It was only right that among all of the stunning cars that we shot during our Sydney trip, that one of them at least was going to be Australian. The Aussies know a thing or two about modifying cars, that's for sure, but having seen plenty of stunning Japanese and European rides it was time for something a little different. It was thanks to Ian Baker over at Hi Octane Racing that we came to hear of a legendary, freshly rebuilt classic Holden…
…a true Australian car, that hides a little something special under its classic sixties lines. So on our last day in Sydney, Casey and I grabbed the Nissan 370Z and drove across town to meet up with Ian at his shop.
The owner of this 1964 EH Holden Premier, Matthew Johnston, was originally toying with the idea of going for a modern engine conversion, something that would yield good performance but at the same time reliability. A near stock Nissan RB25DET would have done the job nicely, with plenty of power on offer and just about the perfect size to squeeze into the EH's engine bay. He then made the mistake of talking to Ian. To make a long story short, the original idea kind of remained but the result…
…ended up, ehm…a tad more extreme than initially planned! Powering the immaculately restored Premier now is a fully tuned RB30…
…supplying a massive 606 HP @ 7,800 rpm to the rear wheels with bucket-loads of torque. The moment this car rocked up to HPI's HQ, Casey and I couldn't believe the sound that was coming from it's straight through exhaust and with a somewhat limited amount of time before the threatening dark clouds were due to unleash some serious rain, we quickly began shooting away.
The motor was built by Leon McHugh at Turbos R US who certainly didn't do things by halves. The RB30 bottom end, fitted with Argo connecting rods and CP pistons has been mated to a fully ported and polished RB26 head. Oversized Ferrea valves work with 280º Tomei camshfts and springs to help get just the right amount of compressed air into the six cylinders. The externally gated Garrett GT25R single turbo supplies the necessary 21 PSI of boost to crank out the 600+ horses.
The pressured intake charge, after being cooled appropriately by the front mount intercooler passes through the big Hypertune throttle and into the intake manifold of the same brand.
An engine like this obviously needs its thirst quenched and that is where the uprated injectors and Tomei fuel line come into play.
There is less than a centimeter of clearance between the cam angle sensor and the radiator's fan shrouding. Now that's what a tight fit looks like!
The EH has been completely restored down to the bare chassis, repainted and every nut and bolt replaced, along with all seals, glass and pretty much everything else you could think of.
The presentation is outstanding and Matthew likes to keep things nice and clean. The car is currently doing the rounds at shows and exhibitions before it's to be put through its paces down the drag strip.
The sound pretty much gives everything away, but when parked up on the side of the street it just looks like a really well restored Holden. The body has been painted in Balhana green with the roof section sprayed in Fowlers Ivory.
Check out how the custom fabricated exhaust system ends well before the actual bumper line, hiding under the car, not giving any clues as to what has been done up front.
The Centerline Telstar wheels, whapped in Mickey Thompson drag radials at the rear…
…and Yokohama 352s up front. Hiding behind the chromed front rims are Alcon 4-pot racing calipers while the rear has been fitted with Commodore brakes.
This is one mean Holden sedan! Matthew has fitted Koni dampers all round with King springs to give the Premier a good compromise between comfort and performance.
Open the chunky steel doors and you are met with a superbly accessorized interior starting with the Momo Corse steering wheel….
…and a full line up of AutoMeter gauges replacing the stock instrumentation.
I really liked the blend of modern equipment and the sixties switchgear!
Sending drive to the rear wheels is a full manual Powerglide two-speed auto by Northmead Auto. Gears are shifted via this B&M Pro Ratchet shifter. At the rear the EH runs a 9-inch diff with 35 spline Mark Williams axles and a 4.11 final.
The AutoMeter Digital Pro Shift System controller sits neatly between the seats, within easy reach so Matthew can set up his shifting points and have the shift lights go off at the right rpm.
The leather and alcantara upholstered Recaro seats are fitted with RCI 5-point harnesses…
…which are anchored onto the cross bar of the custom fabricated roll-cage.
Rear seats have been finished off in the same combination as the front and thanks to the unobtrusive roll-cage are fully useable.
The trunk holds the race-spec fuel tank and the battery as well as the amplifier for the audio system.
Is something like this classic sixties Holden sedan the perfect sleeper? The wheels and exhaust note might give something away but who would ever think there is a 600 HP RB30 lurking under that stock exterior!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Pictures Casey Dhnaram & Dino Dalle Carbonare
Thanks to Matthew for allowing us to shoot his car and Ian for the help in setting it all up.