Daryl O’sul­li­van’s HK ute is a mas­ter­class in pro tour­ing ex­cel­lence. We can’t wait ’til it’s fin­ished

CHUCK­ING fat laps of your lo­cal cruise spot is a rite of pas­sage for gear­heads all over the world, and it was this ex­pe­ri­ence that led to the cre­ation of Daryl O’sul­li­van’s amaz­ing HK Kingswood ute. The Lsx-fed two-door com­mer­cial has been smoothed and shaved, pack­ing awe­some sheet-metal work and en­gi­neer­ing like air con­di­tion­ing, a full chas­sis and all power ac­ces­sories un­der the fresh metal skin. The Kingswood’s new tar­mac-hug­ging, slick fin­ish is thanks to Chris Wells and the team at BMV En­gi­neer­ing on Queens­land’s Sun­shine Coast, though the story of Daryl’s ute starts many years be­fore.

“I grew up in a coun­try town called Tu­mut,” says Daryl. “Ev­ery­one used to cut laps on a Fri­day night, which is what we did back then, and that street scene is what in­spired me. The plan was to have a new car wrapped in an old shell, so when Chris and I planned the HK, it was al­ways go­ing to have all the mod cons like air con, power win­dows, cen­tral lock­ing, power steer­ing, an LS pow­er­plant – and it was also go­ing to be man­ual.”

The HK is ac­tu­ally the first car Daryl ever car­ried the keys to, though it was a long courtship be­fore he was able to call it his own. “I bought it when I was 15 from Wagga Wagga, NSW,” he says. “The for­mer owner ran a petrol sta­tion near my house and I used to drive past it on the high­way for six or seven years, and I’d say: ‘That’s a nice ute.’ One day it had a ‘for sale’ sign on it, so we pulled in, had a look, and put a de­posit on it! It was my daily driver ’til I bought an­other car.”

While most utes bought from coun­try ar­eas of Aus­tralia are more knocked-about than a Syr­ian taxi, Daryl reck­ons his HK was a pretty good thing. “It wasn’t in that bad con­di­tion,” he says. “It was sky blue with a 186 and ev­ery­thing seemed to be there. My cousin sold me a 192ci six out of his HR, which I put in, but once I bought a daily driver ute, I put the HK in the shed and started plan­ning the build.”

Af­ter lan­guish­ing in coun­try NSW for a few trips around the cal­en­dar, the ute was brought up to Daryl’s new home in Mackay, Queens­land, where he fi­nally started build­ing it into the HK of his dreams. It didn’t all go to plan, how­ever.

“The first two shops I went to were a waste of time and money, so I was ready to put it back in the shed and for­get about it when I came across BMV En­gi­neer­ing on Face­book,” says Daryl. “I gave Chris a call to have a chat about it and he was keen to take it on. Over the next few weeks it was put on a truck and sent on its way to BMV, where Chris and the boys came up with a plan and then got stuck into it.”

While it looks like a nicely re­stored, though slammed, first-gen­er­a­tion Kingswood, plenty of BMV’S metal magic has been clev­erly hid­den. The sills have been ex­tended through the bot­tom of the front guards, the tail­gate has been welded up with a full-width wagon rear bumper bar re­cessed into the body, the cowl vents have been filled and a full sheet-metal floor added. Cus­tom nar­row chas­sis rails have been fit­ted that ex­tend through to the Y-frame, which has also been welded to the body. The en­gine bay is smoothed off, a cus­tom fuel tank

and filler are packed un­der a door in the tray floor be­side cus­tom wheel tubs, and the door quar­ter­glass has been re­moved.

“I wanted all the mod­ern stuff wrapped in an old shell, as we didn’t want to take away from the HK’S style – just tweak it a bit to make it stand out from all the rest,” Daryl ex­plains.

The Ac­cuair air sus­pen­sion works with a cus­tom front end, while the old horse-and-cart leaf springs were turfed in favour of a tri­an­gu­lated four-link. “The front end was an off-the-shelf unit, but Chris ended up mod­i­fy­ing it to suit air sus­pen­sion,” Daryl says. “The four-link is a Mcdon­ald Broth­ers unit that has been tweaked to fit the new nar­rower rear chas­sis rails, which now run all the way to the front and tie to the Y-frame.”

That strength is def­i­nitely needed, as the old red sixes the ute had pre­vi­ously sported are long gone, in favour of a 620hp LSX376 crate mo­tor that should have no prob­lems roast­ing those 20x12 In­tro V-rod rear wheels!

“I had a VE Maloo with a Har­rop su­per­charger on it, and it used to go like a cut snake, so that def­i­nitely in­flu­enced my choice to go LS,” Daryl ex­plains. “They’re cheap en­gines and they make easy power. This en­gine made 550rwhp on the dyno, and you couldn’t get an en­gine built to make that sort of power for what I paid for the brand­new crate mo­tor.”

Though it is hard to spot the epic cus­tom twoinch head­ers that look like tossed spaghetti, you’d have to be harder of sight than Ray Charles to miss the epic Har­rop Hur­ri­cane in­di­vid­ual-throt­tle­body in­take man­i­fold up top. De­spite the LSX’S healthy power out­put, Daryl is al­ready con­sid­er­ing pulling the new mo­tor apart to take ad­van­tage of the lungs the ITBS lend the 6.2-litre.

“Once it goes off to get painted we’ll pull the mo­tor and do the heads and cam, and get it breath­ing a bit more to make use of the in­take man­i­fold,” he says. “It’s at North Coast Cus­tom Trim right now and he’s done the con­sole and trimmed the VE GTS seats, so it’s ready for the bil­let dash and gauges, then ev­ery­thing is done bar paint. I’m look­ing at Mazda Soul Red, which will work with a black in­te­rior and bil­let high­lights to tie it all to­gether.”

We reckon Daryl should take it for a fat lap of Tu­mut once he’s done to show ev­ery­one just how good a servo ute can be!

WHEELS: Daryl chose big hoops for the HK in the shape of In­tro V-rods span­ning 19x8.5 up front and 20x12 out back, wrapped in Pirelli 255/30 on the turn­ing end and Con­ti­nen­tal 325/25 on the burn­ing end LIV­ING THE DREAM: “When I was young I al­ways knew I would have an HK ute one day, but not to this ex­tent – it was never meant to go this far,” Daryl says. “I still can’t get over how good it came out”

BE­LOW: HK utes came with short split bumpers mounted on each rear cor­ner, but ABADHK now sports a full-length bumper off a wagon that has been shaved smooth and tucked in tight. BMV also welded the tail­gate shut for an ex­tra-smooth look BE­NEATH: This doesn’t look like any stock HK Kingswood un­der­car­riage, with a mod­i­fied South­ern Chas­sis Works front end hold­ing up the LSX V8. A Hol­ley Retro-fit sump clears the front-mounted rack and cross­mem­ber, while the cus­tom ex­haust is a work of art REAR END: The diff is a Strange En­gi­neer­ing 9in with 35-spline full-floater axles and a 3.7:1 fi­nal drive. This ra­tio will give snappy per­for­mance with the heavy-duty Tre­mec T56 Mag­num six-speed man­ual, which has been paired to a twin-plate clutch from Di­rect Clutch. “I’ve al­ways had man­ual cars,” Daryl says. “I’ve never been much on the auto gear­boxes as I feel you’re a bit more in touch with the car with a man­ual”

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