This article on Jason's EH Holden was first published in the January 2019 issue of Street Machine
THE key ingredient to any good street machine should be a dose of A-grade, bad-arse attitude. And, in case you somehow glossed over the monster on the pages in front of you, Jason Spiteri’s ’64 EH Holden has that street-brawler ’tude in spades. From the ground-hugging stance to the bigs ’n’ littles rubber, and that 675hp 427ci small-block hanging out the bonnet, this classic sedan looks ready to punch nannas in their stupid lovely faces.
The rear beaver panel has been notched to allow the exhaust to dump cleanly out of sight, while the fuel filler was shaved to make the rear quarter smoother
“My first car was an EK ute with a 138ci six and three-on-the-tree, and then I had an EH as my daily,” Jason says. “Just as I was going to start tubbing my EH, a friend of my dad’s told me about this other EH on eBay. It had chassis connectors, a Falcon nine-inch, a Muncie ’box, and a V8 sitting in the bay. It was a completely rust-free body and it hadn’t been in a crash. I knew the purists would kill me when they found out what I’d done to such a good, straight car.”
VOTE for Jason's EH Holden as Valvoline Street Machine of the Year 2019
Of course, Jason did what any street machiner worth their salt would do and took to it with a grinder and welder!
“I mini-tubbed and four-linked it and put the ’cage in, then painted it original Morwell Grey and trimmed it,” he says.
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Where folding chairs and Eskys used to live, a custom fuel cell now resides, being drained at a ferocious rate by a MagnaFuel 300 electric pump
Jason finished the car’s first build five years ago, sporting a stock 350 SBC, which lasted six months and then died. This was built into a budget 383 that made 480hp and did an 11.3, and lasted another six months before giving up the ghost in spectacular fashion.
“One of the pistons and one lifter had disappeared; the cam was in three pieces – I did it properly!” Jason says.
Jason’s best mate is Wayne Grima from Grima’s Garage. Wayne is a former Snap-On Apprentice Of The Year and Street Machine cover car owner, and he got the job of screwing together the new nickel-tough small-block Chev, starting with a brand new aftermarket block.
“I went the Dart block because this is the fourth motor to go in and I was sick of rebuying parts to replace cheap parts I’d broken,” Jason says. “I just took my time; if I couldn’t afford it this month I’d keep saving and buy it next month.”
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15in Weld V-Series wheels wrapped in Nankang rubber got the nod in 3.5in and 8in widths for a tough street stance, with Wilwood discs up front and 11in Ford drums out back
The Dart block swings 427ci thanks to JE slugs along with rods and a crank from Callies. With a custom solid-roller cam packing .710in lift, the cylinder heads had to be serious, so a pair of AFR 227-235 CNC alloy units copped Jesel shaft-mount rockers and heavy-duty Iskenderian springs, before being topped by an Edelbrock tunnel ram smoothed and ported by Jason with two 650cfm Ultra HP carbs.
With the MSD ignition tweaked up and a set of custom 1 7/8-inch headers fitted to the twin three-inch exhaust system, the 7.0-litre small-block made 675hp at 6600rpm. The several hundred ponies thunder their way to the tarmac via a Turbo 400 auto and a nine-inch diff from an F100, which has copped a Strange full-spool centre, 3.9 gears and Mark Williams axles.
“Fitting the motor in the car itself wasn’t too bad, but I did delete the wiper motor just to get the dizzy out of the engine,” says Jason. “If I hadn’t, I’d have to pull the engine out to get the distributor out! I was also told the TH400 wouldn’t fit in the tunnel, but a friend told me the manual tunnel in the EH is bigger than the auto tunnel – it just fits in there, but it fits!”
“It’s grumpy, but that is exactly what I wanted,” says Jason. “The custom Jim Marshall cam has .710thou lift because I wanted it to shake at the lights. We had to tell him it’s for a drag car, as he thought the spring pressure was too high for a street car. I reckon it’s the perfect combo, though!”
The fenderwell headers and twin 3in exhaust are complete custom items, needed to escape the tight confines of the EH’s engine bay. Cooling is handled by a Fenix radiator, finished in gloss black to contrast the filled and smoothed colour-coded engine bay
Such brutal grunt needs far better equipment than what The General sent EHs out with back in ’64, so it was a good thing Jason already had the custom triangulated four-link in the back, along with a steering-rack front end to replace the old vague box set-up.
While the interior looks factory-fresh at first glance, PRO64H hides a bunch of work. That bench seat is a custom piece, while the dash now houses AutoMeter gauges, gears are banged through a B&M shifter, and rear seat occupants have to dodge the half-’cage. Jason also custom-made a new pedal box and handbrake set-up
“It is a Hadfield front end and crossmember, and I’m pretty sure it is a shortened LH steering rack in there,” says Jason, who also added Wilwood discs up front and 11-inch F100 drums in the rear for stopping power.
“It took time, but the car drives like a dream,” Jason says. “Before the rebuild, every time I drove the car I came home with a problem, but now the only problem I have is the confusion from the fact there are no problems! There isn’t a vibration, squeak or rattle in the whole car.”
Serious kudos has to be thrown Jason’s way; despite the EH looking a million bucks, this isn’t a big-dollar shop-built ride.
“I built it in my 5.4x3m garage, lying under it as I don’t have a hoist, and I even trimmed the boot myself! It took a lot of time, money and effort, but I wanted a trouble-free car that I didn’t have to spend any more money on. I ended up with that and more!”
So, with PRO64H racking up the kilometres on the mean streets of the Harbour City, surely Jason is tempted to take it out to Sydney Dragway and give it the bejeebus?
“I am hanging to race it, but I have other things to spend money on right now,” he says. “I don’t want to break it and have it off the road.”
That is fair enough in our eyes, too, especially as Jason needs it running sweetly to keep a promise he made way back when he first bought the car.
Jason is quick to point out that, while he did the lion’s share of the work, he had some key help. “I did the whole car myself apart from the exhaust and motor, and with a few phone calls to Wayne Grima at Grima’s Garage for guidance or his opinion. Without Wayne’s help, guidance and the knowledge he has passed on to me, the car wouldn’t be what it is today. Wayne’s been my best mate for 17 years and nobody touches my car beside me or him!”
“I was only 17 and the owner was so happy to see me rock up in my daily-driver EH that after I won the eBay auction the following week, he gave me every EH spare part he had for it,” he explains. “After three hours of loading parts up we went to leave and he asked me to bring it back and show him once it was done as a favour. I wrote his address down on the front crossmember, but I forgot to write it down before it went to paint and I lost it. Hopefully someone out there knows him and I can bring it past to show him.”
Hopefully Jason – or a keen SM reader – can track the fella down so he can show him the fruits of all his hard work!
1964 HOLDEN EH
Paint: Morwell Grey
Brand: Dart small-block Chev
Intake: Edelbrock tunnel-ram
Heads: AFR 227-235 CNC alloy
Carbs: Dual Hardcore Ultra HP 650cfm
Cam: Custom Jim Marshall solid-roller
Ignition: MSD 6AL Black Edition, Pro Billet distributor
Oil system: Milodon sump, Melling oil pump
Cooling: Fenix radiator
Exhaust: Custom 17/8in extractors, custom twin 3in system, Hooker mufflers
Gearbox: TH400 three-speed auto
Convertor: Slingshot 8in 5000rpm
Diff: Custom 9in, Mark Williams axles, Strange spool, 3.9:1 final drive
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: King Springs, Koni shocks
Rear: So-Cal coil-overs
Chassis: 2in drop spindles, custom four-link, custom steering rack, custom pedal box, mini-tubs, custom rollcage
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers and discs (f), 11in Ford F100 drums (r)
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld V-Series; 15x3.5 (f), 15x8 (r)
Rubber: Nankang; 145/60 (f), 275/50 (r)