RIGHT ON ’Q

CHRIS CLOUT BUILT THIS HQ UTE AS A LAST­ING TRIB­UTE TO A MATE TAKEN TOO SOON

Street Machine - - Contents - STORY BORIS VISKOVIC PHO­TOS CHRIS THOROGOOD

A prodi­giously tough and exquisitely en­gi­neered Wb-fronted HQ ute that was built in trib­ute to a fallen mate

THE ORIG­I­NAL PLAN OF A 253 AND FOUR-SPEED WAS LONG OUT THE WIN­DOW, WITH CHRIS THINK­ING MORE ALONG THE LINES OF MINI-TUBS, ROLLCAGE AND A BLOWN BIG-BLOCK

THERE’S an old say­ing: ‘Out of ad­ver­sity comes op­por­tu­nity’, and it cer­tainly ap­plies to the stun­ning HQ ute of Chris Clout. The car was orig­i­nally owned by a good mate, Tony ‘Tozza’ Dwyer, who passed away in 2010. He had pretty sim­ple plans for the ute: Slot in a 253 so his son would be able to drive it when he was old enough. But Tozza never got much fur­ther than strip­ping the car.

“His par­ents rang me and said: ‘Chris, come and get this car be­cause we know you’ve got the other half of it in your shed.’ Even though I’m a Ford man, I do like the old Holden utes,” Chris says.

Chris had been do­ing a bit of work on the chas­sis while Tozza had the body at his place, but after the of­fer came to take own­er­ship of the car, Chris had to fig­ure out what to do with it. Look­ing at the fin­ished prod­uct, it’s pretty ob­vi­ous which path he chose: “When I got it, I thought: ‘I want to go all out with this, let’s build this thing right.’”

But the death of one of his best mates wasn’t the only set­back Chris would face: “I was still try­ing to get over los­ing my mate, my brother and my dad. I lost them all within a year and a half. Then I got stabbed on my way home from work one day, so that put me be­hind a year. I got a knife through my arm, nearly lost it, cut all my nerves and ten­dons and I’ve only got 40 per cent use. I had to change a lot of things in life, but you don’t stop – too many peo­ple out there these days give up.”

That’s when Chris started get­ting other peo­ple to help him out with the car.

The ini­tial plan of a 253 and four-speed was long out the win­dow, with Chris think­ing more along the lines of mini-tubs, rollcage and a blown big-block, but then he scored a cheap LS3 crate mo­tor off a mate of his. “What am I go­ing to do with this? Oh well, might as well twin-turbo it,” Chris re­calls. He’d had noth­ing to do with them be­fore, so he em­ployed the ex­per­tise of Russo Per­for­mance to con­vert the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated mo­tor to the twin-turbo mon­ster you see now.

There’s not much left of the orig­i­nal crate mo­tor apart from the block and heads. The in­ter­nals were all beefed up to han­dle the im­pend­ing boost with CP pis­tons, Man­ley crank and Cal­lies con­rods re­plac­ing the fac­tory stuff. Up top is a gor­geous bil­let in­take man­i­fold from Shaun’s Cus­tom Al­loy, who also sup­plied the in­ter­cooler. The twin GTX35 tur­bos feed through a Plaz­ma­man 102mm throt­tle­body, and Russo also slot­ted in one of its cus­tom-cam grinds. With its safe-ashouses start-up tune, the en­gine has al­ready pumped out 628hp at the wheels.

The next step was to head to Craig’s Au­to­mat­ics so they could build a Turbo 400 trans to hold all that power. It’s been fully man­u­alised and there’s a Dom­i­na­tor 3500rpm stall con­verter. Out back the nineinch has been stuffed full of heavy-duty gear, with Strange 35-spline axles and a Pro Iron cen­tre with 3.52 gears. Chris also sourced the four-link rear sus­pen­sion kit from Strange. A tubu­lar IFS and rack-and­pin­ion steer­ing re­side up front, and there are Strange coil-overs and Wil­wood disc brakes on all four cor­ners.

While the en­gine is quite the cen­tre­piece, there is so much more go­ing on with this car, es­pe­cially in the fab­ri­ca­tion and cus­tom touches that went into the body­work. “The WB front end was al­ready on the ute; I just changed the guards to HZ GTS,” Chris ex­plains. “The doors and the bon­net are the only things that are bolted on; the rest is one piece, and the roof tur­ret is the only thing stan­dard.” Ev­ery seam has been has been welded up and smoothed over and even the tail­gate is now moulded into the body.

If you like the de­sign of the bon­net, don’t go look­ing for it in a cat­a­logue any­where. That baby is all steel, done to Chris’s de­sign: “I went 200mm off the back and 100mm off the front and ev­ery­one’s gone: ‘Geez, that’s a big bloody scoop,’ and I’m like: ‘It’ll look all right,’ and that was it.” It’s def­i­nitely a clever de­sign, be­cause the ex­tra width does make the scoop ap­pear lower than its ac­tual three-inch height.

With all of the fab­ri­ca­tion and met­al­work done, it was then left with De­nis Hr­govic to get it smoother than a baby’s bum in prepa­ra­tion for the Gla­surit Jet Black paintjob that Chris had planned. It took De­nis 18 months to com­plete that process, and it was then Reuben Towner’s job to lay on that stun­ning paint and show off all of that gor­geous body­work.

There’s more cus­tom steel work un­der the bon­net, with a fully cus­tom sheet-metal en­gine bay. No re­mov­able in­ner guards on this baby; in­stead there are tubs built around those big 20x8 rims, with the rest of the bay fabbed out of smooth sheet metal.

Even the in­te­rior copped some cus­tom met­al­work, with the boxy stock dash­board ditched in favour of some­thing with a few curves. “I

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