Car Feature>> Rb30 Powered Holden Premier

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!

Hi Octane Racing

-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.



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Drag car? what a waste...


Thats the definition of cool


Yeah, that kinda looks like an old drag car, not a sleeper....


damn this is too nice to mess up on a drag track. would love it have it as my street/sunday car instead


Sleeper?? WTF?? Maybe "barn find drag car" Nice car, but the wheels destroy it for me!


Not really a potential sleeper even because many of them have 308s or 350s in em!!!


These EH's are quite small, nowhere near the size of a similarly styled American muscle car. They aren't much bigger than a 4 door MK2 Escort really. But in Australia a lot of these sort of cars do ride on old school Dragways or Centrelines as they're the only wheels available to suit them. It is definitely a sleeper on Aussie roads.


That thing is immaculate! yeah much too nice to race on the drag strip.. that's the perfect Sunday cruise machine. Aussie needs more of these classics on the roads.


holy sh............!!!!!


Garrett GT25R? looks bigger


Very nice! That turbo is not a GT25R as stated though. Most likely a GT35R


Nice car, too bad they ruined it with fuel injection.


Doing fuel injection does not gain you reliability. If your carburated engine is unreliable it's because you didn't build it properly. Have fun spending 3 grand on a computer to "tune in" your garbage fuel injection and electronic ignition and fuel pressure. It's a sad day when you realize you just spent 3000 dollars to fine tune a fuel injected engine when had you gone old school you would spend 3 dollars on a screw driver to fine tune it.


ultimatly, this has just made my day


GT25R? 600hp? I'm confused. beautiful machine though.


Fantastic, although the window stickers and interior kinda mess with the sleeper look.


There's no way he's running a 2 speed with that motor...


Anyone that has a peak inside wouldn't really call it a stock interior.Nonetheless, very tidy!


holdens on speedhunters yay :)


I remeber when I first saw this at WTAC and was absolutlely devastated because only a few months before I came up with the idea for an identical engine swap into my EJ wagon and thought I would be the first :(


Wow. So many haters. I think its awesome. Great job. I love EH Holdens.


Very cool car. It is nice to see something different and attention to detail is always good to see in a build. You expect a GM big block in a car like that ,not a turbo I6.

One thing: the article states GT25R, I believe you mean GT35R


assume he meant 35r


How can people dislike this?!


Beautiful car.


BARF why the hell fit an automatic gearbox???

I guess the GT25R turbo is a mistake. I think it's quite a bit bigger, no?


Awesome, immaculate car but you can't call it a sleeper. This is basically the definition of pro-street lol


I'm not sure I get it.

-So it has a hybrid RB30 bottom end/ RB26 ITB top end build. With strong internals and a worked-over head with cams. Then why is he running a single tiny-ass GT25? A GT25 is almost too small of a turbo for stuff like Nissan SR's, VW 1.8T's, etc. It's sort of an ok big turbo for a 1600cc Miata. For a 3.0L built RB with ITB's and hot cams? Why doesn'the run at LEAST a 3076R or more realistically a twins scroll 35R? He could be making more power at lower boost with less lag if he had a turbo large enough to match the exhaust flow he surely has.

It's a drag car? I guess the M/T slicks and two speed PowerGlide are a hint. So why does it have a full custom interior with a bumping stereo? And why again are we hooking up a 2-speed manual converted powerglide to a 3.0L turbo six with around 600whp? Sure if it had three times that, it'd make sense.

The level of detail in the build is impressive - it's pretty, unique, and looks high-quality. But some of the choices are questionable.


Quote "Spark said:

Nice car, too bad they ruined it with fuel injection."

Are you serious??? Do you really think that running carbs would be the smarter option on a RB engine? I could understand your sentiments perhaps if he was running an old skool 308 but seriously the whole point of the engine conversion is having a new tech motor in an old body...EFI for the win in this case don't you think???

Great car!!!


Do a skid, uleh.


Quote "Spark said:

Doing fuel injection does not gain you reliability. If your carburated engine is unreliable it's because you didn't build it properly. Have fun spending 3 grand on a computer to "tune in" your garbage fuel injection and electronic ignition and fuel pressure. It's a sad day when you realize you just spent 3000 dollars to fine tune a fuel injected engine when had you gone old school you would spend 3 dollars on a screw driver to fine tune it."

Yeah fuel injection really is garbage... That's why all new automobile manufacturers are going back to carbs, right??? I think not!

You must not be very familiar with RB engines or forced induction in general. You neglected to include the cost of converting an already fuel injected motor to carbs, when there is absolutely no benefit to be had from it.. especially when you're talking about a gt35R pumping 21psi into it and both ignition timing and air/fuel ratio are so crucial to preventing detonation.

Carbs are great for a naturally aspirated build, but I guarantee your $3 screw driver would cost you a $10K motor in this case.


Funtastic.... Like the plain clothed stance!