1975 Ford XB Futura
“THIS is my 1975 XB that I’ve been playing with. It was my grandfather’s car – he owned it since almost new – and after it had sat in his driveway unloved for 18 years or so I finally got hold of it.
I’ve had it about five years now, but it sat untouched until recently as it needed a lot of work. I’ve now fixed 90 per cent of the rust in it and have been working on getting all the bits together to drop in a blow-through turbo set-up on the six-cylinder and add a T5 trans and shortened Borgy.
Plans are to get it on the road – with the patina intact – as a reliable daily driver that I can maybe one day do Drag Challenge in.”
1965 Dodge AT4
“WE WERE over in the States doing a bucket-list trip when COVID hit. On return, we had to self-isolate for 14 days without leaving the property, so I decided to get to work on the rusty AT4 I had been given by a workmate the month prior.
Not being able to go anywhere, we had to improvise with the parts and supplies I had on hand: stripper disks, Deoxidine, clear and tinter. I screwed together a 350 Chev with the parts I had, and while I’m no painter or panel beater, I’m learning as I go – and my kids are having a crack too.”
Holden HZ panel van
“I PURCHASED my HZ van about two years ago from Ryan Ford as an unloved farm find from Newstead, Victoria. It needed a lot more work than my skills allowed, but Ryan said that if I went all-in with a bit more cash he would do the rust repair, delete the two peep windows, and, at my request, do some faded ghost-sign Sandman decals.
So the deal was done and Ryan started cleaning up the years of neglect. After he’d given the build a massive head-start he handed it over to me, but there was still plenty to do. Since March I’ve spent hours cleaning off the years of grit and dirt, and have turned what should have been a few-year project into one that should be done by the end of 2020.
I’m going for a ‘pretty on the inside, rough on the outside’ look, with all black bumpers and trim (no chrome), and it will run a thongslapper and Trimatic. The purists will cringe, but I think lockdown will produce a cool van.”
1935 Pontiac coupe
“IN 1965, when I was 13, our family moved from Auckland to Palmerston North to start a new life. Just down the road from where we lived was an old Pontiac three-window coupe. I fell in love with it.
The guy who owned it told me he might be interested in selling it at some stage, so I put a plan in place to buy it from him. I found a job delivering newspapers and a school holiday job repairing umbrellas, saving every cent I earned. At 15 I left school and got a construction apprenticeship, and I was then finally able to buy the car. It was my pride and joy for years; I drove it everywhere.
Eventually, the gearbox failed and I took it off the road to get repaired. I found a shed to store it in while I saved up for parts to fix it, but when I went back to begin the work, the car was gone. I was shattered. For the next 47 years, I spent a lot of time looking for that car.
One day a friend said he saw it for sale, and sure enough, he was right – it was my car. It had been stripped and left in a leaky shed for more than 30 years. There was only the body and frame and a few boxes of parts; the running gear, suspension, steering, seats and many other parts were gone.
I just wanted my baby back home, so I spent the next six months with lawyers fighting to get it back. It is now getting a full rebuild with modern running gear and stock body.”
More project cars:
Readers' builds - part one
Readers' builds - part two
Readers' builds - part three
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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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