Ray Lester is a quiet type who describes himself as a "country motor mechanic", which doesn't quite tell the whole story. Yes, he is part owner of the Iluka Service Station, but his background involves many years of working as a race engine builder for the some of the top touring car teams in the land.

Ray started crewing for a Morris Mini racer, then, after a stint working at Stillwell Ford in Melbourne, he started with Nissan Motorsport, then under the control of Fred Gibson. Ray built engines for George Fury, Jim Richards and Mark Skaife, which included 3 years of SBC development. In '94, Ray moved to HRT, ultimately becoming their Engine Shop Manager, building small blocks for Thomas Mezera, Peter Brock and Craig Lowndes. You may recall that in '96, Craig Lowndes won the grand slam; the championship, Sanddown, and Bathurst - all on Ray's team's engines.

The hiboy is unusual in that it uses a Model A chassis - hiboy builders often go with a '32 chassis.

The American Racing 200-S (a.k.a. Daisy) wheels are 14" x 6" on the front, and 15" x 8" on the rear.

Rod Brown built his own stainless steel steering column, using Sigma and Holden parts internally. Auto Meter guages are set into a 'glass '32 dash.

This car emphasises the "sports" in Sports Coupe.

The custom cross member is under the grille shell, and it gets the front down a touch more than a stock '28.

Ray doing what he and Carmel love doing - cruising in their A-bone.

 Yes, the roof is chopped, Gladys, a full 4 inches. The attitude and colour shout "hot rod".

Some people refer to these as "Mother-in-law" seats, which doesn't make sense - when was the last time you saw any  Mothers-in-law at a rod run?

The stock '28 Model A headlamps are used, sitting on custom brackets.

Ray, in casual mode, which is perfectly appropriate in his part of the world.

The 040 over 302 uses some after-market equipment, such as a Cam Dynamics cam, JP double row timing chain and Crane lifters. Ray added the intake manifold, which mounts a pair of Webber 4 bbbl carbs.

Bigs 'n littles, chopped top, open engine bay, cycle guards - this is no resto-rod.

Ray left HRT and Melbourne in 2000, and settled in the sleepy little burgh of Iluka, on the banks of the Clarence. One of Ray's new neighbours was Ken Brown, whose cousin Rod sold Ray this '28 Sports Coupe.

Rod Brown had started with a stock A chassis, which he boxed, then added a home made cross member to locate a 4" Magnum dropped axle, then added a set of Rod City four bars, and a custom panhard bar.

The rear suspension is a conventional, though narrowed, Falcon drum brake diff with 3.2:1 ratio, also using Rod City four bars and coil over shocks. The diff is kept in place laterally by an adjustable panhard bar.

A Falcon master cylinder, that is connected to a Datsun 200B power booster, is mounted under the floor - Rod made his own pedals.

Ray had to make some changes to have the Queensland registered car meet NSW requirements, so he replaced the 10" wide rear wheels with 8's, and adapted a set of Falcon headers to suit, to bring the headers within the chassis rails.

Accreditation: The Editor
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