Readers Machine Issue 7

Street Machine UK has now reached all the way around the world! We recently heard from Ron Honig in Geelong, near Melbourne, Australia, who had this to say:
“A couple of months ago I was surfing the net, and I came across an ad for the latest copy of Street Machine. I am two issues into your mag, and I have to say I think it is great. It is nice to see a different take on things automotive. For instance, I have an Austin Cambridge, sitting in my mother’s garage, that is my latest project. I have been planning to hot rod it, and was wondering which way to build it, then sure enough, you have an idea for this on page 90 of the latest edition (see issue #5, November ’17 – DS). Well done.

“While I have your attention, I though I would tell you about my ‘Reader’s Machine,’ which was my last project. As you can see by the pictures, it is a 1968 Plymouth Valiant, a rare car for Australia. As far as we can work out, there are only two in the country, and mine appears to have been the first that made it here. I picked it up as a non-runner from LA; however, once it got here, it surprised all of us when the slant six started after some tinkering.

“It did its job well, as a simple cruiser, for a few years, but it all came to a head earlier this year, when the slant started making really strange noises. It survived, and will be reused elsewhere (turned out to be a faulty oil pump) but I decided to upgrade to eight cylinders, which had always been my plan.

“So now it is running a 5.7 Hemi. The key for me was keeping the old school look. I know that modern electronics/EFI are more efficient, but I don’t like the look of the modern Hemi, with all the plastic, in the older Mopars. I turned to Schumacher Creative Services for the engine mounts and Arrow Racing for the distributor conversion kit. The guys from both companies were really helpful and put up with all my really stupid questions, although I think I wore down Mike from Schumacher, as he no longer responds to my e-mails.

“Other parts that have been added are a ‘mild’ cam and stronger springs, Torqueflite gearbox, Edelbrock carb, Willwood disc brakes, Mopar subframe connectors and bigger wheels and tyres. The biggest challenge was adding a distributor, and in the end, we used one designed for an Australian BU six cylinder Ford Falcon. Also, I did allow one part of modernity to creep in, by using a modern Chrysler cooling system.

“Future plans (if I ever have the money) include a bolt-on four-link for the back and something like a Magnum Force K-member for the front. Many thanks to Alex Pantano who stitched it all together for me, as I decided to sit this one out and took on the job of parts supplier. Now, can anyone tell me if a hotted-up slant six will fit into an Austin Cambridge MkII?”