Pro Touring HK ute debuts at Rockynats

The covers come off Daryl O'Sullivan's epic Pro Touring HK Holden ute

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

TTHREE years back Street Machine published a story on Daryl O’Sullivan’s amazing smoothed and shaved HK when it was still in bare metal. How could we not? It already looked a masterpiece, and its unpainted panels gave it a striking rawness and beauty.

Photos: Ashleigh Wilson

You can check out the full build story here. Often with these bare-metal masterpiece stories, it seems a shame to paint the car, but not in this case. The covers came off at Rockynats on Friday night and the finished result is mind-blowing!

So, where have you been all these years? “I took it back to Mackay, it sat in a shed for a year, and then I eventually pulled it out for paint,” Daryl said. “It took a while to decide what we’d do, and I was happy to let everything tick along.”

Watch next: Rockynats day three

Aiming for an unveil at Rockynats put the skates on getting the paint completed, and it rolled out with its new House of Kolor Brandy Wine skin for the first time just a matter of days before hitting Rockhampton. “You always want work done straight away, but that’s not the way things happen,” Daryl said like a man familiar with lengthy builds. “It’s turned out so good I can’t complain how long it took.” 

The sheet metal work is off the charts. The front beaver panel is smoothed, the front bumper shaved and the tailgate welded shut. The HK ute’s standard short split rear bumpers have made way for a shaved and tucked in full-length bumper picked off a wagon version, while more parts bins have been raided to add HG Brougham headlights and top grille, plus HT Monaro guard and bonnet vents.

Watch next: Rockynats day two

The fab work’s been done by Chris Wells and team at BMV Engineering on the Sunshine Coast, with much magic worked on the hidden bits. They engineered narrow chassis rails that extend through to the Y-frame and then were welded to the body.

Sills extend through the bottom of the front guards; cowl vents have been filled and there’s a full sheet metal floor alongside custom wheel tubs. Raise the immaculate ute tray and you’ll see the perfectly packaged custom fuel tank beneath.

Pop the hood and the engine bay’s smoothed off and houses an LSX376 crate motor with Harrop Hurricane individual throttlebody intake manifold. “Since you last saw it we’ve put heads and a cam in to make it a bit more lively,” Daryl said. “It managed 591 at the wheels on the dyno.” That’s a welcome leap over the 550rwhp seen when we last saw the then naked HK.

Daryl’s a True Blue manual man, so cog swapping is done through a Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed. Diff’s a Strange 9-inhcer filled with 35-spline full-floater axles.

Slammed on AccuAir air suspension over 19×8.5-inch front and 20×12-inch rear Intro V-Rod rims, Daryl’s running 325/25s out back to take the punishment. Wilwood four-piston calipers help the anchor work over discs front and rear.

After the bare metal tease all those years ago, we couldn’t wait to see the fully clothed finished article. “We were looking at Mazda Soul Red and did a few spray outs,” Daryl said. “We then tried the Brandy Wine – one done over black and one over grey – and got it out in the sun. We liked it, did a whole panel with it and decided that was the one.”

The painter, Callum Conway, had a daytime job so could only work on the HK in spare moments on weekends and evenings. “He then hired his boss’s booth for a weekend and sprayed it. It’s such a good job,” Daryl said.

The living space was in the works too when we last looked, but now it’s a clean and classy black effort with billet dash and gauges to add some shiny drama. 

Daryl’s show plans include his local at Mackay, MotorEx and Street Machine Summernats, then it’s time to finally enjoy driving it once again. “It’ll be just a street car,” he said. “It was always supposed to be, but things got out of hand.”

And next? Could be a Monaro – more of a daily driver, Daryl said – something “with a few more doors in it and probably not as wild as this so I can just keep the HK in the shed for special occasions.” Not as wild? We’ll believe it when we see it.

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson