Words: Brendon Quirey
Photos: Wayne Poulter and Brendon Quirey
Sometimes, you just know when you’re onto a good thing. That was certainly the case last year when the crew here at Jimmy’s Chop Shop in Toowoomba turned what was going to be an in-house resto project into a fundraiser for young Aussie athletes.
The ‘Get Chopped!! Muscle Car Giveaway’ saw us put a restored ’78 XC Fairmont hardtop up for grabs, with the winner given the choice of the car or $100,000 cash.
Ahead of the draw on 13 April, the giveaway had got a lot of traction and media coverage, including with JUST CARS. It did a lot of good for young athletes in our area, too; so much so, in fact, that even before the first giveaway was done, we decided to do another one!
As you may recall from coverage of the first Get Chopped!! Muscle Car Giveaway (see JUST CARS #278), the car on offer was the personal XC hardtop of Jimmy’s Chop Shop Director, Darren Cardiff.
Darren had brought it in to the team here for a full restoration. And boy did she need it! The old XC had suffered the ravages of time, with some bad rust in the usual areas and the need for an engine rebuild, transmission rebuild and a bunch of new or replacement parts, including a whole new interior trim kit.
The XC was Darren’s dream car as a kid, but soon after the restoration started, it became apparent that the dreams of our young athletes were more important. Dreams to compete at national, international and possibly even Olympic level competition. Dreams that were compromised by not having the funds to travel to events, purchase equipment or fund further study and training. Dreams that, for the want of small amounts of money in most instances, were not able to be realised.
When faced with that realisation, Darren made the decision to complete the resto as planned, but offer the finished car as the main prize in a giveaway to raise funds for young athletes; both here in our region of Queensland and beyond – thus the Get Chopped!! Muscle Car Giveaway was born.
From those early days in 2018, the team at Jimmy’s Chop Shop stepped it up a gear when the new direction for the resto was announced. A bunch of local businesses got on board, too, offering their support.
The full story on the resto of the XC Fairmont hardtop was covered in JUST CARS #278, but suffice to say, we raised some serious funds for local athletes competing in everything from martial arts to athletics to motorsport. And that was before the winner was even drawn!
At a grand party at Get Chopped!! HQ on 13 April this year, with special guests including league legend Shane Webcke, the winner was announced – Thomas Jones. A fellow Queenslander, Jones was tempted by the XC, but ultimately chose the cash.
Late last year, even before the first Get Chopped!! Muscle Car Giveaway was even completed, we decided to do another one.
At that stage, we didn’t know whether the winner would choose the car or the cash, so we needed to get another car for the second giveaway, just in case!
Given we’d gone for Ford the first time, it made sense to choose a Holden coupe for Get Chopped!! #2. Darren went looking for a good classic Holden and came across a unit that was better than anything we could have hoped for in the form of a 1972 HQ Monaro LS.
Released as a more luxurious version of the standard HQ Monaro, the LS proved to be a surprise hit and was partly responsible for Ford adding the Landau to their 2-door hardtop range.
Standard equipment on the LS (Luxury Sport) included the four-headlight front clip from the HQ Premier and (usually) a vinyl roof, as well as timber-look dash trim, Premier front bucket seats and plush floor carpeting. Power windows and an AM/FM radio were still options back then, but a lot of Monaro LS buyers ticked them on the order sheet, along with a driveline upgrade from the stock 202ci six to a 253ci, 308ci or even a 350ci V8. The 253 appears to have been the most popular choice, though, and like most Premier buyers of the time, most Monaro LS buyers matched that to a Trimatic auto.
These LS coupes rarely come on the market today, so Darren was lucky to get this one. For Get Chopped!! #2, it’d be the perfect car.
Back to Gold
Even better than getting this LS was the fact that the car we got was in MUCH better condition than the XC we’d restored for Get Chopped!! #1.
As bought, the car was a runner and had been previously rebuilt to street machine spec, with some mild engine work on the 253 V8, as well as extractors, a custom exhaust system, chromed valve covers, custom air cleaner and some other bling.
We actually presented the Monaro at the draw for the first Get Chopped!! Muscle Car Giveaway back in April, announcing it’d be the prize for the second giveaway.
By that stage, mechanical guru Jamie Chant had already rebuilt the engine and Lea McCarroll had started work on a full interior retrim. Both had helped us with the XC, so they were the natural choice for the HQ LS project, too.
When we started to disassemble the car in May, the body looked to be in superb condition and all the chrome and stainless trim was in good nick, too.
Regardless, we still passed the body on to Wilson’s Panelworks to strip it down completely to bare metal; partly to identify if anything nasty lay under the coupe’s bold red paint, but also to have the car repainted in its factory colour of Patina Gold metallic.
Normally, these cars rust out in the plenum chamber, the bottom of the guards and doors, the boot floor and more specifically, under those stainless sill trims. Fortunately, what was found was good, solid metal pretty much from nose to tail – what a relief!
That made the paint prep much easier and the project gathered pace pretty quickly from there.
Ready to Go
By mid July, all the Patina Gold paint had been laid down (which looks brilliant in the Queensland sun, by the way), and the car had come back to us for reassembly. That included the new carpets and seats from Lea McCarroll that had been reupholstered in a factory dark chocolate vinyl that really suits the new gold paint.
The floor-shifter console was refurbished and the dash and instrumentation tided-up, too, as the car had been fitted with auxiliary gauges and a tacho strapped to the steering column when purchased. These got the flick for a cleaner overall look to the cabin.
All of the glass was good enough to be re-used as is, which saved us a bit of time and hassle. Although most of the trim parts like the headlight buckets, lights, lenses, door locks, door handles, exterior mirrors and other bits and pieces were in good condition, most were replaced or refurbished to ensure a top shelf restoration.
The LS had already been lowered when we got it, so we decided to keep that ride height but with new springs and shocks. We also replaced the shabby old ’70s-era GTS rims for a set of modern GTS Sprint alloys which are bigger – 18 inches – with a nice dish that looks great with low-profile rubber.
The finishing touch was the chrome, badging and brightwork, which needed nothing more than a few minor repairs and a good polish by the team at Wilson’s – another relief!
Choice of Two
With the winner of GET CHOPPED!! #1 choosing the cash, Darren could have taken his car back, but chose to put it up again for the second GET CHOPPED!! Muscle Car Giveaway, which opened back in April and closes in October – the draw is on 12 October. So now the winner will have the choice of the XC Fairmont hardtop, the HQ Monaro LS or $100,000 cash.
Entry is still by purchase of merchandise from the GET CHOPPED!! online store, but to make things easier, we dropped the entry price from $40 to $30 for this second giveaway.
Simply spend at least $30 in the GET CHOPPED!! online store – jimmyschopshop.com.au – and you’re in the running. Each $30 spent gets you one entry in the draw and you can spend as much as you like to increase your chances.
See the breakout box for more details and maybe we’ll be seeing you in a new car – or $100,000 richer! The winner will be drawn live at GET CHOPPED!! Woodford on Saturday, 12 October, where there will be a huge car show by Brisbane Car Meets and Cruising and will also be streamed live on Facebook.
Local business and specialists that helped make GET CHOPPED!! #2 a reality include the following:
- Trevor Owen - engine rebuilding (XC Fairmont)
- JMC Performance – engine rebuilding (HQ Monaro)
- Wilson’s Panelworks – panel and paint (HQ Monaro)
- Resident Restorations - paint and final panel work (XC Fairmont)
- Global Trim and Lea McCarroll – upholstery, carpets, headlining
- Toowoomba Steering and Suspension - suspension and steering
- Bartons Auto Electrical – wiring
- Tricky’s Transmissions – auto trans rebuild
- Jimmy Lindsay – rust repairs
- Glossworks Detail Lab – ceramic coating (HQ Monaro)
- Windscreen Works – glass and screens
- Street Art Wheels
GET CHOPPED!! #2
Want to add a restored XC Fairmont hardtop or restored HQ Monaro LS to your garage? It’s simple.
Go to www.jimmyschopshop.com.au and spend at least $30.00 on GET CHOPPED!! gear. Each $30.00 spent gets you 1 x entry in the giveaway – the more you spend, the more tickets you get.
The winner has the choice of either car or $100,000 cash.
Support our junior athletes and future stars by purchasing your “GET CHOPPED!!” gear today.