Our local automotive scene is blessed with a lot of talent, and we see that in the cars we feature every issue. As we try and feature cars built to an increasing standard, it’s reassuring to see the quality of local builds has also been been stepping up. So, without further ado, here’s a list of our 10 favourite builds covered in our In the Build section over the year of 2016.
Gerard Perkins — 1955 Chev
Dunedin’s Gerard Perkins is well into the build of one of the best looking gassers we’ve ever laid eyes on. Better than just looking like an old gasser, the ’55 Chev actually has genuine history, having been raced in the ’70s and ’80s.
The car is being built as a life-size copy of the Revell-Monogram model designed by Tom Daniels back in 1969 — named the ‘Badman Gasser’ — which was, at the time, what Tom Daniels thought a Gasser should be like. The model was a top seller for the companies back in 1969.
When purchased, the ’55 had been sitting for a long period, and needed a full rebuild. On top of that, some of the old engineering was, according to Gerard, pretty average. Things are far from average now, though, with the body having been stripped right back before being resprayed and the custom graphics applied.
Gerard’s plans are to run a supercharged big block Chev and race-prepped Powerglide transmission, along with a Krysler Shop–built Currie nine-inch rear end. We’ll bring you more on this work of art as it progresses.
Damien Crook — 1968 Chev Camaro RS/SS
Damo Crook is one very talented man, who has been building an old school–looking ’68 Camaro RS/SS with a pro-touring soul in his garage with his own two hands. The tough machine sits on full RideTech coilover suspension, with Wilwood brakes and DSE booster and steering componentry, rolling on 15-inch American Racing wheels for an old-style flavour.
Motive power comes from a dry-sumped LS7, with headers and an exhaust system built by Damo, and a Tremec TKO600 manual box and nine-inch rear end with Truetrac centre and beefy kit courtesy of the Strange and Currie catalogues.
Interspersed throughout the car are more than 50 subtle custom modifications, most of which will not be noticed — unless you really know your Camaros — but what really gets us is that Damo has managed to achieve all this on axle stands in a shed.
The bodywork has just been painted by Damo’s mate, Bruce, who was a painter for Boyd Coddington in the late ’90s, so it should look as stunning as it deserves to. The build should be finished in around a year, and we’ll be sure to have a feature on it when it’s ready.
You can see Damo’s build thread here.
Noel Richmond — 1950 Ford Bonus
Noel Richmond has a ’50 Ford Bonus that is currently undergoing a major overhaul at Kruzin Kustoms. Keeping everything in the F-series family, the drivetrain has been sourced from a 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor. Currently, the 6.2-litre V8 is getting the factory emissions controls taken care of, which should free up a bit of power, and the modern technology will ensure effortless reliability.
Noel’s ultimate goal is a vehicle he can “just get in and drive” — a Mustang II–style IFS front subframe, disc-braked nine-inch diff out back, and full airbag suspension should see to that.
The wheels have just arrived from the USA, meaning they can be dummied up and the diff can be shortened. Since just about everything required to complete the build has already been purchased, it’s full steam ahead.
Although Noel has not set any deadline by which he’d like to see the build completed, he did mention he’d like it to be ready in 12 months; with six months down, the rest of 2016 is looking promising. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing this one finished!
John McKechnie — Holden Monaro HK
The Cambridge-sponsored Holden HK Monaro once driven by John Riley, Spinner Black, and George Bunce, which won hearts and races back in the 1970s, is making a much-welcomed comeback. Under the ownership of John McKechnie, the car, which was purchased in a state most people would have walked away from, has been transformed back to as-new condition.
In a strange twist of fate, it’s this very car that got John hooked on motorsport all those years ago, after he witnessed it competing at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
The car was converted to a road car in the late ’70s, and received a set of custom flares in the ’80s, before it was written off and presumed never to return.
A few years ago, the rotten HK bodyshell appeared on Trade Me, and John noticed a few telltale signs that gave clues as to exactly what car it might be. He took a chance, and was correct. The rebuild is now nearing completion, and, all going to plan, the car will make its first public outing towards the beginning of next year. We’ll bring you more when it happens.
Adam Cope — 1969 Chev C10
Adam Cope has got to be nearing completion of his slammed ’69 Chev truck by now.
“I purchased the truck five years ago, with the plan of doing a lowering job and a few touch-ups,” Adam says.
Predictably, ideas grew and the original plan was thrown out the window.
“A restomod style of build was what I really wanted — keeping the truck looking as stock as possible but with handling beyond what was on offer in 1969, and that killer stance at the push of a button,” he adds.
After plenty of research, and two years gathering parts, Adam got stuck into it.
“Now, a year and a half down the track, I’m closing in on completion of what I’m calling ‘stage one’ — everything under the body, such as chassis, suspension, and engine bay. The plan is to have some fun in it before ‘stage two’, which will be panel and paint, and exterior restoration,” Adam explains.
So far, the work to get the ’69 looking the way it does has been pretty extensive, and includes a body drop on Porterbuilt dropped body mounts, a Porterbuilt front drop member (raised front cross member), and CPP two-inch drop spindles to achieve the desired ground-scraping ride height. A Porterbuilt 1¼-inch front sway bar, Ridetech tubular A-arms, Unisteer rack and pinion steering, and front disc brake conversion will help Adam achieve his goal of a fine-handling machine.
This theme continues in a similar vein out the back, where a large C-notch lives under the raised rear floor, as well as a four-link and Panhard rod set-up. The whole lot rides on full air suspension, thanks to an AccuAir e-Level air management system. A 350ci small block with TH350 transmission keeps everything reliable, for what looks to be an awesome cruiser. Stay posted for more info on Adam’s truck.
Tony Baya — 1928 Dodge Tudor
Tony Baya from Limitless Engineering in West Auckland is nearing the final stages of his hot rod build, and we can guarantee it’s like nothing you’ll have ever seen before. The intention is for the finished car to look like a typical full-fendered hot rod, with all the trick componentry hidden from sight.
With the amount of kit Tony’s trying to squeeze into the small package, the real beauty of the car is in the incredible packaging — something that’s rather tricky to convey via photos. The 500ci Chrysler big block is topped with a custom billet manifold and intercooler — with integrated fuel rails — designed and machined in-house at Limitless Engineering, topped with a 6-71 blower.
The reverse-intake plenum is another billet work of art crafted by Tony, and will recede into the cowl. The dry-sump pan is also a billet piece, with eight brackets for mounting the individual ignition coil packs down low. The dry sump pump, drive gears, and alternator are all cleverly mounted on a custom engine plate.
Backed by a Tremec TKO600 five-speed manual, with hydraulic release bearing, the hydraulic brake and clutch components sit beneath the driver’s side floor, with the passenger side taken up with air-to-water heat exchangers for the water-to-air intercooler. Right at the back is a tried and tested Jaguar rear end — the perfect system for an old-school hot rodder like Tony.
The chopped, shortened, and two door–converted ’28 Dodge Tudor body is almost finished, with Tony handling all the work involved, and should be on the chassis in the next few months. With the build beginning to look like a completed car, we’re looking forward to seeing it all come together; you can be sure we’ll have a full feature on it when it’s ready. For now, though, you can see more here.
Hamish — Ford Falcon XY
Hidden away in a North Canterbury garage is an XY Falcon that is shaping up to be a serious street weapon. Owner, Hamish, says that he has most of the parts required to finish it, but all that’s missing is the time to do so. A huge amount of metal surgery has been performed on the Falcon by Skinny’s Speed and Gas. Not only is the boot home to a large fuel cell, it also houses a set of massive wheel tubs that is covering the shortened nine-inch and a set of 15x14-inch Weld wheels. Down the pointy end is a completely new independent front suspension set-up. This was necessary as the front strut set-up had to be removed to make more room in the smooth engine bay for the car’s new power plant. No fewer than 570 cubes of Ford Hemi big block will propel this monster down the road, and, if that wasn’t enough, a 10-71 blower will sit atop this beast, giving it close to 1400hp. The transmission of choice is a TH400, with 15x4-inch Weld wheels under the front end as well. This one will be worth waiting for.
Nick Andrews — Ford GT40 (replica)
Nigel Andrew is no stranger to tough Fords, but his next build is certainly something out of the box. Nigel purchased the GT40 replica a few years back, with the intention of adding a twin-turbo set-up to it. That conversion is now well under way.
Besides the fact that Nigel and his son, Nick, are doing the work on the car themselves, the big delay was around getting a transaxle gearbox that would handle the power output without costing the earth. The Rivers Speed and Spares–built engine has the potential to create four-figure power output, although for now, it’ll run just 5psi to ensure the trans holds together.
With the bulk of the work completed, the finishing touches are being added to the fabrication side of things before the car is sent off to paint. We’re sure we’re not alone in wanting to see the finished product.
Doogie Edmonds — 1979 Holden HZ Premier
Doogie Edmonds is knee-deep into what has to be one of the most intensive H-series Holden builds we’ve seen. The car is a ’79 Holden HZ Premier wagon, to which Aaron Iremonger and the team at Iron Force Race Cars, in Waipukurau, Hawke’s Bay, are grafting the IRS subframe from a donor ’97 Commodore VS, along with the front subframe and suspension set-up. Extensive custom fabrication around the rear chassis has allowed mounting of the Commodore’s rear subframe, which doesn’t take up too much room within the cabin.
The front end has had the VS K-frame adapted to the chassis rails, and tubular shock towers fabricated for the MacPherson strut front suspension. The factory suspension is being replaced with BC Racing Gold Series adjustable coilovers all round. The vehicle will run the donor Commodore’s injected 304ci Holden V8 and BorgWarner T5 five-speed manual gearbox. Doogie hopes to get the wagon into Grant White Autobody in Hastings over the next month to begin the restoration and paint. The aim is to have the project finished mid 2017, but, with a project of this scale, it’s difficult to know. Regardless, we can’t wait to see it finished.
Steve Walker — 1973 Plymouth Cuda
Blown … Hemi … Cuda. Those are three words that make any real petrolhead sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what Steve Walker from Mikes Engines in Whangarei has under construction. Steve is no stranger to tough cars, but this brutal E-body is going to be the undisputed king of the pack. The ’73 Cuda has had major repairs to the boot and cabin floors, and is off to be media blasted before work can begin on setting up the custom four-link rear suspension.
Up front, the hole will be filled with a 10-71 blown Keith Black Hemi displacing 572 cubes and requiring a ton of custom work where front suspension, headers, and engine mounting are concerned. It’s not too much of a worry for Steve, who’s well up to the challenge, and we’re looking forward to seeing it become one of New Zealand’s toughest street cars.