Australian Motor Show Knockout

Holden's designers and engineers have delivered a knockout showcar at last month's Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. The Efijy is a stunning nod to the classic 50s FJ Holden with steroid-fed hot rod lines.

It continues a string of show-stealers from the Holden design studios, which include the original Monaro concept in 1998 (which led to the production Monaro and Pontiac GTO), the SSX from two years ago, and last year's Torana TT36 concept. Built off a stretched Corvette C5 platform -- "we had one lying around" -- the Efijy has an interpretation of the classic FJ nose and grille but unlike the original car the Soprano Purple two-door pillarless coupe body stretches back 5.2 metres.

The modified Chevrolet chassis features height-adjustable air suspension to allow a body clearance of as little as 25mm. Under the hood sits a magnificent Ron Harrop-modified chromed LS2 6.0-litre engine which is topped by a chrome Roots-type supercharger. The engine creates V8 supercar power with a very measured 480kW and 775Nm.

Throughout the car are innovative and imaginative homages to the original FJ as well as examples of leading-edge technology. The push-button gear selector uses a pearlescent bakelite-style material, the steering wheel boss is a stylised version of the original, and the number 53 flashes on the instrument cluster. The huge 22-inch rear and 20-inch front wheels are billet aluminium carved and all brightwork on the car -- even the grille -- is hand-made and polished from the same material.

"This is something (chief designer) Richard Ferlazzo has been buzzing about for quite a while...I've never seen anyone so excited by a project that, essentially, is a bit of fun," said Holden spokesman Jason Laird. "The reason we did it was because we could -- and timing was perfect. Everybody has been flat-out on the VE Commodore and this was a chance to...have a bit of fun and play around."

The original concept sketches for Efijy were prepared in 2003 from drawings Ferlazzo penned in 1989, and despite reaching the stage of a clay model the project was shelved in favour of last year's showcar, the Torana TT36. Final approval was given earlythis year, leaving the team eight months to complete the showcar.

Ferlazzo said: "It has been a long road to bring this to reality...we're pretty sure an Australian motor show has never seen anything like Efijy from a local car-maker before. Most importantly, it sends the message that the same people who have sensible day jobs designing entirely practical cars have the passion and inspiration to create something as outrageous as Efijy."

Holden plans to show the car at street machine and hot rod shows around Australia, and there is a small chance the car may be sent to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show in January.

The Australian International Motor Show website

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