Ben Judd’s show-stop­ping six-cylin­der EH wagon is one cool cruiser on the cut­ting edge

Street Machine - - Contents - Story CRAIG PARKER Pho­tos CHRIS THORO­GOOD

WITH its strik­ing two-tone paint scheme, slick pan­el­work, slammed stance and mon­strous wheels, Ben Judd’s PRO EH was al­ways go­ing to be a full­blooded peo­ple mag­net. But it’s only af­ter be­ing drawn in by those bigticket items that you get blown away by the clever mar­riage of old-school 202 six, the in­cred­i­ble at­ten­tion to de­tail, and the in­no­va­tive in­te­rior – all of which set tongues wag­ging at Mo­torex 2017.

Mix­ing wildly dif­fer­ent styles of­ten re­sults in an awk­ward-look­ing street ma­chine. Not Ben’s EH – it pulls it off with cheer­ful non­cha­lance.

One rea­son the wagon com­bines such var­ied styles is that the build took 12 years. It also has a lot of his­tory with the Judd fam­ily. From 1978 it served as the fam­ily truck­ster, fer­ry­ing the Judd boys – Ben, Nik and Si­mon – to and from school. Then in 1993, Ben’s mum re­warded him for get­ting his li­cence by gift­ing him the iconic Holden wagon.

As his first car, Ben built it up as a neat streeter, hot­ting up the fac­tory 179 with triple sided-raught We­bers and other good­ies. Un­for­tu­nately, Ben was forced to park it up in 2005, as the flour­ish­ing rust needed ma­jor at­ten­tion.

To kick off the rust erad­i­ca­tion pro­gram, the bare shell was sent to Friend’s Auto Restora­tions & Sand­blast­ing for a play date with a blast­ing gun. Shed­ding the paint con­firmed what the Judd broth­ers had al­ready ex­pected and from then on they were com­mit­ted to a full ground-up re­build.

The build turned into a three-way project be­tween the broth­ers. Be­ing a me­chanic, Ben han­dled that side of things. Nik is a gun panel guy, while as the main man be­hind Elite Cus­tom In­te­ri­ors, Si­mon’s work should be well known to Street­ma­chine read­ers.

Like most street ma­chin­ers, the Judds have a bit of a rub­ber fetish. To sat­isfy this per­ver­sion, Miller Chas­sis grafted a set of fairly large tubs un­der the wagon’s rear.

“We love big rub­ber; all our cars are tubbed,” Ben says. “Si­mon’s Capri is in the process of get­ting tubbed, an HK Monaro we’re also work­ing on is tubbed, the wagon is tubbed – you can’t beat the look of a tubbed car!”

A tun­nel sec­tion was also cut into the floor to ac­com­mo­date a burly three-inch ex­haust. Why does a 202 Holden six need a three­inch ex­haust? Be­cause it’s a stove-hot, 325hp 202, that’s why!

“It’s ba­si­cally a sports sedan en­gine,” Ben says. “Back when the car was my ev­ery­day streeter, the orig­i­nal 179 dropped a valve and blew up the bot­tom end. A mate of Dad’s had lots of Holden six stuff and had a good bot­tom end he was will­ing to part with. When pick­ing it up, we got to chat­ting and he told me: ‘If you want it to re­ally go, you need to get one of these heads.’”

The head in ques­tion was a su­per-rare, one-of-25 Phil Irv­ing 12-port. Ben took his ad­vice, pur­chas­ing the head as well as the good bot­tom end. While bolt­ing it to­gether, Ben added a trio of We­bers to cre­ate a 179-cube howler that served him well for a num­ber of years.

Fast-for­ward to the new re­build, and Ben wanted more oomph, while still re­tain­ing the EH’S red mo­tor ori­gins. Given there’s no re­place­ment for dis­place­ment, the 179 made way for a metic­u­lously pre­pared 202. Other up­grades in­cluded de­tailed port­ing of the Irv­ing head, cop­per head gas­ket, O-ringed block, forged slugs, 12:1 comp, H-beam rods, solid-roller cam, elec­tronic ig­ni­tion and a cav­ernous set of 50mm We­bers. If you’re think­ing 50mm is damn big, blame well-known racer Brad Til­ley. He told Brad: “If it was a race car, you’d


use 55s, but to get bet­ter drive­abil­ity, go with the 50s!”

When they pulled the string on the dyno, Til­ley’s in­put and Ben’s en­gine build­ing skills were re­warded with 325hp – a might­ily im­pres­sive fig­ure for a streetable Holden 202.

Round­ing out the driv­e­train is a Pro­trans Tri­matic and a very nar­row VL turbo diff. To get that oh-so-per­fect stance, there’s three­inch-low­ered King springs up front, while the re­lo­cated rear leaf springs have been flat­tened around five inches. In ad­di­tion to up­grad­ing to ball-joint HR front end, steer­ing du­ties are now han­dled by a Com­modore rack, and in­stead of be­ing front-mounted as nor­mal, the nar­rowed rack is mounted be­hind the HR cross­mem­ber.

Haul­ing the wagon to a stop are brawny HSV/ Har­rop four-pis­ton calipers clamp­ing chunky 343mm and 315mm ro­tors.

“They were ac­tu­ally a ne­ces­sity,” Ben says. “Ini­tially I had VL turbo brakes on the rear, but af­ter Craft Dif­fer­en­tials short­ened the diff to suit the deep-dish wheels, the calipers went in­board too far and hit the chas­sis rail. Then I no­ticed the HSV calipers stuck out way less – that fixed that. Rather than just do the rears, I bit the bul­let and went big brakes all ’round. I’m glad I did, as they look so cool.”

Although there was plenty of room in­side the cav­ernous 19- and 20-inch In­tro billets for such a large brake pack­age, that wasn’t al­ways the case.

“I started off build­ing the car to suit 15-inch Mickey Thompson bigs ’n’ littlies. But styles change and I de­cided to change things up and go the billets,” Ben says.

They’re such a stand­out fea­ture, it’s hard to imag­ine PRO EH look­ing right with any other wheel.

Hav­ing spent count­less hours on rust re­pairs and fab­ri­ca­tion, Nik Judd (with plenty of help from Ty Yusuf and Ben) set about adding new door and tail­gate skins, then fi­ness­ing those clas­sic EH body­lines into shape. They’re so sweet ’n’ sexy, they’re enough to make that other ‘Body’ (aka Elle Mcpher­son) jeal­ous. From there, the wagon was rolled into the booth at Ex­clu­sive Cus­toms, who laid on the Min­eral White over Elec­tric Blue – the lat­ter a 2003 Mini hue that per­fectly suits the EH.

As trick as the paint, the wheels and the en­gine are, they’re never go­ing to over­shadow PRO EH’S jaw -dropping in­te­rior – take a bow, Si­mon.

“It was never part of the plan to go this far with the in­te­rior,” Ben says. “But it looked so good when it came back from Ex­clu­sive, there was no other choice.”

Build­ing such a full-on cus­tom in­te­rior in a freshly painted car caused a few headaches. Get­ting the seats in was es­pe­cially hairy.

“We taped ev­ery­thing up and man­aged not to scratch any paint,” Ben says. “But it made life re­ally hard be­cause we couldn’t weld brack­ets or drill holes where we wanted.”

The con­cept was to re­tain as much of the EH feel as pos­si­ble, but tweak it. In keep­ing with the brief, all the stitch­ing in the white Hans Reinke Lam­borgh­ini Nappa leather is rem­i­nis­cent of 1964. A host of orig­i­nal EH in­te­rior fit­tings were also re­tained. How­ever, there’s no get­ting past the fixed­back wave-shaped bench seats. In the front, Si­mon welded, strength­ened and re­shaped the fac­tory frame be­fore us­ing high-den­sity foam to cre­ate the fi­nal shape. The rear he made from scratch.

As chal­leng­ing as the seats were, the flat floors were even more so. The Porsche Pearl Grey car­peted floor in­lays are one-piece that run front-to-back. They butt up to hand­formed, leather-cov­ered pan­els made from


hoop pine that have been resined, sanded and bogged. Same for all the rear pan­els, which give the wagon a su­per-san­i­tary and classy look.

Look­ing up, you’ll see a one-piece hood-lin­ing. This mas­sive project took Si­mon, Nik, Ben, Ty, Adam, Steve and Big Al over 200 hours to com­plete and re­quired the roof skin off a donor EH wagon to use as a mould.

“It goes in through the back,” says Ben. “Only just, as it’s a per­fect fit.”

The cus­tom door trims in­cor­po­rate mul­ti­ple insert pan­els along with the same pol­ished bil­let strips used on the floor and cargo area.

This whole story could be ded­i­cated just to the in­te­rior. Look closely at the ac­com­pa­ny­ing pho­tos to ap­pre­ci­ate how im­pres­sive it is. No EH in­te­rior has ever looked like this.

“Over the 12-year build we missed mul­ti­ple Sum­mer­nats and Mo­torex deadlines,” Ben says. “I de­cided early in 2017 that we were go­ing to Mo­torex this year – no ifs, no buts. It was a mas­sive ef­fort by ev­ery­one, a mad scram­ble that nearly killed us, but we got there. Sil­ver for Im­pact & Dis­play, plus Cherry’s Pick (see break­out) made it all worth­while.

“I haven’t re­ally driven it yet,” Ben con­tin­ues. “I’ve pretty much only driven it around the block. But on that short drive it sur­prised me; it seemed to go pretty good. And that’s com­par­ing it to my Ls-pow­ered VL and Si­mon’s 10-sec­ond Capri.”

One thing you can be sure of: When­ever it ven­tures out, PRO EH will turn ev­ery head in sight – it just has that pres­ence about it.


Apart from the tubbed rear end, the rest of the body mods are quite sub­tle. They in­clude rolled front guards, fab­ri­cated rear roll­pan, shaved fuel filler, shaved rear door han­dles and shaved door locks

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