This story was originally published in the May 2015 issue of Street Machine magazine
CLASSIC HK/HT/HG Holdens are some of the hottest pieces of old-school Aussie tin you can own right now. Take Ben Goldie’s slick 1970 HG Premier, for example; his sweet Turismo Blue sedan showcases classic late-60s style, combined with stroker Chevy small-block power and crazy levels of detailing. It all adds up to a perfect machine for hitting the streets.
But it was never meant to go this far, as the spray painter from Kanwal on the NSW Central Coast explains. “A couple of mates had HK and HG utes that I was helping out with at the time. Their shape grew on me and it turns out that one of my mates’ aunts had this in the shed. It hadn’t been driven in 10 years or so, and she was more than happy to sell it to me, so I grabbed it.”
As happens to many new owners of old metal though, the dreaded snowball effect soon kicked in. As he dove into the Prem, Ben’s initial ideas evolved from quick-and-simple to an intense all-or-nothing project.
“The car was originally going to be aqua with a white roof, and I was just going to cruise it around as a bit of a pig,” he explains. “It’s now the complete opposite of what I had first planned, but once I got started my expectations got a little bigger each time I would do something.
“I was convinced to do it to an above-average standard, so every nut, bolt and bush was taken off the car and if it wasn’t replaced I did the best to recondition. The front K-frame was separated from the body and blasted to access rusted sections on the firewall.
“While it was off, the engine bay was smoothed, then unnecessary holes and seams were welded and filled. All underneath was taken back to metal and re-painted. The crossmember was all taken to pieces and painted, and all bushes replaced with Nolathane ones.”
Shane Christie is the man Ben credits with the pin-sharp bodywork. This included removing the body moulds from the sills, arches and panels, and the boot lock and rear garnish have been shaved from the boot-lid as well. Monaro GTS flutes have been added to the front guards by Justin from Auto Air Spares in Coonabarabran, NSW, and that towering bonnet is a four-inch Alfa Fibreglass cowl unit to fit over the stroked Chev V8.
Good brightwork costs an absolute bomb these days, but Ben found a way to get a killer finish without dropping the coin. “I painted all the chrome work in fine silver to reduce the cost of the build,” he says.
Inside, late-model XR Falcon buckets are fitted up front, with a modified bench in the rear, all trimmed in sumptuous dark caramel leather by the gurus at Stitched Up Custom Trim in Tuggerah. While the stock tiller remains, the gauges have been replaced by a full suite of Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite dials in a custom cluster.
“The trim gets a lot of positive comments from people,” Ben says. “I was originally going to trim the car in a bone colour, but Darren Baldwin from Stitched Up put this colour scheme out there to go with the Turismo Blue and I loved it. I went back to the workshop to repaint all of the dash, column, pedals and all four door frames that I already had painted for my first trim plan.”
While it might seem like an all-out chequebook build, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “The car was built on a budget while my wife was doing full-time study at university,” Ben says. “All of the spare rooms in our very small house were taken up by car parts at one stage and my wife would get a bit annoyed.
“The motor was a budget choice. I bought the engine, gearbox, tailshaft, pipes and full exhaust system already fitted to an HK, so it was perfect for me at the time.”
That donk is a rumbly 383-cube small-block Chev, fitted with forged pistons and fired by a catalog of MSD ignition products. There’s a Holley 650 double pumper carb sitting between a pair of Pro Comp heads for simple, reliable horsepower. Noise is made by Pacemaker four-into-one headers, a twin 2.5-inch exhaust system exiting via Hooker mufflers.
“Dave and Brendan from Gosford Pumps & Rewinds took the top end apart; the heads were serviced and then ported to try for a bit more flow,” Ben says.
The powerplant is backed by a manualised two-speed Powerglide and Dominator 3000rpm stall converter. The rear end is a serious piece of engineering: a narrow Strange nine-inch has been filled with 31-spline TOMS axles and Richmond 3.7 gears, and wears tough 1350 unis.
Because the HG had to be a driver, the cooling system is bombproof. An Aussie Desert Cooler radiator has cool air drawn through it by EL Falcon thermos, backed up by a CVR electric water pump.
While Ben plans to replace the current motor with another small-block Chev combination, he’s happy with the car as it currently stands. “We love cruising in it with friends whenever we get the chance,” he enthuses. “It’s good to get the thumbs up from people we see out and about who appreciate it.”
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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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