This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Street Machine.
WHEN building a project car, one of the biggest challenges facing street machiners is the dreaded snowball. Scope creep is probably the biggest hurdle to navigate, as plans for a ‘quick tidy-up’ of the ‘weekend cruiser’ often wind up becoming a ‘rotisserie build’ of a ‘show-quality single-digit art piece’.
Queensland’s Ryan Holz knows this all too well after his LC GTR Torana went from being thrown together using spares, to the tubbed 1000rwhp turbocharged monster that has gone 8.1@171mph.
“I bought the car as a bare roller back in 2007,” Ryan explains. “I had just finished building an LJ XU-1 replica and had so many parts left over from that build I was just going to give the LC a quick paintjob and throw in a 186 and four-speed, but that changed a bit!”
After a couple of failed starts with other shops, Ryan wound up delivering the car to Andy and Danny at Spot On Performance with a clear goal in mind: “I told Andy and Danny I wanted the thing to be low, fit 12-inch rims in the rear, be as safe as it can, and run 8.50s,” says Ryan. “I also wanted it to look as factory as it could.”
The Spot On Performance guys started from the bottom and worked their way up and out, preparing the LC for its journey deep into the eight-second zone at the drag strip.
“Danny Lansdowne did every single piece of fab work on this build,” Ryan explains. “He cut all the factory floorpans, boot and parcel shelf out, and built a full new chassis to link up with the front chassis rails. He also fitted the McDonald Brothers rear clip and four-link, and a lot of people won’t notice but Danny also fabricated a whole new firewall that is recessed three inches to make sure there was enough room for the engine combo, radiator and water-to-air intercooler. But doesn’t look out of place; it nearly looks factory!”
Danny is also responsible for the custom hand-fabricated alloy sheet-metal interior, including alloy floorpans, removable transmission tunnel, custom parcel tray, and the alloy dash that hides the Holley EFI ECU and twin Wilwood master cylinders. He also fabbed up the front and middle engine-mounting plates, custom fuel cell, water-to-air intercooler icebox, the catch cans in the boot, plus a seven-litre fuel tank hidden under the intake plenum to feed the Enderle 110 mechanical fuel pump. If all that wasn’t enough, he linked the Funny Car-style rollcage into the chassis, and mounted the Peterson dry-sump tank!
“Danny also wired the whole car,” says Ryan. “The Holley Dominator controls everything except the lights and there are sensors all over the car, including coolant, gearbox and torque converter, tailshaft speed, water-to-air pump, trans cooler, engine water pump, air-shifter, bump box, and CO2 boost controller."
The LC was built right up to the point where it was running and driving before it was stripped down and Tony at Superior Paint Worx took on the mammoth task of fitting up and gapping the car. “It was a bare shell and no doors, bonnet or bootlid had been fitted to it until Tony received the car,” Ryan says. “All the panels were off a donor car and they were the worst-fitting panels you could imagine. I knew Tony could handle the body and paintwork, as I’d seen numerous cars he’d worked his magic on, so my only request was that the door gaps be perfect; there is nothing worse than an awesome paintjob with bad gaps.
“Once Tony started fitting all the panels up, it was clear this wasn't going to be easy task – it’s not like you can just find a good set of Torana coupe doors at the drop of a hat. He worked with what we had and made it happen.”
After Tony finished getting the body straight and aligned, he hosed it down in Standox Sebring Orange with the killer matching GTR blackouts.
Although it has an inline six measuring close to 186ci under the bonnet, it’s nothing like the Holden red motor that the GTR and XU-1s used to write the first chapter of the Torana legend. Rather, a twin-cam turbocharged three-litre (183ci) Toyota 2JZ-GTE donk fills the space between the rails.
“Originally I was going to go a Nissan RB six, although heaps of the Toranas I’ve had ran Holden sixes,” Ryan says. “I didn’t know much about turbo set-ups and I was going to go with an RB30, but an engine-builder told me how I could put a JZ in and make bulk power easier. I went [for a drive] in a Supra and was sold! For this car it was either going to get a 2JZ or a big-power V8, but I can work on the 2JZ myself.”
Renowned as one of the most impressive six-cylinder engines ever designed thanks to its ability to handle 2000hp or more, the 2JZ in Ryan’s LC has copped Carrillo Pro H-beam rods and CP 20thou-over forged slugs, while the stock crank has been nitrided and returned to service. The DOHC head was CNC-machined then fitted with Kelford 290° cams, while the billet Pro-Jay 12-injector intake manifold runs six 2400cc Siemens and six 1000cc injectors (added after this photoshoot) shooting methanol into the 2J.
The real power-adder comes in the form of an 80mm Garrett GTX45 snail hanging off a custom exhaust manifold made by Spot On Performance, pushing spent gas through a five-inch dump pipe. Ricky Fenwick handled tuning the Holley Dominator EFI, scoring Ryan 990rwhp on 33psi.
After two years at Spot On, Ryan got his car back and didn’t muck about getting it onto the track. “The first full pass after licensing was an 8.5@167mph, and six passes later it did an 8.1@171mph with a 1.38 60ft,” he says. “On the track we’re running about 35psi, which is showing nearly 1100rwhp.”
Having surpassed Ryan’s original goals by almost half a second, it appears that good things do come to those who wait!
1971 HOLDEN LC TORANA
Paint: Standox Sebring Orange
Brand: Toyota 2JZ-GTE 3.0L six-cylinder
Induction: Billet Pro-Jay 12-injector
ECU: Holley Dominator EFI
Turbo: Garrett GTX45 80mm
Head: CNC-ported 2JZ-GTE
Camshafts: Kelford 290°
Conrods: Carrillo Pro H-beam
Pistons: CP forged
Crank: Standard, nitrided
Oil system: Ross Performance dry-sump pan, Barnes five-stage pump, Peterson tank
Fuel system: Six Siemens 2400cc, six 1000cc injectors, Enderle 110 mechanical pump
Cooling: PWR radiator, Spal fan
Exhaust: Spot On Performance custom manifold, 5in alloy dump pipe
Ignition: Holley Smart coils
Gearbox: Elite Automatics two-speed Powerglide
Converter: Dominator 5000rpm
Diff: McDonald Brothers sheet-metal diff, Race Products 35-spline full floater axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: ProFab tube front clip, Strange coil-over struts
Rear: McDonald Brothers four-link and clip, custom Menscer Motorsports Radial coil-over struts
Brakes: Strange discs (f), Wilwood disc (r)
Master cylinder: Dual Wilwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld Magnum; 15x3.5 (f), 15x12 (r)
Rubber: Moroso DS-2 26x4.5x15 (f), M/T ET Street Radial Pro 315/60R15 (r)
Andy Coles, Danny Lansdowne and the whole Spot On Performance family; all the other companies who help Spot On with parts and support, including Ben at Elite Automatics, Mick at Immersion Imaging, Marty at Performance Wholesale, Craig at RCE Warehouse, and Rob at Decal Design; Ricky ‘Mr Holley EFI’ Fenwick; Big Brad, Gee and Shane; my parents; my wife Michelle for sacrificing her own plans to let me build the car