CUL­TURED PEARL

WEST AUSSIE GARETH LOUGHER TURNS AN HR PREMIER BUILT IN THE EARLY 90S INTO A REAL JEWEL

Street Machine - - CONTENTS -

If the devil is in the de­tail, then the Lougher fam­ily’s HR Holden is one evil son-of-a-bitch

THE day WA’S Gareth Lougher bought this HR, he and his wife Ali­son were leav­ing to take her show­stop­ping LH To­rana, 6APEAL (SM, Apr ’13), to Mo­torex Syd­ney in 2012. “The HR was a good solid car that was built in the late 80s and li­censed with the 350 Chev,” Gareth re­calls. “That was a huge bonus, as it’s very dif­fi­cult to get this type of con­ver­sion to pass rego now in WA.” Gareth’s a pretty handy fab­ri­ca­tor – handy enough to have had a hand in some of the fab­ri­ca­tion on XBOSS (that’s a lot of hands). But af­ter all that high-end show car stuff, he wanted to build some­thing a bit more street-friendly, and had a long-held de­sire to own an HD or HR Holden.

“I al­ways loved them,” Gareth says. “It’s just one of those cars that I loved the shape of. A car that I fell in love with was Greg Miskiewicz’s HD, NER­VOUS [SM, Jul-aug ’95]. The stance it had and ev­ery­thing about it was just so far ahead of its time.”

So it had taken a while, but Gareth fi­nally had an HR with a small­block in his drive­way. Ad­mit­tedly, it was six shades of white, had a brown velour in­te­rior, and proudly showed its early-90s her­itage with pink and blue graphics and the words ‘Hard Revving 67’ painted on the dash. Per­son­ally, I think Gareth should have kept that piece of his­tory alive, but he had other plans.

“I gave the car a quick clean-up and got rid of some of the 80s, and we drove it around for a cou­ple of years. It came off the road in 2014 to fix a leaky rear main and I fig­ured while the en­gine was out I’d give the en­gine bay a tidy-up. It kind of got a bit out of hand af­ter that,” Gareth ad­mits.

To his credit, Gareth could have let the build get a lot more out of hand, but es­sen­tially, the HR hasn’t changed a great deal; he’s just pulled the en­tire car to bits and de­tailed ev­ery­thing to per­fec­tion. Even the orig­i­nal Castle­maine Rod Shop chas­sis con­nec­tors were kept, but now they’re smooth as a baby’s bum

and painted gloss black. It’s def­i­nitely more of a street-elite build, with painted sound dead­ener un­der the car and any­thing that un­bolts given the smooth gloss black treat­ment.

The ma­jor change to the car was the fit­ment of a fab­ri­cated front end with tubu­lar A-arms, coil-overs, rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing and Wil­wood brakes. With dropped spin­dles up front and low­ered leaves out back, the HR does keep a bit of an 80s vibe with a pretty heavy rake, es­pe­cially when you view it in pro­file. Mark Cook from Allbrite Panel & Paint took care of the body­work and paint and was also a ma­jor help­ing hand on the car. “To­gether we came up with all of the ideas in the build,” says Gareth.

Tony Ier­ace from Ier­ace Au­to­mo­tive built the mo­tor and tuned it on the en­gine dyno. The dyno also came in handy when Gareth wanted to check whether his cus­tom-built block-hug­ger head­ers killed much power: “We ran a set of four­into-one head­ers on the dyno and then ran mine, and it dropped 9hp,” he says. “The thing I re­ally love about them is with most V8 con­ver­sions it’s al­ways a night­mare to get the plugs out. I can change mine in and out in a few min­utes and don’t need any cus­tom-made span­ners.”

The en­gine got a bit of a freshen-up with a set of Dart Iron Ea­gle heads and Crow Cams roller cam, and to re­ally drag it out of the 80s, Gareth fit­ted a Hol­ley Sniper EFI sys­tem. It’s one of those self-con­tained, self-learn­ing units that es­sen­tially re­places a four-bar­rel car­bu­ret­tor. Look­ing in the en­gine bay, you don’t even know it’s there. The con­troller is mounted neatly in the glove­box, which has been trun­cated some­what to make room for the MSD 6AL box and electrics mounted un­der the dash.

The en­gine bay is an ab­so­lute pearler and you’d be hard-pressed to find a neater in­stal­la­tion. It still has all of the orig­i­nal sheet metal, in­clud­ing the lumps, bumps and div­ots, but it’s been fully seam-welded and smoothed to per­fec­tion. Re­mov­ing the bat­tery and brake booster goes a long way to tidy­ing it up, but Gareth has also ex­tended the ra­di­a­tor sup­port panel so that it meets the grille, and also re­moved the bon­net latch ca­ble. That wild

THE HR HASN’T CHANGED A GREAT DEAL; GARETH’S JUST PULLED THE EN­TIRE CAR TO BITS AND DE­TAILED EV­ERY­THING TO PER­FEC­TION

look­ing air cleaner is a Proflow unit and has been a mas­sive talk­ing point, but my favourite part is the cus­tom-en­graved rocker cov­ers from Bliss Cus­tom Ma­chin­ing. The front of the en­gine is also su­per clean thanks to the Meziere elec­tric wa­ter pump and the su­per-low mount for the al­ter­na­tor. “I tucked ev­ery­thing down low so that when you looked in there you had a real clean en­gine look,” Gareth says. “With ev­ery­thing be­ing so tight, we ran Tuff Mounts on the en­gine and gear­box.”

With the new­fan­gled tech­nol­ogy added to the build, Gareth had Sam Mora­bito from Sav’s Auto Electrics sort ev­ery­thing out, which also had the added ben­e­fit of get­ting the next gen­er­a­tion of Loughers in­volved in the build. “Our son Reece is do­ing his ap­pren­tice­ship with Sam, so he also did a bit of work on the car,” says Gareth.

One thing that def­i­nitely wasn’t stay­ing was that afore­men­tioned brown velour in­te­rior. Gareth al­ways liked the clean sim­plic­ity of a black-and-white com­bi­na­tion, so he got master trim­mer Phil Wall from Old Skool Cus­tom Trim­ming to sort out a more con­tem­po­rary but still clas­sic take on a tuck-an­droll trim job. The front bucket seats are from an early Valiant and they’re split by a cus­tom-made con­sole that houses the B&M shifter. Ev­ery­thing is trimmed in a com­bi­na­tion of per­fo­rated black leather and slate, a colour from the HJ-HZ Holden range. An HZ col­umn moves a few of the con­trols to the in­di­ca­tor stalk, which means there’s only a knob for the head­lights on the dash. The gauges have been re­placed with elec­tronic units from Moon Equip­ment and they get their sig­nals from the Hol­ley ECU. Even the mod­ern ra­dio doesn’t look out of place.

The fi­nal piece of the puz­zle was an up­date in the wheel and tyre depart­ment. A classy set of Intro Ham­mer bil­lets got the nod – noth­ing too crazy; 17x7 up front and 17x8 out back with 215/45 and 245/40 Kumho rub­ber round­ing it out.

Gareth de­buted the car at the 2019 WA Hot Rod & Street Ma­chine Spec­tac­u­lar, where the five years of toil paid off hand­somely, with the HR tak­ing out all of the ma­jor street ma­chine awards as well as Peo­ple’s Choice and a Meguiar’s Su­per­stars in­vite. Gareth is plan­ning on tak­ing the car to Summernats next year so that ev­ery­one on the east coast can check it out too!

FAR LEFT: The Hol­ley Sniper con­troller can also dou­ble as a gauge dis­play and sends the sig­nals to the Moon Equip­ment gauges in the dash

EN­GINE BAY: The HR’S en­gine bay is clin­i­cally clean. The block and in­take have all been hand-smoothed, with the in­take pow­der­coated and then painted. Gareth fab­ri­cated his own block-hug­ger head­ers, which tuck neatly in­side the chas­sis rails and go out to a twin 2.5in fully pol­ished stain­less ex­haust sys­tem fab­ri­cated by Gareth and good mate Leigh Fal­lon

LEFT: Gareth made the cen­tre con­sole to closely re­sem­ble the fac­tory unit, even util­is­ing the stain­less trim. The com­bi­na­tion of per­fo­rated leather and slate vinyl works beau­ti­fully

RIGHT: Those beau­ti­ful ‘Premier’en­graved rocker cov­ers are from Bliss Cus­tom Ma­chin­ing and suit the build per­fectly

The HR was orig­i­nally built in Bun­bury and re­goed with the small-block in it in ’92. Gareth still has the orig­i­nal hand-writ­ten ap­proval let­ter, which is lam­i­nated and kept in the car

The rear springs may set­tle a lit­tle, but I’m dig­ging the ‘door wedge’ rake the car has

BOOT: The stain­less trim pieces in the fully up­hol­stered boot are fac­tory door pieces that Gareth had to shorten, which re­ally tested his weld­ing and pol­ish­ing skills, as they’re only 0.3mm thick!

FRONT END: All clean and tidy un­der here too. No­tice how low Gareth has mounted the al­ter­na­tor, which sits par­tially be­low the chas­sis rail

REAR END: Gareth fab­ri­cated the mas­sive fuel tank that sits be­hind the disc bra­kee­quipped 9in

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.