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Got a question, need some advice, or simply settling a bet. Contact us with your question(s), we will try our best to help.
Unique Cars and Parts Forum

Have You Posted Your Question In Our Forum?

Due to the unprecedented number of requests we receive for help, we have launched a Classic Car Forum. By submitting your question to the Forum you will benefit from the input of our valued site visitors, and just like going to the Doctor, it always pays to get a second opinion.

Prior to sending a question to us, why not take a few moments to also post your question on our Forums. Over time, this will help build an invaluable resource for you and others to share. If you are considering placing a Free Classified, KT will explain how easy it is...

The Team @ Unique Cars and Parts

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CV8 with Adventra Suspension Setup, from Rob

Q: Hi guys. This might seem silly but. I have 2002 CV8 Monaro. It has 156Ks on it and I drive it daily. I got the car, and the debt from my 27 year realtionship breakup. So I work in Nimbin NSW and the roads are absolutly crap. I have tried selling the car but I am not giving it away. So I am thinking of making the car suit my needs as my other problem is once its gone what do I get? I can travel on 10.3 ltr/phk so ecomony is ok and it is a Monaro. I am thinking of whacking High rider suspension under it. Currently mine is lowered and its a pain in the back. I was actually thinking of finding a Adventra suspension setup and whacking it all under my Monaro. Its my car so I have no problem making it MY car. Whats your thoughts? Not so much intersted in resale as I like to drive to drive the beast and it does look good. I have images of Mad Max's Ford in my mind when I think of the Monaro with Adventra kit underneath it. Seems kinds a cool to me. So what do you think? Be kind. Rob.

A: Hi Rob. The CV8 is a modern day classic! Lower it a little, stiffen the springs or upgrade the brakes - but don’t fit high-rider suspension. Given you work in Nimbin, we would have assumed the CV8 would have been about as popular as a fart in a lift, but kudos to you for sticking with it and not being tempted to trade it on a VW Kombi. We are all agreed, if we lived (or worked) in Nimbin we would don the kaftan, wear loose fitting underwear and smoke the whacky tobbacy under the nearest tree. But we could never get stoned enough to think raising the old CV8 further off the ground to be a good idea. Why not buy an old Commodore and fit the kit to that. Drive it for 6 months. Then, if you are absolutely convinced it is the right way to go. Ed
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Classic Site - Or Crap? from Mick

Q: Is this is a classic car site? When I enter "Pontiac, Trans-am, special edition" (Bandit) your site shows no car this description? Classic site or crap? Mick Duggan

A: Hi Mick. We are busy developing a US specific edition. Ed
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Finding The Perfect Classic Convertible, from Glenn

Q: I want to buy an older/classic convertible for cruising with the family. Ive been looking at better known cars like mid 1960's Mustang and early 1970's Mercedes 280SL. I need front and rear seats and would prefer an automated roof. There must be lots more convertibles out there but I wouldnt know where to start!! Can you (or anyone else for that matter) please throw up some suggestions so I can have a look at some pictures of the suggestions and move forward with my search. Thanks very much.

A: Hi Glenn. While the 280SL was available with a rear seat option, there is virtually no rear leg room and they are really only for decoration. Further, installing rear seat belts can be difficult, particularly given the position of the tank. The same can be said of the R107 series Mercedes SL that ran from 1971, even though it was a bigger car. The Mustang on the other hand would make an ideal family cruiser, and you will comfortably fit the kids in the back. Most British and European convertibles of the era were sports cars, so finding a true four seater is difficult. There are plenty of American convertibles (not sports cars) that would fit the bill. Ed
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Falling In Love With The Falcon, from Kathryn

Q: Hi guys, I have fallen in love with the Falcon, and it seems that it is in my blood as I have just found out my father used to drive Falcons when he was my age. I've been saving my pennies to purchase a Falcon but I'm not sure which model I am looking for. I want a 1960's(ish) manual with bench seats in the front and the tail lights would be the squarish ones, not the round. is there such a model? Kathryn

A: Hi Kathryn. The first Falcon with square tail lights was the XW, and this model along with the XY are now both sought after and very collectable. Check the Falcons as listed on this site so that you can identify exactly the model you are after, and if there are none available in our Car Classifieds you can always post a free ad in the "Wanted" section. There are also some XW and XY Falcon Ads in our "Media" section which you may enjoy, along with specifications of each model, and brochures. Ed
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VK Calais Interior, from Karin

Q: My partner has just got his VK Calais 1985 Commodore back from the workshop, 19 months in the making of rebuilding, engine and all running gear. It's now ready for the strip. He now wants to do the interior and wants to do it all original. The car is the two tone gold/brown with silver skirts. Can you send me some photo's or explain how the original interior looks as it has been redone already and am unsure. Cheers, Karin

A: Hi Karin. We suggest you check the Holden VK Calais brochure. Ed
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What Car Was That?, from Diane

Q: I am trying to locate a picture of a car my father had as a young man (1920s?). He called it a Stet (or Stit). I do not know what make it was but was wondering if you could help me in finding out more about this car. He had it when he lived in Burma. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Diane

A: Hi Diane. This is a long shot, but we think you may be talking about either a Steyr or a Stutz. Steyr was an Austrian company, that turned from the manufacture of armaments to car production following the end of World War 1. Their first car was manufactured in 1920, so that would be the correct timing. This first car was designed by the brilliant Hans Ledwinka, who also wanted to manufacture a more affordable twin-cylinder car. Steyr were not interested, and so he left to join Tatra. The big limousine style cars being manufactured by Steyr were hard to sell through the depression years, but they managed to survive and, in 1929, a young Ferdinand Porsche joined the company. He didn't stay long, but did continue to do freelance work for the company, designing the Type 30 saloon and small Type 50. Ed

Steyr VIII
The Steyr VIII, circa mid 1920's...
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The Mystery Car Identified - an 1894 Balzer

1894 Balzer Automobile

Q: Hello Unique Cars and Parts People; Found this post card in my uncles oak chest, and am totally clueless as to what kind of old horseless carriage this might be. Found your web site while trying to figure this out... Can you help? Thanks for your time, Richard, Seattle WA, USA

A: This question was posed several months back, and a visitor to the site has identified the car as an 1894 Balzer, one surviving example of which is on display in the Smithsonian Museum. Ed
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VC Valiant Power Steering, from Phillip

Q: I was just woundering about the Chrysler VC Valiant, did that model ever come with power steering? if not when did chrysler Australia introduce power steering? I am restoring a Regal VC, and want to know if the standard 6 Regal Sedan ever had the option of a Vinyl roof, or was it limited to the V8 model?

A: Hi Phillip. Power steering was introduced with the VE, and came as standard on the VIP and optional with any automatic transmission, adding 40 lb. to the weight of the car. A vinyl roof could be optioned, look for code V10 to identify this. Other information that may be helpful can be obtained from the Valiant Colour Codes, Valiant Option Codes and VC Valiant Specifications pages on this site. Ed
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Rover Car Clubs in Queensland, from Cindy

Q: Is there a Rover Car Club in Queensland? Do they have a website? Where are they located? Do they meet monthly? I have 2 rovers (825 and 75) and would like to join a club in my state if there is one. Cindy

A: Hi Cindy. You will find a comprehensive guide to car clubs located in Australia in our Automotive Trades and Services Directory. The Rover Owners Association is located in Queensland, and contact details are available from their listing. Ed
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Escort Surferoo Van, from Rick

Q: I have the opportunity to purchase an Escort Surferoo Van, and wanted to know how I can check if it is original. Rick.

A: Hi Rick. Whatever it is you are looking at, it is not a Surferoo, as these were the domain of the Falcon Vans. The Escort vans with the updated "European Look" were introduced into Australia in November 1975, and were available in 'L' and 'X' trim. They shared the sedans' front-end styling, plus extra soundproofing and a larger range of standard and optional equipment. Initially the vans were only available with the 1.3 litre engine, but a GS pack with sports wheels, driving lights, split front bumper and side striping helped to generate sales in the growing youth market - this model morphing into the 'Sundowner'. It is this latter iteration we think you are looking at. Ed
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Keeping A V8 With Rising Fuel Costs, from Paul

Q: I have an original HX Monaro in beautiful condition, no rust, no dents, totally original bumper to bumper. It has been professionally resprayed in original colour (manderine) 264000 kms. original motor with all original parts (all numbers matching). My question to you is IS IT WORTH HANGING ON TO WITH PETROL GOING THE WAY IT IS OR SHOULD I TRY TO GET RID OF IT NOW OR HANG ON TO IT? I would really appreciate any feedback. Thanks Paul.

A: Hi Paul. When it comes to petrol prices, and where they are likely to move to, we are just as much in the dark as everyone else. The rising prices have certainly had an impact at the showroom, with more fuel efficient vehicles gaining popularity, however this has had no appreciable impact on the value of classic cars as yet. The vast majority of classic cars are driven on weekends and special events, making fuel consumption less of an issue when compared to the normal family car driven daily. You sound justifiably proud of the Monaro, and we know it would bring you a great deal of pleasure. Only you are in a position to put a value on that. We are sure some people could drive a Prius on a country run and derive enjoyment from watching the petrol gauge. Others would prefer to drive a piece of Aussie motoring history. If you are still undecided, see if you can hire a rice-burner for the weekend and take it for a country drive, and let us know how you go. Ed
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Ford Falcon Identification, from Craig

Q: We have just bought a Falcon 500 (think its 1968) and we were looking on the VIN plate for ID and it says the following JH23HE (J=Australia, H= ?? , 23=500 sedan, HE=Aug 1968) would you know what the H stands for as it was supposed to be Broadmeadows made? Also could you please let me know of a Falcon Car Club I could join in Queensland, spare parts etc...  Thanks, Craig

A: Hi Craig. The H would indicate the car was built at Ford's Eagle Farm facility in Brisbane. As for car clubs, we now list them in the Automotive Trades and Services Directory, where you will find details of the Early Falcon Car Club of Queensland XK to XY, which would be perfect. Ed
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EH X2, from John

Q: I have a Ford XC GXL, and I am wanting to know on the compliance plate, under engine components, what do the alphabetical codes mean? ie: Mine has a "P" - was it a 302 or 351 or 6 cylinder? Vince

A: Hi Vince. As per our Ford Falcon/Fairlane/LTD identification page, you will see that engine code "P" for the XC Falcon was for the 302ci V8 4V - a great engine! You will need to scroll down to the Engine Code section. Ed
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LH Torana G-Pak V8, from Ebony

Q: My boyfriend owns a LH Torana G-Pak, and he was wondering if the G-Paks were released with a V8 engine or were they only released with a 6 cylinder? Ebony

A: Hi Ebony. During the LH Torana's run there were two special models released, the "G-Pak" fitted with the 3300 6 cylinder and "Plus 4", which came with the Opel sourced 4 cylinder engine. The G-Pak edition featured slightly wider wheels shod with wider radials, so-called sports wheel trims, bucket seats, better instrumentation including a tacho and 4 speed floor mounted gearbox. In reality the G-Pak was a base model "S" adorned with stripes, blackouts but not much else that would add to the performance, and sadly no V8. Ford fans were soon to dub the car the "Slack-Pack", it essentially being a cheaper, flashier SL/R 3300. All 3300 LH's ran 3.08 gears, compared with 2.78s for the 4.2 253 V8, which meant the 3300 would start to run out of puff in second gear at slightly over 40 mph - this unfortunately bearing a close resemblance to the figures of the more humble Volkswagen Beetle. Ed
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Car Clubs In The Penrith Area, from Marian

Q: I am a Diversional Therapist at Governor Phillip Nursing Home Penrith. I am after any information or contact details for any vintage or classic car clubs within the local area that may be able to donate their time and vehicles to visit and talk with our residents. Your help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou Marian

A: Hi Marian. The most easy way we can think of is to use the Automotive Services and Trades Directory on this site. On the home page you will see a large map of Australia. Just above that are the options you need to narrow your search to the Penrith area. From the Country/State drop down select "New South Wales", from the Category drop down select "Car Clubs", enter "2750" into the postcode field and set the radius to 25 (although you can expand this if you do not find enough clubs). Then click on the "Search" button and the clubs in your area will be displayed. Click on the pointers to have the club information displayed. Ed
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HR Holden Clutch Noise, from Donna

Q: Hi, my son John brought a 1968 HR Holden yesterday. He is 21 and upset the clutch makes a loud noise in 1st or reverse - the shifter is located on the coloum. Can you please help. Donna

A: Hi Donna. Firstly, your son is very lucky to be the new owner of a HR Holden - not too many can boast they drive a piece of Australian motoring history. The noise you are hearing is likely to be from the release bearing, which is either dry or worn, and in both cases it would pay to replace with a new bearing (which shouldn't cost too much). Also check there is sufficient clutch pedal free travel and adjust if there is not. Finally, the noise may be coming from a damaged pressure diaphragm spring, in which case you need to check and renew the pressure plate and diaphragm spring assembly. Ed
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Car Club Membership, from Ken

Q: Hi team - love the site! I live in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne and was wanting to know if you could put me on to a car club that would cover both of my cars. I have a fantastic original ZC Fairlane and a MGB restored by my dad. I would probably want club rego on the MGB as this would be the car that would be driven the least. I would also like to know where I could view an original 302 Windsor engine and bay for the ZC to compare with mine. Thankyou Ken.

A: Hi Ken. We would suggest you try to join two seperate car clubs rather than just the one that caters for all makes. That way you will be mixing with like-minded people who will be able to not only share their passion for the marque, but also share their wealth of knowledge. Generally speaking, the more generic clubs catering for many different makes and models do so as there are fewer of those type cars going around, such as pre-war, veteran and vintage. It may also be the case that they are situated in less populated area's, and need to cater for different marques to ensure they have sufficient numbers. Others cater for special interests, such as custom, modified, street-rod etc. We have recently migrated our car club listings into our Automotive Trades and Services Directory, and a phone and mail-out was done to ensure the listings were as up to date as we could get them. We are confident there will be plenty of club members with Windsor's that you can compare. Ed
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Valiant Charger Theme, from Brian

Q: Hi, Just like to ask where the wonderful video of the theme song for the Valiant Charger went. It used to be on the site but seems to have disappeared. It was the one with the whistling and the Charger closeup driving along. Many thanks, Brian

A: Hi Brian. There are 2, one with the whistle and one with the words. Check the Specifications pages for the VH Valiant and VJ Valiant respectively. The theme alone (no video) is located on the Chrysler Valiant Charger review page. Ed
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V8 Windsor Cooling Issues, from Mark

Q: I was just wordering if all the VB SL/E Commodores came out with eletric windows? Brett

A: Hi Brett. Electric windows were only an option on the SL/E, as was leather trim, central locking and a limited slip differential. You could also option the 5.0 litre V8. By today's standards the standard kit may seem a little austere, but in 1978 the SL/E was actually great value for money. There were 15 inch alloys shod with 60 series rubber, a washer/wiper combo on the headlights, a high quality radio/cassette with front speakers, power aerial and rich crushed velour trim. Ed
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Holden Commodore VB SL/E Electric Windows, from Brett

Q: Howdy, thanks for providing this fantastic site. I'm a new member and would value your advice. I have an XR289W Fairmont and a XT, 6cyl & 302W Fairmonts. My XR is very original but has a water pump/pulleys swap to passengers side, runs a XYGT 3core radiator, beautifully done though. Never over heats, did have A/C orig but previous owner took it out. Grrr. I did the same water pump/radiator swap in my XT302W 20yr ago to cure the over heating. It has aftermarket A/C and never gets hot even 40 deg day. Both the XR-T V8s should have a 2 row core radiator and 4 blade fan. I have sourced all the correct bits to return the V8s to original, but I am very concerned they will over heat, as all the Aussie Windsors seem to in summer with the top and bottom hoses on the same side of the radiator. Also the passenger side water pump has cast in mounting points for A/C brackets etc, much better than the early water pumps. Would you say that I would be better leaving them functional for enjoyable use, or returning them to original and having cooling issues? ( I have addressed all the issues for cooling fix, but nothing is as good as the passanger side water pump swap) I don't show the cars but they are noticed every time I get them out, it bugs me to say "yes, they are all original, OH, except the water pump and radiators" Your advise will help me to decide, cause DAMN, I can't, thanks and kind regards Mark

A: Hi Mark. The modifications to the cooling system would have little effect on the value of the Fairmont's unless they were being used in coucours competition. We have restored cars, some kept stock while others have been modified. We have taken the approach that minor modifications to those that are "stock" that help make an older car easier to live with are worth the compromise, particularly if the changes can be "un-done" at a later point. Given you have the original parts to do this, then we would be inclined to leave the cars as they are. Having two V8's however puts you in the enviable position of being able to do a little experimentation with one of the vehicles. Many people believe that better coolant flow is the trick to ensuring better cooling efficiency - however this is not necessarily the case if the overheating is occuring at cruising speed.

If you decide to go all-original with one of the Fairmont's, remember that the engine does need to be in optimal condition and tune to ensure these are not contributing to a heat problem. Check that the water jackets of the block and head are free of contaminants (a build up of these contaminents could act as an insulator). Check the carby is in perfect tune too, as an engine running too rich will generate significantly more heat! Then choose a good additive to help the water "draw" the heat away from the engine - as mentioned earlier, better water flow velocity is not necessarily the cure-all to overheating problems. Finally, do not forget to overlook the thermostat and radiator cap. Ed
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Importing A Car From The UK To Australia, from Martin

Q: I would like to buy a car in UK and bring to Oz. Martin

A: Hi Martin. Now that restrictions have been relaxed on cars over 30 years of age it can be a great option to import a car directly from the US or UK and Europe. There are now companies that specialise in importing and exporting cars, businesses that we would recommend are listed in our Automotive Trades and Services Directory under "Import and Export". You should also see our page containing information on importing a car to Australia. Ed
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Club Registration, from Michael

Q: I was wondering if you can help me, I would like to get club rego for my ZC Fairlane but I cant find how I get it. Can you lead me in the right direction? Michael

A: Hi Michael. All you need do is join a Ford Car Club in your State or Territory that has been authorised by the relevant motoring authority to issue the permit. In Victoria the Club Permit Scheme allows financial members of a car club to have a permit for the restricted use of an otherwise unregistered vehicle. If you use the club plate scheme, remember the following:
  • Only drive the Fairlane to sanctioned Club Events
  • The Fairlane must NOT be used for profit or gain
  • You may attend another authorised club's event providing that:
    • you are a financial member of that club,
    • you or your club are invited to the event, or
    • you have a Special Use Voucher
  • You MUST carry the Club Permit, and
  • You should carry the Newsletter/Newspaper/Club Magazine advertising the event, or the Special Use Voucher
  • Special Use Vouchers can be used to allow reasonable travelling time to and from distant events.

The Club Permit is not transferable to another vehicle nor is it transferable to another owner except where the new owner already holds a current Club Permit for another vehicle. To be an authorised event, the event should be publicised by the authorising club or organisation. Failure to comply with the rules of the Club Permit Scheme could result in:

  • A fine for driving an unregistered vehicle, or
  • Loss of your individual Club Permit, or
  • Loss of the Club's authority to operate the Club Permit Scheme, or
  • Cancellation of the Club Permit Scheme for all enthusiasts
The last two conditions are pretty serious, and are obviously designed to stop any potential abuse of the system. Modified cars are accepted under the scheme, so long as your car is roadworthy and presentable. A comprehensive listing of Car Clubs is available in our new Automotive Trades and Services Directory. Scroll down to the Ford Car Club section. Ed
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Kerosene As A Degreaser, from Jeff

Q 1. Is direct Kerosene a good degreaser for automotive parts and paints? Q2.Will any left behind residue be harmful to the paint work? Q3. If a small amount is added to diesel /petrol will it act as a vehicle for water to travel or break down within the fuel tank. Jeff

A1: One of the problems with detailing older engines is that the original engine paint is prone to peel under the twin cleaning attacks of steam and high pressure, making it necessary to re-paint the engine. Kerosene and most spray-on engine cleaners, all-purpose cleaners and even plain old soap and water all do an excellent job of cleaning under the hood, tending to "degrease" the engine and its components rather than strip them of paint. Generally speaking, kerosene should only be required to help with problem areas that are particularly grimy.

A2: We would suggest you use 2 spray bottles, "strong" containing the kerosene or chemical degreaser, and "mild" containing a detergent and water mix. That way you need only use the kerosene on the worst parts of the engine. We would never risk leaving chemical residue on any paintwork whatsoever, and would strongly suggest you place protective coverings over the front guards, firewall and any other exposed areas, and rinse thoroughly when done.

A3: Kerosene will mix with diesel to lower the octane rating, which can be helpful in extremely cold conditions as it lowers the freezing point. Before any such action is taken you should consult with the manufacturer to ensure no damage will result. A better option is to use a fuel designed for the job, such as Highland Diesel which has 20% heating oil added, or Alpine diesel which has 40% heating oil added. Ed
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VN Commodore Identification, from Anonymous

Q: Wollongng's local newspaper, the Mercury Illawarra published an article today about a man's body being found at the foot of a cutting on the F6 Freeway. They want information from people regarding a late 1980's model VN Commadore sedan with distinctive blue stripes along its sides. Can you point me to a picture of such a car please? I understand they only started producing the VN in 1988.

A: Hi Anon; The VN was manufactured from August 1988, and you will find information on the vehicle both in our VN Commodore Review and VN Commodore Specifications pages. Ed
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HK Premier / Monaro Amalgam, from Alex

Q: I have a 1969 Holden Premier. It has the same head and tail lights as the Monaro, had a Powerglide but now a Muncie 4 speed from a Monaro. It also has the same interior as Monaro. Also has electric windows, no a/c. has original 308 V8. is this rare? I need windscreen rubbers, rear window and a full weatherstripping kit. Please help. Alex - South Africa

A: Hi Alex; At first we were going to say these options must have been fitted by a previous owner, but then the magic words, South Africa. There were some strange concoctions brewed over there, the Fairmont GT being one such example we have seen, along with a Chevrolet SS Coupe/Monaro built in Cape Town in 1972. This latter car was fitted with a Chev Chevelle twin headlight grille, and came standard with power steering, houndstooth cloth trim, a 10 Bolt Salisbury diff and 4 speed Saginaw box. (Images can be found on page #3 of our Car Shows from the 2006 All Holden Day held by the Geelong FX-HZ Holden Car Club (they are near the end of the slideshow).

As you will see the car was a private import, which clearly demonstrates how keen the owner was to have this extremely rare example landed in Australia. We would think the Premier/Monaro amalgam would be worth more here too, although exactly how much would be difficult to establish. Our new Automotive Trades and Services Directory is growing, check back from time to time to ascertain businesses that can supply the parts you are looking for. Ed
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Nasco Weight Reading Jockey Wheel, from Trent

Q: We are searching for any information on scale jockey wheels, a customer has said they have heard of a Nasco weight reading jockey wheel for a caravan and if we could find the we would be very interested in it. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks, Trent. Kendy Caravans and Trailers

A: Hi Trent; We have made some enquiries but have not been able to find any information on these. By posting this we hope someone will be able to help out, and if so we will pass the information on. Ed
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LH SL/R Torana Without Compliance Plates, from Mike

Q: Hi Guys, I have an opportunity to purchase a LH SL/R through a friend. I know it is genuine 4.2 SL/R but the thing that is stopping me from jumping on it is that the compliance plate was lost. Again I know it is genuine, that is not the issue, it is just I know that the compliance plate issue will severely kill its resale value down the line - but by how much? It has well over $20k worth of receipts, most on the engine and running gear itself, but it needs a full squirt and interior retrim to bring it up to pristine condition. He is only asking 12K for it, what would you guys do? Thanks, Mike.

A: Hi Mike; That has to be one of the easiest questions we have received. At that price we would buy it, knowing the LH would provide countless years of pleasure, and despite the compliance plate issue we would make a healthy profit at resale. The only problem we can see is in having to continually justify to friends, enthusiasts, on-lookers and the like that it is in fact genuine. Ed
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VB Commodore Fuel Issues, from Alan

Q: I'm doing a VB, it cranks good but wont start up. Petrol is going to the pump but is not going 2 carbi. Pump is not electric. Alan.

A: Hi Alan; The fuel pump in the VB is a diaphragm type, operated mechanically by a rocker arm and link arrangement from an eccentric on the camshaft. As the fuel is not getting to the carby, it sounds as though you should check and clean the pump - although you may need to replace it. Start by disconnecting the fuel lines to the pump, then remove the two bolts securing the fuel pump to the crankcase by loosening the screws progressively until the pressure of the diaphragm spring is relieved. Once you have the fuel pump off the engine, remove the fuel filter bowl, gasket and gauze filter, spring the two legs of the bowl retainer outwards, and remove the retainer from the pump. **Using the corner of a file, mark the assembled position of the upper and lower body sections of the pump, remove the securing screws, and separate the two body sections.

Ensure the pump is suitably supported on the pivot pin boss for the next steps. Unstake the top body with a suitable tool and pull out the valves with a hook shaped tool. Press down on the diaphragm and unhook the stem of the diaphragm from the end of the rocker arm link. Withdraw the diaphragm and lift off the diaphragm spring, take out the seal retainer and withdraw the diaphragm stem oil seal from the lower body section. Using a pin-punch, tap in one end of the rocker arm pivot pin and plug to remove the opposite end plug. Turn the pump over and tap the pivot pin from the other end until the pin is completely removed. Withdraw the punch and lift out the rocker arm link and spring.

Now you can wash all parts thoroughly in clean petrol. Check the diaphragm for cracks or hardening. Check the valves for damage or wear. Examine the screen for serviceability. Check the rocker arm spring and the diaphragm spring for damage or loss of tension. Theck the wear on the rocker arm pivot pin and rocker arm linkage. Repair and/or replace defective parts as required.

Assembly is a reversal of the dismantling process with attention to the following: replace the diaphragm pull rod oil seal, use a non-hardening sealing compund when inserting the rocker arm pivot retaining plugs and ensure that voth plugs are installed to the same depth in the pump body and seat firmly against the ends of the pivot pin. Line up the file marks you had previously made (see ** in paragraph one above) on the upper and lower body. Secure each valve assembly by staking the upper body in four places around each valve. If this fails, it is likely time to replace the fuel pump. Ed
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Numbering System, from Phillip

Q: To whom it my concern. I would like to know where the numbers are derived from: 203, 304, 404 and so on. Thankyou, Phillip.

A: Hi Phillip; We are assuming you are talking about the Peugeot numbering system. If so, this unique numbering system was introduced by Peugeot with the 201 (1930 - 1934), and has been in operation ever since. The first number identifies which family the car belongs to along with its size in the range. The third number denotes the generation of the vehicle, while the middle 0 (zero) serves as the visual link between these two. In more recent times the three number system has not provided quite enough distinction, and so letters have been appended. The most obvious example is "CC", which is used to denote Coupe Cabriolet. Ed
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1977 Jaguar XJ 4.2 Refurb, from Dave

Q: Hi guys; I've bought a 1977 Jaguar XJ 4.2 last year, it's as straight as an arrow, and in pretty good nick! I am looking to spend some money on it, it blows a bit of soot and needs a few minor things, eg, new dash and wood grain new windsreen wiper assembley etc.. Thinking of a rebuild or maybe a small block Chev?, but I would prefer to keep it original. Can you give me some advice on where to go and what I should do? Any advice will be greatly appreciated, Dave.

A: Hi Dave; You will need to first decide on which road you are going to travel, stock or modified. There are 3 reasons why you should consider the Chev upgrade, reliability, affordability and driveability. XJ's from the late 70's through the mid 80's do not have a particularly good reputation for reliability, and they can be expensive to get right simply because there are fewer Jaguar mechanical specialists around. One of the biggest problems with Jag's from this era is the Lucas electrics, and they would be ditched if you went for the Chev conversion. If you decide on leaving the car stock, contact a Jaguar car club in your area to get some advice from them. There are 14 Jaguar Car Clubs listed in our Automotive Trades and Services Directory, which we are sure over time will also prove to be a valuable resource for finding the parts and services you will require to refurbish your Jag as more businesses are added. Ed
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VQ Caprice Standard Kit, from Keith

Q: Desperately seeking list of all features of the VQ [series 1+2] V8 Statesman Caprice - especially those related to the electrical system (eg: cruise control/ trip/ climate contrl/ security etc). Many thanks! Keith.

A: Hi Keith; In addition to the standard kit fitted to the Commodore, the Caprice added a tachometer, illuminated power antenna switch, AM/FM radio/cassette with PIN security feature, cruise control and trip computer (the switch gear being located on instrument binnacles), power window controls on the centre console, and a power exterior mirror switch on the driver's armrest. The Statesman had a velour interior, while the Caprice came standard with leather, although you could option velour. ABS was introduced on the Series II and was optional on the Statesman, but standard for the Caprice (for the Series II GM reworked the ABS to suit the live rear axle). There were electric seats, the Caprice having drivers seat memories that were activated by the remote control. The Statesman was shod with P205/65 R15 95H rubber, while the Caprice got P205/65 R15's and could be optioned with Bilstein gas pressure dampers. Ed
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202 Performance Mods, from Darryl

Q: Hi there, I'm restoring an '75 HJ Holden Sedan fitted with the standard red 202 engine and want to hot it up. What's the easyest, best way to do this. ie head, cam, carb etc. Cheers Darryl.

A: Hi Darryl; The amount of modification will depend on your budget. If the car is to be a daily driver, we would suggest you go with a HEI ignition as your first mod. Next, fit extractors and a better exhaust system. The third change would be to fit a better carby set-up, such as a Weber, Holley and the like. If you still have money to spend on the 202, then we would suggest you look at replacing the head - Yella Terra was for many years a favourite with performance modders. Ed
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VS Commodore Shudder, from Rob

Q: Hi guys; I was wondering if you can help me. I have a VS Commodore station wagon (automatic V6) and when I go up a steep hill it starts to shudder and lose power, so I drop it into 3rd and it stops shuddering and gains power again. It usually happens after 80-90kmh. I had the catalatic converter replaced as it had calapsed and was losing power from that. I have also been told it might be because of a dirty injector. Any help woul be appreciated. Thanks, Rob

A: Hi Rob; We would think it most likely to be a fuel problem, however as this is happening when you are going up a "steep" hill it could in fact be the auto transmission not down-shifting as required. Start by replacing the fuel filter, and then performing a tune up including replacement of both the spark plugs and air-filter, and checking the leads and coil pack. Have the throttle body serviced and the base idle and IAC system reset. If your Commodore has over 180K on the odo, it is likely the injectors could do with a service too. Ed
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GTHO 351 Falcon Colours, from Brian

Q: What colours did the original GTHO 351 come out in? I have a slab of beer on this. Brian

A: Hi Brian; Go to the bottom of the XW GT Technical Specifications to find a colour code chart. Good luck with the bet. Ed
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Interior Car Storage, from Nancy

Q: Hi, My husband has a project car. He has two cars that will become one. The interior of one is to go into storage until the other is painted and the engine fixed up. What I would like to know is - what is the best way to store the excellent condition front and rear seats. I told my husband not to put them in plastic bags as over the years they may get mould but we do not want any mice to build their homes in them either. Hope you can help, Thanks Nancy

A: Hi Nancy; To get our facts right we spoke with Jason from High Class Upholstery. We were surprised to find that seat damage from rats and mice is an all too common occurence, even with vehicles undergoing restoration at body shops. Jason's advice was to carefully wrap the seats in old bed sheets, and if possible place them in boxes. It is particularly important that no items are left sitting on the seats, nor that you stack them one on top of the other. As for ensuring rodents do not cause problems, you would need to place suitable deterrants around the boxes, and be vigilant while the seats are in storage. Plastic bags can be used provided there is absolutely no moisture introduced, however they will not act as a suitable rodent deterrent. Ed
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Option Code C36 on Valiant VF Regal Hardtop, from George

Q: What does the C36 option stand for on a Valiant VF Regal Hardtop?

A: Hi George; Chrysler sorted their option codes alphabetically, with "C" prefixing options related to the interior, including seats, seat belts, carpet etc. We do not have information on what "35" indicates, however if we receive any information we will pass it on. What we do know is that C10 = Retractable seat belts, C12 = Rubber floor mats (for government fleet cars), C16 = Automatic console shift, C18 = Console & Bucket Seats, C25 = Centre Cushion/Arm Rest (finished in vinyl), C27 = Alternative Colour (Grey) centre seat belts, C31 = Centre Cushion Arm Rest (finished in cloth & vinyl), C51 = Reclining cloth seats, C52 = Reclining vinyl seats, C54 = Cloth panel bucket seats, C56 = Full bench seat (VH only), C57 = 3 piece seat complete with centre arm rest, C59 = Bucket seats (non-reclining), C63 = Reclining vinyl bucket seats, C66 = Bench seats (VJ/VK/CL), C67 = Reclining cloth/vinyl seats, C70 = Leather reclining bucket seats, C93 = Carpet set (excluding cargo area on station wagon). Ed
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XY Fairmont Resto, from Maurice

Q: I need your advice on my car. I'm going to restore my XY Fairmont 302 Windsor to its original condition (Currently average condition). In terms of restoring her to original condition could you recommend an excellent restorer in South Australia, or for that matter interstate? What is a concourse condition XY Fairmont worth? Also if I have the engine rebuilt what kind of HP would I be able to get out of her? Will it still remain a matching numbers car? What do you recommend? Ive got some advice from friends that I should get an engine built with high torque and horsepower (a 351 Windsor or 351 Cleveland) and take out and store the original motor? Maurice

A: Hi Maurice; We have only just recently launched our Automotive Services and Trades Directory, and we are currently in the process of contacting businesses that are appropriately aligned with the classic car enthusiast. Obviously any businesses that we list we would recommend - we do hope to have some restoration companies listed shortly and suggest you check back from time to time. As for the value, a V8 Fairmont should fetch mid teens and up if it is in concourse condition.

Unlike a GT Falcon or Mustang, it can be easy to "over-capitalise" your investment on lesser models. Dropping a larger engine into the Fairmont will obviously provide a performance gain, however it sounds as though your friends are recommending a more radical high-performance upgrade, and to do it properly you will need to address much more than simply the engine, as items such as the transmission, brakes, suspension etc will all need upgrading if you are going to do it right. We would suggest you get along to some Ford Car Club events and speak with owners, so that you can better decide if your preference is for stock or modified. Ed
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HP Red Engine Identification, from Pete

Q: Hi - I have a Holden Red Motor with HP cast on the block, where they usually have 186, 202, etc. Can anyone enlighten me to what size and spec and models that it was fitted to? Cheers, Pete

A: Hi Pete; You are looking at a 179 from an EH Holden. The very first red motors, the 149, had no casting ID at all. With the release of the 179 GMH stamped HP on the block to identify it, the HP signifying it as "High Performance", which it was compared to the 149. These engines can be sought after by EH aficionados who are looking for the performance gain, but still wishing to keep the car as original as possible. Late in 1964 GMH switched to stamping an engine prefix on the block as you suggest. Ed
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Slant Six to Hemi Conversion, from Lex

Q: I have a 1963 SV1 Valiant slant six manual, and want to fit a Hemi 265 4 speed. Do you know of any dramas I might have. Thanks Lex

A: Hi Lex; We feel there would be considerable modification required to do the conversion, and while HP may be up, all the money, time and effort you spend will have a negative effect on the SV1's value, as stock examples are appreciating all the time and are now highly collectable. Before you embark on the project, get some advice from a Valiant Car Club in your State - and proceed with caution. Ed
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Why XK6 to V12, from Frank

Q: Settling an argument - XK6 to V12 seems a big jump, please explain why? Frank.

A: Hi Frank; We have assumed your question relates to the jump from the XK6 to V12 as fitted to the Series III E-Type Jaguar. We could prattle on about why we think Jaguar skipped the V8, but then we would only be quoting what the original designers had to say at the time. We have updated the Jaguar E-Type Series III Specifications page to include footage of the designers detailing exactly why a V12 was chosen, and there were plenty of reasons why, including of course making the Jaguar stand out from the prolifireaton of V8 US cars. As you will see, it was not just a case of "Ballyhoo" and "Big-O" for its own sake... Ed
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Thousands Of Movies - No "Hey Charger", from Stick

Q: Would be a great site - no "Hey Charger" is a shame. Stick

A: Hi Stick; We will make an exception to the rule and make it easier for you to find the commercial we think you are reffering to. Ed


Finding A Replacement Engine Coolant, from Kathy

Q: I have a 1965 MGB Roadster and have used Forlife Classic Coolant in the past but I am finding it hard to obtain. Could you suggest another readily available coolant for these cars. Kathy

A: Hi Kathy; We contacted Rob from Nulon, and Australian company that manufacture high quality additives suitable for both old and new model vehicles. For the 1964 MGB, Rob recommends you use the Nulon Long Life Concentrate, which is a blend of both organic and inorganic additives. Nulon Long Life Concentrate will provide up to 4 years protection, and importantly will be compatible with the MG's hoses and rubber fittings. And because the coolant blend is a low silicate formulation, and is free from nitrite, phosphate or amine, it will also provide the optimal protection for water pump seals and the like. Ed
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Matching A Transmission To A V8, from Alan

Q: Hey guys, I recently bought an old ski boat minus engine! In my quest to get it going again, I have had to learn (all) about V8's as I am pre V8! The engine that I've bought, Ser No. 11QT837583 does not fit the engine mounts that came with the boat. I know (or suspect) that this engine is from a Statesman, and is in the HQ - Z range of models. My query is: Was it fitted to a "Tri Matic" or the "Turbo Hydramatic"? I need this info so that I can order the correct mountings. When I bought the engine, the young guy selling it stated in his ad that the engine was fitted to a T350. At the time of removal, the engine was in a ute! Hoping you can shed some light on this issue for me, Alan

A: Hi Alan; You haven't mentioned what size the engine is. If you check the HQ Technical Specifications on this site, you will note that the 253 and 308 were mated to the Tri-Matic, and the 350 V8 was mated to the Turbo-Hydramatic. Ed
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Noisy EH Gearbox, from Deano

Q: I am having a problem with a EH sedan, it is fairly original and has the 149 motor with 3-speed non-synchro first gearbox. Every time I take my foot off in first I get a horrible whinning noise, similar to tyres scraping on guards. Is this common, or gearbox problems. Any help is appreciated. Cheers, Deano.

A: Hi Deano; Apart from a little differential whine, there should not be any "horrible whining noise" at all from the EH, and this definately indicates that there is a problem! You mention that it occurs when you take your foot off in first gear - if you are talking about taking your foot off the clutch this could indicate a dry or worn bearing, or damaged pressure diaphragm spring. If it is occuring after you have engaged the clutch, and you are talking about taking your foot off the accelerator whilst in first, our guess is that the gerarbox has a lack of lubricant, or has a worn mainshaft ballbearing. Start by draining the gearbox, then refilling with the correct quantity and grade of oil - this will be the cheapest and easiest of possible remedies, and may do the trick. Ed
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Windsor/Cleveland Block Identification, from Ken

Q: I was hoping that you may be able to assist - I have an engine (Ford V8) with number JG65NE which I assume is a Australian / Broadmeadows - Falcon 500 Coupe XA engine - 1973 December. Is it possible to tell from the engine number whether this is a Cleveland or Windsor block as I have had several assessments - none of which seem sound?

A: Hi Ken; Your question seems to imply that you believe the engine has been changed at some point. The number you have quoted can be identified by using our Falcon Identification Guide, in this case yours is a Falcon 500 Coupe manufactured in December 1973. Australian built Cleveland's carry the GF (Geelong Foundry) casting mark beside the oil pressure sender, although the the CF (Cleveland Foundry) casting mark is also found on later engine blocks. Aussie built 302's used the locally produced 351 block, having the stroke reduced from 3½ to 3 inches. V8 engines were not serial numbered to the car, however they were date coded at the time they were cast. The date codes and casting numbers are typically located behind the starter. It is generally accepted that an engine build date can precede the car manufacture date by as much as 3 months before you need to worry about the engine not being original. Probably the easiest way to identify the XA's engine is to check how the radiator hose attaches to the block - if it hooks around at approximately 90° and connects directly to the top front of the engine block you are looking at a Cleveland. Ed
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ZL Fairlane Engine Bay Cleaning, from Sue

Q: Hi, I am hoping you can advise me on how to wash down a 88 Ford Fairlane engine bay. Mine is very oily and I do not know where the oil is coming from, so I want to wash the engine down in the hope that the leak will become more visable. I am concerned over the electronics in the car and what should be avoided or covered up prior to spraying with degreaser, and washing.

Unfortunately up here where I live I get ripped off everytime I see the mechanic and I have become very suspicious of most of them, considering they have all quoted me upwards of $75.00 just to wash the engine bay before they will do a service on the car. Worse still, they will not give me a quote for the engine leak without the engine being washed down. The last time the car was serviced only part of the engine bay was cleaned, and this partial job cost me an extra $110.00 on top of the service fee! Afterwards the car ran like a soggy sock, until it was returned to them for more repairs. I would be most appreciative of your assistance. Sue

A: Hi Sue; Cleaning the engine bay should be a relatively easy job. Start by warming up your engine, as a warm engine (not hot) is easier to clean than a cold engine. From cold, allow the engine to idle for around 4 to 5 minutes only. We should point out that it is dangerous to pre-warm the engine prior to cleaning should it be fitted with a turbo or supercharger, or be modified to High Performance. The fast revving turbocharger can become extremely hot even with the engine idling, and wetting or spraying a hot turbocharger can cause serious damage, including warping or cracking. Likewise the headers on HP engines operate at extremely high temperatures and can suffer similar damage to that of a turbo.

Next, protect the bodywork by placing towels, drop cloths and the like around panels so that any overspray of de-greaser will not damage the duco. If you are using old towels and there is a bit of wind around they may be prone to unwanted movement during the next step - an easy solution to prevent this is to simply wet the towels/cloths so that they are heavier and become a little "sticky". Also take the time to protect the inside of the engine bay with towels and cloths etc.

Next, remove the air cleaner so that you have better access to the engine. Put it aside and clean it seperately. Next is the most important step, covering and wet-proofing all engine parts. The 4.1 litre engine used in the ZL Fairlane used a carburettor, so it is obviously very important that you take great care in wet proofing the carby intake, along with the distributor and cap, alternator, spark plugs and wire harness connections, electronic junction boxes, headlight connections etc. A great way of doing this is using the sealable sandwich bags available from the supermarket, then fixing them in place with good quality masking tape or metal ties. It is important that, at the very least, both the carburettor and distributor be completely water-proofed.

The most difficult part to properly water-proof are the spark plugs. The pro's sometimes shape aluminium foil barries around each plug, then overlay the foil with two or three layers of towels. Alternatively if you feel inclined you can disconnect the electrical harness wire to each plug and fit the sandwich bags over them independently, while making sure if there are no markings on the leads, you correctly number each one so that there is no confusion when you go to re-fit them.

Depending on how dirty your engine is, you can start with a strong aerosol degreasing solvent or kerosene, or a mild detergent and water mixture. The worst parts should be treated with the degreasing solvent, then scrubbed with steel wool or a scouring pad. Use the mild detergent on plastic parts, hoses and wiring looms. Once you have finished the clean, rinse with clean water.

Good preperation is the key to getting the job done right, and ensuring the engine starts after it has been cleaned. The more time you spend preparing, the better off you will be, and the last thing you want is to incur a larger expence in getting the motor started. Take sufficient time and care with the preperation and all will go well. Once it's cleaned, we would be paying particular attention to the cylinder heads, as this is the likely source of the leak and may require new gaskets. Ed
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Windsor vs Cleveland, from Chris

Q: G'day guys. I've recently bought a ZH Fairlane with a (rather ordinary) 302C. I've been looking at replacing it with a 351C, but quite a few people have told me to go for a Windsor instead. As it will be simply a cruiser, I'm obviously not looking for something that will slay 1/4 mile times, but I don't want it to be a slow lumbering heap either. Which motor would you recommend, and if the Windsor is the go, what would be required to convert the driveline, etc, if anything? Chris

A: Hi Chris; Both the Windsor and Cleveland are great motors, and either would make a good choice. Below is a list of the main differences between the two which you probably already know:

Windsor Cleveland
Oils main bearing, then cam bearings followed by top end Oils main and cam bearing at same time, followed by top end
Inline valvetrain Canted valvetrain
Wet intake Dry intake
Main caps 2 bolt non-splayed Main caps 2 OR 4 bolt splayed caps
Timing covers cast aluminium Timing covers stamped steel

Here in Australia the Cleveland has an enviable reputation, given the success of the GT Falcon's during the 1970's (see GT Falcon Race Results 1967 to 1977). Many enthusiasts will tell you the Windsor is the better engine because performance parts are a little easier to find and generally are cheaper, and it has a reputation for being incredibly robust and nearly indestructable. Best of all the block strength is the stuff of legends, making the engine capable of withstanding huge hp output when modified.

However the Cleveland 2V ports will outflow the Windsor factory iron heads, and the oiling system requires very little attention. The 4V raises the bar again, featuring a better intake port location and short side radius. The 4V can be turned into a monster by tuning experts, although there is an art to getting it right. The Windsor fans will still claim the engine has the wood on the Cleveland, as you can re-route the coolant exit from the block surfaces to the intake manifold on the 351C 2V heads for fitment to the 351W, the modification being referred to by some as a "Clevor".

Without wanting to take a strictly "accountants" view of your project, we know that keeping costs low is always a priority, and stroking the 302 could make a viable alternative and should be taken into consideration. You already have the engine, and will not need to change the headers, exhaust, oil pan, distributor, intake etc. Stroking your 302 to a 347 will yield near 351 performance, although there is one major down side to this option. The later model 302's as fitted to your ZH are considered structually weak and prone to substantial flexing, particularly when tuned to relatively high horsepower output (usually 425 or more). Fitting an after-market block can remedy the problem, but the additional costs involved will quickly eat into the cost savings you managed by stroking the 302.

Based on your statement that you are not interested in low 1/4 mile times, we would suggest you investigate freshening up the 302 and stroking it to 347. If your heart is set on a 351, the Windsor will provide a slightly cheaper selection of performance parts, it is a little lighter and has a great block should you decide on later high performance modification. In stock form the Cleveland has the wood on the Windsor, and was the version fitted to the ZH making the car a little more original. If you can afford the extra money, and keeping your car as original as possible is important, then the Cleveland is the way to go. If you do opt for a 351, we suggest you keep the 302 so that it can be fitted back into the car when you sell or trade - few that have experienced the 351 find it easy to part with. Ed
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4 Door GTR XU-1, from Tom

Q: Can you please tell me if there is such a thing as a 4 door Torana GTR XU-1? Tom

A: Hi Tom; No. Ed
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WB Holden Specification Inaccuracies, from Ron

Q: I am amazed at the inaccuracies in your sites specifications on the WB model Holden's. It states "monocoque construction" for the WB's and does not state full chassis construction for the utes, vans and one-tonners .. it says 2 barrel Rochester carby, when it was a Varajet .. even your figure of 60,000 WB's produced is highly inaccurate .. as that would not even cover the production of just one model of the WB's .. when there were 4 body styles, produced over nearly 5 years. You forget to mention that the WB one-tonner was a mainstay of the builder/contractor workforce, and many thousands are still left, doing that same line of work today. Ron.

A: Hi Ron; We are not sure that not mentioning something makes for an inaccuracy, but we take your criticism on-board. As for the carby, the GM Strasbourg Varajet twin barrel downdraft carburettor was only fitted to the 202 used in the commercials, the Rochester was used on the 253 and 308's. The build number quoted is the most accurate information we have, and we cannot extrapolate a number simply based on models multiplied by years. As for the WB one tonner remaining the mainstay of the builder/contractor workforce, we consider ourselves duly educated. Ed
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Why Tow From The Rear, from Herb

Q: I remember many years ago my beloved HQ Holden being towed from the rear wheels, long before the tray trucks we have today. Why would they tow from the rear, given the front wheels could be prone to turn or at the least be off-centre and cause the towed vehicle to scrub its tyres? Herb

A: Hi Herb; The answer lies with your transmission, and your HQ obviously had a Trimatic. Standard procedure for towing from the front (with the rear wheels on the road) would require the propeller shaft be disconnected at the rear universal, then a suitable plug being installed to the rear of the transmission to prevent the loss of fluid and possible entry of dirt. Only if you were travelling a short distance, and could keep the speed under 50 km/h could you attempt a rear wheel tow. Ed
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1974 Ramsay Ski Boat 308 V8 Identification, from Gene

Q: I have recently purchased a 1974 Ramsay ski boat. I am interested in finding out more about the 308 V8 in it. The eng no is the same one on the boat compliance plate so I am taking it as being the original motor the boat came out with. The engine no starts with 308H can you shed any light on this matter for me. Thanks, Gene

A: Hi Gene; We got in touch with the Ramsay crew, along with Noel and Bev from the Ramsay Ski Boat Club. They told us that during that era, the 308 V8 engines were supplied from the factory by GMH . There was only one variation, a hotted up Repco version that had reshaved heads. These engines were known as the R55, and proved to be extremely reliable. They can be identified by the numbers rgmXXX (where XXX will be a series of numbers). This also led to the development of the R65 engine, a highly competitive 4 bolt version. All other engines were marinised versions purpose built by GMH and stamped in the factory on the block underneath one of the heads. We would like to thank both the Ramsay crew and the Ramsay Ski Boat Club for their assistance in researching this question. Ed
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The Great Vauxhall Viva Flip, From Will

Q: Guys, a friend showed me the site - bloody brilliant. We were reading about the HB Torana and watched a clip of a Viva flipping and the roof caving in, but I now can't find it anywhere - help!

A: Hi Will; The links can be a little subtle - go to the HB Torana car review page, scroll down to the 4th paragraph and click on the bit that says "flip with suprising ease". If it does not work, you may need to check that your pop-up blocker is not getting in the way. Ed
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Ford Capri Timing Belt Change, From Paul

Q: Hi - just curious if you can help me out with a problem with my SA 1990 Ford Capri 1.6 injected single cam non turbo. I have replaced the head gasket and timing belt, with the timing I know I have to line up the timing marks on the top and bottom pulleys, when they are lined up is the number one piston at top dead centre or do you have to do somthing else. Does it matter if its on inlet or exhaust compression and if so what's it supposed to be on and how can you tell. Thanks Paul.

A: Hi Paul; You are correct in that piston 1 is used to ascertain "Top Dead Center", or TDC, and there are often markings on the flywheel, dynamic balancer or crank pulley. It is obvious from your question that you understand that the crankshaft rotates twice for every single rotation of the camshaft. It is the inlet compression you need to use to ascertain true TDC. After you get the crankshaft at TDC (by using the flywheel indicator or checking the actual piston position), check the camshaft sprocket to make sure the camshaft alignment mark is at the TDC position as well. Ed
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Replacement 350 Chev Vibration Problem, From Derek

Q: I have a Holden Brougham in which I've recently replaced the Chev 350. The old one had four thou' run-out on the crank and had started to vibrate. The new engine is now run in, running on LPG/petrol and with 20W-50 oil in it. The problem I have is that the vibration is now worse than the old engine (when idling, in or out of gear, and at any speed and on either fuel). It has one or more noisy tappets on one bank, which, apparently, can't be adjusted. My trusted mechanic has been through the drive train but can't eliminate the vibration. I can only think that the next thing to do is to check the head with the noisy tappet but I thought you might be able to recommend something before I go to that expense? Cheers, Derek.

A: Hi Derek; It is obviously near impossible to diagnose such a problem via the internet, however we doubt any action you take to either renew the worn tappet, or renew the hydraulic tappet assembly, will fix the vibration problem (although we would be concerned as to why there is excessive noise on a fresh motor). One of the problems associated with rebuilding an engine is that the replacement parts used will likely not match the exact weight of the originals, and if the new motor has been bored to oversize, things can be more difficult. We would assume you have checked the harmonic balancer already, but as you have not stated so, and you are asking for our recommendation, that would be it. If you are dealing with torsional harmonic vibration (resulting from the ignition of air and fuel mixture inside the engine), it can have a severe impact on the longevity of your engine, and can even cause the crank to break under exceptional circumstances. If a new harmonic balancer has been fitted, there may be something knocking it out of balance. In any case, we would strongly suggest you do not drive the Brougham until the vibration issue is sorted. Ed
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Importing A Japanese Domestic Honda Civic, From Ronald

Q: Hi, I would like to know if I can import a Japanese domestic market Honda Civic to Australia? Thanks, Ronald.

A: Hi Ronald; The answer is yes, however inevitably the cost involved in shipping, combined with the Duty, GST and cost of compliance will make the proposition a whole lot less appealing. You can read more information on Importing A Car To Australia, however it always pays to double check with Customs prior to undertaking the importation. Next, speak to a reputable vehicle import/export company, along with a compliance company to fully determine the costs involved. In the vast majority of cases, only classic cars over 30 years of age make good candidates for importation, as different regulations cover this group of cars. Newer cars imported from Japan tend to be more specialised high performance models not available in Australia. Ed
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Dropping A V8 Into The HQ , From Nita

Q: I have a HQ Holden in pretty good condition but I would like to find a V8 Engine that would suit to put in this car. I would appreciate if you could possibly give me a few contacts regarding this. I also have a 1971 HG Premier that has original "everything" in near mint condition. It has only done about 80,000 miles. Could you give me an estimate of the value of the car? Nita

A: Hi Nita; You should contact Rod Hadfields Castlemaine Rod Shop on (03) 5472 2853 and discuss your intended conversion with them. We would suggest you stick with the 308 or 350 as both will offer ample performance. You didn't mention the transmission, and this is an area that will likely need to be addressed during the conversion. If you have a Tri-Matic, and you want to keep this, then stick with the 308. The axle ratio's, 4 speed manual gearing ratio's etc are covered in our HQ Holden Specifications Page. As for the HG Prem, we would expect this to pull mid teens, given the very low miles, and the condition of the vehicle. We know of an outstanding HK Premier that sold a few months back for $12.5K, although we think this was a little on the low side given the condition of the vehicle. Ed
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Matching a VIN from an XW/XY Engine, From Matt

Q: Hi there. I have a Ford Falcon XW or XY engine. How do I find out a VIN number so i can get the specs to build an XW or XY to the same colour, interior and so on. If you could help that would be great so I can get started, thanks Matt

A: Hi Matt; We are a little confused with your question, as it sounds as though you have an engine without the car. Assuming you do have the car, you will find the VIN stamped on the passenger side support panel, which should match the number stamped on the I.D. plate. This was attached to the drivers side pre January 1970, and on the bulkhead for the remainder of 1970. Good luck with the resto. Ed
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HD Holden Valuation, From Olly

Q: Hey guys, congrats on the site for a start, it's great. Im only a young lad, 17, and to be quite honest Im not really the most up there with prices on particular classic cars, in particular the one I can get my hands on. I do however know that there is a massive boom in the prices of classic cars today. I know where there is a HD, I cannot remember if it is a Premier or Special, but I was hoping you would help either way. The car has belonged to an elderly man and he has all the books to date, which I know is a good thing to know the history of a car. It has been well maintained and garaged its whole life, however there is a slight amount of rust at the bottom of some of the doors and a scratch down the side of the car. Only small cosmetics which can be easily fixed.

My question to you guys would be how much would it be roughly valued at assuming that is the only flaw, interior, running gear etc. is perfect, like absolutely perfect with 77,000 miles on the clock. From memory I can get it at $1800 so is this a good price today and what should be paid for Specials and Premiers? I know its a long story for a small question, but none the less I know how much detail would be required from such a question without seeing the car. It would be extremly highly appreciated if you guys could give me a rough dollar figure. Thanks, Olly.

A: Hi Olly; The HD has been a bit of an enigma over the years, its lack of popularity with Holden aficionados all the more obvious with it sitting between the very popular HR at one end, and the legend status of the EH at the other. Given all share similar mechanicals, and the ever reliable and cheap to maintain Holden Red engine, we have for many years believed the HD represents great value. It is no longer the "much maligned" model it once was, and values today are not as disparate as they once were. If the HD is in the condition as you describe, it would be worth 3 to 4 times the asking price, and low to mid teens if it is a Premier and stock. Ed
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The Origin Of Rostyle Alloy Wheels, From Sam

Q: Hi Guys. I am trying to find out the origins of the Rostyle Alloy wheels, when they were originally made and what cars they were fitted to? Sam

A: Hi Sam; The Rostyle wheels appeared in the UK in the mid to late 1960's, they being fitted as standard to the Jensen Interceptor, Rover 3.5 and Ford Cortina 1600 E. They were also available as an option on the Lotus Cortina, and soon other manufacturers were adding the Rostyle to their own options list. Manufactured by Rubery Owen, they were not made from alloy, but a high strength steel designed to handle the vigours of rally driving. You don't need us to tell you that, after the polishing treatment, they looked great. Ed

Trouble Finding The Colour Code For A Jaguar Mk II

Q: Hi Guys. I am having trouble locating the colour code for my Jaguar Mk. II. How do I find out what colour it should have been originally? Gavin

A: Hi Gavin; Yours seems to be a pretty common question, so we have put togther a chart, titled "Locating Auto Manufacturer Paint Codes". Then check the Jaguar Mk2 Specs for colour and trim combinations, which should help. Ed
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Should I Keep The HQ, From Steve

Q: I was just wondering if you could help me. I have been left a HQ Wagon in perfect condition, 1 owner and still with books and reciept of purchase. It has never been in accident and has always been garaged. The car is registered as a heritage vehicle. Can you point me in the right direction of how much it's worth, and if it is worth holding on to? Steve

A: Hi Steve; Assuming it is a Kingswood, it could be worth a touch over $10K if it is in exceptionally good condition, or only requiring a little to be spent to get it that way. If it has a V8, add around 4K. The HQ was a great car, and we think it still looks fantastic today. It will certainly not depreciate, and will likely slowly appreciate over the next few years. That said, there are likely to be far better options for you to invest in if you have the self control not to spend the money from the sale, such as paying a little off the mortgage, paying off credit cards etc. But that's if you follow your head. You did not say if you actually like the HQ. If you do, and enjoy driving her, then why not keep it. There are only a handful of things you can purchase (apart from real estate) where you get to enjoy it while it appreciates. Ed
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History Of The Demolition Derby, From Harrison

Q: Hi, my name is Harrison and I am in year 7. For my end of year project I want to do the history of the demolition derby. Can you please help.

A: Hi Harrison; Once we started researching the history of the Demolition Derby, we soon discovered there was considerable conjecture about where, and when, the "sport" first originated. The most accurate information we have been able to locate suggests it started out in the mid 1950's in the USA, where the abundance of old cars, combined with the USA's considerable prosperity, led to the Derby being used as a crowd puller for the stock car events. We have created a small page titled "The Demolition Derby", and hope this helps. Ed
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WB Holden Electrical Problems, From Andre

Q: Hi, I have a Holden WB ute with two problems that have just "popped" up... Problem #1) The bonnet hood release will not release and I can not open the bonnet!. Any ideas of trying to open it with out cutting the bonnet off? I thought of removimg the front "kingswood" grill and accessing the latch area, but not 100% sure on the best method to remove the grill, from the front. (ie no access form the rear...the bonnet will not open hence I can access any screws that may be holding the grill in place.

Problem #2) The front lights will not trun on. Checked all fuses - All good. High Beam works works fine. Parkers, Driving lights, instruments, cabin light - Not working. I think its the switch itself. I am unable to fully check as due to problem 1 above, I cannot get the bonnet open. Any ideas on the removal of the light switch from the dash, and perhaps by passing the "On-Off" to a manual switch for the Driving lights. (This is only so I can drive it at night short commuter distance). Any help or links to help full sites would be great. Many thanks Andre

A: Hi Andre; Removing the grille should be a relatively easy job, and should not require access from the rear. See if you can locate the 5 recessed mounting screws - these may be a little hard to see unless you are lower than the grille itself. One screw is situated at the top of the grille and the others are situated two each end. Once these have been removed, pull the grille forward and remove it from the vehicle. Installation is naturally a reversal of the removal procedure. The bonet locking assembly is located between the front panel and the radiator, and there should be plenty of room for you to manually release the bonet once the grille has been removed.

Once problem #1 is resolved, figuring out the solution to problem #2 should be a little easier. If you think the problem is with the switch, then the use of a test lamp will make your job a lot easier. You can make one up yourself, using the following
  • two suitable lengths of 4mm wire
  • two small alligator type clips
  • a double contact bulb holder and 12 volt single filament double contact bulb.
Bare both ends of the two lengths of 4 millimetre wire, then solder an alligator clim to one end of each wire lead. Connect the other end of each lead to the double contact bulb holder terminals and ensure that they are insulated from each other and from the bulb holder base. Install the bulb into the bulb holder, then test the unit across a 12 volt battery.

When you have your test lamp ready, remove the wires from the switch and, using the test lamp, test each lead to find the power wire. After noting the colour/position of the wire, disconnect the test lamp and, using a suitable jumper lead, connect the jumper lead from the power wire of the switch to the other switch wire. If the circuit functions, the switch is faulty and will need to be replaced.

When removing the headlamp switch, ensure you disconnect the battery earth lead first. Then remove the retaining screws and withdraw the instrument panel lower panel cover so that you can access the rear of the headlamp switch. Pull the switch out to the "full-on" position, extend one hand up behind the dash panel to the switch and press in the spring loaded rod retainer on the top right hand side of the switch, at the same time pulling the rod and knob from the switch. Next, remove the switch retaining nut and remove the switch to the rear of the instrument panel.

Disconnect the multi-plug connector from the headlamp switch and withdraw the switch from behind the instrument panel. When re-fitting, ensure the switch locating lug is fitted into the slot in the dash panel before tightening the retaining nut. It is not necessary to depress the rod retainer to refit the rod and knob; align the rod in the switch and gently push in to the off position - the retainer will automatically move into position. Ed
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Help Find The Burgundy 1958 Ferrari 250, From Randal

Letter From Enzo Ferrari

Q: Dear Unique Cars and Parts: My wife's Father was James Simpson Jr, of Stoneybroke Farm, Wadsworth, Ill. He owned a 1958 Ferrari, but died suddenly in 1960, and the car was sold. My wife was 12 years old then and her Mother then sold the car and has since passed. I do know he owned a race car and I have found that car, but I really want to find the road car. The only things she remembers about the car was that it went to Wisconsin where it supposedly won numerous awards.

The car was burgundy with tan interior. She remembers a coupe and the brother still has luggage that came with the car. From my investigations, it was probably a 250. The letter I have included, (and I have the Italian version with Enzos faint signature) makes me believe that it was a 58'. James was a congressman from Ill, and one story is that when the new toll road from Chicago north to Wadsworth was built, James let the Governor drive the car and was stopped by the highway patrol, but upon them seeing the Governor, the car was never again stopped for any reason.

I am sorry to have such limited information, but would you have any idea on how one could track down this car? Can I find out how many burgundy 1958 cars were sold and would there still be a list from the factory showing who the original owner was with the serial number? I have tried to find a contact email or phone at Ferrari, without success. Any advice or help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Randal

A: Hi Randal. We have instigated some enquiries on your behalf this end, and will let you know if any information is forthcoming. In the meantine, we would suggest you try contacting a US based Ferrari dealership, such as Ferrari of Washington ( They are factory authorised dealers, and as such will have a much better chance of being able to elicit the information from Ferrari on your behalf. Your letter from Enzo is sensational, and together with a copy of the original Italian version, these two (facsimile) copies would look great framed and mounted on their dealership wall. We would make the offer in exchange for a little help. Obviously by publishing your request for information on this site, should anyone else be able to help out we will pass the information on to you immediately. Ed
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Replacement Parts For 1970 Triumph TR6, From Kel

Q: I own a 1970 Triumph TR6. I'm contemplating a rather expensive purchase of parts for this vehicle from the UK. I have found on your site that customs duty is not paid on vehicles over 30 years old, but what about replacement parts for such a vehicle? Regards Kel

A: Hi Kel; We contacted the Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263, and determined that the same tariff exemption on car parts applies, provided these parts are greater than 30 years old and do not form a complete engine. Should the replacement parts be less than 30 years old, then the 10% import tariff would apply. This also applies to any complete engine from 1963 onward. Ed
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Austin A40 Running Boards, From Alison

Q: Did the Austin (Australian) A40 ever have running boards. This was one of my father's early work utes and my brother is sure that it had running boards. I cannot find one with the boards. Can you help? Cheers, Alison

A: Hi Alison; From what we have been able to determine, the 1948 - 1952 Austin A40 Dorset, Devon and Commercials had running boards. Ed
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Classic Car Insurance, From Andy

Q: Guys, I am looking for your advice on which car insurance company would be the best for my 2 HQ Holden Monaro's. Who do you use, is there anything I should look out for? Andy

A: Hi Andy; We have a Classic Car Insurance page on this site which will act as a guide. We find paying by the month to be the easiest for us, and seeing as you have 2 cars, check which companies able to provide you with "stable" insurance, which menas that both cars are covered, but only one can be driven at a time. Of course, if you and your wife/friend drive both to car shows and the like, or for any reason the two Monaro's are on the road at the same time, you will need to discuss this with your chosen insurer. There are also substantial discounts on offer for cars driven less than a pre-determined number of kilometers each year. If you do not use the Monaro's as daily drives, then this too would be worthwile investigating. Ed (see Classic Car Insurance)
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US Vehicle Importation, From Jane

Q: Hi, I am wondering if someone could give us some advice on freighting/shipping a vehicle from the States. My brother has been living in Miami Beach for over 13 years, he has a 1971 Oldsmobile and another late model Jeep, he will be returning to Australia permanently next year and wants to bring both vehicles. Do you have any shipping companies you use reguarly that we could contact - any advice would be very much appreciated. Thankyou.

A: Hi Jane; While the rules governing the import of a vehicle state that the owner/importer must have owned the vehicle for at least 3 months (which is obviously not a problem for your brother), you still need to obtain permission for the import, and provide documentation to the Australian Customs department which includes:
  • The original vehicle import approval
  • A copy of the Bill of Sale verifying ownership and other purchase particulars such as date of purchase, price etc
  • A photocopy of each page of the owners/importers passport, even including the "blank" pages
  • A copy of the ocean Bill of Lading
  • A "Vehicle Imported By A Passenger" form
  • A receipt from the shipping company confirming that the shipping has been paid

Go to, click on Transport, then Vehicle Importing and Certification. The website will tell you what you need to do to gain Personal Import Approval.

Customs Duty, GST and, where applicable, the Luxury Car Tax will be payable, and in the case of a vehicle less than 15 years old, a compliance plate will also be required before the car can be registered. All imported vehicles under 30 years old must be in the right hand drive configuration before they can be registered, while imported vehicles that are less than 15 years old at the date of importation are subject to the certification requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, and are required to be fitted with a compliance plate, which indicates they comply with the Standards for Registration.

Given the expense of obtaining the compliance for the Jeep, we would think it unlikely to be a viable proposition - the '71 Oldsmobile on the other hand sounds like it would be an ideal candidate for importation. Be mindful of the CFC regulations, ask your brother to ensure the Oldsmobile aircon does not contain or operate on a CFC (R12) refrigerant and provide documentation to prove that. Also, ensure the car is spotlessly clean or the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service may require the car to undergo a costly steam clean (inside and out) upon its arrival. It always pays to double check with Customs, their information line is 1300 363 263, or visit the Australian Customs Service website.

We will be adding recommended vehicle importation and shipping companies to our Classic Car Services and Trade Directory in the near future, and are confident you will find a reputable service provider there. You should also check our guide to Customs Duty and Tax Payable when importing a car to Australia. Ed

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Ford Fairmont XW 1969, From Vicki

Q: My husband has a Ford Fairmont XW 1969 model and he would like to know where he can find the ID plates on the car? Vicki

A: Hi Vicki; Have checked the Ford Falcon Identification page on this site? You will find the ID plate attached to the drivers side bulkhead. It should be very easy to locate, and if not it has most likely been removed. Ed
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RB Gemini Thermostat Problems, From Rosemary

Q: I have just had a reconditioned head installed in my car, which is a Holden Gemini RB 1985 model. On driving it, after about three kilometers, the needle on the temperature guage goes quickly to the middle of the line and hovers there. If I am stuck in traffic it goes up a little more to just over half the line, then drops a little to half again when I resume driving. My mechanic has told me that this is OK, but the thermostat may need changing to one that does not heat up so quickly.

Apparently there are two kinds for this type of car. The water in the reservoir is normal, after I have driven it,and the engine doesn't seem to be overheated, as there is no steam. Can you tell me if the reading on the temperature guage is normal for this car, or is the car heating up too much. I have to return the car after 500km to have it adjusted because of the reconditioned head, but I am wondering if I am damaging the car with the temperature guage showing this reading. Thank you, Rosemary.

A: Hi Rosemary; The thermostat is designed to allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature as quickly as possible, and then maintain the engine at a constant temperature. If you open up a thermostat, you will find a wax like substance that is designed to "melt" once it reaches a predetermined temperature, thus opening the the flow of water from the radiator. Until the optimal temperature is reached, the wax should stay solid, preventing the valve from opening and thereby forcing the water to re-circulate in the engine, and by-pass the radiator (cooling system).

Once the correct temperature is reached, the thermostat will open and allow the water to flow through the radiator so that the correct engine temperature can be maintained. From the description you have given, it does not sound like the thermostat is causing any problem, as the quicker it can get your engine to its normal operating temperature the better. Having a minor deviation in temperature when the car is stuck in traffic is normal too, however if it is prone to overheating the problem is more than likely with the cooling system. If your Gemini is fitted with an electric radiator cooling fan, its operation will be via another thermostat, and what you are seeing sounds to us like the normal operation.

As you have concerns, you should raise this with the mechanic that has fitted the reconditioned head so that he can determine if the engine is operating within normal operating temperatures. If we had a thermostat fitted that allowed the engine to reach its normal operating temperature less quickly, we would consider it to be faulty, as it would be incorrectly allowing some water to pass via the cooling system even when the engine is cold. Ed
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XT Fairmont Identification, From Ryan

Q: Can you please help me identify my XT Fairmont. I only have VIN Number and there are no ID plates. Ryan

A: Hi Ryan; The information available from only a VIN is very limited. We suggest you try Ford directly, and see if they can issue you with a new ID Plate. Ed
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Twin Headlight Configuration On A HQ GTS Monaro, From Steve

Q: Did the 1973 GTS Monaro 4-door come with a optional xtra of twin headlights? The reason for the qusetion is there is one for sale here in New Zealand with twin headlights, and I am not sure if it is original. Cheers, Steve

A: Hi Steve; The 4-Door GTS Monaro did not come with twin headlights, which leaves only two options. It has had the nosepiece put on from a Premier (a popular modification in the 1980's), or worse still, it is not a genuine Monaro. Proceed with caution. Ed
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It's A Statesman, Not A Holden Statesman! From Rob

Q: I was wondering why it is that your website uses the term “Holden Statesman” when referring to the HQ through WB series Statesman's, given that these vehicles were not marketed as Holden's. I offer the following for your consideration.
  • The July 1971 brochure for the HQ Statesman Custom & Statesman de Ville does not use the terms Holden or Holden Statesman at all. In fact it even uses “General Motors” rather than “General Motors Holden’s”.
  • The article on Page 62 of the September 1971 issue of Modern Motor magazine begins with the words, “The first thing to get straight about the new Statesman is that it is not a Holden” .
  • The article on Page 44 of the October 1971 issue of Modern Motor includes the following under the heading “Road Test Data – Specifications”
    • Manufacturer ... General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd
    • Make / Model ..... Statesman Custom
  • The July 1971 SA car registrations table on Page 30 of the November 1971 issue of South Australian Motor magazine, includes the following:
    • Chevrolet – 1
    • Holden – 1327
    • Statesman – 25
  • The November 1974 brochure for the HJ Statesman de Ville & Statesman Caprice does not use the terms Holden or Holden Statesman at all.
  • The October 1977 brochure for the HX Statesman de Ville & Statesman Caprice does not use the terms Holden or Holden Statesman at all.
  • The same brochure refers to “500 GMH dealers throughout the country” whereas the HX Kingswood brochure refers to “500 Holden dealers.....”
  • The August 1980 brochure for the WB Statesman de Ville & Statesman Caprice does not use the terms Holden or Holden Statesman at all.
  • The Green Book Price Guide for Sep-Oct 1984 lists Torana, Kingswood, Monaro etc under HOLDEN but lists Custom, de Ville, Caprice and SL/E under STATESMAN.
  • No “Holden” nameplates or badges are apparent on any of the vehicles shown in any of the above-mentioned Statesman sales brochures.
  • Every registration label I have seen on the windscreen of a HQ, HJ, HX , HZ or WB Statesman shows the Make as “Statesman” rather than as “Holden”.
If "General Motors" didn’t promote these early Statesman's as Holden's and they didn’t badge them as Holden's and they were not registered as Holden's, what makes them Holden's? Popular opinion perhaps? I would like to think that you are in the business of accurately recording motoring history rather than simply recording popular opinion. Rob

A: Hi Rob; Part of the difficulty in running a web site of this size is making it easy to navigate, easy to find information, and be found via search engines. Our web tracking software has some 90% of people using the term "Holden Statesman" rather than "Statesman" alone. It gets worse, with 96% searching for the Monaro LE rather than the strictly "Holden LE", and yes, we are guilty of referencing the LE as a Monaro LE.

Your references to the fact that the Statesman was never marketed as a Holden are quite correct, as evidenced by the HQ Statesman and HX Statesman brochures. It is obvious that GM were setting the Statesman apart from the rest in the HQ Statesman commercial, referencing only General Motors. In the HX Statesman Commercial, the reference is to "new thinking from General Motors Holdens". While your criticism is taken on board, our priority remains that the information be easy to find. Ed
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HD X2 Information, From Barry

Q: I have just purchased a rare HD X2, how can I tell if it's original? Barry

A: Hi Barry; The engine number should have the prefix "179X", as identified in our Holden 6 cylinder Red Motor Engine Identification Guide. Ed
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Volkswagen Beetle Production Figures, From Troy

Q: Guys, I have a 1976 Aussie built bug, and would like to know how many were made. Troy

A: Hi Troy; It sounds as though you are after specific build numbers for Australian built Beetle's, which we do not have. If you are simply after global figures, these are available on the Volkswagen Beetle Production Details page. Ed
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Yellow Paint Dots and Mercedes, From Deano

Q: What was the significance of the yellow paint dots on the suspension components of old Merc's? My mate reckons they were meant to be there, is this true? If so, what function did it perform? Deano

A: Hi Deano; The only reference we have been able to find about the yellow markings you refer to comes from some promotional material circa 1969, where the yellow paint is squirted onto the suspension components by a purpose built wrench used by Mercedes during manufacture. We have posted the feature 25 Revealing Facts About Mercedes, scroll down to fact number 8. Ed
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XY Fairmont Standard Kit, From Don

Q: Can you please tell me when the XY Fairmont came out, was the sunroof an option and, if so, how many different types of sunroof were there? I know there's the one where the roof panel slides back, but was there the one where it was glass and you push it up? Thanks a lot if you are able to help me with this question. Cheers, Don

A: Hi Don; We believe only the one style of sliding metal-panel type sunroof was fitted as a factory option, and even then it was extremely rare. If you do happen to have a factory fitted sunroof, this will significantly improve the value of your Fairmont. We have posted a page with a run-down of the Falcon XW and Falcon XY Options available. Ed
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Australian Horseless Carriage Syndicate, From Tracy

Q: Can you tell me more about the Australian Horsless Carriage Syndicate. I sent an earlier email. Ta, Tracy

A: Hi Tracy; After conducting further research into the origins of the Pioneer, we have determined that the vehicle was in fact steam driven, not kerosene powered as we had stated earlier. We have decided to dedicate a page to the Australian Horseless Carriage Syndicate, so that we can expand upon their story as we find more information. Ed
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Toyota History, from Trevor

Q: Guys, I am trying to find out a little about the history of Toyota in Australia, and their association with AMI, as my father used to work there. When was the first Toyota manufactured in Australia? Trevor

A: Hi Trevor; Sorry for the delay in answering your question, as we had to do a little research to fill in the blanks. We have posted a page on the History Of Toyota In Australia, and hope this helps. The first Toyota assembled by AMI was the Tiara, in 1962. Ed
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A Mystery Horseless Carriage, from Richard

Q: Hello Unique Cars and Parts People; Found this post card in my uncles oak chest, and am totally clueless as to what kind of old horseless carriage this might be. Found your web site while trying to figure this out... Can you help? Thanks for your time, Richard, Seattle WA, USA

A: Hi Richard; Hmmmm. To be honest, we will only be able to give you a "best guess", but perhaps someone else who visits this page will be able to provide more information. We decided to start out by trying to determine the era, which we put at around 1895. Of course, the motor car underwent major change during the late 19th century. As is well documented, the first "practical" motor car was developed by Karl Benz in 1885, howerer there are some that believe Austrian Siegfried Marcus built the very first car, putting the manufacture date as early as 1864. The image below left is of Marcus' second car, manufactured in 1885. A decade later, in 1895, John Henry Knight manufactured the first British petrol-driven car, and we can now start to see some similarity with the quadracycle depicted in the postcard found in your uncles chest.

Small Window Click picture for close up view

Siegfried Marcus' second car
John Henry Knight's first car
1896 Duryea
John Henry Knight's first car
Siegfried Marcus' second car...
John Henry Knight's Quadracycle...
The 1896 Duryea...
Henry Ford's Quadracycle...

As you have probably read in our feature "The Heritage Of The Automobile", the evolution of the car in the US was quite different to what was happening over in Europe. During the first part of 1891 a petrol powered friction-driven three-wheeler built by John W. Lambert of Ohio City made its first tentative runs. In 1895, America's first motor manufacturing company was founded by the Duryea brothers, Charles and Frank (whose prototype dated from 1893); the following year they even exported a couple of vehicles to Britain.

Common to all but the Ford was the use of larger rear wheels, so the Ford does share the same style as that on your uncle's postcard. However the early US quadracycle's used a tiller steering system, not the rigid "T-Bar" setup as shown in the postcard, or that employed by John Henry Knight's quadracycle. So our "guess", (and remembering this is a postcard, so its origin may not be from the US) is that the image is of an early British quadracycle. If anyone passes further information on to us, we will be sure to pass it on. Ed
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Australian Horseless Carriage Syndicate, Fron Tracey

Q: I was wondering if you provide information about the Australian Horseless Carriage Syndicate, of which my great grandfather was a part of, telling about the first horseless carriage in Australia, the "Pioneer". It was built in North Melbourne at a foundry and consisted of a buggy with a single kerosene burning cylinder and the tiller system for steering. It was on show at the Exhibition Buildings in 1897/8. It was celebrated by a trip with Lord Brassey and other dignitaries of the time. I have a picture somewhere of the event. It should be included in our history and on your webpage. Thanking you, Tracey

Small Window Click picture for close up view
The Pioneer...

A: Hi Tracey; This is a really tough one, and we feel you may well have far more information than we do. The "Pioneer" you refer to we believe was driven by a kerosene powered horizontal motor, capable of pushing the vehicle to a spritley 10 mph. It featured duplicate driving wheels that could be geared up to any height according to the fancy of the driver. An article written in a newspaper at the time said "Country doctors are the chief order takers for this kind of conveyance", but we are not sure if any were actually sold.

Most regard the Thomson Steamer of 1896 as the first Australian car. The history books then go on to detail the first "Australian built petrol car" as being the two cylinder chain driven iteration manufactured by Captain Harley Tarrant and Howard Lewis of Victoria. Other Australian car enthusiasts tried to build cars, but Captain Tarrant was the only really successful one. By 1901 he had built a car that ran well and was reliable, and due to their popularity quite a few were manufactured prior to the outbreak of World War 1. Should you be able to provide any information on the Pioneer for publication on this site we would be appreciative. Ed
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