My Mus­cle Car

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle maniac -

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…”

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