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.

March 24, 2016


08:58 Posted by GreyFC No comments

Lindsay Wilson chose the FJ as many have before him to make his modifications.  The body is a 1955.  Engine is a 1955 Holden six modded to 154 cube inches, engine has solid lifters ( as do all grey motors ), wade cam has 154 grind.  Lukey muffler.  Trans is 55 Holden with H pattern floor shift.  Motor has been balanced.  Pressure plate is 186 Holden.  Swap was done by Lindsay and Neil Burston.

The FJ have been lowered 3 inches at front, stock at rear.  Sway and lift bars fitted.  Shockers all around are Armstorng double action.  Diff ration is 3.89  1955 vintage.  Original steering box is topped with a Max Rob steering wheel.  Wheels are Hinchcliffe mads with Bridgestone and Firestone tyres.  Taillamps are a trailer accessory unit.  Headlamps are EJ Holden.

Full set of Smiths gauges with an addition of radio stereo player.

Paint color is popular yellow enamel with black deerhide roll and truck interior.  Custom work features flared and filled fenders.

Original Source : Custom Rodder date unknown.
Facts double checks with Lindsay Wilson himself March 23rd 2016

March 07, 2016

Australias Only Six Cylinder Sprite

08:54 Posted by GreyFC No comments
If you have a old tired AH Sprite follow in the steps of a Sydney enthusiast and modify it to out accelerate an E-Type Jaguar.

IF, at traffic lights, you should happen to encounter a bright red Mark One Sprite with four headlights and a fast-back hardtop,—don't bother to challenge it unless you are operating something really potent. Beneath that customised bonnet lurks a healthy Holden engine. 

Now owned by Ken Browning, the car was built by John Grant, who works at Penshurst Motors, Sydney. He bought the Sprite from a wrecker after it had been written-off. 

Before concerning himself with the mechanical side, John spent many weeks straightening and realigning the monocoque structure. But before that was completed he began thinking of fitting a Holden engine. After preliminary measuring he decided it was feasible if the firewall  and surrounding panels were modified. 

Normally the battery is mounted on a shelf on the firewall which extends forward with the boxes that accommodate the occupants' feet. The battery was re-located in the boot and the flat panel removed back to where the firewall was vertical. The inner sides of the boxes were then cut and rewelded so that they were parallel to the car's centre-line, instead of angling in. 

The modifications resulted in a deep slot in the forward part of the body. This corresponds, in width, to the sub-frame members. Extra bracing, in the shape of U-sections, was added to the fire-wall at the top of, and between, the two boxes and also underneath the car to act as another cross-member. 

Some of the interior panelling had to be altered too. The front of the driveshaft tunnel was extensively cut away to make room for the gearbox—which sat further aft than originally. After the engine and gearbox had been tentatively positioned, sheet metal was fabricated and welded up to form a new gearbox cover. 

 Two 1 1/2 in SU carburettors, mounted on a log type manifold push fuel into the motor.  One pancake type air filter does both units.

A stock Holden gearbox but with floor-shift was retained. The cylinder block was bored out to 3 1/8th in—making the capacity 2300 cc—and the cylinder head was thoroughly reworked with a port-and-polish, larger valves, stronger springs and then planed to give 9 to 1 compression. Mery Waggott reground the camshaft and a pair of Myers cast-iron exhaust headers were fitted with dual exhaust pipes merging to a single outlet. John built the inlet system which has two 1z in SU carburettors on a log manifold, but because there is very little room to spare beside the engine, both carbs draw breath through a U-shaped manifold from one air cleaner. 

A fantastic performer, the main problem with the Holden-Sprit is the handling.  This will soon be improved by fitting wider rims on the rear wheels.

The Sprite's radiator had been wrecked — it probably wouldn't have been big enough, anyway —so a Vanguard cross-flow unit took its place. Even then some cooling difficulties were experienced until a Sprite top header tank was fitted and the position of the filler neck changed. 

The Sprite bonnet was also badly damaged. While repairing it John thought he might as well go a bit further and customise. The original headlights were discarded and their vacated locations filled with sheet metal. The bonnet was then cut and L-section metal installed to accept the dual Lucas set-up. Perspex covers were moulded to fit over the lights and give as smooth a line as possible. 

Unable to obtain Sprite seats at a reasonable price, John installed those from a wrecked Minor 1000. The interior was retrimmed and a console, housing three gauges and switches, was built between the driveshaft tunnel and instrument panel. A wood-rimmed alloy-spoked steering wheel replaced the original. 

Driving impressions left no doubt that this engine swap is far more successful than one would think. Because the front of the Holden engine is no further forward than that of the original 948 cc engine, the steering is little heavier than normal. Actually, the extra weight is almost amidships and its affect is therefore minimised. The wood-rimmed wheel gives the interior a sporting touch, and the stick-shift is one of the best we have encountered. The pattern is the normal H-shape of a conventional three-speed transmission. Its action is absolutely flawless; there is not a fraction of lost movement and strong spring-loading against reverse allows first-to-second changes that are most un-Holden-like. There is only about three inches movement, at the knob, between any of the four positions. 

 Sever alterations had to be made to the firewall and transmission tunnel for the Sprite to accept the Holden motor.

The power and the car's light weight mean that this Sprite is literally a top-gear-only vehicle under most conditions. Although a four-speed box would provide slightly better acceleration, John felt it wasn't worth the trouble and expense for a car that serves primarily as a day-to-day hack. This is not altogther surprising when you realise that the car has almost twice the power/weight ratio of production Sprites. A stock Mark I Sprite weighs 12.75 cwt and has 43 bhp to do the work. The Holden-engined version weighs just under 14 cwt but has at least twice the power. Assuming that the engine pumps out even a conservative 86 bhp, Ken's car has 6.14 bhp per cwt whereas the standard model has only 3.46 bhp per cwt. 

The interior is extremely well finished.  Gear shift is a delight to use.

We were unable to obtain perfectly accurate acceleration times because the rear axle had a Austin Lancer crown wheel and pinion fitted, and the speedometer drive ratio had not been altered to compensate. However, by pacing the Sprite against another vehicle we were able to mark the speedometer so it was near-enough to correct.

Even if one takes a sceptical view, and adds another second or two to allow for wheelspin. the times are still very impressive. The engine winds up to 6000 rpm without hesitation in first and second gear, the speedometer showing 45 and 75 mph respectively. Foul weather prevented us from ascertaining the maximum speed but it must be in the vincinity of 110 mph! 

As mentioned previously, the increased weight has not seemingly affected the Sprite's steering or handling. But the car's behavior was not all it could have been when we drove it—not quite up to Sprites' usual high standard. Over-size 5.90 tyres had been fitted to the rear wheels in an attempt to reduce wheelspin. And that they did —but at the expense of excessive tyre roll when cornering. The problem is due to be cured in either of two ways—by re-fitting standard-size tyres (and overlooking the wheelspin) or b-' adapting wider rims to the rear wheel centres. 

We can't help feeling that this engine swap could well become popular throughout Australia. Early MkI Sprites are reasonably priced and Holden engines are certainly cheap enough. Off-hand we don't know of any other means as practical for obtaining so much performance for what should be a relatively modest sum.