Posts Tagged ‘newcastle’

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!

SEE FULL LIVE GALLERY

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.

SEE FULL GALLERY

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”

FUTURE PROOF: Andrew Drain’s 418ci LS3-Powered VH Commodore


18 Apr

Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

FUTURE PROOF

Andrew Drain dragged his VH sedan kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The results are incredible
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreThere’s retrotech and then there’s Andrew Drain’s 1982 VH sedan, known as MRVH. No, not ‘mervuhh’. Mister Vee Aitch, to you, thank you very much. Bought five years ago, this lucky VH was purchased to replace the horrid, twisted hulk Andrew was already trying to salvage.

Coming from a large family, Andrew inherited a damaged V8 VH from one of his older brothers who wrecked the car in an accident. But the deeper he dug into the shell in his attempt to rescue it from the metal recylcer, the worse things got. Finally, he had to admit defeat and find a new shell.

“I inherit a lot from my older brothers,” the 26-year-old plant mechanic explains. “A lot of the body parts and the body kit have been handed down from two of my older brothers.”

The new donor car was already running an injected 5L and boasted a number of ‘improvements’, including a disastrous VS Statesman dash conversion that was largely held in with fencing wire. If he hadn’t been planning it anyway, a full tear down was the only way to put things right.Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

During our photo shoot, Andrew explained that he is one half of identical twins – his brother an engineer and largely book smart. Andrew on the other hand tries to tell us he’s “just a mechanic”. Take a decent look at the work he’s completed on this VH and you soon realise that he’s as humble as he is talented with the tools.

Dressed in a thick coat of HSV’s Cherry Black, the VH wears a SS Group A body kit, consisting bonnet scoop, front and rear aprons and side skirts. He’s also added SL/E bumper extensions, tail lights and chrome trims. It’s a classy and timeless look that doesn’t follow the latest trends and will mean that Andrew won’t feel the need to repaint the car again in 12 months.

Pop the bonnet and you’ll start to see where the last four years have gone. Between the smooth engine bay and the hidden wiring, the LS3 nestled within gleams like a diamond. Things didn’t start off so easily though. “I bought a crate motor for the car, but before I’d even driven 300kms, the thing lunched itself,” Andrew says. Even more worryingly, the shop that sold him the GM crate motor wouldn’t live up to their warranty – something that’s still going through arbitration.

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreNo to be deterred, Andrew tore the motor down himself and rebuilt it. Putting a positive note on a bad situation, the LS3 now boasts 418 cubes thanks to a COME crank and rods, Diamond pistons and Higgins ported heads. Power is untested as Andrew runs the combo in, but it’s got all the goodies, including a 0.595in-lift cam’, FAST manifold and modified VCM OTR cold-air intake. Backed by a tough T56 Magnum ‘box and Borg Warner rear end with 3.9:1 gears, the little VH should positively scream once the final tune is locked in.

While the late-model power train and driveline (completed by Harrop True Trac, billet axles and alloy diff’ cover) are clever enough, it’s inside where Andrew’s thought processes have really come into their own – aided by Todd at Eastside Kustom Trim. While tinkering with ideas, Andrew happened to casually hold a VY dash pad inside the stripped out VH, only to find at it was an almost perfect fit. Enthusiastic about the potential, he turned to Eastside to do the heavy lifting, going so far as to include the VY centre console as well. It’s so seamless that you’d forget you weren’t actually sitting in a VY. Completing the transformation are custom door trims with moulds to produce a neat transition into the ends of the dash, as well as custom speaker pods, Coulsen front seats and a very lumpy rear bench, modified to suit.

Eastside covered everything in black leather, including the dash. The roof lining is matching suede and the silver accents highlight the clever integration of Autometer gauges into the instrument fascia as well as an eBay binnacle and the original HVAC control holes.Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

From here the little details continue to widen your grin. Andrew got the factory electric window switches working, as well as a central locking and keyless entry system. When the car is immobilised, two of the central LEDs in the instrument fascia blink. When the car is running, those same LEDs operate as indicator lights. The hole for the original trip computer now houses a digital tacho and to the right of that, the little speaker grille now hides the microphone for the integrated Bluetooth system.

Andrew has also converted all the VH’s lighting to LED, save for the headlight globes, of course. All the interior lighting, the tail lights and the parkers are now LEDs, tying in well with the car’s future-proof theme.

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreIf that weren’t enough, there’s a tidy stereo system in here too. It starts with the double-DIN Alpine DVD player in the dash. This feeds signals to two hidden power amps, in turn powering two pairs of 6in Fusion coaxials and a 10in Fusion sub, the latter of which is housed in a custom parcel tray along with one pair of the coaxials. Pop the boot lid and you’ll find there’s still a ton of space for some overnight bags or the shopping, but underneath the false floor you’ll find Andrew has worked out a way to include a space-saver spare, jumper leads and a couple extra tools, just in case.

It’s a good thing there’s some extra room in there, because Andrew has every intention of driving the wheels off of the VH. “It was always going to be a street car,” he says. “I love how smooth it drives. How smooth the power comes on.”

He’s not quite done yet, though. Once the full tune is completed, Andrew says he wants to replace the 19×8.5in VE SS Redline rims with a set of 20in billets to match his steering wheel and the hoses for the heater and A/C will go back in, too (the controls for which are already mounted behind the Hurst shifter in preparation). What more could anyone possibly want? Welcome to the future.

Owner: Andrew Drain
Model: 1982 VH
Bodywork: SL/E bumper extensions, SL/E tail lights, LED head light and tail light illumination, smoothed door handles, SS Group A body kit, VL mirrors, SL/E chrome trims
Colour: Cherry black
Block: LS3
Engine Mods: COME crank and rods (418ci), Diamond pistons and rings, ARP head and mains studs, King bearings, Higgins’ ported heads, Lunati double valve springs and retainers, Bullet hydraulic roller cam’ (0.595in lift), Lunati tie-bar lifters, Edelbrock water pump, modified sump, B&M oil cooler, custom Adrad radiator, Billet Specialties serpentine pulley kit, FAST 102 intake manifold, modified VCM OTR CAI, hidden wiring, custom fuse boxes and ECU mounts, modified wiring harness, 2x 600hp Walbro pumps, FAST fuel rails, Elite Engineering catch can, SX FPR, 4L surge tank, Brown David 100L drop tank, braided fuel lines, smoothed bay
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Ceramic coated CAE headers, 3in twin-into-single system, Magnaflow mufflers
Gearbox: T56 Magnum 6-speed, Ace 11in billet flywheel, single-plate clutch
Diff: Narrowed Borg Warner, 3.9:1 final drive, custom one-piece tail shaft, Harrop True Trac, billet axles, alloy diff’ cover
Brakes: 330mm front and rear rotors, PBR twin-piston front calipers, Bendix pads, upgraded booster, braided brake lines
Suspension: K-Sport adjustable coil-overs front and rear, Whiteline strut brace, Whiteline adjustable panhard, adjustable K-Mac front sway bar, custom power steering reservoir and fluid lines
Wheels/Tyres: VE SS Redline 19×8.5in wheels
Interior: VY dash conversion (leather covered), VY centre console, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Coulsen front seats, custom rear bench w/Coulsen headrests, black leather trim, custom door trims, custom suede roof lining, Autometer gauges, central locking, keyless entry, electric windows, boot and fuel door poppers, new seat belts, HSV pedals, black carpets, Hurst shifter, custom sill covers, custom dash fascia, custom rear parcel tray
Stereo: Alpine in-dash DVD source unit, Vibe mono block amp’, Vibe 4-channel power amp’, Fusion 6in coaxials front and rear, 10in Fusion sub’, custom sub enclosure, headrest-mounted screens, custom boot install
Cost: “Over $80,000”
Build period: 4 years
Contacts: Eastside Kustom Trim, Seaside Smash Repairs, Pryce Engines, A1 Exhausts – Thornton, Mal Wood, Gibson Driveshaft Services, Diff Trans, Bowers Suspension, Streamline Automotive, “My girlfriend Kate; Dave Hoffman; my family and friends, Evan, Phillip, Henno, Dave, Chris, Hooley and Mick”

THREE TIME’S A CHARM: Jason Hill’s 600rwhp Turbo LS2-Powered VN Commodore


18 Apr

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'

THREE TIME’S A CHARM

We’ve featured Jason Hill’s green VN sedan before, but the turbo LS2-powered beast never looked like this before
Story and by hoskingindustries.com.au

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'Long time readers might remember these number plates from long ago – issue 138 to be exact. They belong to Jason Hill and they’re attached to the same 1989 VN sedan that they were attached to back then. However, a lot has changed since then and we thought it was high time that we brought you all a fresh perspective on the Novacastrian’s tyre-destroying ex-cop second-gen’.

Jason has had the car for around eight years and as anyone who’s owned the same car that long, you’d know things tend to evolve over that kind of timeline. When we last saw the car, it was more suited to cruising and burnouts than what Jason has set the car up for these days – which is straight line havoc.

“This is the third rebuild,” Jason says. “I have the best group of mates. They all came together to build this car for the third time.” And most of those mates all came out to help on the photo shoot, too, with about 10 bodies there to hang out, assist, watch and shoot the shit while the VN enjoyed its moment in the sun… we mean, rain.Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'

The day of our photo shoot fell right in the middle of the storm season the East Coast of NSW experienced in late November, early December 2014. Between the hell fire happening in the skies and the raucous cacophony emanating from the 5in pipe exiting the VN’s front passenger guard, it really felt like Hell was coming to breakfast.

Perhaps it was an apt occasion for the shoot, considering what Jason’s VN has become since issue 138. Today, the car is powered by a 600rwhp turbocharged LS2 from a VZ HSV. But that’s 600hp on a run-in tune. No one is quite sure yet what the engine will make once the boost is ramped up from the 10psi it’s on now.

Inside, it’s pretty stock, save for Lunati cam’, valve springs, pushrods and lifters. All the good stuff is happening on the outside of the engine, with a 105mm throttle shoving vast amounts of air into a single-plane Edelbrock manifold. On the other side is a pair of custom turbo manifolds that connect an 80mm B/W turbo to the mix, with fuel fed from an Aeroflow pump on a strict diet of E85 and a set of ID2200 injectors.

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'This is all backed by a US-sourced Powerglide with a 3000rpm stall, mating to a spooled Borg Warner rear end running 4.11:1 gears – however, Jason tells us a sheet metal 9in is on the way. Probably a good thing considering the punishment he intends dishing out to the driveline in the near future (if the parachute didn’t give things away, just a little).

An extensive, colour-matched roll cage weaves through the cabin of the VN, connecting everything together, firming up what is structurally a pretty flimsy monocoque design. Within the cage you’ll find a bare-bones cabin boasting OBX race seats and RCI harnesses, with a neat sheet metal dash wrapped in carbon vinyl, matching the fuel cell out back. The rear seat is gone, both to save weight and to make room for the mini tubs that house the 28×10.5in slicks. Mounted under the dash are all the relocated fuses, relays and the Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU that runs everything.

After some engine trouble (factory oiling issues), Jason and the guys at Bassett Racing had to rebuild the original LS2 and fabricate a custom 10L sump to try and ensure failure wasn’t something that happens twice. As such, no times have been run yet. Needless to say, it’s got the hardware for a nine and we can’t wait to see what it does. The evolution theory in practice!

Owner: Jason Hill
Model: 1989 VN BT1
Bodywork: SV5000 kit, alloy wing, fibreglass bonnet and boot lid
Colour: Custom Dupont green
Block: VZ HSV LS2
Engine Mods: File back piston rings, Lunati camshaft, Lunati pushrods, tie-bar lifters, Lunati dual valve springs, sheet metal rocker covers, custom 10L sump, Meziere oil pump, Aeroflow fuel pump (E85), ID2200 injectors, Edelbrock single-plane intake manifold, Borg Warner 80mm turbo, custom PWR radiator, Aeroflow oil cooler, Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU, engine plates, 66mm Precision wastegate, Turbosmart BOV, braided fuel and oil lines, alloy catch can w/B&M breather, 105mm throttle
Power: 599rwhp (446rwkW) @ 10psi
Exhaust: Custom turbo manifolds, 5in exhaust
Gearbox: Powerglide, 3000rpm stall, trans’ brake
Diff: Narrowed Borg Warner, full-spool, 4.11:1 final drive, 28-spline axles
Brakes: VT twin-piston front brakes, factory rear, Bendix pads
Suspension: 90/10 front shocks, QAX1 rear coil-overs, modified adjustable rear panhard, mini tubs
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Centerline billet rims (3.5in front, 10in rear), 28×10.5in slicks
Interior: OBX front race seats, sheet metal dash w/carbon wrap, black carpets, custom door trims, RCI harnesses, cage, ‘chute handle, B&M Pro Ratchet, deleted rear bench, Drift steering wheel
Stereo: N/A
Build period: 8 years (ongoing)
Cost: “Nearly a house”
Contacts: Bassett Racing, Off Tap Custom Resprays, Neals Glides USA, Mr. Stitches, Mallaby Sheetmetal, “Thank you to the boys, my son Ryder, Zac, Dylan, Jesse, Huber, Damo, Tony and my dad”

Cover Car: Bill Skyrm’s 1969 Valiant VF Pacer


20 Feb

I had the pleasure of photographing Bill Skyrm’s immaculate 1969 Valiant VF Pacer sedan late in 2017 for the cover of a local magazine. It still runs the iconic slant six, backed by a Borg Warner 3-speed manual and makes about 150hp.

BUY A SHIRT, PRINT AND MORE!

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.

Bill Skyrm's 1969 Valiant VF Pacer

Bill Skyrm's 1969 Valiant VF Pacer

Bill Skyrm's 1969 Valiant VF Pacer

Feature Car: Andy Roberts’ 1951 Volkswagen Split-Window Beetle


12 Jul

Andy Roberts’ concours-level 1951 Volkswagen Split Window Beetle was first registered in NSW, Australia in 1952, two years before imports began, making it the first ever registered in the state. It was treated to a ground-up restoration in the 1980s and remains one of the finest examples you’re likely to see. I had the pleasure of seeing it up close when I shot it for VW Magazine Australia and you can see the photos and read the story in the latest issue, which is out now.

BUY A SHIRT, PRINT AND MORE!

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.

Andy Roberts' 1951 Volkswagen Split-Window Beetle

Andy Roberts' 1951 Volkswagen Split-Window Beetle     Andy Roberts' 1951 Volkswagen Split-Window Beetle