Those guys Down Under have it pretty tough when it comes to performance cars of the two-door variety. It’s been 40-odd years since either of its two big carmakers manufactured anything decent in a coupe body style—thanks in large part to its relatively small market.
Instead, car guys have had to opt for local four-door machines like the Ford Falcon (which only came in a coupe layout for a handful of years) or the Holden Kingswood (the two-door Monaro is an investor car these days) and Commodore. The other traditional option has been to import U.S. models like any of the Tri-Five variety and later muscle cars. However, the issue there is that the initial buy-in prices tend to be astronomical due to their popularity, which can often leave little left over for restoration and modification.
So while it may seem odd to enthusiasts in the USA, it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to spend the national debt on a classic car boasting four doors. One such Aussie four-door fan is 39-year-old Sydney-sider Anthony Penna.
Anthony is no stranger to car modification. He’s built some 17 machines stretching back two decades and it was shortly after the sale of his last two projects—an 8-second 2JZ-powered, tube-frame Toyota Hilux drag car and an air-bagged ’61 Caddy with an LS conversion—that Anthony stumbled across what would become the beastly ’56 210 sedan featured here.
“I’d been looking for a new project,” Anthony says. “I was heading out to take my wife to lunch when I saw this Chev parked on a foot path. I turned around, did a deal with the owner, and bought it!”
What Anthony found was a very solid, left-hand-drive 210 four-door that had only recently been imported into the country. Anthony says the car was so clean that his original plan for the car looked nothing like the end result that graces these pages.
“It was never meant to look so good,” he continues. “I planned to build the car like a Hot Rod Drag Week car: plain black interior, alloy door trims, and the original paint left as-is.”
Anthony wanted the car to look like a cool Pro Street machine, but once he had the undercarriage powdercoated in a nice new layer of satin black, things took a turn. “Then I decided to add tubular control arms, Heidts drop spindles, and a full set of Strange coilovers. That helped me get the stance right and all of a sudden the car is winning trophies,” he adds.
Before long, the original plan was in the bin and Anthony was going to town on the sedan. His first stop was at Pro Flo Performance in Sydney who built a tough 408ci LQ9-based cast-iron stroker.
Knowing that Anthony wanted to run plenty of boost, the list of internal components reads like a who’s who, with Lunati rods, Callies crank, and JE pistons spinning through the middle and Dart Pro 1 heads offering plenty of breathing capacity. To this, a pair of Garrett GT3540 turbos push 15 psi into a Shaun’s Custom Alloy intake manifold.
At the time of writing, the power level was sitting at 726 rwhp on 98 RON fuel. However, Anthony assures us that it won’t be long before he turns up the wick and switches to E85 and a stack more boost. To feed the beast, Anthony went with a pair of Holley Dominator fuel pumps.
All this horsepower is backed by a Protrans TH400—with a trans brake—and a Strange 9-inch combo that puts the power to the ground via a set of 30x12.5 Mickey Thompson ET Street tires wrapped around 10-inch-wide Weld Aluma Stars. Wilwood disc brakes and a Holden VT Commodore master cylinder provide the “whoa” to the “go” at all four corners. Mark Williams 35-spline axles help get the power safely to the ground.
Where there was once a two-tone reddish-brown and white paintjob that was a little rough around the edges, today you’ll find a die-straight PPG Toyota white and Amarillo Yo-Yo yellow respray. It’s both fresh and classic and suits the Latte Mushroom vinyl interior that lie behind all those doors.
The cabin of Anthony’s ’56 is a far cry from his original, utilitarian black and sheetmetal concept. Like the rest of the car, the finish quality and attention to detail is incredible and boasts an extensive chrome-moly rollcage, late-model Aussie Ford Falcon front bucket seats, and classic-looking AutoMeter instruments. There’s even a Vintage Air A/C system and Bluetooth stereo so the family can all enjoy long cruises in comfort. Hell, he even added an anchor point for a baby seat.
“The day I found the car, lunch turned out to be very expensive!” Anthony says. “I’m still paying for it. Ha ha.” Despite the extensive build, he’s already into build numbers 19 and 20. One is a 1970 Holden station wagon restoration and the other is a Holden VN SS Commodore drag car project that will run a nitrous-fed, turbocharged LS.
“My wife is very supportive and the kids love it, too,” he says. “The biggest problem is that it turned out too nice, which is why I’m now building the drag car!”
Photos by Ben Hosking