Street Machine - - Telfo - SI­MON TELFORD

IOWN a One Ton­ner! If you didn’t catch the news last is­sue, my much-loved EJ was in a bad prang, so nat­u­rally I im­me­di­ately bought an HZ One Ton­ner as part of the grieving process. I found it on­line in Bund­aberg and asked my mate Kieren to check it out for me. He gave it the thumbs-up, so I called the seller and sealed the deal.

With the HZ al­ready reg­is­tered and run­ning, I caught a bomber to Bundy to pick it up and at­tempt to drive it home. What could go wrong? The owner met me at the air­port with the Ton­ner, com­plete with a bonus jerry can of fuel strapped on the back – in­sur­ance against the dicky fuel gauge.

I spent a few years in Bund­aberg as a kid, so my first job was to cruise around town for a quick nos­tal­gia tour – and to get to know my new pur­chase.

Like many Ton­ners, mine is some­thing of a grandpa’s axe. By the looks of it, the car orig­i­nally came with a red six and three­speed col­umn-shift, but it is now run­ning a Com­modore blue mo­tor and Aussie four­speed. It’s got an HX pas­sen­ger-car front, some States­man chrome around the doors and a beaut tray made from fence pal­ings. The paint needs a good buff, and while it isn’t en­tirely the same shade of red each side, it looks pre­sentable from a dis­tance.

Inside we’ve got a bench seat and no ra­dio. I was par­tic­u­larly taken with the in­di­ca­tor stalk that in­cludes the head­light dim­mer and wiper con­trols. So mod­ern!

The car drove fine, so after a bit of root­ing around and catch­ing up with some mates, I made it to my sis­ter’s place on the Sun­shine Coast in time for bed. The next day, I dropped my neph­ews at school – gotta love a bench seat in a ute – and then headed down the road to my par­ents’ house to show it off. I ar­rived to dis­cover that the old man had piled up a bunch of junk in the front yard so we could do a dump run – in less than 24 hours, the HZ was al­ready earn­ing its keep.

That done, I vis­ited the Brisbane of­fice to have a cuppa with our word guru Brett, but on the way my phone fell out of its wind­screen mount and snapped my beaut in­di­ca­tor stalk clean off. Pride comes be­fore a fall, or what? The next day, I grabbed a re­pro stalk from Rare Spares and en­listed the as­sis­tance of Drag Chal­lenge Week­end vet­eran Richard Hor­vat to fit it with a min­i­mum of bad lan­guage and col­lat­eral dam­age.

I pointed the Ton­ner in the di­rec­tion of Syd­ney via the Pa­cific High­way. When I ar­rived, I col­lected some big-block Chev heads and a cool vin­tage cash reg­is­ter for some mates and lashed them to the back. I can al­ready see I’ll need one of those ‘Yes, this is my ute and no, I won’t help you move’ stick­ers.

The Ton­ner is run­ning like a champ and I am thrilled with it. It is slow and noisy, but is a great car for eat­ing up the miles. I’ve wanted a 70s car for ages, and now I have one I can’t be­lieve I’ve waited so long. Of course, when I rolled into Mel­bourne it was piss­ing down and I dis­cov­ered that not only does the heater not work but that the cab leaks like a sieve. Nei­ther ail­ments were much of a prob­lem in Bundy, but they’ll both re­ceive im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

I’ll go through the sus­pen­sion and jam an Aussie Desert Cooler in it and then she’ll be ready for reg­u­lar duty. Then comes the fun stuff! Ev­ery­one seems to like the thin white­walls, hub­caps and widened steel­ies look, but I reckon I’ll sell those off and search for some pe­riod mags – maybe Hotwires, maybe jelly­beans. Or even 12-slot­ters! I’ll fit a stereo, a tool­box and a tow­bar, too.

With the ba­sics out of the way, I can start look­ing for a driv­e­line up­grade – in all like­li­hood a 253 or 308 and a Tri­matic. I’m not re­ally chas­ing horse­power (fa­mous last words!) – I just want the V8 sound and enough oomph for easy over­tak­ing on the high­way.

As I type, I’m on my way back from Red Cen­tre­nats in Alice Springs. Ev­ery time we’ve done RCN, I’ve vowed that I’ll stick around for week after the event to do out­back tourist stuff with my best girl, but it hasn’t hap­pened so far. I reckon 2019 in the HZ will s be the go.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.