Posts Tagged ‘xtreme holdens’

RED DEVIL: Les Chadwick’s 355ci Holden LX Torana Hatch


21 Aug

Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

RED DEVIL

Meet Les Chadwick’s interpretation of the classic Aussie hatch back
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden ToranaIt’s easy to understand why so many people lust after the LX Torana hatch. Thanks to its motorsport background in this country and that fact that history occurred in the wonderful years prior to the mind-numbing parity of the V8 Supercars when racers piloted vehicles much more similar to the road-going versions, anything even part-way resembling the legendary A9X tends to get pulses racing.

Even though Sydneysider Les Chadwick has always loved Toranas, this gleaming LX is actually the 56-year-old’s first. “I’ve previously owned a twin turbo Hilux, Datsun 720 ute, Holden tonner, an HR, XD Falcon and an XY Falcon ute,” Les says. Clearly, Les a man of varied tastes.

The LX has come a long way since Les purchased it back in 2005. There hasn’t been a single nut, bolt, washer or gasket that hasn’t been turned, replaced or recoated and the results show in these photos. At the heart of it all is the stroker Holden; based on a VT-era 304ci block and filled with a 355ci COME Racing stroker kit.Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

The VT blocks are generally considered the pinnacle in the Holden design and Les’ combo runs a solid roller valvetrain operating within a set of heavily ported cast VN-style heads. All the air enters the engine via the 750cfm Mighty Demon and a Redline dual-plane intake. Power is untested at this stage, but as we learned during our photo shoot, the car has no trouble turning the 10in-wide Convo Pros.

Les says that the completion of the flawless Brilliant red bodywork was one of his most memorable moments during the build, and with good reason: it looks fantastic. “Just being able to show everyone what all the hard work had been for was a real defining moment,” les says.

Painted by Bathurst Paint and Panel, the flanks of the car show no rippling, no dents and no signs of the car’s 30-odd years of existence. Contrasted by Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Toranathe traditional blackouts, the red really stands out, but it is a colour that isn’t going to date like the latest flash-in-the-pan fad.

Les has achieved a similar level of timelessness with his treatment of the interior as well. It mixes the classic primary architecture of the LX cabin with some more modern parts and styling to create a place that’s fresh and updated without feeling – or looking – weird.

Up front you’ll find some aftermarket reclining race seats. These and the rest of the cabin has been decked out in some soft leather with red stitching to match the paintwork outside. With a modern steering wheel and the addition of some Autometer gauges, Les sits pretty in a cockpit that grabs your attention with its subtlety and cleanliness as opposed to whitewash of tan leather and billet that is likely to date a few years down the track.Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

Luckily for Les, the build up of the Torana went pretty smoothly. “About the biggest problem I had was that my shed was too small,” he says. “There are no further plans for the car at this stage other than to enjoy it.”

Whatever the case, Les has the pleasure of cruising around in one of the nicer LX examples we’ve seen lately, bristling with attention to detail and packing all the right hardware to allow him to do just about anything his heart desires; whether it be long trips, drag racing or just going to the shops. What more could you ask for?

Owner: Les Chadwick
Colour: Brilliant red w/blackouts
Bodywork: A9X, painted bumpers
Engine Type: VT Commodore V8
Engine Mods: 4-bolt mains, COME 355ci stroker kit (10:1-comp’), ported cast heads, Crow solid roller cam’, Yella Terra rockers, double-row timing chain, High Energy sump, twin thermo fans, 3-core radiator, Gilmer belt drive, 750cfm Barry Grant Mighty Demon, 76A alternator, 8in K&N air cleaner, electronic distributor, Earl’s fuel filter, billet throttle linkage, braided lines and Speedflow fittings, alloy catch can and radiator overflow, Redline intake manifold
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Hurricane 4-into-1 headers (1-7/8in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel exhaust, Hooker mufflers
Gearbox: T400, 3000rpm stall, ‘stage-2’ kit
Diff: 9in, 3:1 final drive, LSD, 31-spline Mark Williams axles, 3.5in double-wall tail shaft, tail shaft loop
Brakes: HZ front rotors and calipers, HZ rear drums
Suspension: HZ front shocks and springs, 26mm rear sway bar
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Centerline Convo Pro rims (8in front, 10in rear)
Other mods: Mini tubs
Interior: Black leather trim w/red stitching, front race seats, black carpets, B&M shifter, Autometer gauges, sports steering wheel
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Sony Xplod rear 6x9in speakers
Build Period: 4 years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Walker Race Engines, Gary Campbell Auto Electrics, Active Automatics, KCDR Drivetrains, Bathurst Paint and Panel, Blue Chrome, Craft Diffs, “My wife Kim for all her support and patience and also to Sarah and Jake”

SMOOTH CRIMINAL: Chad Darke’s Smooth 336ci EH Holden Ute


18 Jun

Chad Darke's EH Holden Ute

SMOOTH CRIMINAL

A long list of subtle refinements makes Chad Darke’s inky blue EH stroker one slippery character
Story and Pics by Ben Hosking

Chad Darke's EH Holden UteBesides the 48-215 and FJ, there’s no more an iconic Holden model than the EH. Even today, almost 50 years since the introduction of the EH range, they remain as popular as the 260,000 they manufactured between 1963 and early 1965.

It’s no wonder then that Holden lover Chad Darke scoured the country for the right basis for his next automotive project back in 2005. “I rang my mate to see if he’d come with me to check out a car,” the 37-year-old electrician from Sydney relates. “I didn’t mention it was in Tasmania! We flew down there the next morning and started haggling.”

Once Chad had settled on a price, it was time to get the ute home and instead of throwing it onto a transporter and taking the easy route home, Chad and friend jumped in and headed north. “I asked the seller about fuel economy,” Chad says. “He said it was good for 10km/L and it was supposed to have a 100L tank, so I filled it up in Victoria and we set off for home. Somewhere between Yass and Goulburn the car started to splutter… out of fuel in the middle of nowhere!”

“Here I am waving my Jerry can around furiously trying to hitch a ride when a guy that resembled Ivan Milat picks me up. He took me to the nearest town and after a tense trip I got some fuel and found my way back to the car safe and sound.”Chad Darke's EH Holden Ute

With that fateful trip home behind him, Chad could breathe a sigh of relief and get stuck into the build up. Over the course of the next five years, the old EH would be transformed into a sleek, modern interpretation of the classic Holden, but not without the odd headache.

“Dealing with panel beaters and relying on other people’s conversion kits that didn’t fit were probably some of the hardest parts of the build,” Chad explains. “I ended up finding a good panel guy though.”

He’s not lying either – the finish on Chad’s EH is pristine and includes some choice body mods that really smooth the old girl out. For starters, the door handles and locks were shaved off. Given that Australian rules require a mechanical method of opening front doors, Chad replaced the handles with short metal rods poking up out of the top of each door. However, whereas most similar conversions work by being pushed down or lifted up, the mechanism on Chad’s doors works by gently pulling the rods toward you. We gave them a go and they worked effortlessly.

Chad Darke's EH Holden UteAnother huge visual improvement came via the deletion of the front quarter windows. With full one-piece glass inserted into the doors, it looks far more modern and further simplifies the exterior aesthetic. With an aviation-style fuel filler replacing the factory door, the modern iteration of the EH is almost complete – perhaps finished off most notably by the venerable Simmons FR18s.

Having a nice-looking ute is one thing, but without the proper mechanical motivation it’s little more than BBQ rice: all show and no go. Surely the old six-banger was never going to cut the mustard and Chad swapped it out for a Holden 5L.

Based around a Kingswood pre-EFI block, Alan Bruni built up a nice offset-ground 336ci stroker motor that is updated with a pair of VN EFI cast heads. It’s a relatively mild affair with an HSV hydraulic cam’, unported heads and a 650cfm Holley on top. While power is untested, the combo has pushed the ute to a 13.8sec ET in full street trim; and as they say, a 14sec street car is nothing to sneeze at.Chad Darke's EH Holden Ute

Chad shifts gears through a T5 5-speed and there are more Commodore parts to be found out back, with a VN Borg Warner running 3.45:1 gears and an LSD centre. Check each corner and you’ll find VT-spec’ discs on the nose and VN discs in the rear.

The sweet combination of old and new continues inside where the cabin has been decked out with timeless black leather and suede. Premier buckets provide an iota of more lateral support than a bench, but it’s the Autometer dash, Sony stereo and Momo wheel that helps bring the old girl into the present day.

With a ute as cool and contemporary as this in the shed, many would be happy to rest on their laurels and take a break, but Chad has more plans under way. “I’ll probably end up putting a bigger stroker kit into it,” Chad starts. “It’ll also cop a bigger stainless fuel tank,”

Bring it on!

Owner: Chad Darke
Model: 1963 EH Holden
Colour: PPG Midnight blue
Bodykit: Aviation-style fuel filler, deleted door handles and locks, deleted quarter windows
Engine Type: Holden V8
Engine Mods: Offset-ground 336ci stroker conversion, 5.7in small-journal Chevrolet rods, ACL Larry Perkins pistons and rings (10:1-comp’), ACL bearings, VN cast heads, polished rocker covers, HSV hydraulic cam’, Yella Terra roller rockers, double-row timing chain, high-volume oil pump, High Energy sump, Davies Craig thermo fan, 80A alternator, PWR alloy radiator, 650cfm Holley DP carb’, ceramic coated Torque Power intake manifold, adjustable FPR, K&N air filter, Bosch HEI distributor, Bosch EA Falcon coil, wiring hidden, Carter fuel pump, braided lines, custom bonnet hinges
Power: Untested, 13.8sec @ 98mph
Exhaust: Custom stainless headers, twin 2.5in into single system, single stainless muffler
Gearbox: T5, heavy-duty 10in single-plate clutch
Diff: Narrowed VN Commodore Borg Warner, 3.45:1 final drive, LSD, Cortina tail shaft
Brakes: 300mm VT-spec’ rotors and calipers, 278mm rear discs, VN calipers, front braided brake lines, VN master cylinder, VN V8 booster
Wheels and tyres: 18in Simmons FR rims (7in front, 8in rear)
Suspension: HR front end, King front springs, Pedders shocks, reset rear leaf springs, custom sway bars, LH Torana rack and pinion conversion, modified EH column
Interior: Momo steering wheel, EH Premier buckets, black leather retrim, custom Autometer instrument cluster, custom door skins, black carpets, black suede roof lining
Other Mods: Battery relocated
Stereo: Sony head unit and speakers
Build Period: 5 years
Cost: $44,000
Thanks: Pioneer Plating, M&S Johnson, “Tony Wellington for the timber tray; Jeffrey Smith for the machine work; Terry Edwards for engine balancing; Ray and Warren for the great panel and paint and my wife for putting up with us.”

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

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


22 May

Brian Apap's MRSLR LX Holden Torana

MR. FANTASTIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VINTAGE MODERN: Davin Cochrane’s LS1-Powered Holden LH Torana


10 May

Davin Cochrane's LS1-Powered LH Holden Torana

VINTAGE MODERN

Davin Cochrane saved this LH sedan from oblivion and gave it a new, high-tech lease on life.
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Davin Cochrane's LS1-Powered LH Holden Torana“A friend had seen a Torana near his house sitting under a tree out near Baradine,” starts 43-year-old Davin Cochrane. “It had been sitting there quietly for quite some time. I made contact with the owner and got hold of a car trailer to go pick it up.”

Davin paid the princely sum of $2000 for the LH back in April 2008, hauling the hulk several hours back to his home base south of Newcastle in NSW. No doubt there was more than one session of serious cleaning before the true condition of the car was revealed.

“A number of family members looked at the car and thought it was a piece of junk, but I could see the potential,” Davin says. “Considering what we wanted the outcome of the restoration to be, we decided ‘no regrets’ was the way to go.”

Before a spanner got turned in the name of restoration, Davin hatched his plan on what he thought the LH should become in its new phase of life. “At the time we started the project, there was only a couple of Toranas running GenIIIs that we were aware of,” he says. “It also had to be a manual. So an LS1 with a 6-speed sounded like the go.”Davin Cochrane's LS1-Powered LH Holden Torana

LS1 conversions were pretty thin on the ground in 2008 and as a result, finding parts wasn’t all that simple. Davin started out with some CRS mount and cross member parts, while working with an electrician in QLD fabricating a custom wiring harness to suit the applications. However, there were more pressing matters on Davin’s radar than jamming a new drivetrain into the Torana – like the rusted body.

“We stripped the car and had it blasted first,” Davin says. “There were lots of rust holes and the roof had been caved in, as though the local kids had been using it to land on when jumping out of the tree it used to sit under.”

“The panel guy looked the car over and recommended we start with another body. Not to be put off, I persuaded them to continue with the original car, even if it ended up costing a bit more.”

Davin Cochrane's LS1-Powered LH Holden ToranaDespite the hard slog the paint and panel guys faced, it wasn’t too long before Davin had the car back in his possession and he could now turn his attention solely toward the fun stuff like the engine conversion and running gear. Davin looked around and found a guy who had a 255kW VX-spec’ LS1 he had planned to put into a hatch. With only 67,000kms on the clock, Davin swooped in on the engine.

“We deleted the power steering and had to fit a sump with the pickup at the back due to the cross member,” Davin says. “We found a T56 from a wrecked Maloo with only 35,000kms on the clock, which is where we met our next problem.”

That problem was a transmission that was significantly larger than the Torana’s trans’ tunnel would accommodate. While he tried to work around the problem, Davin had no option but to face up to it and grab the angle grinder. When the gap ended up too large to simply weld shut, a friend of his came to the rescue, allowing Davin to cut out the tunnel from a Commodore he was wrecking.Davin Cochrane's LS1-Powered LH Holden Torana

Over the course of the build, Davin faced a number of other conversion issues – as you might well imagine would be the case when trying to join 21st century technology to archaic 1970s Holden hardware. Auto and Marine Instruments in Victoria converted the original factory gauges to electronic units to overcome the speedo output from the T56; subsequently giving Davin the ability to recalibrate the speedo easily himself down the track.

With the bits and pieces sorted and the car getting close to driveable, Davin sourced a set of wide Simmons FR18s that hide the Hoppers Stoppers brakes. The FRs really fill out the SLR-style flares and the gunmetal centres work well against the blinding Sting Red paintwork.

“I initially thought the classic Marlboro racing colours would be cool, however others in the family didn’t think cigarette advertising was a good idea,” Davin says. “Steve and his team at South Lakes Smash did a really good job on the car with the hours they spent saving the body.”

Simmons and SLR styling. LH Torana and GenIII power. This mixing up of eras and merging of styles can also be found inside the car where Davin combines the immaculate original class of the Torana vinyl with a modern steering wheel, race buckets and Autometer gauges.

All told, Davin should be proud of the results he’s achieved with the LH. It’s gone from a rusted, caved in wreck under a tree to a being a potent, current and ultimately tasty retrotech machine that is sure to continue hunting unsuspecting ricers on our nation’s roads for decades to come. While the greenies might argue the point, we reckon that’s an excellent case of conservationism!

Owner: Davin Cochrane
Colour: Sting Red w/blackouts
Bodywork: SLR-5000
Engine Type: VX 5.7L LS1
Engine Mods: Custom harness, PWR alloy radiator, Aeromotive FPR and gauge, Edelbrock alloy inline fuel filter, braided fuel lines, PWR alloy radiator overflow tank, thermo fan, custom sump, deleted power steering
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Custom ceramic coated headers, twin mild steel system
Gearbox: Maloo T56
Diff: 9in, 2.75:1 final drive, LSD, custom tail shaft
Brakes: 330mm Hoppers Stoppers front disc and twin-piston caliper kit, 300mm rear Hoppers Stoppers disc kit, 7in double-diaphragm booster
Suspension: PCD swap to HQ pattern
Wheels/Tyres: Simmons FR18 rims
Other mods: Everything rechromed, halogen headlights, VDO electronic dash conversion
Interior: Autometer ‘Bowtie’ ancillary gauges, SAAS steering wheel, front race seats, fresh roof lining and door trims
Stereo: Pioneer CD player and rear coaxial speakers
Build Period: 3 years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Killa Kustom Kables, Auto and Marine Instruments, Gibson’s Driveshaft Services, Hoppers Stoppers, Hamilton Chrome, Grant Roberts Automotive, Cools Autotrim, South Lakes Smash Repairs

EUREKA! Darren Hawkins’ 619rwhp 1JZ-Powered Holden LH Torana


07 May

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana

EUREKA!

Darren Hawkins stumbled upon a gold mine when he found this showroom LH Torana
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden ToranaOK, so Holden built just over 70,000 LH Toranas between 1974 and 1975. It’s probably fair to assume that a decent proportion were driven into the ground as regular passenger cars over their lifetimes, only to end up on the scrap heap. Another percentage were probably involved in accidents or stolen and destroyed while the remainder probably now find themselves restored and locked away in museums or cruising the EPIC grounds in Canberra each January, modified to the hilt and running big power plants.

How then does one go about finding such a rare gem as Darren Hawkins’ 1975 LH? Surely it’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time and a good dose of persistence in one’s search for the ultimate project base. For 44-year-old Novocastrian Darren, the discovery came by way of a guy selling what for car fanatics would amount to a family heirloom.

“The bloke I was dealing with told me the car had belonged to his grandfather who had owned it since new,” Darren says. “I ended up swapping him my Hilux mini truck and cash. The car was dead stock except for the Simmons.”Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana

Take a lingering look over the car: that orange paint is factory – yes, factory – as is the all-black vinyl behind the four doors. This thing is M-I-N-T.

But with a history of owning V8 Toranas – including a nitrous-fed 308ci LC and a 355ci stroked LX hatch – you would have been excused for guessing that Darren’s first port of call would have been to fit something similar between the rails of the LH. You’d have been wrong, though.

Perhaps even surprising Darren himself, what ended up in the Torana’s engine bay was a Toyota 1JZ. Now, before the ‘Jap’ haters start terrorising the forums or sending us hate mail, take a moment to consider how potent these straight-six engines can be. Darren’s makes a whopping 619rwhp with just a mild rebuild, 25psi and a decent fuel system. In fact, he’s spent a mere $8000 getting to this point, including a Microtech ECU and hand controller!

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana“Getting the thing to fit was probably the hardest part of the build,” Darren says. “A mate of mine is a boilermaker and I had him fabricate a new sump to clear the cross member as well as a pair of engine mounts.”

The combo is backed up by a matching Supra 5-speed ‘box running a dual-plate clutch and onto a 9in with 3.9:1 gearing. A Hoppers Stoppers twin-piston front end brake conversion helps pull up the ponies, hidden partially by a glorious set of gunmetal Simmons FR17s. Will these rims EVER seem dated?

“When we dynoed the car and it made the 619hp figure, the trip home was pretty out there,” Darren says, without even breaking a grin. But even though he’s more than a little enamoured with the chest-compressing qualities of a high-powered turbo setup, he’s still dreaming of a V8.

“I would like to put a blown and injected small-block into it,” he says. “If I do, I’ll tub the rear and fit bigger rubber as well.”

Call us if you do, mate!

Owner: Darren Hawkins
Colour: Orange
Bodywork: Bonnet scoop
Engine Type: Toyota 1JZ 2.5L
Engine Mods: ARP 2000-series rod bolts, Arias coated pistons (9.2:1-comp’), Arias rings, King bearings, Crower valve springs and retainers, custom plenum, Garrett GT35R turbo (25psi), Microtech LTX12 ECU, Holley Blue lift pump, 2x Bosch 044 pumps, Aeromotive FPR, 2L surge tank, 55L fuel cell (E85), half-inch fuel lines, alloy radiator, alloy front-mount intercooler, alloy ‘cooler piping, stainless intake pipe, K&N filter, adjustable timing gears, external ‘gate, Turbosmart BOV, twin thermo fans
Power: 619rwhp (461rwkW)
Exhaust: Custom 4in stainless exhaust, 4in dump pipe, Magnaflow mufflers and cat
Gearbox: R154 Supra manual, dual-plate clutch, Holden tonner tail shaft
Diff: 9in, 3.9:1 final drive, LSD
Brakes: 3300mm twin-piston Hoppers Stoppers front conversion, drum rear
Suspension: Pedders shocks and springs
Wheels/Tyres: Simmons FR17 rims (7in front, 8in rear)
Other mods: Relocated battery
Interior: GTS steering wheel, Turbosmart eBoost2, Autometer gauges, Microtech controller, turbo timer
Stereo: N/A
Build Period: 2 years so far
Cost: $15,000
Thanks: Kel Sweeney Engines, Coating King, Newcastle Mufflers, JZ Race Prep, Ansen’s Tyre & Auto, “My mate Andrew for all his help”

Cover Car: Chris Reece’s Holden HQ SS for Xtreme Holdens


02 May

Our photo shoot on Chris Reece’s super clean resto-mod Holden HQ SS made it onto the front cover of issue 75 of Xtreme Holdens magazine which was on sale last month! Powered by a stout US-sourced LS1, the HQ is now set for a healthy life of cruising for at least another 40 years.

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.

Chris Reece's Holden HQ SS

Chris Reece's Holden HQ SS     Chris Reece's Holden HQ SS

Xtreme Holdens  - Issue 75

Front Cover: Chris Reece’s Holden HQ SS for Xtreme Holdens


12 Apr

Our photo shoot on Chris Reece’s HQ Holden made it onto the cover of issue 75 of Xtreme Holdens, which is on sale now!

Xtreme Holdens  - Issue 75

Feature Car: Stephen Booth’s 1967 Holden HR


06 Jan

Our photo shoot and feature story on Stephen Booth’s 1967 HR Holden sedan is in issue 73 of Xtreme Holdens, which is on sale now across Australia. It’s a car that’s won tons of trophies over the years, with his son, Nathan Booth’s red HR ute (see it HERE) recently winning the Street Machine of the Year award, too. They’re definitely an HR-loving family!

BUY A PRINT, SHIRT 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.

Stephen Booth's 1967 Holden HR

Stephen Booth's 1967 Holden HR     Stephen Booth's 1967 Holden HR