EX-MECHANIC Amy Hopkins built herself a weedburning ’74 HJ Kingswood that stands apart from the rest, all while recovering from brain surgery! In a bid to save the car from an LS fate, Amy stuck to her guns and turned out a sweet sleeper that packs an unusual and very rad Eaton-blown straight-six.
How’d you come by the Kinger, Amy?
I purchased it from a customer in Coburg six years ago for my then-husband. The HJ had a stock 202ci and only 44,000km on the clock, but when my ex wanted to put an LS in it, I repossessed the car to make it my own. It was good timing, too, as I’d just found out I needed brain surgery and the build was a great distraction for me.
Far out! How did you go building a car while dealing with brain surgery?
I found out in October 2017 that I needed the surgery, and had the operation in May 2018. I worked right up until the day before the surgery; I didn’t allow it to stop me. I couldn’t drive for eight weeks after, so I’d do short spurts on the HJ between resting. Being able to go in the shed and see my vision coming to life honestly kept me going throughout my recovery.
Why an Eaton-supercharged six?
I knew I wanted to build something different. I’d thought about a turbo with either a blow-through carby or EFI before I found the Barnett Performance Engineering EFI supercharger set-up online, and I just had to have it. My aim was to build it right the first time, with the look of a stock 202 red motor but the reliability of a modern EFI car.
And that 202ci is built, too!
Yes, it’s a virgin-bore black block running a crank girdle, Spool Imports H-beam rods, forged flat-top pistons, hand
ported 12-port head, Crow cam and Crow roller rockers, with a Barnett Performance manifold, Eaton M90 supercharger, and Emtron SL8 ECU. At the rears it made 202hp with 396lb-ft on fire-up day, but I haven’t done a power run yet. Currently it’s running 8psi, but I have a 14psi pulley to fit up. Behind, I’ve bolted up a built Trimatic with a Dominator 3000 stally, and a 10-bolt Salisbury LSD with 3:55s.
Are you happy with how it’s turned out?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but this was about me building something that I wanted to drive and enjoy. All up, the engine build took just shy of 12 months, with its first outing being Australia Day 2019.
Drag Challenge is on my bucket list. Unfortunately I missed out this year. I love driving the boots off the HJ. Before COVID hit, every weekend you’d find me and my mates at car shows or just cruising. But it’s frustrating to have my boyfriend and male mates quizzed about the car, because it’s automatically assumed that they own it. I recently went to a cars and coffee event and as I pulled up, I heard a bloke say, “Oh, here’s another V8 – how original.” So I popped the bonnet for people to realise it’s a little 202-cuber, which a female owns and built.
IT’S A FOR PEOPLE TO REALISE I POPPED THE BONNET AND BUILT WHICH A FEMALE OWNS LITTLE 202-CUBER,