Luke Mitchell’s LJ Torana

It’s not every day a car enthusiast walks past a shop front window in outback Australia to see his slammed, tubed and blown LS-powered LJ Torana plastered on a giant poster.

That’s what happened to Brisbane-based Luke Mitchell who was on his way to Red CentreNATS when he saw the poster in a local newsagents in Blackall.

“It was advertising the September issue of Street Machine which has my car on the front cover,” said Luke, who built his 1973 Holden Torana Coupe from the ground up in just four months for Aussie TV show, Rides Down Under: Workshop Wars.

“I already had a copy of the magazine but when I told the sales person that the real deal was parked out on the street they let me keep the poster.”

A Red CentreNATS first timer, 30-year-old Luke, from Advanced Motorsports, will enter his modern mechanical miracle with about 1800hp worth of stonk in the Show ‘n’ Shine.

He might consider the Grand Championships but has to weigh up what driving on grass and doing burnouts will do to this Summernats Elite Top 10 stunner, which won Top Super Street, Top Engine Bay and Top Standard Paint in Canberra earlier this year.

“If you saw underneath, you’d understand why. It’s like a mirror under there; the paint job is as good as it is on the top,” said Luke, whose dream is to enter Meguiar’s MotorEx, the largest and most prestigious car show of its kind in Australia, in February 2021.

“I’ve already had one incident where the car slipped on a jack and damaged underneath.  It was a bit of a mad rush to get it ready in time for Red CentreNATS, so I’m not keen to risk anything else.”

Luke along with his team at Advanced Motorsports won the third series of Rides Down Under: Workshop Wars, on Channel 7’s Mate after building the car in record time.

“We were approached to do the show by the producer. He was just a normal car guy and we decided to go ahead with it.

“I’ve always been a Torana guy, and I’ve had a few LJs but never found the time to actually finish them, so this was a great opportunity to do my own car instead.”

Even if you don’t understand lingo like “this little LJ is stuffed with 8/71-blown, 430ci LS, with EFI controlled by a Haltech”, this shapely blue coupe is bound to turn a few heads in Alice Springs this Father’s Day weekend.