This article on Joel's HR Holden was first published in the February 2019 issue of Street Machine
JOEL Blake’s been building and racing fast cars for a few decades, so it should come as no surprise that he could turn out this wicked white weapon without much fuss. He and his wife Kylie own Parry Road Performance, where they specialise in selling classic cars and accessories, so when it came to sourcing a new project they knew where to look. There’s a bit of an odd start to this story, though.
“I used to hate HRs; I couldn’t stand them!” says Joel. “Then one day I saw one in factory colours, slammed on fat Welds with the air filter sticking out of the bonnet and I instantly wanted to build one.”
A mate was selling an HR Prem rolling shell, so Joel bought that and booked it in with Craig Walpole at Extreme Custom Engineering to have the chassis work done. A month later he stumbled upon this car as a sandblasted roller with all the chassis work that he was planning already completed – and all done by Craig as well! So the first HR was quickly sold off and the build began.
Externally, the body looks damn close to stock, but underneath it’s far better equipped than any factory early Holden. The car’s been mini-tubbed to just past the outside of the factory chassis rails, and while Craig was in there he added chassis connectors and a chrome-moly half-’cage. Swinging off lowered King leaves and controlled by CalTracs and Konis is a 3.7-geared fabricated nine-inch. The HR front end has also been modified with unassisted Torana rack-and-pinion steering to give some header clearance and better road manners than the original box.
Inside the boot is all business, with the fuel cell and externally vented battery box taking up most of the available real estate, and every other surface covered in sound deadener
“It corners well even with the skinny tyres, and the steering’s nice and light,” Joel says. “Every bit of fabrication on the car is Craig’s work; he’s fantastic.”
The HR came into Joel’s possession in remarkably good condition.
“It was the guy’s mum’s car from brand new,” he says. “We had to fix two guards and some little dents; that’s it – even the floors are original!”
After its surgery at Extreme Custom Engineering, the body was wheeled into Bruce Clape’s shed, where Bruce pummelled it into shape. The bloody bright Grecian White was laid down in Bruce’s shed too, and as Joel puts it: “It looks a million bucks!”
HR lovers will notice the removal of factory shiny bits on the doors and boot, a move that really accentuates the pin-neat body lines.
One glance underneath the HR and you can tell this beast was built to be driven. The underside of the entire body is covered in two-pack sound deadener, and Craig Walpole’s serious fabrication skills are on show for all to see
Barely contained by the Alfa Motorsport fibreglass bonnet is a 434-cube small-block Chev that spits out more than enough horses to make the little HR a hoot to drive. Michael Vaughan built the engine with a pile of good gear (Dart block, Scat crank and rods, AFR 195 heads, Lunati and Crane valvetrain bits) and it’s topped off by a Victor Jr intake and a Holley 850 HP carb. Though the mill was designed to take a 200-shot of giggle gas, it’s already making near-on 470hp at the rubber the natural way.
The HR looks just as neat and tough under the bonnet as it does on the outside, and doesn’t really advertise its 600hp capability. “I didn’t want to cut the inner guards for the headers, so the Torana rack-and-pinion conversion was essential,” Joel says
“On the way to Willowbank we did a transbrake launch at the lights and picked up both wheels on the street!,” Joel says. “I love nitrous, and 10 years ago I would have put it on the gas, but now I’d rather just get in it and go cruising.”
For a man who likes to cruise with tunes, Joel sure doesn’t show off the audio gear. The head unit and amp are hidden underneath the rear seat base and the 6x9s are far from obvious. “People spin out about the head unit,” Joel laughs. “They say: ‘How do you put the visor down without hitting the windscreen?’”
Speaking of cruising, that’s the HR’s raison d’être. It might look like a track car that rarely turns its tyres on the streets, but almost every aspect of it was designed to carry the Blake family anywhere in style. The radiator was knocked up by Craig using a PWR core and a SPAL fan, and has proven capable of keeping the 434 cool while stuck in traffic in 40-degree Queensland weather.
“It’s the perfect combo; it drives awesome and sounds like a mild 350,” Joel says. “I was thinking about putting air con in; it’s the old age kicking in!”
The interior is another area of the car that demonstrates Joel’s appreciation of factory Holden style. The seats and doors have been covered with Goya Red leather in HK patterns, and the Grant tiller and Auto Meter American Muscle gauges are subtle improvements over the standard pieces. With two bench seats, there’s room for Kylie and the kids as well, and the tunes are provided by a stealthy little sound system consisting of an Alpine head unit, Alpine amp and Pioneer 6x9s in the parcel shelf.
There’s a bit of a story behind the CRAYZER number plates, too. “We’ve got an HG Monaro called CRAYZE that’s gone 11.0 on street tyres, but it’s pretty cranky,” Joel says. “I wanted something I could drive to the track with the kids and Kylie, run a good time and drive home again. We drive the HR pretty much every weekend and a few times during the week – we’ll even go lapping the city until three in the morning.”
Joel’s built a tough old-school HR that cruises as well as it bruises and never overheats – now that’s CRAYZER!
1967 HOLDEN HR SEDAN
Paint: Concept Paints Grecian White
Brand: Chev small-block
Induction: Holley 850 HP, Edelbrock manifold
Heads: AFR 195
Camshaft: Crane hydraulic-roller
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: SRP forged, 10:1
Crank: Scat billet
Oil pump: High-volume
Cooling: Custom PWR radiator, SPAL fan
Exhaust: Custom headers, twin 3in system
Ignition: MSD 6AL, billet dizzy and leads
Gearbox: Dedenbear Powerglide
Converter: Converter Shop 3500rpm stall
Diff: Fabricated 9in, 3.7:1 gears, Truetrac, 31-spline axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Pedders springs, Koni shocks
Rear: King leaves, Koni shocks, CalTracs
Brakes: HQ with Leyland discs (f), VS Commodore (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld Magnum; 15x4 (f), 15x10 (r)
Rubber: Nankang 165/80/15 (f), Kenda 295/50/15 (r)
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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