him everything
Story and Pics by Ben Hosking

The stories behind some performance cars almost write themselves and those vehicles are usually home-built. You just can’t create the same texture, depth and interest with a cheque-book build that’s simply spent months in and out of workshops. Sure, put two cars next to one another and they might look the same; but you can be sure the journey the home-built car took to get to the finish line will be a whole lot more interesting than the workshop car.

Adrian Coulter's LJ Holden Torana33-year-old Novocastrian Adrian Coulter has spent the last nine years building this incredible Viper Blue LJ coupe (this is actually its second build) and except for that glowing blue suit, he’s completed everything himself in the shed at home. “The car won awards for Best Paint and Best Interior at the 1998 and 2000 Toranafest events,” says Adrian, a qualified panel beater AND mechanic. “After that I took the car home and stripped it back down to a bare shell. It took nine years to get from there to here.”

It’s hard to believe that a Torana this straight and highly detailed could have once started out as such a wreck – just as it did in 1995 when Adrian first bought it. “It was in primer when I bought it,” says Adrian. “I was told it just needed rubbing back and painting, but when I got it home and went to open the passenger door, it fell off!”

Things went from bad to worse once Adrian started rubbing the panels down, finding all manner of damage. Eventually, the casualty list included two sill panels, the rear beaver panel, two floor pans, the front valance and plenty of other poorly repaired dents and damage. “It took 15 months just in bodywork,” explains Adrian. “It was a never ending story, but worth the effort in the end.”

Fast forward to the second build and Adrian pulled out all the stops, creating an LJ with more attention to detail than most big dollar builds can muster. From tip to stern there isn’t a square millimetre of this car that hasn’t been massaged or tricked out in some way.

Up front, the engine started life as a 1990 304ci injected 5L, no doubt powering a VN Commodore or some description. Adrian rebuilt it himself using the factory crank with A9L rods and simple ACL Race Series pistons, rings and bearings. The rotating assembly does enjoy some additional support in the form of ARP mains studs and a girdle which is a good thing considering he’s forcing eight pounds of boost down its throat.

Unbelievably, Adrian was the first guy to ever lay eyes on that shiny GMC 6/71 supercharger. “Starting the motor with the blower on it was definitely one of my favourite moments in the build,” says Adrian, smiling with the thought. “I was the first person to open the crate with the 1959 blower in it. It still had the metal packing straps around the box and everything.”

It was a doubly exciting moment considering it was Adrian’s first blown engine – one that also features ported cast heads and a sturdy valvetrain using plenty of Crow parts. While the car hasn’t been on a dyno, Adrian reckons the twin-carbed beast is making around 380hp at the treads with plenty of fuel left in the mix to make sure nothing breaks – except tyres.Adrian Coulter's LJ Holden Torana

This is all backed by a worked T400 using a B&M 2800rpm stall and stage-2 kit before twisting torque through a 3in thick-wall tail shaft and on to a 9in that Adrian narrowed and braced; filling it with VL turbo 28-spline axles, 3.5:1 gearings and a mini spool. He also tubbed the rear end to the chassis rails, relocating the shock mounts and boxing the control arms.

In fact, the suspension at both ends is pretty custom, including a Hadfield Chassis kit, strengthened upper and lower front control arms and a full set of Nolathane bushings. With an LJ V8 steering conversion, King springs and Monroe shocks, the car handles like a dream and very unlike a car of its vintage. “Setting the diff’ angles and geometry was probably one of the hardest parts of the build,” says Adrian. “Well that and saving the money to build the car without losing my wife.”

In all, the car took three bank loans, all Adrian’s spare cash and almost his marriage to complete – but he didn’t give up and neither did his missus. “I have to thank my wife for her patience and support,” says Adrian. “She’s been amazing.”

Adrian has no other plans for the LJ other than to drive and get some enjoyment out of his hard work. Indeed, in order to fly under the radar as much as possible and not end up defected off the road; Adrian is contemplating a life without the blower – something he planned for when building the engine. If you look closely you’ll see a custom plate between the carbs and the blower which allows Adrian to remove the pump and simply refit the carbs to the blower manifold for quick and easy swaps. Although he has considered selling it all.

“I’d consider selling it for the right price,” says Adrian. “I don’t really want to, but it’s time to start thinking about the family.”

What a legend.

Owner: Adrian Coulter
Colour: Dodge Viper blue
Bodywork: GTR flutes, rear wheel arches stretched, rolled guards
Engine Type: 1990 304ci V8
Engine Mods: Modified oil galleries, ARP head and mains studs, stud girdle, A9L rods, ACL Race Series pistons (8.5:1-comp’), ACL rings and bearings, ported cast heads (flow around 550hp), stainless valves, K-Line valve guides, Chev’ LT1 valve springs, Crow retainers, alloy catch can, Crow hydraulic cam’ (112˚ LSA), Crow lifters and pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1 roller rockers, double-row timing chain, JP high-pressure low-volume oil pump, High Energy sump, alloy oil cooler, 2x 10in thermo fans, 4-core Statesman radiator, 65A alternator, billet engine pulleys, 2x 600cfm vac-sec Holley carbs, GMC 6/71 supercharger (8psi), K&N air filters, Mallory distributor, Bosch coil, Holley fuel pump and adjustable regulator, 60L RCI fuel cell, custom alternator bracket, custom carb’ mounting plate
Power: Approx. 380rwhp (283rwkW)
Exhaust: Heat wrapped custom tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel system
Gearbox: T400, custom oil coolers, B&M 2800rpm stall, stage-2 shift kit
Diff: Smoothed and detailed 9in, VL turbo axles, 3.5:1 final drive, mini-spool, 3in thick-wall tail shaft
Brakes: HQ front discs, HQ rear drums, Falcon master cylinder, VH44 booster (mounted under dash), new custom brake lines
Suspension: Strengthened upper and lower front control arms, new ball joints, King front springs, Monroe shocks, boxed and shortened rear control arms, custom rear shock mounts, custom diff’ bracing, LJ V8 steering conversion, Nolathane bushings, Rod Hadfield chassis kit, Commodore trans’ tunnel, custom rear top shock mounts
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Weld Draglite rims (6in front, 10in rear)
Other mods: Mini tubs to rails, battery relocated, custom boot enclosure
Interior: Custom black velour trim, Monza front buckets, Monza harnesses, 12in silver Momo tiller, custom roof lining, black carpets, B&M Quicksilver shifter, aircraft switches, restored factory gauges, rebuilt column, HR blinker arm, stamped alloy glove box insert, modified hand brake, ancillary gauges, 4-point alloy cage
Stereo: JVC CD player, Kicker power amps, Sony 6x9in speakers, MTX rear 6in splits, 2x 12in Sony subs
Build Period: (2nd build) 9 years
Cost: $55,000
Thanks: Bow’s Mufflers – Broadmeadow, “My wife for her patience and support throughout the build; my parents for all their help. Also my mates Ben, Big Dan and Dave for all their help. Without them the car would still be in the shed unfinished and gathering dust.”

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”

DEMON DAILY: Diane Abed’s 590rwhp Supercharged VE SS-V Commodore Wagon


30 Apr

Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

DEMON DAILY

Once known as ‘the electric car’, Diane Abed’s VE SSV wagon won’t be mistaken for some quiet, smug mobile ever again
Story and by hoskingindustries.com.au

Diane Abed's Holden VE CommodoreDiane Abed is a died-in-the-wool Commodore fan. She’s previously owned a VK Berlina, V8 VR Exec and her last daily was a VY SS wagon – which is still taking up residence in the family shed now. “I bought the VY SS specifically to cart around my two Huskies,” Diane says. “I decided it was time to upgrade and when I came across this VE wagon, I fell in love.”

The 2011-model VE was as stock as a rock when Diane found it, and it “was a pleasure to drive”, she says. Only problem was that the car was too quiet. “I would always have a laugh as I could never tell when the car was on, so I nicknamed it ‘the electric car’!”

This disturbing problem saw Diane driving the wagon down to the guys at Streamline Automotive, in search of a louder exhaust. Only, she drove away with far, far more. “I went there to discuss changing the exhaust system,” she says. “By the time I walked out, the entire car was getting a makeover!”Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

That makeover not only consisted of the fitment of a Harrop HTV2300 blower kit and fuel system upgrade, but coil-overs and bigger brakes, too. Up front, there’s the blower, which is helping the SSV make a prodigious 590rwhp for daily duties, aided by a ZL1 fuel pump and Harrop OTR CAI. This is backed by the factory 6-speed manual that now enjoys an Extreme single-plate clutch, feeding power to the factory LSD-equipped rear end.

One of the first things we noticed about Diane’s daily was the slammed, purposeful stance over those 20in SSW rims. This is accomplished with Harrop by KW Street Comfort coil-overs at all four corners, sweetly swallowing up those 20x10in rear rims and sticky 275-wide Nitto Invo hoops. If that weren’t enough, a full complement of Harrop Ultimate-series brakes fill up the spaces behind each rim and do an excellent job of stopping the big, black, blown beast.

Diane Abed's Holden VE CommodoreAs impressive as this all is for a daily that regularly sees two very hairy Huskies cruising in the back luggage compartment, it’s not all the VE has going for it. “I wanted to change its appearance a bit and decided to go with airbrushing,” Diane says. “I’ve never been girly, so pink fairies weren’t really my thing, so I went with skulls.

“My previous wagon had ‘DIE’ plates on it (my nickname), but most people took that to mean death, so I decided I may as well roll with it!”

Alison Art was called upon to lather numerous surfaces in the engine bay and interior with airbrush art, depicting ghoulish skulls and ominous lightning themes. Diane was so enamoured with the results that she’s now planning to commission Alison Art to cover the entire car in a similar theme sometime in 2015. “Once you start, you can’t stop,” she says.Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

“I had a smile that lasted a week once I finally got my car back from Streamline,” Diane says. “At first I didn’t realise it was my car making the noise, as I never expected it to sound so good.”

If there was one thing Diane says she would have changed if she had her time over again, it would have been to build a stroker motor for it at the same time as getting the blower fitted. So strong is this thought that she’s actually planning to go that route in 2015 – with the aim of making over 700hp, still remaining a dedicated daily driver! “I love the power,” she says. “That and the reactions the car gets when I start it. Jaws drop.”

Owner: Diane Abed
Model: 2011 VE SS-V
Bodywork: Factory, Walkinshaw bonnet scoop, HDT carbon fibre grille
Colour: Phantom
Block: L77 6L V8
Engine Mods: Streamline hydraulic roller cam’, tie bar lifters, Harrop OTR CAI, Harrop HTV2300 supercharger kit, Harrop ZL1 fuel pump
Power: 590rwhp (440rwkW)
Exhaust: Ceramic coated Hurricane headers (1-7/8in primaries), twin 3in mild steel exhaust, Hurricane mufflers and cats
Gearbox: 6-speed manual, Extreme single-plate clutch
Diff: Factory, 3.45:1 final drive, LSD
Brakes: Harrop Ultimate brake kit (381mm front, 356mm rear), Harrop braided stainless lines
Suspension: Harrop by KW Street Comfort coil-overs (front and rear)
Wheels/Tyres: 20in SSW MSPEC rims (8.5in front, 10in rear), Nitto Invo tyres (275 rear)
Interior: Factory SS leather, custom airbrushing
Stereo: Factory IQ system
Build period: 1 year
Cost: $78,000 (inc. car)
Contacts: Streamline Automotive, Craig Abell Smash Repairs, Alison Arts, “Scott Brydson for his helpful words, mum, I love you and I hope you’re proud – RIP”