WE HAVE a love/hate relationship with project cars here at Street Machine; we love to build them, but we hate to give them away, and our latest project, an LX Torana hatch A9X tribute car, might just be the best – and therfore the worst – of the lot. It’s not the quickest or the priciest but it is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and one of you luck buggers is going to win it.
Unfortunately our busy schedules and deadlines have prevented us from getting too hands-on with this beast, so we flicked the keys to Mick and his team at Glenlyon Motors – aka Rats Ass Racing.
Mick is overseeing the project from start to finish and dealing with any headaches that come along while we sit back and marvel at how easily it’s all coming together.
It left the factory as a 202-powered SL hatch back in 1976, and along the way someone added flares, spoilers and a 253 V8 plus fourspeed combo. We’re not giving it away with a lowly 253, though we toyed with the idea of a turbo 253. Instead, we’re painting it Ford Focus Electric Orange and fitting it out with a healthy 355ci Holden V8, TH350 auto and a 3.5-geared 31-spline nine-inch rear.
We’re getting down towards the champagne cork-popping end of the build now, but let’s look back through the past 12 months and see how it all came together.
Want to win it? Turn to page 38 to find out how to be in the running. s
Glenlyon Motors; Precision International; BBE Automatics; Glenroy Exhaust; Corporate Auto Body; Auto Image Interiors; Performance Ignition Systems; Aussie Desert Coolers; Lowe Fabrication; Reid Speed; Shannons Insurance; Quick Fuel Technology; Koni Suspension; Tuff Mounts; Rare Spares; McDonald Bros Racing
First job for the guys at Glenlyon Motors was stripping it down. The whole front end came out as a unit, then the diff, rear suspension, bumpers, glass and interior
The shell was mounted to a rotisserie before it was shipped over to the guys at Corporate Auto Body so that Chris Pearson and his team could block it back and see what kind of trouble we were in
The idea was always to paint it something bright and punchy, but while the initial sketches showed the car with chrome bumpers and grille, we ended up going for body-colour bumpers and a black grille
The colour is Electric Orange, a hue you’d usually find on the Ford Focus XR5. The orange and black looks awesome, and the guys did a truly fantastic job of laying down the paint
The sheer size of the rotisserie and its attaching hardware meant that the boys had to transfer it to stands to work on it. Most of the original paint was rubbed back, with just a smear of filler to hide 40 years of bumps and dings
Back at Glenlyon Motors, with all the flares, spoilers and hanging panels attached. Even without wheels, suspension and driveline it looks like a gem
BBE Automatics put together a killer TH350 package for us, and the guys tested it on their transmission dyno – we got to see it run through the gears before it even went in the car. The converter is a 3000rpm high-stall to match the 355ci Holden V8
Glenlyon put the engine combo together. It’s 355 cubes with EFI heads and a Redline intake. The cam is 235/245@50thou with 0.520in lift, and we’ll be using one of Quick Fuel’s QFT self-learning EFI systems instead of a carby STEP
Mick from Glenlyon tinkers under the rear end. As you can see, the Torana got a McDonald Bros disc-brake nine-inch rear with King springs and Koni shocks. Also, note the lack of a fuel tank
While all this was happening we had the guys at Brown Davis build us a new drop tank; they have been building tanks for these cars since the 70s. The old unit was still usable, but it was looking pretty old and ugly
All finished and ready to go. The 120-litre drop tank has around double the capacity of the original steel tank and was built ready to accept an in-tank EFI pump STEP
Auto Image has a reputation for doing killer interiors. We didn’t exactly tax them with our demands for a factory re-trim, but they met our needs perfectly. The seats and door trims look just like when it rolled out of the factory in ’76
Glenroy sorted the exhaust for our hot hatch. Generally the exhaust system will be the last part of any big build because you want to make sure everything else is in position first. No point running tailpipes where the fuel tank or anything else needs to be
The exhaust consists of a pair of coated Pacemaker headers with a custom twin 2.5in system and Magnaflow mufflers.
The fat nine-inch and drop tank presented a few obstacles for Silvio and his team – but they delivered
This is how she looked on the Street Machine stand at Summernats 29. It wasn’t actually running at this point, but we thought everyone should get a look; the response was overwhelmingly positive. Understandably, Mick is pretty happy with the result too