Blown LS HJ wagon wins hearts and innings at Northern Nats 5
WINNING hearts in the Super Street class at Northern Nats 5 lagging behind, Graham Hilton in his astonishing 1975 HJ Holden wagon narrowly lost in the final after winning all of their heats.
“How many cars do you see along the dredging track that are running new and are still fully registered on the street?” said the Mt Isa runner, who uses his old-fashioned family transport for shopping as much as the race track.
Boasting an LS3 with a Magnuson supercharger, a Turbo 400 and a nine-inch differential, it makes a solid 750-800 hp at tire level and is fully road-approved and plated for whatever is done. Still with standard suspension – stabilizer bars up front and heavy-duty Pedder shocks at the rear – it runs through the mufflers along the drag strip. Inside, the front bench seat remains, but with harnesses and a small headrest for safety.
There are Venetians for the rear windows; an old fashioned sun visor is normally found in the front when not racing, and it does not need to be tubed for 15×8 rims at the rear, with 15×4 at the front .
Graham has owned the fast wagon for three years, already purchased with the LS engine installed. He used ASG Motorsport on the Gold Coast to do much of the work on the engine, tuning and roll cage assembly. âIt’s a very good, reliable car, essentially plug and play and let’s go,â he said.
Back home, Graham has an HQ Monaro GTS as his show car, and his wife’s EH wagon is currently under construction, which means the HJ is really the toy. On the track at Springmount Raceway, Graham said he got a decent view of the rich blue sky of Far North Queensland as the front rose dramatically with each launch.
âThe first few times I did it, I was a little scared; it goes up quite high sometimes on a good track on a good day, âhe explained. âThe left wheel was almost a meter in the air, so you have to back up a bit or you’ll end up destroying the car, twisting and bending things. I don’t want to do this to him.
Graham said he got off balance a bit so he wasn’t climbing that high. âIt’s a little slower, but it’s consistent,â he said.
There is clearly a lot left in this HJ, but there is a lot to be said for cutting costs and enjoying it for what it is now. “Where do you stop?” Graham said. âWhere it is, it’s safe, good, and still runs on pump fuel, not methanol. It can operate on 85 or on pump 98. “
Until his wife’s EH wagon is finished, she is happy to do the weekly errands in this very special HJ. Sure, it could go even faster, but why bother when he’s currently enjoying life as the wildest cart in the Woolies parking lot?
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