Matt McIntosh’s twin-turbo HQ Statesman

The twin-turbo stormer cleaned up at Saturday’s presentations

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Chris Thorogood

The unveil hall at Street Machine Summernats 35 was an absolute bonanza of mind-blowing metal, but Matt McIntosh’s twin-turbo small-block-powered HQ Statesman was unmissable, and not just thanks to its enormous rose gold Simmons!

Owen Webb and the judging team seemed to agree, bestowing the Stato with the Top Judged gong alongside Top Engineered, Top Bodywork, Top Undercarriage/Driveline, Top Engine Bay, and Top Pro Custom.

“We wanted a good, clean street car but as we were going, we turned it into an elite car,” Matt says of the build, which was completed almost entirely in-house at Matt’s Echuca Service Centre.

A look in the incredibly sharp engine bay reveals not an LS, but an Engine Master-built, Dart-blocked 403-cube small-block Chev hooked to a pair of Precision turbos. It’s good for 1000hp on the run-in tune and E85, and Matt’s confident there’s another 500 ponies laying in wait. The [Haltech] Nexus R5 was easy, and with all the sensors it’s controlling everything,” he explains.

Impressively, it all sits under a flat bonnet. “We’re amazed it all fits in and the bonnet shuts,” Matt enthuses. “That was a big thing for us.” There’s a remote-operated XA Falcon brake booster tucked under the dash to help the Wilwood stoppers do their thing.

The Land Rover-spec Carpathian Grey paint was laid down in the shop’s spray booth, which Matt explains won out over in-vogue Nardo Grey. It’s a pretty major contrast against the rose gold wheels and sill-exit exhaust outlets.

“A month out [from Summernats] we looked at the wheels and they were grey, and we thought it needed something else to make it pop and match the trim,” he says. “So that was really a make-or-break decision. We were blown away by how it made it.”

Body mods are extensive, but not all immediately obvious, with the sills extended by 30mm to house the pipes, widened door moulds, and a WB-style lower guard treatment. There are even handmade one-piece, clip-in moulds. “There’s heaps of metal and fab work,” Matt summarises, which includes an ultra-smooth undercarriage thanks to boot-mounted catch cans and transmission cooler routed through the custom full-length centre console.

“The interior trim was pretty much the same the whole time,” Matt says, which includes four Scat Procar seats retrimmed by Shane at The Trim Shed and VE Commodore inner handles mounted to custom door cards fabricated at Echuca Service Centre.

3D printing work also features heavily, helping to integrate modern bits like the door handles and Haltech dash and CAN button pad.

Matt says the reaction to the car in the Elite Pavilion has been unbelievable. “We wheeled the thing out of the trailer and wondered what sort of response we were going to get,’ he admits. “But it’s just been totally amazing.”

An appearance at MotorEx is next on the list for the Statesman, following a few minor tweaks. “Then we’re going to have a go at Grand Champion at Red CentreNATS; that’s where we’ll drive the car,” he says.

Matt extends thanks to his team for the epic final result. “90 per cent of this car has been built in our workshop. Shane from The Trim Shed has covered all the interior for us, and Steve from Boosted Fabrications has been a great help too.”