READERS’ ROCKETS

CHRIS RUST 1970 HG PREMIER

SEND photos of your car and a few details of what went into the build to Readers’ Rockets, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166 or email readerscars@bauer-media.com.au. Please note: Send us copies of prints as we are unable to return your photos.

CHRIS RUST 1970 HG PREMIER

“I’VE always had a soft spot for old Holdens, and when this Premier became available in 2011 as an original matching-numbers 308/Trimatic car, I jumped on it, as the body was super-clean, with no rust and spotless floorpans. But I wanted more power and a bulletproof driveline, and the project soon snowballed. We pulled the car down, then put it onto a rotisserie where the body was blasted. Once the mini-tubs were fabricated and chassis-strengthening done, it was off to the panel shop for them to perform their magic and respray it in the original colour. While it was there, we sorted the running gear and had all the chrome brought back to its original glory. The engine is a new 400ci Dart small-block Chev, with 18-degree heads and a solid-roller cam. It made a very healthy 740hp at the flywheel at 7600rpm. It’s backed by a fully manualised Turbo 400 with a 3800rpm Dominator converter, while a custom tailshaft runs to a nine-inch Truetrac diff with 3.55 gears and billet 35-spline axles. The front end is a Castlemaine Rod Shop IFS with fully adjustable coil-overs and Wilwood brakes. For the interior I decided to keep the original look, so with Winner Products supplying the full trim kit, we went to work upholstering the seats and adding new carpet and hoodlining. After a five-year build and only two weeks up our sleeve, we had it all finished and ready for its unveiling at Summernats 32, where we were surprised to achieve Street finalist and PPG Supreme finalist. I would like to thank Brian and his team from Anna Bay Paint & Panel for the panel and paintwork; Wayne at D&L Canvas; Kevin Mackerel from MacSport Engines in Traralgon; and Brad from Tomaree Automotive for the auto-electrical work.” Photos: Ben Hosking

LAMBRO NICOLAOU 1978 FORD CORTINA TE GHIA

“MY CORTINA was originally my uncle’s car. He’d been playing around with the factory 250 Crossflow for a while, so after getting my hands on the car I told him I’d get it up and boogying. I dropped in to see Danny at Spot On Performance, and we agreed to run a 2JZ. Danny was building a similar set-up for a different car and I ended up buying it, as I thought it would be cool and different. So the car ended up at Spot On for the conversion. The engine is a standard 2JZ with ARP head studs and replaced valve springs, with a BorgWarner S300SX turbo. It runs an Elite Motorsports two-speed Powerglide and puts power to the ground through a nine-inch and 235 MT ET Streets. After Justin at Horsepower Solutions worked his magic on the Haltech Elite 2000, we ended up with 550rwhp on 28psi, running on E85. At the track on its first full pass it ran 9.7@135mph. We couldn’t believe how easy the car did it, so we got it teched and took it back to Horsepower Solutions for a little more boost. We went to 35psi and made 650rwhp, so we hit the track again to do a licensing pass, and on my second full licence pass it ran a 9.38@143mph. I’m over the moon with how the car has turned out and love showing my uncle what a tough street car we have.” Photos: Steve Kelly

RICHARD WALKER TOYOTA HILUX

“THIS is my RN85R HiLux. I purchased the ute as a painter’s workhorse when we lived in Tassie. I quickly pulled the 22R donk and five-speed, as it was always my plan to drop in a 289 Windsor and C10 with a brake upgrade – BA Falcon rotors and R32 four-spot calipers. The engine came out of my mate’s TF Cortina drag car. Back then it ran a carby and dizzy, but then we moved to Victoria, requiring the fitment of EFI in order to meet the Victorian rules. I run an EB GT ECU with a QuarterHorse chip from the USA. We removed the torsion bars and fitted QA1 coil-overs and top control arms. Then came the triangulated four-link and QA1 coil-overs from McDonald Bros Racing. Still not happy, I decided a new motor was on the cards, so we got a Dart SHP block with a Scat bottom end; it now sees 370ci. It also has a custom tilt-tray and a massive drop tank out back. My good friend John has helped with most of the custom fabrication work at home in my shed. With the mechanicals now sorted, it is time to start on the replacement shell on the rotisserie in the shed. It will have flattened and smoothed everything. A good winter project! Stay tuned.”

LAKI TSUTSULIS 1976 HOLDEN HJ GTS

“I BOUGHT my HJ as a rolling shell back in 2005 as my first project, with the intention of just tidying up the paint and building a 355 stroker for it. However, as time went on I ended up giving the car a full respray in and out, courtesy of Tony Surace. From there Johnny Polites helped me build the HJ into what it is now. Carmen and Dino from CDS helped out with the tubs and nine-inch diff with 35-spline billet Moser axles. CK Racing Developments provided the chassis connectors and the removable chrome-moly rollcage. It’s currently running 15x10 Weld AlumaStar double beadlock rims on the back, and 15x3.5s on the front. I decided the little 355 stroker just wasn’t cutting it anymore, and went looking for a tough street/strip engine. We ended up building a 450ci tall-deck Dart small-block with Racer Pro 13-degree alloy heads, high-rise manifold and a Dominator 1150cfm Bob Book carby. Big thanks to Dino Cecere, who fine-tuned it to get it pumping out 760hp. Behind it sits a two-speed Powerglide and an eight-inch TCE 5600rpm stall converter with a transbrake. So far I have run a best of 9.6@139mph; I was happy with that. Thanks to my mate Sotiri for always helping me out with the car; I couldn’t have done it without him.” Photos: Troy Barker