BEING cruised at Summernats by the father-and-son crew of Michael and Isaac Rattey (yes, really!), this 1971 HG Holden Kingswood takes the patina theme to new highs. Or maybe new lows! That’s because it sat on its guts in a paddock for nearly 30 years, and was totally submerged during a few floods, too. Yeah, the old ute was reasonably rooted.
“We didn’t even wash it!” said Isaac as he began to explain the build of the $300 junker into a Summernats cruiser. The front chassis rails had rusted, but because the lads wanted to retain them over the standard front suspension, they were carefully patched. The rear of the car was a different story; beginning under the driver’s seat, a three-quarter chassis was fabricated to anchor the triangulated four-bar and coil-overed nine-inch diff. With the rails TIG-welded into place, the lads also created a pair of wheel tubs. The JAZ fuel cell lives out there, too, on display as there was no time to install a new tray before Summernats; Michael and Isaac only began working on the ute on the last weekend of October!
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Up front there’s an ex-VE Commodore 6.0-litre LS V8 and six-speed manual cogbox. Bought at a swap meet, the engine was bought complete with harness and brain box, but all that was ditched for a pair of E85-slurping Holleys, a ProFlo Performance sheet-fabbed intake and an MSD LS-series ignition controller. It sits in the bay on CRS engine mounts, with the carbs fed by a couple of grand’s worth of Aeroflow fuel system. Bigger HQ brakes have been installed, too: “You don’t mess around with safety,” Isaac said, “even with a fun car such as this.”
Being a swap-meet buy, it was fingers crossed that the engine had the bumpy cam in it the seller claimed it did – or that the engine worked at all! – so there were sighs of relief all ’round when it fired first time and had the hoped-for camminess.
With those two carbs poking through the bonnet, Michael and Isaac have created a terrific cruiser. But the rest of the car – that sun-cracked dash pad, the returning-to-nature door and window rubbers, the holey lower panels complete with pop-riveted sheets of tin under the remnants of an ambitious 1970s bog job, plus that mould-coloured lichen on the glass – is all real.
“People ask us: ‘Hey, what did you do to get it looking like that?’” Isaac grinned, referring to the HG’s incredible rusted, faded, crinkled, dented body. “And we say: ‘Absolutely nothing!’”