WAGON Wheels

AFTER GETTING THE CAR HOME AND BUILDING A SHED TO PUT IT IN, SHANE AND JOSH GOT STUCK IN

WORDS & PHOTOS STEPHEN DUCKSBURY

In 2009 my best mate (and son) Joshua was at a bit of a loose end (no girlfriend, bored at work…) so I suggested to him that we should build a project car together. Nothing in particular in mind – other than it had to be a Holden – but we’d see what comes up.

A couple of weeks later I spotted an ad in the local paper for an EK Holden Station Sedan project and after inspection, the car (well, sort of a car) became ours.

What we’d bought was a completely stripped and surface rusted rolling body shell, assorted panels and a couple of cars-worth of bits and pieces – no motor or box though. A previous owner had commenced a restoration process by fitting a chassis kit, new floors and had done some rust repairs, so overall under the surface rust the body turned out to be in pretty good shape.

After getting the car home (and building the new shed to put it in!) Josh and I got stuck in.

As the car already had the chassis kit fitted and came with a spare disc brake front end, we agreed that there was no other way to go than a V8. Coincidentally a mate had a good low kilometre LS1 for sale at the time, so the deal was sealed.

From another mate we scored a Turbo 400 (now stage II kitted with 2800 rpm stall) to go behind the motor (bolts straight up bar one bolt) and we had a Commodore 3.08 LSD disc brake rear end narrowed and modified to fit the EK springs which were reconditioned and reset two inches lower. We had the HR front end modified to take a Torana rack and pinion steering assembly and Commodore twin piston disc brakes and had a custom tail shaft built – and lo and behold, we were in business.

Sounds simple, hey? Well I wish! Over a period of years, though, and lots of beers, sweat (especially in a tin shed in the Cairns summer!), swearing, and more beers, it did all come together.

We chose to run a carby on the motor for the “old school” feel, which unfortunately meant a hole in the bonnet. I would’ve preferred not to have cut it but at least the scoop we chose is sympathetic to the body lines and doesn’t look too bad.

“THE STAINLESS WHEEL COVERS WERE A SWAP MEET PICK UP”

ABOVE Back to bare bones and ready to resto.

RIGHT The LS1 looks so at home in the engine bay.

LEFT Flow through ventilation takes on a new twist.

Due to the room taken up by the steering column we didn’t have the space to run exhaust extractors on the driver’s side of the engine bay so we made up a custom set to exit through the inner guards. The extractors have been ceramic coated and the remainder of the exhaust is a two into one made up out of three-inch stainless food grade tubing (a Gumtree score). Many thanks to Mark L for his great work on the exhaust system and other welding and fabricating bobs and bits.

The car rolls on 15-inch Commodore steelies with whitewall flappers (to be replaced with the real thing when the bank balance recovers). The stainless wheel covers were a swap meet pick up and came off a 70s Buick. The front seats are ex-HR Holden, the shifter a Hurst ratchet and the steering wheel is a Grant. There’s no stereo, ’cos with that big exhaust system the car makes sweet music of its own!

The plan from the word go was to paint the EK black, with either a red or silver (you’ll see we settled on silver) metallic roof and a red interior. Local panel beater Greg Readdy agreed to take on the body work (no doubt with a few regrets along the way) and did a great job with the panel and paint. The car absolutely glistens.

Pat at Bright Spark 12 Volt Centre then completely wired the car and from there it was around to Steve and Johnny at Marino’s Auto Upholstery for full trim out in red leather-look vinyl. All the chrome work was replated by AA Vinneys in Dandenong and then came the time for Josh and I to put the whole lot all back together without scratching anything. No pressure!

RUBBED AND READY

With all the surface rust banished, it is time for a new coat of paint.

NEW PEWS

A bit of foam and vinyl and they will be good to go.

THE NOISE AND GO END

Ready and waiting for the LS1 V8 to be dropped in.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

HR front end and Torana rack and pinion steering assembly.

ALMOST READY

Just waiting for the driveline and interior.

INGENIOUS

The exhaust snakes through the inner guard.

We finished the wagon in October 2018 and, having been fully engineered along the way, it sailed through rego.

ABOVE Shane and his son Josh are quite rightly proud of their EK resto.

LEFT Periodthemed and superbly trimmed interior.

1961 HOLDEN EK WAGON

BODY 4-door Station sedan

ENGINE 5700cc V8

POWER & TORQUE 253kW @ 6000rpm 470Nm @ 4000rpm

TRANSMISSION Three-speed auto

SUSPENSION Independent with coils, control arms, tube shocks (f) Live axle with semi-elliptics, traction bars and tube shocks(r) BRAKES Discs (f) discs (r)

It’s an absolute blast to drive and we both love going for a Sunday cruise together. Josh and I would like to give our sincere thanks to all those people who helped out in building the car, especially those mentioned here. The members on the FB EK Forum also provided us with invaluable advice, encouragement and guidance and we couldn’t have done it without them.

I must also thank my gorgeous wife (and Josh’s Mum) Keran for all her support and understanding over the nine years of building this car.

It’s been a great project for Josh and I to do together and as a matter of fact we enjoyed it so much that we’ve just bought an EJ Holden project to start on. Talk about gluttons for punishment! And to close the story off from where we started, Josh now has a gorgeous wife and two beautiful boys of his own – and a better job. All’s well that ends well, hey?