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Holden EH restoration project - in the build

By Tas McMillan, 30 May 2018 Features

Holden EH front

While most other teenagers spend their weekends glued to their smartphones, 17-year-old Darcy Chircop occupies himself by restoring his EH with the help of his dad Manny and the guys from Showroom Finish Smash Repairs in Hoppers Crossing

This article on Darcy Chircop's EH Holden was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

This EH is Darcy's first car, and he’s investing a great deal of effort in making it something really special.

Fair to say that cars are in your blood, Darcy?

Yep, my grandfather owned an EH, and Dad’s one of the founders of the Cruzin Knights Car Club. My EH started out as a shell; the only panels that came with it were the boot and bonnet. My dad bought it for me for my 12th birthday, and then Nino from Showroom Finish put his hand up to help us out and took me on board. If it wasn’t for them, it’d be nowhere.

Holden EH resto

What’s gonna make it go?

My dad used to crew for Steve Russell of Cameron & Russell Racing, and Steve said: “You bring me the motor and what it needs and I’ll build it for you.” It’s a 179 with twin 97 Stromberg carbies on a Redline manifold and a basic exhaust. The car was a manual, but I’ve changed it to a column-shift Trimatic, and we fitted the HR front end for the disc brakes. We’ve still got to run all the fuel and brake lines and all the wiring for the auto. We lowered it a little bit and it’s going to run 15-inch wheels with adapters to mount the original 13-inch hubcaps.

Holden EH resto

Darcy’s willingness to learn and affinity for metalwork have made both his family and mentors proud. Apart from some help from Nino with tricky jobs, all of the bodywork is Darcy’s

How much work have you done yourself?

I’ve done all of the panelwork, with lots of help from Nino and the other guys at Showroom Finish. I started with replacing the floors and deleting the aerial; then I cut all the rust out of the doors and welded in the patch panels. There was a lot of work in getting the doors to fit properly and making the panel gaps acceptable.

Holden EH resto

What colour will it be?

It’s going to be Seacombe Green metallic with an off-white roof, wheels and venetians. We picked up the interior from an old bloke who had it all retrimmed in green 10 years ago but got too sick to continue with his project.

Holden EH resto

What do you love the most about the EH?

Coming here every weekend and having people wanting to help me. There aren’t many kids out there doing this. If it wasn’t for the support that I’ve got, there’s no way I’d be where I am now. I struggle in school, a lot. Doing stuff with my hands like this makes me happy. Trying to get me up at 7am to get me to school is hard, but I’m up at 6:30 waiting for Dad to wake up to take me to work! Everyone says they hate work, but I love it. I’m excited to come here and work, see the guys and learn. I love learning.

Holden EH engine

The 179 was built by drag racer and family friend Steve Russell. There’s nothing particularly special about the mild combo, but the twin Strombergs give it plenty of old-school cred

Tell us about the community work you and the Cruzin Knights have done.

Nino’s son Nick was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and I wanted to do something for him. I didn’t want all the stupid little things like bills and petrol to be an issue for him while he was sick. The Cruzin Knights were having a dinner dance and they were struggling to get the numbers, so I thought we could make it about him. We sold out of tickets, we had a raffle and auctions and I shaved my head. We ended up raising $49,000 for him and he was cancer-free by Christmas!

Holden HR front end

The HR disc-brake front end is a common upgrade for the EH’s weedy drums, and was one of the first jobs the boys tackled on Darcy’s machine. The Whiteline sway-bar should help improve the 60s-spec handling too

Great result! When do you intend to have the EH finished?

I’ll be 18 in July so I’ll be able to drive it, but my goal is to debut it at the 2018 Bright Rod Run.

Holden EH resto

The Cruzin Knights Car Club and Showroom Finish Smash Repairs have proven to be a tight-knit community and a constant source of inspiration, knowledge and support for Darcy

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Yeah, my dad for everything he’s done for me. He goes out of his way to look after me and make sure that I’ve got everything I need. Money’s not something that grows on trees, and every week he drives me around and helps me out. Also Nino, Nick and Mike from Showroom Finish; they’re like family to me now, and I’d do anything for them.

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