Paul Beauchamp bought his EH Holden wagon because he could fit his surfboards in the back. Except he can't with this one anymore
This article on Paul's EH wagon was originally published in the October 2013 issue of Street Machine
I ALWAYS wanted an EH wagon because I love the style and shape, and you can fit a surfboard in the back.” That explains why Paul Beauchamp owns this stunning long-roof. Five years ago he won the car in an eBay auction. He flew to Melbourne with his girlfriend to pick it up and they drove it home to Campbelltown, NSW.
“It was tidy — lowered on Dragways with a 186 and Supra five-speed gearbox,” he says. He used it as a weekend car to cruise to the beach for about eight months before deciding in typical fashion that it needed an engine swap and a tidy-up. Naturally, that ended with it on display amongst Australia’s most awe-inspiring custom cars at MotorEx.
Firewall and inner guards were smoothed and reshaped, with a custom airbox cleverly melded into the passenger-side guard. Injected 355ci stroker is good for almost 400hp
The first stop was Wild Automotive where George assembled and fitted the stroked and injected Holden V8. It uses Speed Pro pistons and a Scat 355 stroker crank and rods, while the VN-style heads were ported and polished then treated to a set of Isky valve springs and Yella Terra roller rockers. With a mild Camtech hydraulic stick and the stock Holden ‘bunch of bananas’ manifold, the engine proved good for 390hp and 590Nm at the flywheel.
A VN SS donated the remaining powertrain components, including the T5 cog-swapper — after the tunnel had been modded to take it. The ’box was fitted with an RPM heavy-duty clutch and a billet Ripshift, and mated to a custom three-inch tailshaft which heads south to a shortened BorgWarner rear end. Inside the diff is a limited slip centre on 3.45:1 gears; outside you’ll find VN Commodore discs and calipers.
George also tackled the suspension and chassis mods. Paul wanted the wagon slammed, so they decided a set of airbags was the best way forward.
The rear is configured as a three-link, with Slam Specialties ’bags mounted to the lower arms that stretch between the diff housing and the original rear leaf spring hangers, while a central upper arm stabilises and positions the diff.
Up front there’s a modified HR set-up with 2in-dropped HQ spindles, and — just like the rear — KYB shocks and Slam Specialties airbags. A Viair 480cc compressor and twin two-gallon tanks are mounted in the spare-wheel well.
The standard EH cabin was renewed and modernised, with front and rear benches and the custom door cards beautifully trimmed
With the mechanicals sorted, the body was shipped off to be bead blasted, which is where things took a turn for the worse.
“The car had rust everywhere, so we ended up having to change the sills, door skins, bonnet, guards and floorpans,” Paul says. “My neighbour Ian and I spent weeks grinding and cutting; it was a major job.”
When parked and aired out, the wagon is lower than low itself. Intro G Cube 18in wheels tuck beautifully. The venetian blinds emphasise the classic look
Once the shell was rid of the dreaded tinworm, it was hauled to Briffa Smash Repairs where Jeff finalised the bodywork and layered on the classic two-tone paintjob. “I wanted it close to original, but modernised a bit,” Paul says. The Spies Hecker Crystal Pearl White roof and Aura Blue body achieve that — a beautifully period look with a slightly modern bent.
While that was going on, trimmers Ray and Dave were madly stitching away at the interior. Again the look is sympathetic to the original EH layout, keeping the twin-bench configuration and the stock steering wheel, which was restored and painted pearl white. The seats, door trims and crash pad were trimmed in ‘dolce ecru’ and mocha-coloured leatherette, with an assortment of Auto Meter gauges mounted under the dash.
The business end of the Option Audio ICE. The hardware for the airbags is hidden under the boot floor in the spare-wheel well, and the battery and surge tank are tucked behind the rear seat
A big feature in the cockpit is the comprehensive audio system, consisting of a Pioneer DVD source unit feeding a single 6in Option Audio split mounted in the centre of the dashboard, a pair of 6in Option Audio splits in the rear and two 12in subs in a neat custom enclosure, along with two amps, in the luggage compartment. No room for surfboards anymore!
Riding on air and powered by a grunty yet smooth injected stroker, the EH is a dream to drive. “It’s good fun. I’ve really only just got it fully engineered, but since then I’ve been driving it heaps. Trying to fit a V8 and airbags into a car that never came with either had its challenges, but it drives and handles well and turns a lot of heads.”
The car’s first show was the 7th Annual EJ & EH Show in Canberra, where it won Car Of Show and runner-up EJ/EH wagon, even though it wasn’t complete.
“The best thing is that now the car is fully engineered and reliable, so we can just jump in on the weekend and go for a drive wherever we want.”
1964 EH HOLDEN WAGON
Colour: Crystal Pearl White over Aura Blue
Brand: Holden V8, 355ci stroker
Induction: Holden EFI inlet manifold, 65mm throttlebody
Heads: VN, ported and polished
Camshaft: Camtech hydraulic
Pistons: Speed Pro
Oil pump: JP
Sump: High Energy
Fuel: PULP 98 octane
Fuel system: Electric lift pump, 2.0l surge tank, Bosch 044
Cooling: Custom alloy radiator with PWR core, twin thermos
Exhaust: Ceramic-coated custom extractors, 3in system, twin cats
Gearbox: T5 manual, RPM heavy-duty clutch, Ripshift
Diff: Shortened BorgWarner, 3.45:1
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Springs: Slam Specialties airbags (f&r)
Shocks: KYB shocks (f&r)
Brakes: Ventilated HQ discs & calipers (f), VN Commodore discs & calipers (r)
Master cylinder: HQ Holden, with twin vacuum boosters
Steering: Datsun 180 column, modified Torana rack
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Intro G Cube, 18x7 (f), 18x8 (r)
Rubber: Nankang 215/40/18 (f), 235/40/18 (r)