ONE of the highlights of Meguiar's MotorEx each year is the House of Kolor Inauguration. This year, six cars, one chopper and one jet ski had the covers pulled off in front of a big crowd at Melbourne Showgrounds. Here's the rundown on each one:
1954 FORD CUSTOMLINE - STREET ELITE Chopped and dropped, Mat Egan’s wild 1954 Ford Customline coupe brings Californian custom culture to Australia. The internationally renowned painter and pinstriper behind Extreme Designs bought the coupe in the USA after Noble Fabrications got it rolling.
“I did the candy and pinstriped it over there about five years ago and then daily-drove it,” Mat says. “The body is sectioned, but it is also body-dropped four inches and chopped about five inches, plus it has a Mercury bumper, a 302 Windsor with Edelbrock heads and intake, C4 transmission, and a nine-inch diff.”
That slammed stance comes courtesy of airbag suspension, which affords Mat a pillowy-soft ride on the freeways, which the Ford saw plenty of while in the USA. “We did big road trips in it; it has travelled from Sacramento to San Diego, Las Vegas, and even to Texas,” Mat says. “I drove it every day for years, and in that time it never saw the garage.
“I brought it back probably about two years ago, and then got stuck into giving it a tidy-up two weeks ago after my wife and I moved back from the USA. I have added some metalflake, candy and clear to freshen it up, and I’ve redone all the pinstriping.
“The trim is black and white tuck-and-roll with a custom back seat, although the front is still Ford. PearlCraft just redid the ’58 Thunderbird steering wheel on it for me. I’m looking forward to driving it up to Queensland, and out to Adelaide, as we’re back living and working in Australia again. My wife is American and she’s looking forward to seeing Australia, so we’ll drive it, for sure!”
2003 HSV CLUBSPORT - STREET ELITE
ON FIRST glance, Chris Pearson’s 2003 HSV ClubSport looks like any other fairly tough late-model Holden, but SUBTLE packs a 2500hp punch under its House Of Kolor Candy Apple Red skin!
Up front is a monster 123mm Vortech V28 centrifugal blower feeding a 509-cube Keith Black big-block Chev, which Chris purchased from a mate’s mate. “It made just over 2000rwhp and went 7.0@206mph in my friend’s friend’s ’62 Impala,” he explains. “We didn’t have enough time to tune it up before MotorEx, but it could make up to 2500hp.”
Backed by a Mike’s Transmission Monster Powerglide and 5200rpm converter, the combo will run on both E85 and pump gas, as Adam Rogash from MPW Performance is going to hook up a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU and flex-fuel tune so SUBTLE runs sweet on the street.
The front and rear ends and the rollcage are all from McDonald Brothers Racing. The rear end rocks wheel tubs, four-link and nine-inch diff, while the front end rides on a tube K-frame.
“With the bars on, it just looks like a tubbed ClubSport,” Chris laughs. “I decided I needed a deadline, so six weeks out from MotorEx, we decided to debut it here!
SUBTLE features VF GTS front seats, with a rear seat modified into two individual buckets, as the intercooler lives in the space between. Rated to 3000hp, the water-to-air Chiseled Performance ’cooler is fed by four-inch plumbing that runs under the dash and centre console.
“I want to do sub-7.50s, but I don’t know how it will do it in its current configuration, as it’s very heavy,” Chris says. “With over 2000rwhp, I think the car has the potential to go deep in the sevens!”
FJ HOLDEN UTE - EXHIBITION
IT IS SAFE to say that Tony Morphett’s 1955 FJ ute is truly one of a kind, with extra-wide bodywork hiding a V12 engine from a BMW 750iL, which has scored twin mirror-image turbochargers from Nelson Racing Engines!
Tony’s design brief was to have an old school-looking ute that drove like a modern BMW. This means his pick-up packs power windows, climate-controlled air con, disc brakes, independent suspension and even satellite navigation!
Every millimetre of the FJ’s shell has come in for attention, as the body was widened and lengthened to hide the handbuilt chassis and airbag suspension, but without going too wild and detracting from the original style.
“It has to look old-school, so if you walk past it and have a quick look you’ll just think it’s an FJ ute,” says Tony. “It runs a similar dash pod to the FJ, most of the glass and door handles are FJ, and even the original radio blank in the dash is FJ.
“It’s all in epoxy primer now and dummy-assembled. It could be driven if we had a couple of extra days, but the engine has run on the dyno, where it made 530hp at 5500rpm on 7psi. It could’ve made more, but we wanted to be safe and make sure it will drive nicely.”
After debuting the unfinished ute at MotorEx 2016, Tony has his eyes on the finish line, 12 months out. “We want to unveil it at MotorEx next year, fully painted and completely done!”
1934 FORD - SUPERSTAR
FORD’S 400 body style came as either a tudor or Victoria sedan with a fold-down roof, but the fact they were never offered in the 1934 model year didn’t stop Gary Coates building his own.
“I started with an original ’34 chassis and then got a fibreglass body to put on top,” says Gary. “I cut the body to pieces, put it back together my way, and then steeled it out. It’s actually a fully homebuilt car except for the trim, which was done by Currumbin Trimmers.”
The body was treated to a classic hot rod paint scheme: black with flames. Gary chose House Of Kolor Jet Black for the base, with the HOK graphics range used in the flames, while the engine, chassis and transmission feature HOK Candy Apple Red.
Power comes from a 302ci GT40 small-block Ford V8, backed by a BTR Aussie four-speed electronic auto. As with the body, Gary put his own stamp on the drivetrain. “I got the engine out of a ’97 Tickford Falcon and made a custom inlet manifold so I could use a Harrop TVS1900 supercharger,” he says. “The drive assembly off the front of the motor is all custom, as the Aussie injected Windsor is different to US V8s.”
The suspension is an I-beam four-bar front, with a nine-inch diff out back held up by a coil-over four-link set-up, with disc brakes all ’round to pull the rod up.
“It was supposed to be the family car, but I took it a little bit further – to the point the kids aren’t allowed to sit in it,” Gary laughs. “The intention is to drive it once we’ve done some shows in it.”
1938 E83 FORDSON VAN - SUPERSTAR
‘SPEED Box’ is a 1938 Fordson van out of Johnny Z’s Hot Rod & Custom Shop in Mordialloc, Victoria, but there is next to no original ’38 sheet metal left in it!
“The only original parts are sections of the top and bottom quarter panels; everything else has been fabricated or altered in some way,” explains boss man Jack Zee. “This is what we call a retro street machine. My old man used to have a Fordson back in his younger days, and we wondered how we’d have built it today if he were still around.”
With art deco style mixing with pro touring and hot rod design elements, the Johnny Z guys have completely reimagined the panel truck as if Ford was building it today as a retro design.
The suspension is now independent up front, with a four-link rear end, set up to drive sweet on the street. “We built it to drive, so we took that into consideration when designing the suspension,” says Jack.
Up front is an 8/71-blown 383ci Chev small-block, fitted with EFI for good manners and backed by a built TH700 four-speed auto, with a full-floater nine-inch out back and discs brakes all ’round.
Inside is a showcase of metal fabrication mastery, as the only trimmed sections are the two bucket seats and the custom-made floor mats. Everything else is hand-fabbed metal, which has been painted in House Of Kolor products.
“It’ll be noisy when it’s finished, but we want to highlight the metalwork inside and underneath it,” Jack says. “This has been on the go for six years, and we’d calculate there to be around 1.5 million hours in it. We actually purchased an original van so we can put them side-by-side so everyone can spot the difference.”
2016 HARLEY DAVIDSON - EXHIBITION
“THE only standard part of the bike left untouched is the starter motor,” says Dylan Goldfinch, head honcho of DGD Custom and the man in charge of turning a brand-new 2016 Softail Breakout into this piece of rolling art work for its owner, Milan. “The bike was brought to me straight from the Harley dealer with zero kilometres on it, and we’ve done everything to it,” Dylan says. “There is a huge amount of handmade and fabricated work in it – there would easily be 2000 hours of work on this bike!”
On top of the amazing House Of Kolor paintjob (which features white gold leaf, graphics and honeycomb effects), there is Air Ride airbag suspension front and rear, and custom billet 26-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. And it isn’t just for show, as the Breakout motor was taken out to 107ci, fitted with forged internals and custom heads, and then turbocharged!
“We custom-designed and made the swing-arm to fit the 20-inch rear wheel, which has never been done on a Softail before,” Dylan says. “The labour in this bike is amazing; all the sheet metal we handmade, plus the custom grille. It’s a very, very high-end bike and easily the most expensive bike I’ve ever built.
“I wanted to build the baddest street bike that’s ever been done in this country; I wanted to take it to a new level and build a Breakout that would be unrivalled here. There is one guy in Germany who pumps out stuff like this, and we wanted to take it to that ultra-elite level.”
1970 CADILLAC - STREET ELITE
LOOKING like it has rolled straight out of the barrios of east Los Angeles, Robert Mummery’s 1970 Cadillac Eldorado coupe showcases just how wild and creative paintjobs can be when artists are involved.
“It is like a lowrider-type of paintjob, done by a guy called Coyote,” explains Robert. “It’s based in House Of Kolor, but it’s got so much pearl and candies. It’s pretty outrageous! There are probably five different pinks and purples blending in deep maroon just on the bottom.”
While the 500ci Caddy big-block and full-leather interior are basically as they left the factory, the real craft is in this land barge’s exterior.
“It’s a full custom paintjob top to bottom, inside and out,” Robert says. “The base colour is yellow, then it goes into pinks, tangerines and other colours. We’re probably looking at four months just in painting. “
The paint effects include the airbrushed ladies’ faces down the flanks of the car. Even the spinner hubcaps have been modified to feature bullets!
“I’ve got five Cadillacs and the other one in MotorEx this year is my two-door fastback ’47, which is done in similar wild lowrider style,” Robert says. “I’m more into the Hispanic, lowrider type of cars, but this Eldorado is a street car; I build ’em to drive ’em!”
Amazingly, this ’70 Eldorado had only done 27,000 miles from new when Robert got it several years ago and brought it back to Australia – which is something he’s been doing for decades! “I have just done my 50th trip to the USA buying cars,” he says. “I started buying cars there to bring back in 1976.”
2014 YAMAHA FZR - EXHIBITION
FRANK Luppino’s 2014 Yamaha FZR jet ski, INTMD8N, is an exercise in showing how far you can push personal watercraft.
“There are a lot of things you can do to a jet ski,” says Frank, the owner of Allwet Custom Skis in Sydney’s Wetherill Park. “Exactly what you’ve got in cars, you have in the ski scene! And it’s up there, as except for the No Wake areas, there are no speed limits.”
INTMD8N is a properly serious bit of kit, with the 1.8-litre four-pot featuring two 50hp fogger shots of nitrous, a 50mm external wastegate, 1000cc injectors, forged internals, a custom water-to-air intercooler and free-flow exhaust, and a billet ET supercharger pushing up to 24psi at 9000rpm!
“If you can keep it in the water, it should hit 90mph,” laughs Frank. “There has been a lot of testing and tuning to get it to this point, but now we want to show off what we can do to the whole package.”
This means his ’14 FZR Yamaha has undergone a custom respray by Justin at Allwet for the MotorEx unveil. “We use heaps of House Of Kolor products on our custom skis. For my ski we made up our own colour, based off the candy pink, in consultation with Nathan from HOK. It flips to a purple under lights, while the bottom of the ski is black with graphics.”
Proving this is no simple petrol-powered wakeboard, Frank’s ski even has a full Fusion stereo, wired up by Allwet’s Dave. “We want our products to be show-spec and really show that these skis can be built much the same as a car.”
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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