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 Unknown 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



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