PICTURE PERFECT – EH HOLDEN

Talk about being sneaky, Matt Harwood let his wife Donna sleep next to her EH Holden for eight months before letting her know it even existed. “Donna had always wanted an EH sedan and I was busy chasing one for ages, eventually settling for a worn out example direct off eBay. It was her birthday coming up so I kept it covered up in our garage right next to our bedroom. She had no idea it was there,” laughed Matt. On the day of the unveiling, Matt painted Happy Birthday on the front screen of the car and lay in wait with a video camera. On her return from the shops, Matt let the roller door peel up to reveal the untouched EH.

Even the neighbours were in on the act, they were expecting a cheer or a look of joy but all Matt was delivered with was a teary-eyed Donna as he filmed the moment on his camera – but they were tears of joy, thankfully!

The build of this classic was short and sweet; an amazing six months is all it took. “We collected parts for three years and had everything pretty much ready to go. I always knew the car was going to be pink, so all that was left was for Matt to bolt it together just the way I dreamed,” Donna told me. With her ideal car outlined in detail to Matt, he used her ideas and with a little of his own guidance the pair came up with a winner.

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The body was first pulled down to a shell and delivered to Stripped Bare Diamond Blasting in Naval Base, who did a great job removing the old paint and showing up the scars that were more than skin deep. The body proved better than expected and only called for the rear fl oor pans to be replaced as well as the rear beaver panel.

Timmy, Matt’s brother, helped in the body preparation phase by re-skinning the doors (that were already delivered lockless) and assisted with plenty of welding before repairing and detailing the stainless steel trim pieces along with the grille and other fiddly bits.

Matt took care of the fi nal prep work before spraying on the custom mix of Hot Pink that was provided by Tony at MLB Paint Distributors – after matching up a similar hue from the HOK charts. The expert hands of Tony Ward from Street Rides Panel & Paint were responsible for the fi nal buff of the gorgeous looking body. “Initially I wasn’t too sure about the white roof but after all the chrome work and wheels were bolted on I was convinced that we had done the right thing,” said Donna.

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Inside is where the car really shines. Far, far away from your standard re-trim, the cabin has it all – modern accents, classic styling and a whole lot of impact. The initial plan called for an all white theme but Matt somehow talked Donna into a more user-friendly, yet still aesthetically pleasing, light coffee tone.

You can thank Brock Stoppani for the brilliant trim job too. An expert with all materials, Brock wrapped the Nissan R33 buckets seats and re-shaped Nissan rear seat with that gorgeous leather as well as making the hood-lining and fi tting the darker coloured carpet.

Matt was responsible for the custom doorcards and speaker mounts, as well as the custom-made centre console, that was crafted out of 2mm aluminium and then trimmed. The console holds the electric window controls. On the dash is a push button start mechanism and on the passenger side is the air-conditioning unit painted to match the trim colour.

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The air conditioner in the engine bay was picked up on the cheap at a swap meet one day and all it required was some custom brackets to match it to the motor. It was a good mate, Tony, who wired up all the interior gadgetry along with an LED lighting system and the keyless entry setup. It is modern touches like this that make the EH such a pleasure to drive for Donna.

Matt and brother Timmy took a unique approach to the boot. Removable panels were created as access points to the hidden battery, stereo system components and a host of other items. The whole set up was formed out of MDF and chipboard before it was sprayed in the unique Raptor coating that was colour matched to the interior hue. You really can’t beat the interior on this car, the painted pink accents and metal work, along with the trim work is just perfect.

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So much can be said for planning and smart design. The engine bay always throws a few curve balls during a build. Matt decided that a standard look was the go for the car and an engine bay in gloss black is a little classier than some of the matt black finishes getting around. This one change is obvious but the other one is a little harder to spot.

Matt has detailed a Holden Blue motor to look like a Red motor instead – even going to the point of fitting the correct stickers for the rocker cover and air cleaner.

Hidden away is a 500cfm Holley carby sitting on a factory looking manifold – sneaky. The 202 is 40-thou over these days and carries a mild cam, Starfi re rods, ACL pistons and an electronic dizzy. The high compression 12-port head is from a 179-cube motor and does its bit for increased breathing; whereas the Pacemaker headers and single 2 ¼-inch exhaust relieve the engine of its spent gases.

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A shift-kitted Trimatic is fitted with billet servos and a B&M shifter. To help the new auto fi t into the EH the trans tunnel was raised 60mm. A good old Banjo with 3.5s in it is just about right for the warm 202. The EH now features an HR front end and matching disc brakes, utilising an HK booster that has been offset in the engine bay to clear the bonnet hinge.

Covering the brakes are 17-inch Streeter rims, which were purchased for their cost effectiveness as well as their classic looks. Low profi le BFG tyres keep the ride sweet along with the Boge shock absorbers and a combination of King springs on the front and reset leaves on the rear.

With the car completed more than a few years ago now, it has seen plenty of road time, making for an ideal beach cruiser – windows up, air conditioning on and with a style and colour that will make everyone look!

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