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.

January 06, 2016

The Bushman - Grey Motor D/A Altered

08:35 Posted by Unknown No comments

A RELIABLE, hard-haulin' mill is one of the keys to successful drag racing, that's for sure, and the six-pack which powers Jimmy Underwood's now well-established D/A Holden/Fiat must be the answer to any hot-rodder's prayers.

The EJ block being used in the Altered first tasted competition around Easter '67 in Jim's C/MS-winning FX sedan at a dirt strip meeting at Bendigo. Next time around it had found its way into his "Junior Mr. Holden '67" win-ning FX ute.

The same ute fronted to the first Calder ding early last year, but it soon became apparent that it would have to be running way above its capabilities, class-wise, so Jim turned around to his long-time buddy, Trevor Taylor, and said: "We're going home to build one of them there Fiat Altereds, boy, and to hell with the ute!"

Home to the Victorian pair is Gunbower (congratulations to the first one to find it on the map) and through the long Echuca winter months, plans were drawn up and blow torches blew, night after night, until well past bed-time. Four and a half months of solid toil and pocket lightening to the tune of $1400 resulted in a creation named "The Bushman".

Back they came to Calder in August of '68 with the new charger in tow to have it out with the almost unassailable "Li'l Bounty Hunter" Holden/Fiat of fellow Echuca driver, Maurie Mundie. But it was champagne all round at the close of business on that first Sunday in August after "The Bush-man" cracked it for a 13.28 beam-cutting class win, first time out yet! Which only lends further weight to that "old" adage: "Once a good donk, always a good donk!"

BIRDSEYE view of Jim Underwood's Holden/Fiat altered shows clean cockpit layout— Fiat steering box is mounted to rollcage crossmember, aluminium panelling along sides effectively seals cockpit lower half from mechanicals and also serve as "wind-tunnels". Pic top of page shows Jim and "the Bush-man" at Calder Dragway leaving the line for another low-13 sec. trip down the quarter.

Anyhow, that's the "after" of the picture, just what went on before? You're probably wondering.

Chassis design was left zo Trevor, who came up with a fairly light, but extremely rigid, spiderweb-like affair of lin. x lin. square tube. The basis of its strength lies in the paired longitudinal struts, braced by both conventional for-mers and mechanical fittings including the motor and the scattershield.

High comp Weslite pistons and a 60 thou. shave for the head have resulted in a healthy 12-to-1 compression ratio, while the Perfectune special stage 3 head runs 1.5 inch and 1 7/16 inch. inlet and exhaust valves respectively. Rejetted, triple 'Olden-type Strommie.s meter the 115 octane diet in extra large doses and an EH fuel pump drives the gas up to them.

A Scintilla Vertex magneto keeps the beast self-contained electrically, apart from the "tranny" batteries which power the impulse tacho.

The Lukey banana branch extrac-tors drain through into a home-built set of aluminium meggas, which are a good 50 percent lighter than their steel counterparts. It's this kind of fastidious attention to the weight factor that has turned the rig into a 1050 lb. scale tipper, and the pair figure that there's more lb. to come off yet!

FIAT Topolino body con-tributes 80 lbs to all-up weight ticket for Bushman, which stands at 1050 lbs. Body has been finished in Brimstone Green lacquer —looks great! Power comes from Holden EJ block bored to 155 cubes, run-ning 12 to one pistons and full balance job. Head is stage 3 Perfectune with triple Stromberg carb set-up. Little screamer is red-lined at 6500 revs and con-sistently turns the quarter in low-13 seconds.
 Stripped to the bare necessities, the Topolino Fiat body adds 80 lb. to the total weight, with the basic chassis accounting for approximately another 150 lb.

A 3 and 3/16th inch. overbore stretched the EJ block to 149 cubes, and bhp output is estimated to be well up over the 1 bhp per cu. in. mark at 175 bhp. Redline on the tacho is strictly adhered to at 6500 revs, at which point the Wade 140 grind cam is giving bags of power. A fully balanced mill (by Paul England) has kept the bottom-end virtually trouble-free throughout its life in three different cars.

Flywheel weight was shaved back considerably before the X2 clutch was mailed into place, and the synchro rings in the FJ box used were spot welded to prevent those second cog selection worries that Holden boxes often seem to have a mortgage on. Only second and top gear are used for the 440 and their selection is handled by a Landspeed floor shift. The modded Holden tailshaft measures 15in. in length and turns a 3.89:1 FC centre in an FJ housing.

The mill sits at a legal 25 percent aft on the 98in. wheelbase and with the lightweight Anglia front-end used, weight transfer is all that could be desired.



Five leaves were removed from the beam-axle suspension and the A-bar split into a pair of radius rods — this, plus the Vauxhall Viva tellies and 6in. of inbuilt positive castor on the cut-down VW hoops, makes the little mover track like a bullet — and invariably come to a halt in a straight line.

Morris Major 14in. rims have been grafted to the VW centres up for'ard and wear 5.20 x 14 rubber, white 6in. rimmed wheels and 600 x 13 Dunlop racing bags hang off the solid-mounted rear axle.

FE master-cylindered FJ drums constitute the whoa works at the rear — the system being hand lever activated.

Four bolts fix the body to the frame and it's a simple matter to de-Topolino the rig, whenever necessary. Finish is an eye-popping Brimstone Green laquer, complemented by an uncluttered sign-writing job. In an effort to beat wind resistance, the firewall has been trimmed at either side from top to bottom and a pair of aluminium "wind tunnels" mate up to the resultant gaps and taper down to exit near the rear wheel arches. All this also keeps the cockpit a little less omen to the elements without taking up too much space.

Pilot's perch is a featherweight but comfortable Hillman Imp bucket, and the Fiat steering box is driven by a home-built 8in. diameter 'wheel.

The tacho sits in the breeze directly in front of the driver on the bulkhead, while temp and oil gauges have been snuck into the uppermost' corners of the wind-screen surround. The driving compartment has been well planned and everything falls readily to hand when needed.

There must be a veritable horde of enthusiasts around who will tell you that tuning the mill j-u-u-u-s-t ... so! can make that winning difference and much credit for the Bushman's already formidable reputation must go to the third member of the team who's res-ponsible for all those critical, endless adjustments, Bill "Chimpy" Anderson. With Bill on the right end of sin. open-ender, competitors beware!

The "Bushman" may not be Competition Elimiator material yet — changes in a V8-type way could be occurring soon — but for sure it has given the D/A ranks a real shot in the arm at Calder, and the fans can hardly wait for the "little fellas" to turn it on come the first Sunday of every month!


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