HDT MAGNUM

Unique Cars - - LUXO LAND YACHTS -

It’s one of t he joys and frus­tra­tions of buy­ing a car like an HDT Magnum: tr y ing to work out ex­act ly what’s un­der­neath t he paint and how many were made. The thing is that HDT, at t he stage t his mon­ster was built, could and would build what­ever your litt le heart (and wal­let!) de­sired. So what­ever Magnum you own, there’s a good chance it’s just a litt le bit dif fer­ent to t he one t hat came af ter it. We’re not ta lk ing pro­duc­tion lines here.

What’s a Magnum? Essen­tia lly Brock’s ta ke on a high-per­for­mance lu xo tourer. Some­thing t hat would com­fort­ably cross t he con­ti­nent.

A Holden WB States­man in DeVille or Caprice form was the start­ing point. From there HDT would and could do some mi­nor up­grades, but to get the prized HDT build plate you needed to go at least wit h t he sus­pen­sion and en­gine mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

Ex­actly how many were built is open to con­jec­ture. HDT’s cur­rent own­ers say the num­ber is un­der 100, while we’re hear­ing un­der 120 from ot her sources. ‘Not a lot’ is cor­rect.

The car you see here is a ver y good ex­am­ple of what you’d get if you went t he ‘f ull monty’ wit h t he HDT cata log ue. To start wit h, t he 5.0lt en­gine was up­graded to Group 3 specs, which meant a huge 50 per cent lift in power from 126 to 188kW (169 to 252hp).

That was achieved with a Quadra­jet car­bu­ret­tor (‘blueprinted’ if you ticked t he ap­pro­pri­ate op­tion) mated to a cold air inta ke, a dif fer­ent in­let man­i­fold, big­ger va lves, a ltered com­bus­tion cham­bers and a 9.2:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio. The trans­mis­sion was a beefed-up Tri­matic and you prob­a­bly would have been well-adv ised to run t he op­tiona l trans­mis­sion cooler and per­haps t he en­gine oil cooler as well. To cap it of f, you could specif y a 3.08 ra­tio lim­ited slip dif f, which is on t his ex­am­ple.

As for t he chas­sis, t hat re­ceived a lot of at­ten­tion, too. The whole car was low­ered sub­stan­tia lly, and f it­ted wit h re­worked Bil­stein dampers, dif fer­ent rate springs, beef ier roll bars, a ll in ad­di­tion to a ltered ge­ometr y. That was com­pleted with a Momo steer­ing wheel.

The car a lso sat on (as­sum­ing you or­dered t hem) 16 x 8-inch a lloy wheels, run­ning Pirelli P7 rubber.

As for cos­met­ics, you could mix and match what­ever Holden of­fered across the States­man range, while HDT could add its own touches such as chang­ing the bright work for colour-coded trim plus tint­ing for t he win­dows and lights.

Fully k it­ted-out, you could eas­ily end up spend­ing mid $30-thou­sands on what would un­de­ni­ably be a ver y spe­cia l car. It was a lso about half t he price of a house !

The ex­am­ple you see here be­longs to Neil Peck and has proved to be an award-winner at as­sorted shows, not least of which was

last year’s huge Brock an­niver­sar y gat her­ing at Mount Panorama and run by the Brock Com­modore Own­ers (bcoaa.com).

Neil’s search for t his car be­gan some time ago. “I’ve got a cou­ple of friends who own Mag­nums,” he ex­plains. “I de­cided I wanted one. I hunted around for quite a few months, rang the guy about this car, which was in Queens­land, got a ll t he his­tor y, and rang his me­chanic. We did the deal over the phone. Within a week it was at my house. That was 10 years ago.”

The Magnum turned out to have a great his­tor y. It was or­dered as a show­room dis­play car by Zupps – then and now a huge dealer in Bris­bane – and came with prett y much a ll the paper work you could hope for. For ex­am­ple, t here’s a copy of t he sign-of f sheet from Peter Brock, who took it for t he test drive be­fore it lef t t he fac­tor y. “Good rig. Nice,” he wrote.

Sub­se­quently, t he car’s owner took it to t he Brock Shop in Queens­land to be ser v iced, where one of t he ser v ice sheets was signed off by Phil Brock.

In case you were won­der­ing, yes, the Brock touches make a wel­come dif­fer­ence to how the car drives. We had a litt le steer of it af ter t he photo shoot. For some­thing that size from that era, it’s an im­pres­sive rig. It points well and ta lks to you, keeps a nice f lat at­ti­tude t hrough cor­ners and has plent y of grunt. You can well imag­ine t hat who­ever f irst bought t he t hing would have been prett y damned pleased the f irst t ime t hey cut it loose.

These cars only pop up on the mar­ket oc­ca­siona lly and t here is a lot of vari­a­tion from one to an­other. If you were in t he hunt, you’d eas­ily be look ing at $ 30k as a sta rt­ing point for a well-specced solid ex­am­ple that was in need of a freshen-up, and we reckon you would go a ver y long way nort h of t hat for a rea lly good ex­am­ple. Will we soon see $ 50k? Quite likely...

TOP RIGHT Per­for­mance up­grades were se­ri­ous, giv­ing a 50 per cent lift in power.

CEN­TRE RIGHT This is an early pat­tern wheel and only six sets with the flutes are thought to ex­ist.

ABOVE Owner Neil Peck.

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