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ClASSiC novA SuPErCHArgEr ModErn MonAro Fully EnginEErEd STORy Ben Dillon PHOTOS nathan Duff

RETURN OF THE KING


With three Summernats Grand Champion gongs, Rob Beauchamp could afford to rest on his laurels. He didnt, though
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OR the first decade of Street Machines life, Queenslander Rob Beauchamp was busy building a trio of Holdens, each better than the last. He started with a sweet HG Monaro (Aug/Sept 82), before debuting his LX Torana (June 86). Built in the US Pro Street style, the LX swept all before it, but his next car a tube-chassis VL was even more impressive and won the Grand Champion gong at the first three Summernats. Its been a long time since we saw a new Beauchamp creation but this fusion of Chevy Nova looks with CV8 Monaro running gear marks the return of a legend after a sabbatical raising children and doing other grown-up stuff. I spent every weekend for the past seven or eight years with my son and his motocross, and because I do a fair bit of restoration and mechanical work on these kinds of cars anyway I didnt feel the urge for a new build, Rob says. But when his son hung up his boots a few years ago, Rob had time on his hands again and at wife Jans insistence he started to look for a blank canvas to work his magic on. Cars are his passion, and I know in the past how well hes done, so I said: Why dont you find another car to do? she says. While the idea of marrying old and new isnt unique, few builds make it past the honeymoon stage of settling on a blend of parts that underline the classic aesthetics and modern technology. Robs Nova is drastically different from his Pro Street VL but shares the unmistakable engineering

perfection gene that marks all Beauchamp builds. Like everyone, I wanted a 21st century car that could handle 40-degree heat with the air con on and not have the radiator pop. Its got all the safety features like ABS and traction control, everything in it works like a brand new car, and for all intents and purposes its as easy to work on as a late-model Commodore, which was the idea of it. Many who saw Robs Nova at the Gold Coast Hot Rod Show last year gave it the once-over Nova with VZ Monaro interior, cool before moving on, not fully comprehending the work thatd gone into it. Ironically, the subtlety that marks the Nova out means not everyone notices it. Eight out of 10 people cant pick its been modified, Rob says. Blokes who appreciate engineering will see where its different, like the rear arches and spoiler, but to most people its just a pretty 60s car. The deeper you look, the more it becomes clear that this is no resto and the transformation wasnt without difficulties. I got the car from the guys at Classic Ridz in Caloundra, who brought it in from the States, and sent it to the sandblaster. Its first trip probably should have been to the tip but all you need is enough metal to mount the ID tags, Rob jokes. Only the roof and tops of the rear quarters are original Nova metal; the rest is a mix of NOS or used panels from the States on the outside, V-series Commodore underneath and fabricated solutions where needed. So with the classic half of the build sourced, all Rob needed was the Monaro donor car.

The engine is a stock LS1 but dressed up with a super-cool Edelbrock intake and coil covers. With all the mod cons present (abS, a/c, power steer) items like the air con condenser and radiator had to be custom made

Top: Robs LX reset the bar for show cars at the 1986 Street Machine nationals, but was also capable of 10-sec passes and trips to the shop MiddLE: His Monaro was featured in aug/Sept 82 abovE: and his vL won the first three Summernats Grand Champion Crowns, thanks to streetable engineering

Before i started the build, i probably spent six weeks at the recyclers with a tape measure and camera taking measurements and planning

Main: From the subtle boot spoiler that almost looks stock, to custom glass with Euro-style window seals cutting wind noise all round, and moulded plastic wheel arch cowls, you can see the level of dedication and precision involved

abovE: Most of the interior is vZ Monaro; dash is vX. GTo seats were narrowed and shortened, with the seatbelts recessed into the b and C pillars. vZ wheel didnt talk to the GM Cd player so Ken McCallum reprogrammed the fingertip controls

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Main: Under the sexy nova skin youll find a late-model Commodore floorpan, firewall, suspension, running gear, abS brakes and much more

Most of the things ive done no-one will see but at least I know its been done to my standard
Before I started the build, I spent probably six weeks of my life at Aussie Auto Recyclers with a tape measure and a digital camera taking measurements and planning. They thought I was on the payroll by the end of it. A VY floorpan and firewall with other V-series bits stitched in made the cut for the undercarriage, while at the back a VZ cradle with VQ arms (toe adjustment replaced by eccentric bushes) was narrowed and mated to custom driveshafts to make the rear track as per factory specs. Residing in the widened and lengthened wheel arches are specially made Bonspeeds that Brad Fanshaw in the US customised with structural changes and a unique offset to Robs specs, making them impossible to fit on another car. RRS Suspension down in Sydney also came to the party with some specialised components just for the Nova. Matthew from RRS went out of his way and virtually hand-made a set of struts and kept the whole thing hush-hush, Rob says. Id give him some ideas and hed send up some amazingly engineered prototypes. The suspension is unique, the guy did a fabulous job. On the inside, things didnt go to plan with the first trimmer delivering results that werent up to scratch with the rest of the build. Fortunately for Rob, Shane Webb from Imagetrim stepped up to the challenge and delivered an interior that met the standard of the rest of the car and exceeded Robs expectations and he couldnt consider the Nova finished until he was 100 per cent happy with every square inch of the car. Sometimes hed come to bed after hed been working on the car for hours and say: Im not happy with that, Ill do it again talking about a small bracket, Jan says. Most of the things Ive done no-one will ever see but at least I know its been done to my standard. If you closed your eyes, youd think you were driving a VZ Monaro, Rob says. Look at the thanks list and youll find a lot of the guys who helped make the VL a triplechampion were also in on the Nova build. Im still a Pro Street fan I love what goes on in the scene and would do it again in a moment but realistically that ship has sailed a bit because what you can get away with legally now has changed. Hes a hard man to please but hes happy with the Nova and intends to enjoy it with Jan as much as possible, with some shows in Australia and maybe a trip to the US to show the Yanks a thing or two about retro-styled moderns. The VL was built for a purpose and spent 90 per cent of its time at a racetrack. We can jump in this and go anywhere, and probably appreciate it more as a true driver, Rob says. s

bELoW: Five inches were taken out of the width of the electric vZ seats to ensure a snug fit. The rears were cut down by 8in to stop the headrests touching the roof!

ROB BEAUCHAMP 1967 CHEVy NOVA


Colour: PPG Sting

DRIVE
Transmission: GM 4L65E Diff: CV8 IRS 3.46 LSD, custom axles

ROLLING STOCK
Wheels: Bonspeed 3D Superstars, 18x7 (f), 18x10 (r) Tyres: Falken, 215/40 (f), 275/35 (r) Yatala; Mat Grant, Spectron Paint & Panel; Shane Webb, Imagetrim; Autobarn, Slacks Creek; Ken Austin; Chris Champs; Steve Johnson; Ivan Berardo; Glen Wesener; Glen Bamford; Collin Chapman; Kevin Harnell Plating; Ken McCallum; Dave Crittenden; Troy, Wade Engineering (stainless); Justin Pick Carpentry; Darryl Pick Trim Homes

GRUNT
Type: LS1 Inlet: Edelbrock Pro Flo XT Cooling: Custom alloy radiator Exhaust: Dual 2in HPC-treated system, cats & O2 sensors

BUMP & STOP


Front: VY with RRS adjustable struts Rear: VZ with shortened and re-valved CV8 shocks Brakes: PBR rotors 330mm (f), 280mm (r), ABS

THANKS
PPG Paints; Motorama Holden, Springwood; Glen Ware & Mike, Aussie Auto Recyclers, Springwood; Parts Pete USA; Brad Fanshaw, Bonspeed USA; Wheelboyz

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