RE­PEAT OF­FENDER

CLINT KELLY’S IN­CRED­I­BLE LJ TO­RANA IS BACK WITH A BENT-EIGHT BE­NEATH THE BON­NET

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YEP, you’ve al­most cer­tainly seen this gor­geous LJ To­rana GTR XU-1 trib­ute be­fore. It’s been do­ing the rounds for about five years now, and we fea­tured it back in our May 2013 is­sue bear­ing the num­ber plates CRAZY6. Those plates might be the only out­ward change since then, but be­neath the skin, Clint Kelly’s Torry is now a whole dif­fer­ent breed of beast.

He’s man­aged to mar­malade one of those new fan­dan­gled LS en­gines into the stun­ning lit­tle coupe, and he’s done such a rip­per job of it that we fig­ured the car was worth a sec­ond look.

For those who might have missed it the last time it was fea­tured, the car was run­ning a nutso lit­tle Holden six with a J.ZED head and a trio of 45mm Del­lorto carbs. Clint had Nc tour­ing car racer and Holden six guru Vince Macri do some sub­se­quent de­vel­op­ment with the en­gine, and with the switch to a roller camshaft, 50mm We­ber carbs and a set of larger, 1 7 /8-inch pri­mary head­ers, he man­aged to coax mon­ster grunt out of the lit­tle six-pot. We’re talk­ing a V8-sham­ing 412hp at the fly­wheel, or 300hp at the wheels.

Those are se­ri­ous num­bers for a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated red mo­tor, but Clint is a bit of a tin­kerer who is al­ways look­ing for an ex­cuse to pull some­thing apart, im­prove it, and put it back to­gether. Af­ter all, when the car was first built, he was the bloke who did the tub work, built and in­stalled the four-link, took care of all the body­work and han­dled the as­sem­bly process from start to fin­ish, all in the same back­yard shed you see here. Not bad for a con­creter.

“I’d never owned a V8 be­fore, and the six was vir­tu­ally on the limit,” he says. “It was like a race car to drive, which was great, but it would some­times get hot in traf­fic and my mis­sus strug­gled to drive it with the pad­dle clutch I had fit­ted. I’d been think­ing about put­ting a side-mount blower on it, but when I found out that the laws had been re­laxed and it was pos­si­ble to fit an LS, I thought that might be the go.”

Clint sourced a low-kay six-litre L98 V8 through fel­low To­rana tragic John Spinks, sold off his men­tal lit­tle six-pot to Vince, and struck up a deal to have him ex­tract some more power out of this new en­gine. Vince duly fet­tled the heads to flow more air, fit­ting Man­ley valves and springs. He also in­stalled a COMP Cams Mutha Thumpr camshaft and lifters, and a Melling oil pump to en­sure ad­e­quate blood pres­sure.

In the mean­time, Clint set about re­search­ing the best way to shoe­horn the big al­loy bent-eight into the To­rana’s com­pact en­gine bay. He opted for en­gine and trans­mis­sion mounts from Tuff Mounts, along with an al­loy sump and trans­mis­sion cross­mem­ber from The Rod Shop. Like all V8-INTO-LC/LJ con­ver­sions, the steer­ing had to be re­lo­cated. Clint nudged the base of the col­umn across, then notched the front cross­mem­ber to get the lower Lh/lx-style steer­ing shaft knuckle as low as pos­si­ble to cre­ate the most amount of real es­tate for header clear­ance.

Speak­ing of the head­ers, Clint built them him­self, and it was a mis­sion. “They’re 1 7 /8-inch head­ers, and I bought the man­drel bends and built them in the car; that was the worst part of the whole build,” he says. “I’d tape up the pipes, mark them up, cut and tack them, then take them to a mate to fully Tig-weld them. Then I’d clean up the welds to make it all look like one piece. I made ev­ery run­ner sep­a­rately, and made my own col­lec­tors. The head­ers owe me over $1000 in ma­te­ri­als and I don’t know how many hours. It’s no won­der shops charge so much to do that kind of work.”

RE­LAXED AND IT WAS WHEN I FOUND OUT THE LAWS HAD BEEN POS­SI­BLE TO FIT AN LS, I THOUGHT THAT MIGHT BE THE GO

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