This article on Joe Pocock's S-Series Valiant was originally published in the October 2011 issue of Street Machine magazine
DAD had a couple of Vals when I was growing up,” says Joe Pocock, owner of this gorgeous black S-Series. “He had one in particular when I was 11 or 12. We did it up and painted it metallic purple with a set of low back buckets. My old man has a Maltese background so it was pretty woggy, you know [laughs]. We’ve been Valiant people for ever.”
But Joe, who hails from the NSW Central Coast, reckons he did try to fight it. “First car I had was an LC Torana, then an HQ wagon, and then within a year I bought myself a VJ Charger. It was 1984 and I think I paid $700 for it – vintage red, 265 and three-on-the-floor. After the HQ, you’d dump the clutch in this Charger and go sideways, and it was like wow! Compared to the 202, the 265 Hemi was a total weapon.” After a bunch of Chargers and other cool Valiants, Joe stumbled across this ’62 sedan.
“I saw this thing advertised in The Trading Post for $500,” Joe says. “It was sky blue and had a set of Tasman wheels. But it was really sad and in this underground car park, and the seller was really an unhelpful sort of dude. He was like, “there is it, mate, whatever”, and didn’t give a shit. It had been tagged and had a smashed window and ripped interior, and he didn’t have the keys. “The engine was actually seized, but we dragged it out and I put a bit of tranny fluid and engine oil down the plugs and got it fired up, but of course it was pretty smoky.”
But something about the swoopy lines of the old S-Series made an impression on Joe. Rather than give it a quick tidy up and move it on like he’d done in the past, Joe elected to make this car, The One.
“I was sick of doing half-arse attempts and quick resprays. I wanted to do something really nice,” Joe says. “It’s just the bodylines on them, I know they’re not everyone’s tastes, but they’ve always done it for me. So I thought I’ve got to give this thing what it deserves.”
Joe admits that part of it was the relative rarity of the S model. Chrysler Australia only made 10,000 of the curvy sedans and Joe was reluctant to let his go. So he cleared out some of his other projects, broke out the tools and started stripping the crook paint.
“I paint-stripped it and wire-disced most of the paint off at home, while the panelbeater sandblasted the inners and that’s where we found rust issues; in under the dash and the pillars and stuff like that.”
To fix the rust, he turned to Mark Bushby. “I had a few people look at it, and it was like they didn’t want to know about a resto. Mark just asked what colour I wanted to do it, and I said, ‘Well I really want to do it black’. Everyone else I’d spoken to would groan, but he was like, ‘I don’t care, it’s got to be straight anyway’.
“A couple of people reckoned that SUs are for pommy cars,” Joe says, “but they forget that back in the 60s that’s all that was around”
“His attitude really appealed to me and he was used to massaging metal, like the flat firewall. He was just an old school sort of guy. I know everyone says old school these days, but he didn’t baulk at it if you know what I mean. It was no big deal.”
Fresh metal went into the front guards, sills and front pillars and, while the firewall wasn’t replaced, considerable work went into filling and smoothing both it and the inner guards. The battery was relocated to the boot and the wiring tucked away so all eyes would focus on that sexy slant six.
“Always had to have low-back buckets in it,” Joe reckons. The VC V8 seats came from a rusty donor car and were beautifully trimmed in red vinyl
“My old man built the engine, it’s really sweet,” Joe says proudly. Rather than trying to find a good runner they decided to use the original 225ci slant six that came with the car. As a fitter and turner, Joe’s dad Jim had the precise mindset required to put together a nice engine. Using mostly stock internals, the leaning tower of power has been freshened up with 60-thou over pistons and a mild Waggott solid cam.
Induction has been improved with a Lynx intake supporting three 1.75in SU carbs while a set of coated Genie headers dumps the gases to a single 3in system. A polished, finned Offenhauser rocker cover tops it off. It’s an engine bay that could have come straight out of the 60s and that’s just the way Joe likes it. Being an original push-button auto car, they gave the original transmission an overhaul with a stage-1 shift kit and kept the standard converter for maximum cruisability. A Borg Warner diff from a Centura was chosen for its late-model stud pattern and build because it’s a tad narrower than the stock rear. The gears are only 2.92:1, but Joe’s not concerned with tearing up the dragstrip.
“I’ve had thoughts of changing the gears, but whatever I do it’s not going to be a killer anyway,” Joe reckons. “I’ll just cruise in it you know. I don’t want to lose that freeway cruising.”
Up front he’s swapped in a set of late-model brakes from a CL Valiant, which match the Centura diff stud pattern, and used a set of Hadfield dropped spindles to lower the front without compromising suspension travel. The rear end also sits two inches lower thanks to some reset leaves and the gleaming black bodywork sits perfectly over those 17in Boyds.
Apart from the wheels, Joe’s Valiant could have been built any time in the 60s or 70s, but a few people don’t like his choice of rolling stock.
Joe admits he did struggle with the wheel choice at first too. “It went against everything in the build,” he says. “I wanted it to be like a 60s-style car, but with the wheels I went a little bit off track. A mate encouraged me to do it, originally I was going to go for some SS Cragars, or the Tasman’s I had. But when I changed to the late pattern that wasn’t going to happen and I’m glad I went the way I did.
“It’s funny, the car just attracts attention. You can see heads swinging around because it’s black and shiny and because of the body shape. I think if I’d done something else, it wouldn’t have had the same impact because they’re a quirky sort of style. It wasn’t intentional; I just wanted to get it as good as I could.”
1962 S-SERIES VALIANT
Colour: BMW Black
Engine: Chrysler 225ci
Carbs: 3x 1.75in SU
Head: Ported, bigger valves
Pistons: Std +60-thou
Crank & rods: Factory
Ignition: Mopar electronic
Exhaust: Ceramic coated Genie headers, 3in mandrel exhaust, stainless muffler
Transmission: Torqueflite 904, shift kitted
Diff: Centura modified, 2.92:1
Brakes: CL Valiant (f), Centura drum (r)
Master cylinder: VG Valiant Springs: Std, CRS 2in drop spindles (f), lowered 2in (r)
Shocks: Rancho (f & r)
Rims: Boyd Coddington, Crown Jewel, 17x7in (f), 17x8in (r)
Rubber: Nankang Ultra Sport, 205/40 (f), 225/45 (r)
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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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