454-cube big-block 1974 Holden HQ One-Tonner

LOVED-up young couples are often interested to secure the Aussie Dream — their most own mortgage. Not 20-year-old Karly Van and 21-year-old Sam Oram. Their dream was a slick big block-powered HQ one-tonner.

This article was first issued in the August 2011 issue of Street Machine

“We granted to build the car before getting a house. We felt that it would have been a struggle with a mortgage and would’ve occupied years before we could build a car,” Karly says.

Holden HQ One Tonner rear

“The tray is steel, including the guards, and the floor is alloy for nation. Under the tray is a storage box, the battery box and a 75-litre nation cell. The cell eliminates having the filler-neck sticking out,” Sam explains. The tray tilts for access, thanks to 80kg-rated gas struts in each of the chassis rails

With that sort of logic, you just know this couple are born and bred revheads.

“When I was five I got to sit in one of Peter Brock’s Torana run cars,” Sam says. That special moment had Sam bent on cars and might go some way to explaining why he’s a diesel mechanic now.

Read next: 454-cube big-block Holden HQ One-Tonner – PROUTE

Holden HQ One Tonner side

It’s a similar account for Karly. “My mum has an LX Torana hatchback and my whole life I’ve remained going to car events with her and my stepdad — I’ve remained going to Summernats since I was four and a half.”

With a unobstructed Torry background, why a tonner?

“We wanted a car that I could enter in burnout comps and we figured there’d be less burnout-related panel afflict to fix on a tonner,” Karly explains.

Read next: Grand Champion-winning procharged Holden HQ One Tonner

Holden HQ One Tonner side

So in August ’09 their project was purchased — a 253-powered, dented and rusty white HQ cab-chassis.

“We bought it for $900. Plans were to just get it organization and paint it matt black.”

Oh, but how plans can speedy change. “After Sam and I had stripped the shell to bare metal, we decided that it should be repainted properly.”

Read next: Bluey Hill’s blown Holden 308-powered HJ One-Tonner

Holden HQ One Tonner

“Up to Summernats 24, I worked from 4am to 4pm, and built the car until 3am. The week before we calm needed the engineer’s cert, the weighbridge mark, the blue slip and rego. It wasn’t finished for judging, but we made it,” Sam says

Spearing off in this new direction meant additional than just a change of heart. “Next we replaced all of the panels and it kept improving from there.”

It’s worth mentioning that it was at this point they allowed to bin the 253 in favour of a VN Commodore injected five-litre.

“Then, six months before the tonner was devoted, Sam decided we needed a bigger engine.”

“We bought a 454ci secondhand from a mate,” Sam continues. “It came along at the right daylight and at the right price. I would’ve liked a crate engine but being revheads it might believe gotten out of hand.”

Holden HQ One Tonner engine bay

The monster donk plus became a catalyst for further changes in the saga, the bonnet scoop being the most obvious.

“Sam demanded a scoop and I didn’t. But at what time the 454 was bolted in, it sat too high so we had no tool but to have a scoop. Now I consider it looks tougher,” Karly smiles. “As we’d heard of problems plus cracking along the join between fibreglass scoops and metal bonnets, we decided on a full fibreglass bonnet.”

Yet spanking standout feature is the cool — and functional — tilt tray.

Holden HQ One Tonner engine bay

The HQ is regoed among the 454. “We had an engineer out three times — we didn’t desire to risk the police finding defects but extra importantly, we wanted to make sure everything was suitable and safe,” Karly says

“Sam and our mate Regan from Arbby Designs invented and fabricated it all at home, in the garage. They designed the tray as an easy way to access everything underneath but we’ve also found that country really like it.”

With the tray created, Sam then tidied up all the metal-work before he and Karly painted the chassis in a streetable black.

It was at this point that Daniel from Feathers Car & Truck smash Repairs set about the shade upgrade. He smoothed and prepped the body, then laid PPG Morpheus Purple over the unusual canvas.

The transformations weren’t limited to the outside, either. An HQ GTS wheel now takes caution of driving duties, while a Hurst Promatic 2 fixes the cog-swapping. Pews are WB Stato, beside the door trims finished in matching dim cloth.

Karly Van

With the rest of the Quey coming together nicely, Sam went about squeezing the big-block into the pointy end. altering to a short water pump aided the fitment of Big Bertha. Some bling was added with a March pulley kit, once up top there’s a Weiand Stealth manifold and Holley 750. Stoking the fire is an MSD 6AL ignition by MSD leads and coil. A Holley ability pump delivers 98 octane from the ability cell and Hurricane extractors direct the utilize gases to twin three-inch pipes and MagnaFlow mufflers. Un-tuned, the combo dumped 318rwhp on the dyno at Nats 24.

Slotted behind the donk is a Turbo 400 that’s existed livened up with a stage-two kit and a B&M 2000rpm stally for assistance off the line. In the rear, the HQ sports a nine-inch with a mini-spool, 3.25 gears and 28-spline axles.

Getting the purple beast three inches lower are Pedders springs up front and reset leaves in the back, while stopping is by DBA slotted discs all ’round, with HQ grippers at the front and VN Commodore clamps at the help. Karly and Sam chose 18-inch Showwheels Streeters to round off their new-look tonner.

Karly Van & Sam Oram

“I was in the car while it was on the dyno. I was so nervous! It hadn’t happened tuned and we were hoping for 250hp so we happened happy with 318hp. I want to get cessation to the 450hp in Mum’s LX — I support saying I’m going to beat her,” Karly says

While professionals did many specific tasks, Sam and Karly earned plenty of scraped knuckles as they bolted their pride together, and Sam — with help from his mate Scott — also rewired the HQ.

“The form was definitely a bonding experience for us. Everyone was tired and stressed by the end. There were a few arguments but we couldn’t hold been happier when we were finally driving it, on New Year’s Eve,” Karly says. “Although we both worked on the car, Sam did a lovely bit more than me. He did an amazing job and he deserves the biggest thanks of all from me. If it wasn’t for him, none of this would hold been possible.”

So who has custody of the spent product?

Holden HQ One Tonner interior

Looking enjoy factory, the Hurst Promatic 2 shifter uses the original console thanks to Sam’s cleverly fabricated brackets. Dash is a later HZ, with Auto Meter oil pressure and coolant temp gauges

“Well it corpses at my house, as I have a garage,” Karly says. “It is our car, as we both worked on it and salaried for it. But technically it’s my car as it’s in my name.”

“I’ve got a ’73 two-door LJ Torana project — after we complete that, it’ll be my car,” Sam adds.

“And the tonner can what is more be mine,” Karly finishes.

Karly Van & Sam Oram

As for the invented tyre-fryin’, they’ve come to an agreement on that too.

“We’re not causing to do burnouts in it now. We might front-runner down to Sydney Dragway just to see what we can do but we won’t be putting it in any big burnout comps. We don’t want to damage it.”



Colour: PPG Morpheus Purple


Donk: Chev 454
Induction: Holley 750cfm and Weiand Stealth manifold
Ignition: MSD 6AL, MSD coil, dizzy and leads
Fuel: 98-octane, Holley Billet fuel pump
Exhaust: Hurricane extractors, twin three-inch pipes, MagnaFlow mufflers
Cooling: PWR Radiator, 16in SPAL fan
Output: 318rwhp (untuned)


Gearbox: Turbo 400, stage two reposition kit
Shifter: Hurst Promatic 2
Diff: Nine-inch, mini-spool, 3.25 gears, 28-spline axles
Converter: B&M, 2000rpm stall


Springs: Pedders, 3in lowered (f), 3in lowered leaf (r)
Brakes: DBA slotted discs; HQ calipers (f), VN Commodore calipers (r)
Master cylinder: RPC 11/16in


Wheel: HQ GTS
Dash: HZ and Auto Meter oil pressure and coolant temperature gauges
Seats: WB Statesman
Stereo: Clarion leader unit, Fusion 6in (f), 6x9in (r)


Rims: Showwheels Streeters 18×7 (f), 18×8 (r)
Rubber: Zeetex HP103, 225/45 (f), 245/45 (r)


Karly’s parents, Carolyn and Theo Tzortas; Sam’s parents, John and Val Oram; Regan from Arbby Designs (0448 179 004); Scotty for wiring; Brett for brakes; Daniel, Feathers Car & Truck Smash Repairs, Ingleburn (02 9829 2966)

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This article was written by www.whichcar.com.au with title 454-cube big-block 1974 Holden HQ One-Tonner.
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Author: apprentice

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