Ben Hosking
November 7, 2016

Sometimes you meet people that you secretly hate almost as much as admire, just because they have some uncanny ability to do things you wish you could. Fifty-nine-year-old truck driver Greg Zuj (pronounced Zooey) is one such fellow. Over the course of around nine years, he turned a bare rolling shell into the gleaming, twin-turbo glamour you see gracing these pages today—with little more than the engine machining, fuel tank, trim, and some wiring done by professionals.

“I purchased the car as an empty roller in 2005,” Zuj says. “It was originally a white GTA coupe that came with a bunch of spares shoved inside, but it turned out a lot of them weren’t for this model!”

Starting with such a naked basis can be a positive thing. While you obviously need to source all the parts you're going to need, at least you can source the ones you want and see what condition your car is in much sooner than when you have to go digging. For Zuj, it meant spending almost as many hours repairing years of neglect as he did surfing eBay. But at least he didn't have to strip the car first, or store or sell the bits he didn't want.

All this beautiful detail was completed in the shed at home, including the paint.
Greg Zuj fabricated the stainless intake piping and turbo manifolds himself, and the symmetry really makes the engine bay shine. The turbos feed into a 1000-cfm throttle body, which in turn feeds a 377ci stroker backed by a Tremec T5.
As you can see, the GT stripes continue under the car.

“I didn't actually start building the car until about a year after I bought it, by which time I’d built a garage to build the car in,” says Zuj—an interstate truck driver by trade with no formal training in either automotive or building trades. That’s not to say this is his first foray into car building. In fact, he's had a string of early Holden muscle cars, a 1972 XA GT Falcon, and an HSV VS Maloo, which is a ute version (think Ranchero or El Camino in the United States) of the Commodore that now resides in sunny Great Britain, which must confuse the hell out of most folks over there.

Greg performed all the bodywork, top to bottom, in the garage before lining it all with plastic and laying down coat after coat of Blue Print blue and masking up those Pearl White stripes that even continue underneath. Even upon close inspection, the paint is free from orange peel or obvious defect, proving show-quality finishes are perfectly possible at home with patience and a little skill.

A pair of GT30/40 hybrid turbos generate 14psi, helping the 377ci stroker make around 600hp. Even more impressive is the mirror-imaged inner-fender modification Greg fabbed up himself to match the other side.
The rear tires measure 10 inches wide with 275-series rubber nicely filling the wheelwells.
Parchment vinyl and Rolls Royce Cream carpets cover everything, including the parts of the door frames normally found painted interior color.

Thanks to the car coming without an engine, Zuj was free to source his own, and he decided on a 351ci roller cam block of 1992 vintage, which he had machined and sent home for him to assembly. Yep, he did that, too. Thanks to a custom-ground factory crank, forged SRP pistons, and LS1-spec Manley rods, the final cube count was 377, atop which he bolted a pair of Pro Action heads, an Edelbrock intake, and a 1,000-cfm EFI throttle body. This sits under a classic XY Falcon-style Shaker scoop that is fed bulk air by two GT30/40 turbos. And yes, Zuj fabbed up all the intake piping and exhaust manifolds, too!

Roughly 600hp makes it to the 19x10in Boyd Coddington rear wheels via a late-model Aussie Falcon Tremec five-speed and Mustang 8-inch rear end running 3.50:1 gears. A custom stainless fuel tank has been mounted centrally, and the leaf spring setup was ditched in favor of EB Falcon-spec coil springs and shocks with a matching EB Watts link and Holden Commodore sway bar. If you didn't already notice, the car sits nice and low, too.

Stepping inside the coupe, you’re greeted by plenty of Parchment-colored vinyl that stretches over almost everything, including the parts of the door trims normally found painted. Unsurprisingly, Zuj built the smooth center console that was later trimmed by Annvid Upholsterers. He also managed to squeeze the HVAC controls from a Mitsubishi into the original chrome bezel for the radio, instead fitting a Pioneer double-DIN head unit into the console below.

After taking a few measurements, Zuj realized the HVAC controls from a Mitsubishi would fit within the factory radio bezel.
Zuj was able to fit these rear speakers, inertia belts, and parcel tray while he had the roof off of the car.
How about amber flashers hidden in the side mirrors?
Zuj laid out the stripes himself with tape, spraying Pearl White over the Blue Print base, and they’re die straight.

“Seeing the trim come together, in particular the covered door shells, was great,” Zuj says. “I love the French stitching on the edges. I love the way the car looks now it’s finished. The exhaust note and that extra sound you get from the turbos spooling up—so good.”

Finished now for more than 12 months and shown successfully up and down the east coast of Australia (taking Top Coupe, Top Muscle Car, and a coveted spot in the Meguiar’s Superstars competition in 2015), Zuj is now looking forward to just enjoying the car a little more.

“I want to sit back and admire it, have a beer or two, and watch some American car shows on TV,” he says.

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