My Muscle Car
Reader: Brett O’Grady Muscle car: HQ Sandman panel van Hometown: Brisbane, QLD What is it? ”A 1974 Holden XX7 HQ Belmont Sandman panel van – Azure Blue.” When did you buy it? ”Early 2008.” Why did you buy it? ”I have had a fascination for Holden panel vans, especially the Sandman, since I was six years old. My father, Michael, told me stories and showed me photographs of his 5.0-litre HX Sandman, which was bought unknowingly to his parents in November 1976. My grandmother was not impressed!
“Dad sold his HX Sandman in 1978 to buy a block of land in Yeppoon. I have a few old photographs of dad’s Sandman on my wall at home. So when I was 17 and it was time to buy my first car Dad and I went through the trading post week after week until a 1975 HJ Panelvan caught our eyes – I was disgusted with the sky blue painted dash, door skins, green GTS wheel spokes and trippy plush covered green interior with strange smiley faces wearing top hats for the full length hood lining; but I fell in love with it as most boys do with their first cars.
“After owning the van for 5 years I lost it in an accident; it was a write-off. Not thinking I would ever buy another van I was contacted by an old friend from the Sunstate Panelvan Club who had a HQ Sandman for sale. After going to see the van I fell in love once again…” the self-restoration process to sleep and the van sat on stands for nearly five years in the garage. My father constantly requested for me to sell the van and get what I could for it and buy a van that is already done up. Anyway, Rare Spares, Capalalaba put me in contact with a restorer named Richie who runs Tuff Fast Streeters and we can began to talk and so it began.” [ED: Brett gave us a long list of people he was eager to thank in print, but space restrictions means a blanket ‘thank you’ is the best we can do.] How does it go? “Brilliantly! I reckon it drives the way a brand new ’74 HQ Sandman panel van should. Smooth and fast and an irresistible rumble when you plant the accelerator pedal…”