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.

November 30, 2015

John Keans - Hemi Holden Repco Crossflow

08:05 Posted by GreyFC No comments

 John Keans Repco Crossflow

When GMH first introduced the Holden, little did they realise the potential of the 132 cu in. side plate motor. John Kean a committee member of the Queensland Division of the FX-FJ Holden Club of Australia, has tapped a source of additional power to boost the normally sedate 57 bhp side plate to a genuine 145 bhp. This legal bolt on conversion allows increased performance without defying the Queens-land regulations regarding fitting post 1964 red motors in early Holdens.

At a time of rekindled interest in these cars John's FX is well worth a second glance. The body is a strictly original 48-215 which has been magnificently detailed. Before its restoration the car was stripped to bare metal then painted with seven coats of black acrylic lacquer by Brisbane spray painter Gary Juster. The car was completely rewired by Gary Lawson, an old hand at Eary Holden Electrics, to take a 35 amp alternator and 186 starter motor which was modified with a Toyota Crown drive. HQ sealed beam head light units which incorporates the park lights were fitted in keeping with early Holden design.

Warren Lee reupholstered the seats and trim, with off white vinyl and contrasting black floor mats. A highlight is the all new chrome.

But what makes this car distinct from other early Holdens around today, is that it's been fitted with a Repco high power head. This cast iron head was purchased for $250, ported and polished by John, then refitted with hand made authentic steel valves held in place by alloy valve caps and surrounded by 'Kawasaki 900' valve springs. He also fabricated the exhaust extraction system himself.

The head is mounted on a standard 3" 132 cu. in. block and since power is largely a function of valve timing, a special cam was designed by Eddie Thomas to optimize power. Only 200 of these 12 port cross-flow heads were ever made. They were originally introduced in 1956 and sold for 150 pounds which included pushrods valve gear and inlet manifold to suit either SU or down draught Weber carburettors.

Head design was by Phil Irving. it incorporates hemispherical combustion chambers with inlet and exhaust valves opening into it from opposite sides. Each exhaust valve has its own port and the inlets are fed in two groups of three by individual and almost straight ports leading from galleries formed partly by the head and partly by the bolted on manifolds which can be varied to suit the types of carburettors employed.

Dynamometer figures using a Std Bore 7.9:1 motor fitted with a full race cam indicated 137 bhp at 5,500 rpm. However using high compression 3-3/16" pistons it is possible to boost the bhp to in excess of 190.

As John intends increasing the power output above its present 145 bhp he finished off the car by fitting a HR disc brake front end.

The rear end is also HR but the diff centre is limited slip with 4.85 gears which makes the car very quick off the mark. These diff gears are also rare as only 100 were manufactured by Perkins Engines Aust. to suit the Holden Hemisphere and this was in 1957. Two and half years and $3200 have gone into this well thought-out rebuild and conversion.

M ember of the FX-FJ Holden Club of Aust. Queensland Branch, Mitchelton, Qld

Source:  Custom Rodder

Date:  July 1977

November 16, 2015

The JigSaw Fj - Custom Crazy

08:43 Posted by GreyFC No comments
Custom Crazy
You wont find a JigSaw like this Super FJ in any ol' toy shop.

Courtesy of Street Machine "Hot Holdens"  Oct/Nov '87 Author Michael Stahl and photos by Warwick Kent
 ( front cover pic posted down below ) -

What is the limit to a customer's desires? Seems Dave Johnson and his Jigsaw FJ Holden reckon it's somewhere up in the clouds. From a brilliantly blended mix 'n' match interior to a beautifully crafted rocker cover, this FJ's all class. Covering all the minor miracles Dave performed won't be easy ...

D.J. and FJ Holdens go back a long way. When Dave sold the last one, withdrawal symptons were overbearing. Working at Perfection Bodyworks in Brisbane, Dave saw plenty of modern — and no-so-modern — cars pass before his eyes. The temptation to build a streeter and making the best of both worlds grew. This car was soon on the drawing boards.

Jigsaw pulls you in with its body, a distinctive shape which you could confuse with no other. There's a reason for that — many, as it turns out. The chassis rails were snatched from an FJ ute and welded in. All seams were joined and welded, for greater strength and a cleaner finish.

The rear wheel arches were dropped six inches to accommodate chrome trims from . . . Dave won't say. An imported car, we're told. The rear quarter panels were puffed up to take Laser tail lights. And speaking of lights, take a gander at the JD Camira items up front. Matter of fact, the whole nose section was redesigned by Dave, including a hand-made grille, sculptured from brass. Artwork folks, pure artwork . . .

FJ fans will recognise that the windscreen's definitely not original. Matter of fact, it's from an ACCO truck and has been flush bonded! Flush bonding is also used on the rear window. Side glass is — wait for it —armour plated! The raised ridge between body and turret is gone, replaced by a smoothed, rounded curve. And you've gotta see what's inside, so to do that, swing on Toyota Camry doorhandles.

Front 'n' rear bumpers are from an LH Torana, colour coded and blessed with new bump strips. We aren't surprised that the rear deck spoiler is a hand-crafted, Dave Johnson special. Or that the inner guards run stainless steel protector plates. Or that there's a 10 gallon Galant fuel tank under the rear end, incorporating a spare wheel recess. With Dave and the Jigsaw, nothing surprises you after a while .. .

All that took 18 months of solid —and we mean rock solid — work. If you've ever attempted any sort of body mod, you'll understand that taking 18 months reveals the owner to be a quick worker. Jigsaw's a real head-swiveller underneath, too. Dave took all fuel and brake lines, arranged 'em down the tranny tunnel and kept everything nice and tidy. Then made a full belly pan to protect all that hard work — both underneath and in the engine bay. The pan makes life a lot easier come cleaning time.

Being protected is a 138 side-plate mill from a '63 EJ. Supercharged. Fully detailed. And, of course, customised. Not many neat street cars run a 138 up front, but for Dave the reason was quite logical. Queensland rego laws are pretty strict, and the 138 was the only powerplant recognised by the authorities. Being hassled wasn't the type of weekend pastime Dave had in mind .. .

Work was performed inside and out. The block was linished, with all cast marks polished away to produce a brilliant finish. It was then painted in the brilliant magenta before your eyes. Inside is where it all counts and here Dave had the moving mass balanced — stock crank, rods, rings and pistons. A 453 GN blower isn't outrageous and in this instance probably adds to Jigsaw's appeal.

It's fed induction mixture by a 48mm Weber, which sits on a Johnson-made base plate and is topped by a trick air box. Big valves, double springs, a Cornish blower camshaft and chrome moly pushrods ... it's all there. Assembled by Dave's dad, who just happens to be a motor mechanic. Custom Exhausts — and Graham Bevis in particular — are responsible for the headers and exhaust system. You couldn't miss spotting that braided line, because it's all Earl's best.

Neat underbonnet touches abound. Hidden wiring, of course. Special water pump pulley and breathers on a tricked rocker cover. If you want a rocker cover like Dave's, ask him for it, because Dad 'n' Dave designed and built this one. The painting and general detailing in the engine bay is to true show car standard. Dream stuff.

Engine power's fine, but you've got to make it work. That responsibility fell to a TriMatic transmission from a Commodore. To make that operate correctly, Dave installed a Starfire convertor and B&M shifter. An LH Torana came in handy once again, donating its 3.55 ratio limited slip diff and drum brakes. EH drums snapped into the front end and the whole system is given a kick in the shoes by an HR brake booster.

Jigsaw is driven and on occasions it isn't spared, so Dave didn't build a show car that'd fall on its ear at the first corner. That's why the FJ runs a suspension set-up devised by the pros at Fulcrum Suspension. Lovell's Springs and Monroe Wylie shocks made sure this is a sensible street car. Wheels were important for dynamics and looks, so Dave opted for polished Dragway Indys. Dunlop Le Mans rubber surrounds the rims, which are 14 x 7 up front and 14x 8 at the power end.

Take a look inside, and you'll see another chapter in the Johnson Book of Car Crafting. There's so much clever work here, we'll let you pick the parts from our pictures and give you the highlights instead. Front seats and steering column are from a Datsun 200B — did you pick 'em? LH Torana window winders, interior door handles by TF Gemini and . . . the list is endless. Play pick the part yourself. Of course, all interior components have been co-ordinated to match the superb Cherry Red Pearl finish on the exterior metal.

What do you say about a car like this? S'pose all you can report is that it's the world's finest mix and match operation. How anyone will top it is a puzzle to us ... ❑

November 05, 2015

Captain Nitrous and Mr Terrific

08:30 Posted by GreyFC No comments
Good to be Back

Source:  Street Machine Hotrod Ledgends January 2008
Author: David Cook
Photos: Peter Bateman

In the early 1980s drag racing enthusiast Bob Hamilton used to drive to work each morning past a blue and silver FJ called Mr Terrific, He knew the car from the drag scene and had a soft spot for classic Hoidens. One day he decided he wanted it, so he approached the owner, Rob Sloan, who'd launched its racing career in 1969. Rob had been drafted into the army soon after that and when he finished his national service he married. In 1977 the FJ was retired. 

Despite that, Rob refused to sell but Bob persisted, promising to retain the spirit of its creation, and eventually got his way. 

Bob bought Mr Terrific minus its motor and gearbox, planning to drop in the nitrous motor from his street FJ, but Rob soon offered the missing parts and Bob was happy to take them. 

"His sideplate reflected the technology in the late 60s but we gave it a go. I swapped the Torana gearbox for an Opel four-speed, and fitted a 100hp nitrous kit to the triple Strombergs." 

The car ran in low 14s but the low-ratio Opel 'box caused the front wheels to bounce in first and second and he was in top by half track. 

Bob also changed Mr Terrific to Captain Nitrous — so subtly that nobody noticed for three events. Otherwise the body remained as it came, in lace-painted Monza Blue, but it's the second shell on the car. The first was lost in the early 70s when it blew an oil line, coated the tyres and went sideways into a pole while testing on a quiet street. 

"The damage wasn't too bad but in those days there were heaps of FJ bodies around so it was tossed away for a new shell;' Bob says. The interior still has its red carpet, black deer-hide buckets and buttoned panels on the door trims; Bob was more concerned with mechanical improvements. 

The double-diaphragm Holden clutch had plenty of lock-up but it made his leg shake from the pedal effort on the start-line, so he replaced it with a paddle-clutch, using four sintered copper pads. The 15-inch Globes and small slicks were replaced by steel rims with 29x1 0x15 Firestone slicks. The Strombergs were swapped for a set of triple 1 1/2 in SUs.

"It had lumpy-top pistons and they were limiting the flame travel," Bob says. "I told Ron Richards I wanted to run 12s because everyone said a sideplate couldn't do it. He said we'd never do it with our cylinder head, that we'd need 300hp, and while we could punch it in with nitrous, we couldn't get it out. 

"In 1983 I bought several grey heads for Ron to cut up so we could examine core shifts and see where we could go with it. Ron Harrop and Ron Richards had this idea to use smaller valves closer together and at a more perpendicular angle to mimic a Hemi flow pattern. 

"We did about $3500 of work on that head. We blanked the valve guides and re-drilled them all at the angle we wanted.  A sideplatehead is full of water jackets and has a dumbbell-shaped combustion chamber; we had to put in copper wire 0-rings and they ended up looking like a map of Tasmania as they swerved around obstacles. They had to be cut by hand on a pantograph — it took four weekends. We switched from head bolts to studs, and went to 7/16in wheel nuts combined with a copper head gasket to get the sealing needed:' 

Bob retained Rob's home-made roller rockers and the Mallory coil, but the distributor was rebuilt to standard specifications (with vacuum advance removed) and locked at about 15 degrees because he didn't need much advance when using the nitrous. 

They sorted through a lot of blocks before they found one they could bore to 3 1/4in. Most would only go to 3 3/16in before breaking through a cylinder wall due to core shifts. They weighed blocks, knowing extra weight meant extra material. The donk finished up at 155 cubes. 

"We went through enough cranks to provide letterbox stands for the entire street:' Bob says. "They broke on the journal between five and six when you backed off at the finish. We finished with a standard-weight steel flywheel bolted to a crack-tested standard crank with six V8 bolts and plenty of Loctite. 

"We tried every form of harmonic balancer, even a Massey-Ferguson tractor piece, before we settled for a standard unit with new rubber and a bolt into the end of the crank to unload the keyway. I only went through three blocks but did a lot of cranks." 

International truck pushrods were used as they were lighter and larger diameter; Chev grey and white dual springs kept it together at 7000rpm. The Wade cam was driven by a Bosch fibre cam gear — replaced at every rebuild. 

In 1984 Bob switched to methanol and tuner John Kean used a quarter-inch drill to bore out the SU main jets. 

"It sounded totally different, and after recalibrating the nitrous for alcohol, times dropped to 13.2:' Bob says. 

The sidey now made 250hp and broke four Opel 'boxes, so Bob went to an Australian four-speed with a standard H-pattern shift. 

By the late 80s he'd run 13.007 after lots of tuning but he couldn't crack that 12. He tried an electronic sequencer for the nitrous, giving the car 50hp off the line, 100hp in third and 150 ponies in top, easing in the power. That dropped the wheelstanding car to a tantalising 13.001! 

In January 1989, at Willowbank, Bob decided enough was enough. He gave the old girl the full 150hp from go to whoa. 

"The car exploded off the line. I had to fight it all the way. At the end of the run I thought that if it hadn't run it, it never would. When I got to the pits the guys were going wild. It'd run 12.98. Apart from a day at Lakeside's eighth-mile in 1994, I haven't raced it since. It cost me $12,000 to run a 12 but it was worth it!' 

Parked at the back of Bob's work for the next 18 years, the FJ got the occasional nudge from the forklifts. 

"I was going to repaint it and give it to one of my sons as a daily driver but this deputation of racers and pit crew told me that while I might own the car, I was just its caretaker and had no right to change its character. I decided they were right so it sat there until nostalgia racing came along. I had such a ball I decided to drag the FJ out again": 

He parked the grey motor and went to a secret new 199ci Holden six combo. It uses some of the old grey bits and some others developed by Ron Richards in the mid-80s that were never used. 

It's taken a bit of effort by Karl Zerner and John Koolbanis to put the new-old engine together and make it work but they're looking for 400hp. If it runs a 12 this time, Hamilton reckons it'll be by accident. 

"These days it's all about having fun and putting on a show. If that's what we do then Captain Nitrous will be back in the spotlight where it belongs"

NITROUS has played a big part in Bob Hamilton's involvement with cars. As a chemist he'd begun mucking about with the gas in 1968, when few people here understood it for vehicular use, "Some people claim I just pulled an American unit apart and copied it," Bob says, "but I worked this all out myself long before the Yankee-kits were around' He started Precision Nitrous and handled the giggle gas needs of a number of record-holding racers as well as the GM diesel-powered Bandag Bullet in the 1980s. He even developed a unique combo of carbon dioxide and nitrous that produces more power with less nitrous! His chemical skills were also applied to the development of Launch Traction Compound, to save having to "rev the ring" out of the FJ before each run. These days Hamilton's business ventures have expanded " much further and fund seven nostalgia ieacersistreet cruisers, including a Hemi-powered '57 DeSoto Fireflyte two-door, several early XY Fords with more than 650hp each, and some quality German iron. He still has his original twe-tone blue FJ streeter. It runs impressive 12.8s at the nostalgia drags with the help of a stock 400hp BMW M3 mill. 

Th later 199ci Red/Grey

Older Pics:
Mr Terrific vs. Crusader