TO SIR WITH SHOVE

Street Machine - - Clint Kelly 1973 Holden Lj Torana Transmission Eng -

EACH YEAR TODD WOULD ASK WHEN IT WOULD BE READY AND EACH YEAR THEY WOULD SAY, ‘CHRIST­MAS’ – THEY JUST NEVER SAID WHICH ONE!

AF­TER a 15-year build process, Todd Bulke­ley is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of how his im­pec­ca­bly pre­sented Dat­sun 1600 coupe has turned out. But ‘proud’ wasn’t ex­actly the word that came to mind when he first took own­er­ship of the car.

“I spot­ted it on the Oz­dat fo­rum and im­ported it out of Ja­pan,” Todd says. “The photos weren’t great, but the guy told me it was im­mac­u­late. It ar­rived in my drive­way on my birth­day – and it was hor­ri­ble. It looked like it’d been dragged be­hind the boat the whole way – rust, rust, rust. I was to­tally gut­ted.”

Todd was told it had been driven to the load­ing dock in Ja­pan, but he’s scep­ti­cal. “We couldn’t get it started. Be­sides, it had so much rust, you wouldn’t risk driv­ing it on a pub­lic road.”

Af­ter be­ing stuffed around by a cou­ple of shops, Todd was ad­vised to give John Zelukovic Smash Re­pairs a try.

“Ben [Zelukovic] came and looked at the car and said yes, but they wouldn’t be able to get to it for a while,” he says. “Af­ter hav­ing al­ready sat idle for 12 months, I was like: ‘Ar­rgh!’ But, true to his word, Ben came ’round three months later to pick it up. That was in 2003.”

Each year Todd would ask when it would be ready and each year they would say, “Christ­mas” – they just never said which one! It fi­nally rolled out of their work­shop just in time to make Sum­mer­nats 2017!

“It did take a long time, but I was in no hurry,” Todd says. “Also, I can­not thank John, Ben and rest of the fan­tas­tic team at Zelukovic’s enough. They’ve been un­be­liev­able, even work­ing on the car un­til 10 o’clock the night be­fore we left for Sum­mer­nats.”

Dur­ing those years, there were many hours of cut­ting, grind­ing and hand-shap­ing raw metal, fol­lowed by lots and lots of weld­ing and yet even more grind­ing to elim­i­nate the tin worm.

The Or­ange-based Zelukovics are well known for their panel and paint skills, which are both strik­ingly show­cased in SIRDAT’S ar­row­straight pan­el­work and in­cred­i­ble Gla­surit candy paint. The colour is called Rod­ney Red, cus­tom-mixed by painter Ben Zelukovic.

“It might be a small car, but be­ing candy it was a lot of work,” Ben says.

The in­te­rior is the re­sult of in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions with Wayne Birkin at Street Trim in Or­ange.

“I wanted to do black in­serts; Wayne said no,” ex­plains Todd. “But I got my way and Wayne loves the black. Then he said no to my Re­caros. ‘Too big for the car,’ he said, pre­fer­ring the Lo­tus seats he had stashed away. I’m glad I lost that bat­tle, as the seats look beau­ti­ful.”

The seats and door trims are up­hol­stered in gen­uine Con­nolly Leather, which took three months to come out from Eng­land.

“It’s the same leather used in Fer­raris,” Todd says. “I gave Wayne a full trim set, he gave ev­ery­thing back, pre­fer­ring to hand-form metal pan­els, which he cov­ered in leather.”

The dash, rear seat, flat floors and con­sole are also one-offs.

While its looks stun­ning, SIRDAT is not just all show; un­der the bon­net is a stove­hot FJ20 that’s been punched out to 2.2 litres. Built by PMC Race En­gines, it sports plenty of good­ies: CPC billet in­take, 70mm throt­tle­body, CP pis­tons, and Spool crank, rods and valve springs. There’s also a cus­tom sump by Clay­ton’s Cre­ations, plus twin Bosch 044 pumps, Bosch 2000 in­jec­tors, four AEM coils and a big-arse Gar­rett GTX3582R turbo

With E85 in the tank and only a run-in tune in the Hal­tech Elite 1500 ECU, the mighty four­pot still man­aged to twist the dial on the Mick’s Motorsport dyno all the way to 515hp at 23psi!

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