Readers' Rockets: '64 Impala, Ford Escort + XD Falcon, HZ ute, FE panel van + more

We check out some of our readers' rides from the May issue of Street Machine

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Wiremu Searancke
1964 Chevy Impala

“This is my 1964 Chevy Impala convertible. I bought it off a guy in Canberra, Wayne, who had it in the build with his late father since 1987.

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He reluctantly sold it to me in 2019, as he couldn’t finish it without his father. I had Samuel Burns at BLVD Garage help me finish it off.”

David Fitzsimons
Ford Escort

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“I have owned my 1973 Mk1 Escort for 24 years, except for a period of seven years where I sold the car to help pay for my first house. Fortunately, I was able to buy it back at the end of last year. This is the second build I have done on this car, and it’s along the lines of an improved production circuit car.

It runs a Ford Focus two-litre Zetec engine, converted from FWD to RWD and fuelled by twin 45 Webers. The gearbox is a Sierra Cosworth two-wheel-drive T5, and the diff is an early four-wheel-drive HiLux LSD. It runs a stripped interior, full rollcage, custom dash, race seats and harnesses.

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The exterior has custom hand-made flares stretched from the original guards, plus front and rear spoilers. Brakes are Wilwoods, with six-piston fronts and four-piston rear calipers, and it rides on coil-over front struts with adjustable inserts and adjustable rear shocks.

Wheels are 17x8 Challengers with 215/40 semi-slicks for shows, and 15x7 Challengers for the track. This was a seven-year build, mostly done on my driveway at home, and there are no plans to ever sell it again!”

Nick Seguna
XD Ford Falcon

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“I have always loved XDs. When I was 19, I had a white one – a six-cylinder with a rollcage and by far the cleanest XD around. At 21, I needed some cash, so I had to sell the car.

Twelve years later, I bought another XD, which I pulled apart myself. I got it sandblasted at home and got the project started. Being a cabinet maker by trade, I am good at working with tools and knew how to spray. I was very lucky that the body wasn’t bad, with very minor rust that was cut out by Phil Xerri.

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From there, I sanded and prepped the car, made up the colour and sprayed it, which was the first time I’d sprayed two-pack. I was so excited. The original motor needed a rebuild, but I couldn’t afford it, so I bought a second-hand 351 just to get the car on the road. The plan was to one day rebuild the original motor. I had Damien Lowe build me a drop tank, and I organised a nine-inch diff with 3.55 gears.

Bit by bit, the car came together. It was built for my family and I to enjoy. I did the majority of the work myself with help from my wife Vicky, kids Ashleigh and Matthew, and father in-law Chris. After 10 years, I met Tristan from T-REX Racing Engines, and he built me a 700hp Clevo using the original block. I cannot thank Tristan enough. He knows his Fords!”

Dave Ailey
HZ Holden ute

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“I’ve owned this 1978 HZ Holden ute for 23 years, with plenty of kilometres travelled in its old look. Having just completed a new rebuild, it sounds and goes much harder with its new stroked BT1-block 308, solid lifters, Yella Terra roller rockers, L34 heads, Edelbrock Performer manifold and Brawler 750 DP carby, putting out 384hp on the engine dyno.

It’s hooked to a stage two-kitted Trimatic, 3000rpm converter, three-inch tailshaft and narrowed VS SS Commodore diff. It all looks the goods with a 2.5-inch to three-inch polished stainless-steel exhaust, all done in-house. I also fully detailed the undercarriage and engine bay.”

Glenn Mors
FE Holden panel van

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“I’ve owned this van for about 14 years now. It has all-Commodore running gear: a V6 Ecotec, Turbo 700 and shortened VN diff, with VT parts used for the interior.”

Xavier Smith
Datsun 1200 ute

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“This is my 1985 Datsun 1200 ute. Since buying the car at the age of 15, I have been working on it as much as possible, and finally finished it recently, having just turned 17. I have fully replaced the tray with a plasma cutter and got the measurements of the original folds and applied them into the new tray.

The paintjob was super faded, so I resprayed it back to the original Butter Yellow colour. I replaced the wheels with Nissan TRX rims and painted them in a light grey. Once I had the Datto sitting on the wheels, I wasn’t happy with the height, so I chucked some two-inch lowering blocks in the rear and bought some S13 adjustable coil-overs from Supafatto, giving it a nice and clean stance.

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I have learnt so much over the past two years from my step-father, who has worked on it with me for so long and sacrificed many hours for me. I still have the original A12 1.2-litre in it, as well as the original carby. It did end up having ignition issues, so I switched from points in the dizzy to electronic.

I have many ideas for it for the future; I even thought about a 13B rotary, but I could also go with a basic SR20 or CA18. It’s not a bad-looking car; it obviously has its imperfections, but it drives well and is a good daily.”

Matthew Knowles
WH Holden Statesman

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“Here's a pic of my big boi! It’s running a freshie LS1, a built ’box by Paul Rogers, and a built diff with 3.7:1 gears.

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It’s got the best of everything, top to bottom. Not too bad for an old WH! Cheers!”

Send photos of your car and a few details of what went into the build to Readers' Rockets, Street Machine, Unit 9/3-5 Gilda Court, Mulgrave, Vic, 3170. Or email [email protected]. Please note: Send us copies of prints as we are unable to return your photos.

Street Machine staff


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