Blown big-block HQ wagon: 10-day build

Jason Crockett’s worst nightmare came true on the way to Canberra

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson, Povi Pullinen

Jason Crockett’s Street Machine Summernats 34 experience started with a mad thrash. The Newcastle dad had initially planned to take his HQ GTS, joined by son Braydon in his VL (Young Gun, SM, May ’21), with a mate also bringing along this six-cylinder HQ wagon rescue.

“I bought the car from Adelaide two years ago as a six-cylinder three-speed, in original condition,” Jason said. “I’d entered it for my mate Greg and it was picked for the City Cruise.”

However, Greg ended up with a surgery booking on the Summernats weekend, forcing him to pull out. “So come Boxing Day, I decided to bring this car myself,” Jason said. “It was entered as a six, but I couldn’t bring a six-cylinder to Summernats!”

He and Braydon kicked off a crazy 10-day build, documented entirely on TikTok. The red motor was yanked in favour of a 454ci big-block Chev, originally destined for a hot-rodded bus. “It’s an old-school thing; it runs a 6/71 blower, twin 650 carbies and a mild cam,” Jason explained. A Turbo 400 and nine-inch diff were also slotted under the patina-clad wagon, all on super-short notice.

“We were really pushed to get it done,” Jason admitted, “and were booked in to get it scrutineered at 5:30pm on Wednesday. We finally got it together on Tuesday night and went for a test drive, but the front brakes were locking up, so we had to put in discs. That was a late night, and we finished up at about 4:30am.”

Three hours of sleep later, the Newcastle boys loaded up the trailer and set sail for Canberra. Convoying with Braydon, disaster struck for Jason just half an hour from the ’Nats.

“We’d checked the straps several times, but coming up the hill around Lake George, I was looking in the rear-view mirror and noticed the front of the car starting to lift,” Jason recounted. “I thought the trailer had actually come off the towball, but it turns out the front straps had broken.”


Big shoutout to @jarradundas and his fast ass legs otherwise someone could have died. If anyone has footage of this on their dash cam please share!!

♬ original sound – Braydon Crockett

As Jason slowed to move off the road, one final jolt broke the rear straps loose. “I got out, and next minute the car’s off the trailer and heading down the road,” he said. “My first thought was that it’s going to get momentum and run into someone down the hill.

“Luckily it was going toward the guardrail, so my first thought was, ‘At least it’ll hit that instead of another car.’ But then my second thought was, ‘It’s going to wreck the car!’”

Braydon’s mate Jarra was out in a flash, bolting after the errant Quey. He managed to open the driver’s door and jump in, but by then a collision was inevitable. The car sideswiped the Armco, ricocheting back onto the road as Jarra mashed the brakes.

Thankfully, the car was stopped without hitting anything else, but the damage was done. Every panel on the passenger side was creased or squashed, with a chunk bitten out of the front guard. “It was the good side of the car, too!” Jason laughed.

By the time the crew loaded the car back up and reached EPIC, the situation had sunk in. “I was feeling pretty sick in the guts thinking how bad it could’ve been,” Jason admitted.

“It’s been really good [at Summernats] though; we did the City Cruise, and Braydon got to do it as well.”

“We’ve got a heap of positive feedback from people who watched the build, too,” Braydon added.

Next on the list is a dyno session to put the 454 through its paces, followed by a much-needed panel clean-up.

Jason and the gang are a sure bet for Summernats 35, too – though hopefully with a smoother journey.