HD-HR Holdens seem to be having a moment. We’ve featured a stack of them in the past couple of years, and now we’ve had two stark-white HR utes within a couple of months. But while Craig McKenzie’s cover car from this past July was an unabashed trophy hunter, the HR you see here is all about smashing tyres. It belongs to West Australian Reece Regan, and we suspect the ADHD number plates might just explain something about his attitude to building cars.
First published in the September 2023 issue of Street Machine
In January 2020, Reece dragged a candy gold blown VK Commodore across the Nullarbor to skid at Summernats 33. He then sold the VK and built the HR – which was then painted lime green – in time for Motorvation 35 in 2021. Then, after a year of burnout competition, Reece got bored waiting for some engine parts to arrive and did a complete colour change from green to white. He unveiled the car’s new guise at Motorvation 37 earlier this year, where it won People’s Choice. Phew!
Boredom wasn’t the only reason for the colour change. Frankly, Reece was sick of people confusing it with another legendary West Aussie ute, Matt Whiteside’s HAYCHAR.
The amount of work that Reece has been able to knock out in such a relatively short period of time is impressive. The original build of the car took less than 12 months, and there was a heck of a lot that needed to be done to revive what was a very rusty shell. “The car was too far gone on the street, so I welded the body to a chassis bench and cut absolutely everything out, just leaving the roof, dash and outer quarter panels,” Reece explains. “Me, my mates and my old man did all of the fab work and we had Brodie Mitchell from Advanced Race Fabrication help with the things I couldn’t do, like the diff housing and finishing welding the rollcage.”
The ute now sits on a 75x50mm tube chassis with a six-point ’cage built to ANDRA spec. The front end is from Castlemaine Rod Shop and features coil-overs, rack-and-pinion steering and a big set of Wilwood disc brakes. Out the back is a four-link with more coil-overs, and the chassis has been set up so that the five-inch exhaust system is tucked up out of the way and has room to run all the way out to the back of the car.
Practically everything except the roof and rear quarters was cut out of the car, which now sits on a custom 75x50mm chassis. The floor was raised for plenty of clearance. Not surprisingly, everything got smothered in Alpine White
You’ll notice the pipes protrude significantly from under the ute’s tail, which is to help save the paintwork from fire and brimstone. Even though Reece is a spray painter by trade, nobody wants to have to repaint the back of their car after every skid!
The car originally ran a built cast-iron 6.0-litre, but it’s now rocking a fresh combo that’s a step up in power but a step down in capacity. Screwed together by SCM Race Engines, it’s based on a Dart LS Next block and measures up at 322 cubes (5.3 litres) with a hefty 4.135in bore and tiny 3in stroke. The result is an engine that can rev its box off and make well over 1000hp at the tyres. “Most people don’t do this with an LS; they’ll just use a 4.8- or 5.3-litre instead,” says Reece.
The rear wheelarches were extended, with the lower section fabricated out of 2mm-thick steel for a bit of extra resilience when the tyres let go. The Billet Specialties Win Lite rims measure 15×12 on the rear and 18×5 up front, and wear 325/50 and 28×6.00 rubber respectively. The trailing edges of the front wheelarches were straightened up to ensure plenty of clearance for the 18in fronts, which were designed to clear the brakes on late-model drag-pack Camaros. The cross-drilled 320mm Wilwood front brakes are all the car needs – for now
What really grabs your attention with this car is that wild Schumacher Top Fuel Racing induction set-up, which has quite the story attached to it. “I had seen them when the Top Fuellers came over here and always wanted one,” Reece says. “I’d heard all the stories that there’s no chance of getting one. I even contacted a mob in the States and they said I couldn’t have one. Then I was browsing an online sale, and I zoomed in on a picture and it was in the back corner, sitting on a blower.”
As it turned out, the owner wasn’t really interested in selling the hat because it was destroyed, but Reece wasn’t deterred. “I said, ‘I don’t care, just put a price on it, mate.’ He ended up selling it to me and I repaired it and put it on the car.” Sounds pretty straightforward when you say it fast enough.
The engine bay is super-tidy, and, as you would expect from a spray painter, Reece hasn’t left much shiny stuff in there, with the fuel tank (right), dry sump tank (left) and radiator all getting the Alpine White treatment. The radiator support panel has been notched to move the radiator forward for more room
The massive 14/71 Littlefield blower itself has a racing pedigree, too, having once done duty on a Nitro Funny Car. Of course, all that stuff is no good if you can’t get it jammed into the cylinder, so a nice set of Brodix BR7 CNC heads work in conjunction with a solid-roller cam with 800thou lift. Callies crank and rods topped with JE custom billet pistons will ensure this thing screams its way to 9500rpm with no problem at all.
The interior has been nicely finished, with bright orange trim covering the door panels and Kirkey race seats. A Haltech dash keeps an eye on things and logs data, but there’s no elec-trickery running this engine, just a mechanical fuel pump and a big ol’ magneto.
The interior is pretty sparse but quite striking with the contrast of the orange trim against the black carpet and white paint. The six-point rollcage has been built to meet ANDRA specs, as Reece plans to race the car, too
The ute has been a big hit on the west coast, partially because it’s a beautifully presented car, but also because of Reece’s aggressive driving style. The rest of the country will get a chance to check it out at Summernats next year. It’s pretty hard to miss, that’s for sure!
1966 HR HOLDEN UTE
|Paint:||Baslac Alpine White|
|Type:||Dart LS Next 322ci|
|Injector:||Schumacher Top Fuel|
|Heads:||Brodix BR7 CNC|
|Cam:||Solid-roller, .800in lift|
|Pistons:||JE custom billet|
|Exhaust:||2in primary headers, twin 5in exhaust|
|Ignition:||MSD Pro Mag|
|’Box:||AllFast Powerglide, transbrake|
|Converter:||Dominator 3000rpm stall|
|Diff:||9in, 35-spline axles, 3.0:1 gears|
|Front:||CRS IFS, Viking coil-overs with QA1 springs|
|Rear:||Four-link, Viking coil-overs with QA1 springs|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 320mm discs (front only)|
|Rims:||Billet Specialties Win Lite; 18×5 (f), 15×12 (r)|
|Rubber:||Mickey Thompson 28×6.00R18 (f), Outlaw Drag 325/50R15 (r)|
Anna and Andrew at AG Towing; Scotty at Clearview Windscreens; Simon ‘Gonzo’ Travaglini at AllFast Torque Converters; Matt at Exclusive Whitewalling; Tim at Tim’s Motor Trimming; Sandro at SCM Race Engines; Brodie at Advanced Race Fabrication; Shannon and Moth at Tune Corp; Andy at Street Neat Auto Electrics; Graeme at Streetline Automotive; Nick at CMP; my parents and mates that helped out; and especially the staff at Dan Murphy’s Kelmscott.