Peter Connors has been driving around Queensland in awesome cars for decades. Here's a look at a few of them.
This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Street Machine.
When variety becomes the spice of life for car ownership, there aren’t many who can hold a candle to Brisbane’s Peter Connors. At 44, Peter has bought, traded, swapped, sold, loved and/or hated in excess of 200 cars in nearly 30 years. Here’s a few from that list that hold a place in his heart.
“As a teenager, my best mate was the late Peter Braun. His HQ van ran a 253, Sandman stripes, a sunroof and Chevy dumpers. It screamed 80’s street machine and the 12-slot rims could be bought at Kmart [laughs]. Back then it was normal to pile into the back of vans or utes and cruise around. I had a footy coach who drove the whole team to games in the tray of his one-tonner.”
At 16, Peter hassled an old boss for this VE Valiant. “It was a genuine VIP with a 273 V8 and floor shift auto. Here I’m shaving the badgework and rear door handles. I painted it white – with a brush mind you – and had plenty of Cyan blue detailing and red leaf springs. There was a vacuum tank in the engine bay for caravan brakes and everyone thought it was nitrous [laughs].”
Peter’s brother-in-law, Anthony Borzillo, has owned this Landau for nearly 30 years and it’s a staple of the Brisbane car scene. Powered by a 460 big-block and restored in rare factory Apollo Blue with a blue vinyl top, this car cemented Peter’s love for Landaus. “I was 17 when I first met Anthony and was quickly educated that Hardtops and Landaus were not the same thing.”
This white XD was a tough streeter; here it’s running Super Street at the 1994 Winternationals. It ran an $800 351 Cleveland built by good mate Paul Ryan and was backed by an FMX and 4.56-geared 9in. A 12.80 was the XD’s best, hampered in part by the diff gears causing it to nose over. It was a daily driver too, ferrying Peter’s son Corey home on his maiden trip from the hospital.
Talk about a mint condition XA Fairmont. “I bought this off eBay in 2003 for 3K. It was a 302 Cleveland, column auto and was perfect inside and out. The plan was to build it as the ultimate sleeper with a big-cubed Clevo, but I sold it to a guy in Toowoomba who had the same idea.”
“I found the black XB Hardtop as a complete roller in 2005. It was dead straight and had an amazing paint job and interior. I robbed the V8 and C4 out of a rotten XB GS sedan sitting in my parent’s backyard, added the Simmons wheels and had it on the road for $8000. I was offered good money for it less than a year later so moved it on.”
Sadly the days of $1000 V8 XT Falcons are long gone but Peter scored this as an unfinished project running a 302 Windsor, single rail and nine-inch. “It was in grey primer so I added period signwriting and raced at the Muscle Car Shootout at Warwick. I eventually had it sprayed in Blueprint and it was the first and only car I’ve ever had professionally painted.”
This green HJ was originally a genuine 308 four-speed Monaro that ran a healthy 10.98@125mph thanks to a 454 big-block. “The motor was 15 years old and originally came from my cousin Troy’s HQ Monaro. It just goes to show that a well-built motor can last the test of time and still go hard.” A change of career saw the Monaro swapped for a tilt tray in 2009.
A change in priorities meant a cool cruiser was more to Peter’s liking, and this genuine ’65 Impala SS was just what the doctor ordered. “It ran a 327, had original black vinyl interior and a number of Caprice appointments. But, as it happens, the cruiser in me didn’t last and decided I needed something with more punch [laughs].”
There’s something super tough about a V8 Capri and it seems Peter might have met his match. “I haven’t once thought about selling this car and think I’ve finally found the one [laughs]. It’s an 11/70 build just like me so I reckon it’s a sign.” Small tyres and subsequent traction issues have limited the stout little pom to a low 12 but Peter is hoping for a full street 11 second pass. “All I have planned for this car is to respray it Wild Violet and add orange stripes. I promise”.