WHEN building a project car, one of the biggest challenges facing street machiners is the dreaded snowball. Scope creep is probably the biggest hurdle to navigate, as plans for a ‘quick the weekend cruiser’ often wind up becoming a ‘rotisserie build of a showquality, single-digit-timeslip art piece’
Queensland’s Ryan Holz knows this all too well, after his LC GTR Torana went from being thrown together using spares to becoming a tubbed 1000rwhp turbocharged monster that has gone 8.1@171mph.
“I bought the car as a bare roller back in 2007, Ryan explains. “I had just finished building an LJ XU-1 replica and had so many parts left over from that build I was just going to give the LC a quick paintjob and throw in a 186 and four-speed, but that changed a bit!”
After a couple of failed starts with other shops (see sidebar, p.60), Ryan wound up delivering the car to Andy and Danny at Spot On Performance with a clear goal in mind: “I told Andy and Danny wanted the thing to be low, fit 12-inch rims in the rear, be as safe as it can, and run 8.50s, he says. “I also wanted it to look as factory as it could.
DOMESTIC BLISS: While some punters struggle to find approval from their significant other, Ryan had an easier time with his wife Michelle. “My wife’ attitude is pretty simple: Every time I get sent an invoice I owe her a handbag,” he laughs. “Luckily she’ only seen a few invoices come in!”
RIMS: Weld Magnum wheels span 15x3.5 up front with a meaty double-beadlock 15x12 out back, wrapped in Moroso DS-2 cheese-cutters on the turnin’ end, and M/T 315 Radial Pro slicks under the rear. The front wheels hide Strange Engineering disc brakes, while Wilwood discs are used out back
The guys started from the bottom and worked their way up and out, preparing the LC for its journey deep into the eight-second zone at the drag strip.
“Danny Lansdowne did every single piece of fab work on this build, Ryan explains. “He cut all the factory floorpans, boot and parcel shelf out, and built a full new chassis to link up with the front chassis rails. He also fitted the McDonald Brothers rear clip and four-link, and a lot of people won’t notice but Danny also fabricated a whole new firewall that is recessed three inches to make sure there was enough room for the engine combo, radiator and water-to-air intercooler. But doesn’t look out of place; it nearly looks factory!”
Danny is also responsible for the custom hand-fabricated alloy sheet-metal interior, including alloy floorpans, removable transmission tunnel, custom parcel tray, and the alloy dash that hides the Holley EFI ECU and twin Wilwood master cylinders. He also fabbed up the front and middle engine-mounting plates, custom fuel cell, water-to-air intercooler icebox, the catch cans in the boot, plus a seven-litre fuel tank hidden under the intake plenum to feed the Enderle 110 mechanical fuel pump. If all that wasn’t enough, he linked the funny car-style rollcage into the chassis, and mounted the Peterson dry-sump tank!
“Danny also wired the whole car, says Ryan. “The Holley Dominator controls everything except the lights and there are sensors all over the car, including coolant, gearbox and torque converter, tailshaft speed, water-to-air pump, trans cooler, engine water pump, air-shifter, bump box, and CO2 boost controller.
The LC was built right up to the point where it was running and driving before it was stripped down and Tony at Superior Paint Worx took on the mammoth task of fitting up and gapping the car. “It was a bare shell and no doors, bonnet or bootlid had been fitted to it until Tony received the car, Ryan says. “All the panels were off a donor car and they were the worst-fitting panels you could imagine. knew Tony could handle the body and paintwork, as I’d seen numerous cars he’d worked his magic on, so my only request was that the door gaps be perfect; there is nothing worse than an awesome paintjob with bad gaps.
“Once Tony started fitting all the panels up, it was clear this wasn’t going to be an easy task – it’s not like you can just find a good set of Torana coupe doors at the drop of a hat. He worked with what we had and made it happen.
After Tony finished getting the body straight and aligned, he hosed it down in Standox Sebring Orange with the killer matching GTR blackouts.
Although it has an inline six measuring close to 186ci under the bonnet, it’s nothing like the Holden red motor that the GTR and XU-1s used to write the first chapter of the Torana legend. Rather, a twin-cam turbocharged three-litre (183ci) Toyota 2JZ-GTE donk fills the space between the rails.
“Originally I was going to go a Nissan RB six, although heaps of the Toranas I’ve had ran Holden sixes, Ryan says. “I didn’t know much about turbo set-ups and was going to go with an RB30, but an engine-builder told me how I could put a JZ in and make bulk power easier. went [for a drive] in a Supra and was sold! For this car it was either going to get a 2JZ or a bigpower V8, but I can work on the 2JZ myself.
Renowned as one of the most impressive six-cylinder engines ever designed thanks to its ability to handle 2000hp or more, the 2JZ in Ryan’s LC has copped Carrillo Pro H-beam rods and CP 20thou-over forged slugs, while the stock crank has been nitrided and returned to service. The DOHC head was CNC-machined then fitted with Kelford 290° cams, while the billet Pro-Jay 12-injector intake manifold runs six 2400cc Siemens injectors and six 1000cc injectors (added after this photoshoot) shooting methanol into the 2J.
The real power-adder comes in the form of an 80mm Garrett GTX45 snail hanging off a custom exhaust manifold made by Spot On Performance, pushing spent gas through a five-inch dump pipe. Ricky Fenwick handled tuning the Holley Dominator EFI, scoring Ryan 990rwhp on 33psi.
After two years at Spot On, Ryan got his car back and didn’t muck about getting it onto the track. “The first full pass after licensing was an 8.5@167mph, and six passes later it did an 8.1@171mph with a 1.38 60ft, he says. “On the track we’re running about 35psi, which is showing nearly 1100rwhp.
Having surpassed Ryan’s original goals by things almost do half come a second, to those it who appears wait. that s good
RYAN had his fair share of ups and downs building his LC.
“Prior to going to Spot On Performance, the car was at two different shops over a period of six years, so it has basically had the engine, ’cage, coolers, manifolds, exhaust and more done three times,” he says. “In fairness, there was a lot of changing my mind on ideas and parts early on in the piece.
“I got pretty discouraged and decided to just put the cut-up half-built car in the shed and work out if it was even worth the time and money. After a little while I knew that if didn’t bite the bullet and find someone to take the build on, not only was not going to ever finish it, but had cut up and destroyed a two-door Torana, which in my eyes is pretty much a jailable offence.
“I was looking on Facebook for a shop that would hopefully take the build on and came across Spot On Performance. looked through all their build threads and not only were they building tough cars, they were all leaving the shop running and complete.
“I met with them a week later, and luckily both Danny and Andy had owned and worked on plenty of LC and LJ Torries before, and I already knew Danny loved 2Js. I told them wanted them to handle the whole build from start to finish, as trusted them to take full control.
“They had the car for a little under two years and turned it from a nightmare into what it is today. I love working on cars and have built a few over the years, but I can’t take any of the credit for this one; Danny and Andy built something that everyone involved can be super-proud of. honestly consider the car to be ‘ours’
DRIVELINE: A two-speed Powerglide from Elite Automatics and Dominator 5000rpm converter live behind the 2JZ, passing the strain to a McDonald Brothers sheet-metal diff filled with Race Products 35-spline full-floater axles
INTERIOR: Although the Spot On Performance custom-made floors, dash, doorcards, and transmission tunnel look like they’ carbonfibre, they’ actually hydro-dipped alloy, clear-coated over the top by Mick at Immersion Imaging to protect the finish
Ryan’ LC sits super-tough thanks to a ProFab tube front clip and Strange coil-over struts up front, while custom Menscer Motorsports radial coil-over struts sit out back in the McDonald Brothers four-link and rear clip
Paint: Standox Sebring Orange
Brand: Toyota 2JZ-GTE 3.0L six-cylinder
Induction: Billet Pro-Jay 12-injector
ECU: Holley Dominator EFI
Turbo: Garrett GTX45 80mm
Head: CNC-ported 2JZ-GTE
Camshafts: Kelford 290°
Conrods: Carrillo Pro H-beam
Pistons: CP forged
Crank: Standard, nitrided
Oil system: Ross Performance dry-sump pan, Barnes five-stage pump, Peterson tank
Fuel system: Six Siemens 2400cc injectors, six 1000cc injectors, Enderle 110 mechanical pump
Cooling: PWR radiator, Spal fan
Exhaust: Spot On Performance custom manifold, 5in alloy dump pipe
Ignition: Holley smart coils
Gearbox: Elite Automatics two-speed Powerglide
Converter: Dominator 5000rpm
Diff: McDonald Brothers sheet-metal diff, Race Products 35-spline full-floater axles
Front: ProFab tube front clip, Strange coil-over struts
Rear: McDonald Brothers four-link and clip, custom Menscer Motorsports radial coil-over struts
Brakes: Strange discs (f), Wilwood discs (r)
Master cylinder: Dual Wilwood
Rims: Weld Magnum; 15x3.5 (f), 15x12 (r)
Rubber: Moroso DS-2 26x4.5x15 (f), M/T ET Street Radial Pro 315/60R15 (r)
Andy Coles, Danny Lansdowne and the whole Spot On Performance family; all the other companies who help Spot On with parts and support, including Ben at Elite Automatics, Mick at Immersion Imaging, Marty at Performance Wholesale, Craig at RCE Warehouse and Rob at Decal Design; Ricky ‘Mr Holley EFI’ Fenwick; Big Brad, Gee and Shane; my parents; my wife Michelle for sacrificing her own plans to let me build the car