NEW SEN­SA­TION

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

I STARTED OFF BUILD­ING THE CAR TO SUIT 15-INCH MICKEY THINGS UP AND

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

THOMPSON BIGS ’N’ LITTLIES BUT I DE­CIDED TO CHANGE GO THE BILLETS

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.

I’VE PRETTY MUCH ONLY DRIVEN IT AROUND THE BLOCK BUT IT SEEMED TO GO PRETTY GOOD

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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