Glen Profilio – Holden FC Ute – REFINED
This slick ute is virtually remanufactured from tip to tail. Down Town Kustoms (DTK) has re-designed, re-made, or refined every aspect, inside and out, for better form and function. A lot of effort went into making all the modifications like the upgraded double A-arm front end and four-bar, rear disappear. REFINED might look standard, however the body shape is actually far from the original. The only part that hasn’t been made from scratch (or substantially modified) is the centre of the roof. Modern driveline includes a stout LS3 power plant, T56 six-speed manual and 9-inch diff, all rolling on 16 and 18-inch billets that look just right.
Paint is far more subtle than your average high-end build, with the unique HOK grey giving REFINED a timeless elegance. This is offset by the combination of satin and matte-black undercarriage. It even retains all the exposed brake and fuel lines – albeit exquisitely formed in polished stainless steel. Despite being finished to a very high standard and featuring an extremely high level of modification, REFINED is first and foremost a driver. “The ute drove in here”, says Graeme from DTK, “and will effectively drive out a brand new car, with better form and function.” REFINED is not Glen’s only ute – this is just the lucky one. He also owns an FJ, two EHs and a 1967 Ford XR ute. “Utes were bought as workhorses,” says Glen. “They had a wheel barrow in them from day one. I have a fascination for them, as they’re true survivors, I’m just trying to keep them alive.”
Gerry Mediati – 1969 Fiat Abarth Cabriolet – SCORPIONE
Gerry Mediati’s Abarth is hands down the most left-of-field machine ever unveiled in Australia – and quite possibly the world. The international Fiat 500 Club is 25,000 members strong and none of them have ever seen a 500 taken to this extent. “I’m only the crazy one,” says Gerry. The car started as a bit of joke around what you could build that no one has ever seen before – which spawned the idea of a Fiat 500. Gerry loved the concept so much, he set about building one for real. The donor car was originally a hardtop, which Gerry lopped the top off to make a Cabriolet. Mind you there wasn’t much cutting involved, as the donor car was a complete basket case. Rust had just about eaten away all the pillars. In fact only the outer rear quarter panels were retained, every other inner outer panel was made from scratch. So too was the custom chassis, complete with fabricated, tubular suspension that uses modified Fiat stub axles and scaled-down coil-overs all ’round that were specially made in Italy. Also out of Italy are the one-off 12×5 wheels – which feature a huge PCD. Displacing the original 500cc air-cooled engine is an 800cc version that makes 55rwhp – which is almost triple the original’s output. Gerry built 90 percent of the car himself, with Mick’s Custom Trim interior and that seductive HOK Majik blue laid on by Sefton Smash being one of the few things outsourced. Despite the Fiat’s diminutive size, it comfortably seats four adults.
Peter Elliot – 1934 Ford Tudor SIMPLICITY
Having taken out the Superstars Best of Breed Hot Rod with his swoopy teal and silver ’37 Ford (37 WLD) roadster in 2008, Peter Elliot thought he’d build a more family oriented hot rod this time around. “It’s just a driver,” says Peter, of his HOK custom Brandywine ’34 Ford Tudor called SIMPLICITY. However even Peter admits the detail and workmanship have gone well beyond his original intentions. The three-year build is based around a Deuce Customs body riding on a Rod City chassis that features a IFS, rack ‘n’ steering and a four-bar rear end complete with Currie nine-inch. To give SIMPLICTY plenty of rake and attitude, there’s 20×10 Budnik billets on the rear and matching 16x6s up front.
Except for the heads, the rest of the carburetored 383 small-block Chev has been finished in a contrasting satin HOK Root Beer. The TH350 has received the same treatment, which looks great against the polished diff and stainless exhaust. Peter painstaking took every ARP 12-point stainless bolt, machined the head smooth before polishing them. Inside its wall-to-wall light tan leather with Mercedes carpet on the floor. The front buckets are custom pieces, while the rear seat has been built from scratch. What really stands out on this car is the detail and paint – there’s a lot more paint than polish. After Paul Kelly finished off the body Pats Pro Restos spent seven, solid months just on the paint. “There’s not one part of this car that has not been buffed,” says Peter, “the underside of panels, the underside of the floor, everything! I find hot rods easy to build. Every time you have a piece in your hand, you finish that piece as best as possible before bolting it on.”
Mal Apps – FC Sedan INTREPID-C
The previous owner of this FC known as INTREPID-C had spent considerable time and effort building up the sedan into a Peter Fitzpatrick tribute machine complete with V8 conversion – then parked it in a shed for 16 years. Current owner, Mal Apps, saw the potential and bought it with the intention of finishing it off, as it pretty much just needed trim. Before all that could happen, Mal decided he wanted disc brakes on the rear and a better front end. This quickly escalated to Glen (the man responsible for building most of INTREPID-C) dragging out the plasma cutter to remove the entire floor. To fill the gaping hole, a custom perimeter chassis was fabricated complete with a Rod-Tech front end and triangulated four-bar rear to clear the 20×10 and 19×8 rolling stock. This chassis was also tucked 90mm up into the body to enable INTREPID-C to sit on the deck, while remaining fully functional.
Body mods have been limited to shaved door handles, flush fitting door frames and shaving some of the factory molds. Under the side-opening bonnet it’s a different story. The underside of the bonnet has been skinned and now wraps around the cross-arm injection that sits proudly top the detailed four-bolt, 350 Chev. The smoothed off inner guards, firewall and radiator cover panel were all fashioned from sheet metal. In a nod to the FC’s factory colour scheme, the body is finished in HOK Oriental Blue and Snow White pearl.
Virtually the entire interior is has been made from scratch. In the dash you find a nicely-integrated, ’55 Chev gauge cluster, while Mickz Motor Trimming spent a huge number of hours fashioning the kick trims, door panels, parcel tray, boot panels and hood lining side moldings out of aluminium – before covering them in sumptuous leather. Considering Mal has just turned 70, INTREPID-C has been a massive commitment and a pretty brave move. However there’s no doubting the end product.
Steve Hopes – 1968 Camaro SINISTR
The centre point of Steve Hopes’s ’68 Camaro is undoubtedly the Nelson Racing Engines 1500hp mill under the hood. However this incredible HOK Dark Bronze Camaro is so much more than just a big engine. This elite-level machine sports sensational detail and a high degree of engineering throughout. Being built to go around corners, SINISTR now sports a full SRG-Force chassis underneath that’s equipped with modern suspension architecture along with power rack ‘n’ pinion steering, torque-arm rear, watt’s linkage and adjustable coil-overs all ‘round.
To clean things up, the extended sills wrap smoothly under and across the chassis rails. Grabbing the pavement is fat 345/25/20-inch rear boots and 215/40/18 fronts filled with monstrous Wilwood brakes. On the inside, the custom dash flows into a full-length console, which flows into the rear parcel tray, which flows into the doors and back up to the dash. It’s full wrap around without looking like a full wrap around. Except for the fibreglass, all this is done in steel – not bad for a bloke who makes his living as a builder. Steve did everything himself bar the paint, electrical and interior stitch work.
“I started out just putting in a big-block,” says Steve. “I then started to cut the floor for the chassis and big wheels and one thing led to another.” It might look like a stock Camaro with big wheels, however Steve spend most of the five-year build on the underside. There’s also a host of little modifications that only Camaro people will notice. Oh and that engine; the brutal 406-cube brute uses Dart wide-pan block, Callies crank, JE forged pistons, solid roller cam, Brodix CNC-ported heads, all topped with NRE’s billet Alien intake and a pair of their symmetrical turbos.
David & Ange Hellyer – 1974 Holden LH Torana
This is the second time around for David & Ange Hellyer’s killer LH Torana, which they’ve owned since 1997. “Three years ago I started with a 10-second show car,” says David. Take two has been specifically built to compete in the APSA Pro Street Unblown class. They’re chasing 7.50s, which is well ahead of the current class record of 7.93. To run this quick, JL Race Cars TIG’d up the intricate ANDRA-approved Chrome-Moly, twin frame-rail chassis into which they slotted in a Pro9 nine-inch diff, complete with alloy housing. JL also formed the carbon-fibre floor, tubs and door trims.
Body wise, Kingpins Kustom did a mile of work on the body which included smoothing out the engine bay along with fine-tuning along with a myriad of modifications. After all this, Kingpins rolled it into the booth and laid on the HOK Bright Yellow – which looks awesome next to the dark grey powder coated chassis. Running a record-smashing time requires a record-smashing engine – which is where BK Race Engines comes into the picture. They screwed together the normally aspirated, 632-cube big-block Chev, using the very best gear including a sheet metal intake manifold and Big Chief heads. “It’s a good class to go racing in,” says David, “It’ll be good to give it a shakeup.”
Rob Zahabi – 1954 Ford F100 FUN 54
How do you make a 50s truck fun? Slam it to the ground, drop in a bad-ass blown V8 and paint it in HOK Jet Black and HOK red – that’s how! This recipe has definitely worked for this Rides by Kam stunner, FUN 54.
Sure the recipe might be straightforward, however the ingredients are anything but. Dropping the Effie into weeds over the one-off 20×8 and 22×10 Boyds billets, is a Mustang II-style front end and airbags all ‘round. Holding up the old-school rootes blower is a late-model Aussie 5.4-litre Ford Boss V8.
To mate the Blower Shop huffer and quad-cam together, engine guru, Jake Edwards fabricated a custom inlet manifold and blower-drive set-up. With 600 neddies at the crank, it’s a horsepower match made in heaven. Getting rid of the F100s ugly bits and bobs required a myriad of subtle mods, – such as deleting the quarter vent windows and flattening out the tailgate. After KAM spent nearly two years fine-tuning all the body work, GC Collision Center was called into action to lay on the HOK hues. On the inside, Rob broke out the sewing machine and covered everything in classy black leather, which he offset with a swag of billet goodies and electronic wizardry.
Originally purchased as an unfinished project that was mostly in boxes, getting this killer pick-up back in one piece proved to be a nightmare. “A lot of the work had to be redone,” says Rob from Rides by Kam, “and it was missing so many pieces. You couldn’t bolt anything up without having to buy extra bits or fabricate missing parts.” Rob predicts FUN 54 is unlikely to see many shows after MotorEx. “The owner lives in Northern Territory and is definitely going to be driving it,” says Rob. You can bet he’ll be having a tonne of fun in his ’54 F100.
Johnny Z’s – 1932 Ford Roadster SCARLET
Called SCARLET, this trick ride out of Johnny Z’s is like a brand, new car wrapped in a 1932 roadster body. It contains 12 computers that control every aspect of the vehicle, including the EFI engine, electric windows, door poppers, rear parking sensors – even the readouts for the digital instruments. The Dearborn steel body has been outfitted with Johhny Z’s own five-piece bonnet and custom rear belly pan that features flush-fitting LED taillights and centre-exit exhaust. Befitting of lady who gioes by the name SCARLET, the body is finished in a very dramatic custom HOK candy red.
Underneath is a trick chassis and suspension set-up that includes independent front suspension (in polished stainless) and a highly-detailed Kugel Komponents independent rear end, that’s outfitted with in-board disc brakes and a nine-inch centre section. Sitting in front of the polished, fluted firewall is the aforementioned EFI engine; a Weiand-blown, 350 Chev topped with a bug-catcher scoop (converted to EFI) that runs electric fly-by-wire throttle. Thanks to a host of little tricks like this, there’s no wiring to be seen.
The fully-functional interior is equipped with climate controlled air-conditioning, custom bucket seats and swaths of high-end Connolly leather. And just like a modern luxury machine, the soft top folds neatly away, under a panel in the rear of the hot rod. The whole build has taken just 11, short months, with the crew from Johhny Z’s really burning the midnight oil. Everything on SCARLET is totally different to your traditional hot rod – it’s more like a modern ’32 that’s just rolled off the production line yesterday.
Ben Sorrenti – 1934 Ford Three-window Coupe 34 Coupe
Simon Benello from Ground Level Paint and Panel nearly wore his fingers to the bone flat rubbing and buffing every square inch of Ben Sorrenti’s ’34 three-window Ford coupe. “Nothing is off the gun, even the tailshaft yokes have been flat rubbed and buffed,” says Simon. Not to be left out, the 372-cube Sprintcar-based Donavan alloy small-block has also been fully polished, so too has the blower, intake manifold along with the TH400’s alloy case. Surrounding all this is a Deuce Customs body complete with suicide doors that rides on a Rod-City chassis. After kicking in the rear of the chassis to accommodate those fat, 29×12.5-inch Hoosiers on the rear, the whole shooting match was detailed to perfection, which included painting all the driveline and chassis in HOK Black Gold so that it contrasts nicely with the slick HOK Sunrise body.
Despite the independent front end, the coupe is still fairly old school thanks to its nice rake and Halibrand Sprint wheels with Frontrunners on the steering end. Loui from LL Customs has designed an interior of wall-to-wall black leather, producing a sharp finish and eye-grabbing contrast against the HOK Sunrise exterior. Although the body was purchased 12-years ago, the build really didn’t start making significant progress until about three years ago when Ground Level got involved. “I took it to Simon and said, ‘just do it,’” says Ben. Having previously owned a host of cool machinery, including a ’28 and a ’32 hot rod, Ben thought it was about time he built a ’34 – and this time around he’d go all out and build his first show stopper. You have to admit, this Sunrise coupe is a damn fine effort.
Chris Varney – 1971 LJ Torana MOD ROD
Chris was inspired by Jeff Haggarty’s Expression Session concept that appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Street Machine magazine – from which Jeff would go on to work as a senior designer for Holden. The MOD ROD project was originally undertaken shortly after the Street Machine feature appeared; making this an 18-year build. Initially Chris had hoped to have it finished for his daughter’s high school graduation, then for her wedding – he missed both deadlines by a considerable margin.
This extended build time created a nightmare during final assembly. “Nothing fits!” says Chris. “After MotorEx, I’ll have a bit of a holiday, then I’ll get in and tear it back down to fix a host of little issues I’m not happy with.” Considering Chris is a sprightly 68, a holiday after finishing such a big build is quite deserved. “I can’t stop, I’ve got to always keep going,” says Chris, “the wife loves it as she always knows where I am!”
Although MOD ROD features extensive body modifications, Chris wanted to retain as much LJ front as possible, with the back looking pure Torana. Other custom elements include hand fabricated front suspension system. The original intention was to paint the car black, however the more he looks at this colour, the better it looks. Out in the sun the HOK Brandywine really jumps out at you. Despite the insane level of modification, Chris insists this will be fully, legal driver – albeit minus the blower currently mounted atop the 350 small-block Chev. Tentative plans include adding EFI to the V8 once the blower comes off.
Brett Hewerdine – 1937 Ford Roadster LOWLFE
This HOK Jet Black over HOK Olive Gold ’37 Roadster oozes class. The swoppy lines of the fibreglass Oze Rods body (on an Oze Rod chassis) is reminiscent of the classic, coach-built customs of the 30s. The perfect fitting, polished brass moulding that runs down each side and across the back was hand crafted by Woods & Woods. It’s an amazing piece that looks very factory. Andrew Ash from AA Panel Craft fettled the body into shape before laying on the great-looking colour scheme. Michael Carter (Mick’s Custom Trim) fashioned the seats and door trims before covering everything in sumptuous leather.
Brett entrusted Mark Sant to project manage the build as well as look after final assembly and electrical work – which included incorporating electric side glass, actuator-operated trunk lid, electric door poppers and self-levelling AccuAir airbag system. With the Harrop eight throttle body injection atop the 700hp Sam’s Performance 427 LSX, LOWLFE has plenty of go to match the show. Rounding out the driveline package is a T56 six-speed and nine-inch all rolling on custom double A-arm suspension up front end and four-bar rear. Brett has always liked the cool lines of ’36 to ’40 Fords and built this stunner as a driver. “I never built it for show,” says Brett.
Michelle Davies – Chopper
Although Michelle Davies is no stager to bikes, having owned a Street Bob for some time, this is her first full-on custom chopper. Michelle’s husband, Gareth, originally undertook the build as a surprise for her 40th birthday earlier this year. Unfortunately circumstances conspired against those initial plans, with the handover now taking place at MotorEx. The bike is based around a Kraft Tech rigid bobber frame with a two-inch up-stretch and 34-degree rake. There’s also a springer seat, Sissy bar on the back and a 180-wide rear tyre. While the 88-cube Evo-based engine has a host of good gear, it isn’t crazy as they wanted it to be really user friendly. Something you could simply jump on and head up the coast without having to worry.
Gareth vividly remembers a comment that Chip Foose made when he visited MotorEx two years ago, ‘the best modification is the one you don’t notice.’ “I love this and build my bikes along these lines,” says Gareth. This was his inspiration when hand forming all the panels, including all those ones you don’t notice until you get up and have a close look. Look carefully at the HOK Fuschia Flake for a better appreciation of the intricate Joe Webb airbrush work and pin stripping. Other than a couple of bolts and a few odd parts, this bike is devoid of chrome, everything has been powder coated in heat-proof tough as muck black. “I’ve certainly kept Peter Snell Protective Coatings busy this year,” says Gareth.
Gareth Davies – Chopper
This latest custom chopper from Gareth Davies makes this the 12th straight year he’s unveiled a new bike at MotorEx – that’s a mighty effort. Gareth and this year’s HOK Clockwork Orange bike have quite a bit of history. “I built it for a friend several years ago,” says Gareth. “It was then wrongly impounded as a rebirthed bike, eventually recovered before being crashed some time later – while not insured.” Rather than let it slink off into obscurity, Gareth felt it needed to stay in the family, so to speak, and decided to buy it back and give it a major revamp and makeover. The genuine Harley Davidson frame now sports a four-inch up-stretch and four-inch back stretch. Limiting the frame mods means that all Gareth needs to do is put a cover in the primary and quieter pipes and it’ll be 100 percent legal in NSW.
Wheel wise the chopper runs a PM billets, 21-inch up front and 18×8.5 out back wrapped in a fat 250-wide tyre. Pushing things along is a warmed-over 2001 twin-cam Harley engine hooked to a factory Harley gearbox that has beefed up internals and three-inch BDL top fuel belt drive. All the guards are handmade, while oil and fuel tank have been sliced and diced to blend into the overall theme of the bike. For Gareth, the highlight is the Joe Webb graphics. “I can’t give this guy enough credit,” says Gareth, “he never fails to amaze me. It will blow everyone away.” These trick graphics incorporate a skulls and snakes theme with flames licking their way over the top of it all. In stark contrast to the HOK Clockwork Orange paint, all the accessories have been painted or powder coat tough-as-much black. “I’ve certainly kept Peter Snell Protective Coatings busy this year,” says Gareth.
Joe Kilner – Chopper CORUPT
With its front and rear stretch, along with 44-degree rake up the front, Joe Kilner’s wild chopper, CORUPT, measures in at 2.7mteres long – or 9-feet in old speak. Although Joe has owned quite a few bikes over the years, this is his first show-level machine – which has taken three and half years, all-up, to complete. Originally built by Ben Marshall from South Australia, the soft tail rear, Southern Cycles frame now houses a fully polished, 127-cube Ultima that is mated to an RHS six-speed transmission. Billet wheels measure 21-inch up front and an 18 on the blunt end – which wears a 300 tyre.
CORUPT has been an all-out effort, requiring a lot of custom parts, such as the four-inch stretched tank, neat sheet metal work (and help with the display) by Sunshine Sheetmetals, one-off bars from the well-known Burleigh Bars and wiring and some custom parts by Big Daddy Customs. However for Joe, it’s the paint that is the standout feature, with Pete’s Killer Paint from South Australia being the man responsible.
“I’d seen some of his artwork before,” says Joe, “I picked the HOK Oriental Blue and just let him run from there and do whatever he wanted to do.” The highly-detailed custom airbrush work includes marbelised candy along with tribal flames that feature an underlying Satan-child theme throughout. The marbelised candy even extends onto the frame and sheet metal work. Equipped with full lights, blinkers, mirrors and headlight, along with an amply-padded snake skin seat, this is one radical chopper that is destined to see plenty of highway miles – where it will no doubt turn every head in a 10-block radius.