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Readers' Rockets: 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 + Torana LX + VJ Charger + VH Regal hardtop -

01 Dec 2019 Features

Readers' Rockets: 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 + Torana LX + VJ Charger + VH Regal hardtop -

We check out our readers' cars from the November issue of Street Machine


Dave Maloney
1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

“I PURCHASED my Olds in California in 2009 when I was at the LA Roadster Show. It caught my eye as it was a two-door and pillarless, with a roofline nearly two inches shorter than other makes. I just loved the lines.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88

I was initially going to leave it with all its patina, but decided to repaint it in its factory colour scheme, but with a sheen finish instead of the original gloss white, just to tone it down. I left the stock interior too, as it was too good to redo.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88 interior

The car runs the original 324ci Rocket 88 V8, but I updated it with extractors and it now runs an alternator. I overhauled the brakes and exhaust, and updated and strengthened the suspension; it is on airbags now. Visually, I’ve gone for a mild custom look, removing the chrome emblem off the bonnet and replacing it with pinstriping, including on the boot and the dash.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88 engine

I also installed dummy spotlights and custom-made polished stainless-steel lakes pipes. Other upgrades include body rubber, carpet, chrome rims with Coker whitewalls and an electrical wiper motor. The car is engineered with full ACT registration, and is just a cool ride to cruise and enjoy.” Photos: Ben Hosking

 

Rocco Cecere
1976 Holden LX Torana

Holden Torana

“I BOUGHT my Torana in 1984 at the age of 19, and still have her 35 years on. It was my daily until 1993 when I pulled it off the road for a rebuild. I had it painted by Rob from Offshore Boat Builders and it was back on the road in 1998 with a mild 308/M21 combo, later getting a nine-inch.

Holden Torana engine bay

The car still has the same paintjob today, which looks pretty good for its age. The interior has Scheel seats, velour trim, a hidden stereo in the glovebox and two subs in the rear in a custom-made box. The car stayed this way until early 2018, when I had a new motor built by Andrew Johnston from Murrumbateman. He started with a standard-bore 308 block with worked VN heads and a 383 COME stroker kit.

Holden Torana interior

The end result was 485hp on Westend’s dyno. Pete Hamilton and Kit Hunter from Perfection Automotive then sourced a Mal Wood five-speed gearbox with bellhousing, internal hydraulic clutch and tailshaft, along with all the other bits and pieces to put it together. I try to get the car out most weekends and cruise, as it puts a smile on my face every time I turn the key. This is the car I always envisioned since I was a young bloke, from the stance and looks to the mechanicals.” Photos: Ben Hosking


Kathy, Neil & Ice the dog
1973 VJ Charger & 1972 VH Regal hardtop

Chrysler VJ Charger

“OUR Charger originally ran a 265 six, but previous owners repowered it with a 360ci V8. It was a dark green and really needed to be repainted, so I chose a special one-off custom mid-green with a blue pearl flip; it’s a unique look. With the 360, 904 Torqueflite auto, MSD ignition, heavier torsion bars and rear sway-bar, the car runs great, has heaps of power and handles really well.

Ice the dog

We have done further work including replacing the twin electric radiator fans to a big single one, removing the shroud as it was preventing air flow, and recently adding a new alternator.

Chrysler VH Regal hardtop

The VH Regal hardtop was brown with a bonnet scoop when we purchased it, and again, originally ran a 265 before previous owners replaced it with a 318 V8, which has been rebuilt with extensive head work, a nice mild cam and forged pistons.

Ice the dog

The 904 trans has also been rebuilt and shift-kitted. We changed the colour to Range Rover Estoril Blue, replaced the old bonnet and did away with the scoop.”


Malcolm Stirling
1967 Mercedes-Benz W110

Mercedes-Benz W110

“I’M GUESSING you don’t get too many Euro sleepers sent in, so here is my W110 Mercedes Heckflosse ‘finny’. She has all-original interior with that massive steering wheel and wood dash parts, and stock exterior with original patina paint. Up front is an LS1 with some minor mods and LS6 heads. Out back is a nine-inch Eaton Truetrac diff. The custom headers run to a three-inch system with a dump at the diff.

Read next: Blown LS-powered 1983 Volvo 240GL sleeper

engine bay

The car has upgraded disc brakes all ’round, power steering, and is fully airbagged – she drops to a few millimetres off the ground. Upgrades coming pre-Summernats include a smoothed and painted engine bay, wood flooring and new paint in the boot, and I’ll finish off the air con too. She’s not for everyone, I guess, but she’s definitely different and gets attention everywhere she goes.”

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