Home-built 1970 Holden HT Kingswood

Jason Pellett's clean HT Kingswood proves that less can be way more when it comes to building a cool cruiser

Photographers: Ben Hosking

BUILDING a classic car, whether modified or stock, takes a huge commitment of time and money, and Jason Pellett knows this all too well after building his super-smooth HT Kingswood. An eight-year odyssey, Jason did the whole lot, start to finish, in his suburban double garage after buying the HT already blown apart.

This article was first published in the September 2019 issue of Street Machine

Showwheels Streeters measuring 20×8.5 up front and 20×10 out back match the blacked-out trim and bumpers, and sit perfectly in the wheelarches thanks to 3in-lower coil springs from Lovells up front and 4in-lower reset leaves in the rear, with Gabriel shocks controlling boings

“My wife Ashley and I bought the HT from Albion Park eight years ago,” says Jason. “It was just a six-pot, column-auto car that had been sandblasted and completely pulled apart before it was going to be done up. But then they realised how much it would cost to do up, so they offloaded it to me.

“It took three trips to get all the parts home! The HT was originally going to be Ashley’s project car, until we decided to add twin boys to our family and the Kingswood sat around for two years after they were born.”

A panel beater by trade, Jason had the shell pin-straight and clean, before smoothing out a bunch of OE body features like the spare wheel well, antenna and body moulds. He also tubbed the rear wheel wells to the rails, smoothed the engine bay, firewall and chassis rails, blended the cowl panel into the firewall, and made a smooth radiator support panel.

Read next: LS1-powered Holden HT Kingswood sleeper

“There are a lot of modifications that people will never see unless they know these cars and they’re having a close look,” Jason says. “I even welded up the holes in the bonnet frame and smoothed them out. Then, after I installed the fibreglass reverse-cowl scoop, I didn’t like seeing the fibreglass from underneath, so I covered all that, too.”

The 308 is a perfect cammy cruiser, topped by a 650 four-barrel Holley carb, with a fat copper radiator and twin thermo fans keeping the red 5.0L cool. A twin 3in exhaust blasts dulcet tones out the back, while an MSD ignition keeps sparks in the right places

Once he was happy with the tinwork, Jason got a custom-mixed batch of bright white DeBeer 2K paint and laid down the ice cream-fresh paint. “I painted the car at home,” he says. “With Ashley and the boys behind me, we finished it in the backyard. The first time the HT left the shed it was 100 per cent complete and it never left our backyard in eight years.”

Resurrection Trim re-covered the factory bench seats and door cards in fresh black vinyl trim, while Jason added hot rod gauges to the custom sheet-metal dash he made. The bespoke dash fascia works in with the custom-made metal glovebox and console he whipped up at the same time, while a billet tiller and column shifter keep a classic finish.

Powering the more-door is a warmed-over red 308 iron lion that Jason had lying around.

Jason took the interior to Resurrection Trim to have the stock bench seats and door trims re-covered in simple black vinyl, with retracting seatbelts and a pumping Sony stereo. The boot was also covered in lush black carpet for a clean, practical finish

“I had the 308 from a previous ute I had, so I got my father-in-law Todd Ducker to rebuild it with some flat-top pistons and a lumpy Crow 286/290 cam,” Jason says. “I wanted it driveable, as my wife drives it and we normally have baby seats in the back. It probably cost me a bit more going with the Holden engine than putting an LS in it, but it is simple and gives me the right exhaust note.”

Behind the five-litre is a 2200rpm converter and three-speed Trimatic auto still operated off the column, while power runs down a custom tailshaft to a disc-braked Dana live-axle diff from a Volvo.

Smoothing the dash off left the issue of how to operate the car’s many functions, like wipers. “The chrome button is the horn, while the other buttons run things like the electric thermo fans,” Jason says. “It removes all the switches from the dash, and I even rejigged the headlight switch myself”

“The Volvo diff is 170mm shorter than a stock Kingswood diff, but they have the right stud pattern plus 28-spline axles and disc brakes, so they’re a tough unit,” Jason says.

“The HT took many late nights and every bit of free time with the boys, and that got me thinking about my late brother Michael. I decided to do the Kingswood as a tribute to him, as he never had a chance to build a car before he passed away at the age of 16.”

“Kye (left) really loves the car,” says Jason. Both Kye and Kayde (middle) were out in the garage helping Dad build his HT, and are back on the tools with Jason’s new HR project

Being able to build a car from start to finish at home, with the help of your family, is something many street machiners wish for, and Jason isn’t content with only having one sweet ride at his disposal. He’s underway with a tubbed HR Holden, enjoying help from his lads Kye and Kayde. It’s great to know the next generation of street machiners have good role models like Jason!


Paint: Custom two-pack DeBeer

Brand: Holden 308
Induction: 650 Holley
Heads: Ported Holden
Camshaft: Crow 286/290
Conrods: Stock
Pistons: Flat-top
Crank: Stock
Oil pump: Stock, high-volume sump
Cooling: Copper radiator, twin thermo fans
Exhaust: 3in twin-system
Ignition: MSD

Gearbox: Trimatic three-speed auto
Converter: 2200rpm
Diff: Dana Volvo live-axle, 4.11:1 gears

Front: Lovells 3in lowering springs, Gabriel shocks
Rear: 4in reset leaves, Gabriel shocks
Brakes: Disc brakes (f & r)
Master cylinder: Commodore

Rims: Showwheels Streeter; 20×8.5 (f), 20×10 (r)
Rubber: 225/35 (f), 275/30 (r)

Ashley, Kye and Kayde; Todd Ducker for helping when needed and building the motor; Mark Sullivan from PROcoat; Brad and Jase from Best Price; Harley Ducker for helping when I needed to lift things; Resurrection Trim