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Green monster: ‘SYCHO8’ Torana build gallery

19 April 2017

She’s a nasty piece of work. There’s no denying that sheer toughness oozing from the lurid green Torana on the cover of the latest issue of NZV8, and it’s made all the more impressive knowing that Aaron Jenkins built it almost entirely within his shed. 

“Well, where do I start?” he posted on the GMH-Torana forum in September 2012. “After selling my HQ Monaro last year and people trying to put stuff in my shed, I thought I’d best put something in there, so i got this …”

“Plans are for a BBC, Powerglide, and trusty old nine-inch — all to be road legal.”

As you can see by the way it turned out, that was a bit of an understatement. 

The build began with Aaron setting himself a ten-year build plan, spearheaded by him chopping out everything his plan didn’t include. As it turned out, that really only left the roof, rear quarters, and pillars. Everything else, including the floorpan and chassis, he intended to build himself. 

This started with sill extensions to visually lower the body, and house the side-exit exhausts, as well as rear guard work which involved roughly radiusing the arches before custom rolling flare extensions which were welded in place.  

Aaron also had zero intention of using the existing chassis rails, rear section, or factory front clip. Lengths of 3×2-inch RHS steel were ordered for the chassis rails, as was an Heidts IFS front subframe, chosen for its rack-and-pinion steering, tubular controls arms, adjustable coilovers, Wilwood brakes, and already-sorted geometry. 

The chassis itself was designed and built by Aaron, with plenty of consultation with his LVV certifier and the NZ Hobby Car Technical Manual (now known as the Car Construction Manual).

Once the steering column had been sorted, Aaron fabricated brackets for the Wilwood reverse swing-mount pedal box and two ⅞-inch master cylinders.  

Next was building the roll cage, which also entailed mocking up the floor to simulate the final driver seat position.

With the structural stuff beginning to look halfway there, Aaron began working on the task of completing the remaining sheet metal work. This began with the set of rear tubs … 

And then followed through to fabricating a suitable set of driveshaft hoops, before starting on the actual floorpan. 

The 540ci big block from Rex Duckett’s eight-second Corvette was also purchased around this time, by accident, as Aaron would have us believe … 

And Aaron being Aaron, it wasn’t long at all before the engine was in the hole with the sump modified to clear the aftermarket front crossmember and steering rack. 

Once he managed to borrow a turbo set-up, though, it was all over. 

A pair of Master Power GT45s were snapped up, along with suitable flanges, and two-inch bends and straight tubing. 

Aaron broke out the tools once again, and began working on a pair of turbo manifolds to mount the GT45s high up out of the way, leaving plenty of room for necessary ancillaries like the alternator and Aeromotive belt-driven fuel pump. 

Eventually, he had something he was happy with. 

And you can only imagine how good it feels to receive a crate with this on the side. The engine bits he’d ordered from Steve Morris Engines had arrived. 

Then came the hard slog of finishing everything off. 

With paint, it looks a lot more like it’s supposed to … 

But the engine really completes it all. 

Just bear in mind that it’s an actual street car, and while it’s not what you’d call luxurious, it is by no means a stripped-out race car with plates and tags. 

Aaron’s done well to build the car he always wanted, and you can read all about it in NZV8 Issue No. 144, available here.