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“THE build on my HQ took about four years. It started life with a 253 and four-speed combo, but that got boring real quick. The power wasn’t there, and I wanted to drag race. So the diff centre and housing were the first things to get sorted, and from there, installing the rollcage was the kick-off for a rebuild, including a full fuel system and trans swap. The new engine is a blown 400-cube small-block Chev with a Dart rotating assembly, solid-roller cam, AFR heads, and an 8/71 Blower Shop blower with two 750cfm E85 carbs. The full-manual three-speed Turbo 400 trans handles the 900hp with ease, but the 8.5- inch Center Line rims hate it! Both the engine and trans were sorted by MDT Race Engines & Autos, while Brame’s Paint & Panel in Ballarat painted the car. Special mention has to go to Daniel Collings Automotive in Daylesford; without his help this car wouldn’t be finished. Now that MENT1L is on the road, my favourite thing is to hear the blower lope when it’s idling in traffic.” Photos: Dan Browne


“MY HUSBAND and I bought our Gem in December last year for $500. We’ve always had a soft spot for Geminis; my husband’s first car was one. The car wasn’t running when we bought it, and since neither of us had mechanical experience, we bought a Gregory’s manual and asked everyone we knew for advice. After many hours of teamwork we finally heard her run for the first time. We joined the Gippsland Gemini Owners Car Club, and with their added knowledge and night after night working on the car’s entire suspension, we were able to get her running, roadworthy and on the road for her first ever car show – the Toora show ’n’ shine.”


“MY FAIRMONT runs a mildly worked 400hp 351 Cleveland, a C10 with a 4500rpm high stall, and a nine-inch with 3.55 gears. I was lucky to buy it in this condition; all I had to do was put the wheels on and clean it up a bit. My 14-year-old son loves it – if he is good it will be his one day.”


“MY ’65 GALAXIE came from California; the original owner worked at the Ford factory fitting interiors (see photo), including on this car. From what I understand he owned the car right up until 2013, when it was sold at auction to an Australian man who imported it to Perth, before selling it to me in 2015. As far as I know the car is original, including the paint, interior, and the 352 FE bigblock/ FMX three-speed auto combo, though it has had some body repairs in the past. Being the 500 XL model, it has bucket seats and T-bar auto rather than the standard bench seat and column-shift.

The left-hand drive certainly took some getting used to, but other than that the car is a pleasure to drive. She’s in great condition and I do my best to look after her, but that doesn’t mean she’s hidden in the shed; the missus and I frequently cruise it around the coast to show it off on a sunny day. It’s even been to the shops for groceries a few times.”

Photos: Jake Dyer


“THE wagon came into the family around 20 years ago, when the HQ wagon my parents owned was written off. I had just passed my learner’s, so the HZ bore the brunt of my early attempts at driving. Thankfully it came through that with only a small chip out of the grille. I eventually bought it off my folks; it’s pretty much the perfect car for a project.

It’s a survivor, but it’s not 100 per cent original. When my parents bought it, the wheels it has now were already on it, along with VK bucket seats, and there’s extractors into a single pipe on the 253. Then Dad added ‘his’ touches. He cut a gaping hole in the centre of the dash and mounted that four two-inch gauges, reminiscent of a GTS dash but without the refinement. He fitted a vacuum-fed Valve Saver system when they phased out leaded fuel, but the way he plumbed it into the base of the Stromberg, it only supplied lube to one barrel, so it only reached four of the cylinders – I’m surprised the other four still have valves in them!. He also fitted fake wood panelling when the card inserts fell apart in the boot. She still runs – not too badly – and the sound through the single pipe is magic. One day I’d like to fit a 5.0L with a five-speed manual – probably out of a wrecked Series 1 VT SS – as I hate autos with a passion.”


“I BOUGHT my Datsun eight years ago, ripped out the engine and dropped in the CA18DET. A good mate and I rebuilt it with SRP Pistons, Spool rods and ARP bolts. The ECU is an Emtron SL4 and I recently replaced the GT3082 turbo with a 62mm MTA750. The car was tuned by Sean at EFI Performance, where it made 390rwhp at 28psi, with the old turbo. I run a 50hp shot of nitrous on top of that. It originally had a manual, but now runs a transbraked Mr Transmissions C4. The rear end is a BorgWarner with 31-spline axles and a full spool. Its best time at the drags so far is a 10.50@136mph, with the manual and 205 M/T radials.

What I like best about the car is that it’s small, light, fun and cheap on rego!” Photo: Steve Kelly