The Holden Grey motor is often referred to as the Holden side plate. The engine earned its name as they were painted grey from the factory. They came in 2 sizes, 138ci and 132ci. More engineering and after market modifications have gone into this engine than any other engine in Australian automotive history.

December 09, 2014

The Rojin Australias Top D/A Altered - Holden Grey motor

08:42 Posted by Unknown No comments

AS WITH MANY other tooline cars from Calder, the Holden mill in Jim Veale's Willys Altered was prepared by Norm Gown Engine Developments.

Big Jim and his lovely wife, Cheryl, are the most devoted couple I have seen for many moons and they are also one of the keenest draggin' families round.

Their life centers around the Rojin. Neither would have it any other way. Best lime to date was the 1230 set at Sydney in November last year. At Calder recently driver Ron Fisher clocked 14.02 and covered more than 600 yards while doing it. He wiped out the timing lights at the finish and covered the last 100 yards backwards —what a way to go!

The car has cost them more than $4000, but both Jim and Cheryl agree that it's worth it.

Cheryl will drive the car one day. Jim recalls with a smirk that on several occasions when Cheryl would have been allowed to drive, nature stepped in, and she was forced to postpone her trip down the strip.



 Cheryl has several grievances about the sport of dragging. Her main bitch is the damage methanol does to a girl's nail polish.

Her other grouch is that the only time she's recognized as a part owner of the car is at showtime. Jim is adamant that Cheryl is The Only Owner at shows.



Despite the good humoured banter at the Veale homestead, all duties are shared in the enormous amount of work done to the car. Jim Veale does not drive the car for two reasons. Firstly, he's scared stiff—it goes too bloody fast. The second reason is that Jim is a giant of a man at 6 feet 3 inches and 14 to 16 stone—which is just wo heavy for a drag racer.

So next-door neighbour, plumber Ron Fisher joined the pit crew of The Rojin and eventually took over all of the driving duties. They have nearly reached the limit with their present set-up. so they are ser.ously considering big slicks and a low ratio diff. This will give big smokies and Jim visualizes II seconds—soon.



He bases this statement on the fact that their car comes out of the hole quicker than all others in its class (D/A). If the race was over r of a mile, they would have many more wins.

Jim recalled the day that the Bounty Hunter went past the Rojin nearly 40 m.p.h. faster when they reached the tower. At one stage of their racing they did not suffer a loss in their class for more than 14 months.

Cheryl was a dressmaker before her marriage, and she and several friend; made driving suits for the four man pit crew. All members were lined up at the house to make certain that even socks and shoes were all the same colour, before heading off for Calder.

Cheryl goes to all meets and the Thunderbird Club meetings, as Jim insists she is an integral part of the crew. Cheryl claims that the secret.,. of the Wales' success is the addition of a chrome-plated dip-stick to the motor.


Four years ago work was started on the Altered in a small shed. But when it was finished it was too big. The crew either had to strip pans of the car off to get it out of the door—or pull the shed down.

They bought a Holden sideplate six from Norm Beechey which was handed to Gown for re-development and a stage four head. In the past three years the head has been off the motor only eight times.

Veale has not run the motor on a Dyno for two reasons: a driver is inclined to get greedy on the Dyno and the outcome could be a blown motor, and the $50 charge for a Dyno run would be enough to make another eight slack suits for the pit crew.

The motor was bored to 31 inches with 12:1 pistons. They had problems with head gaskets, but these have been overcome.

The oil tracts and ways were opened up, giving 60 p.s.i. on starting which settles down to a steady 40 p.s.i. when the engine is warm. A bigger spring in the oil pump was the only modification made to the set-up.

As they haven't concentrated on shows, they have only one third placing to their credit. This was in the Melbourne showing in 1969 when they scored in the competition class.

The Rojin runs in D/ A class because of its 980lb weight. At 26 driver Ron Fisher is a top driver and a top class welder.

Double valve springs gave a 40% increase in tension. Jim also fitted spacers to the rocker gear to stop side travel which can cause the rocker to move right off the valve. The Wade cam was never successful, so it was replaced with a special Thomas drag cam.

The three 36 m.m. Del'orto carbs are fitted with S.U. float bowls. The FJ fuel pump maintains a steady five pounds pressure in the small fuel tank mounted up front. A small Japanese motorcycle 12-volt battery is fixed to the chassis near the firewall.

The standard F.1 distributor has been fitted with keeper plates to fix the spark at a permanent 38° advance. Jim estimates that the mill pumps 185 b.h.p., peaking at 7500 r.p.m. A block full of aquapura is the only cooling used in the quick Altered. Norm Gown fabricated a special flywheel from billet steel. It is only 1" thick and will be left as is. An X2 pressure plate and a solid centre clutch with competition linings are mounted next to an EJ box.

Although only second and top gears are used, the box was not modified. The tailshaft is only 12" long and has Holden universals on both ends. The L50 diff is from an FC ute with an HD centre. It has a 3.89:1 ratio. Front axle of he altered is of 2", 10 gauge stainless steel tubing fitted with Ford Prefect stubs.

An Austin A30 steering box and Volkswagen torsion bar suspension set-up com-plete the front end. The rear and front radius rods are all home-made from IS gauge stain-less tubing. The big hand-operated brake lever is coupled up to FC Holden rear brakes. Competition linings were used while the drums were left as is. There hasn't been any trouble stop-ping yet. The narrow front wheels are Dragaway-built while the rears are 10" Holdens.

Tyres for the rear wheel's were brOught from the Jack Brabham stable following the 1963 Grand Prix in Victoria. The big blue stripe specials were not used and ended up on the Rojin. The paint work is a Spartan Star-burst in Wildcat Green with a stripe of Starburst Purple around the top of the '35 Willys body.





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