WE MIGHT take the mickey out of them at every opportunity, but you have to admit the Kiwis’ roadworthy laws blow away anything we have this side of the ditch. Proof positive is Warren Black’s street-driven blown big-block HQ LS Monaro, from Oamaru on NZ’s South Island.
This article was first published in the June 2015 issue of Street Machine
“We’ve had it for a few years now,” Warren says. “I got the car off my mate Brendon Shearing so he could get a more complete LS Monaro. I had been bugging him for it for some time as it was just sitting in the back of his shed.
“I had plans to make the car just a good streeter, but got a bit carried away. I was lucky as Brendon had just tubbed his LS Monaro before me so the back-end was easy to sort. So, after rounding up all the parts from Australia and the US and making them all fit, we were away. Roger from Balclutha Automotive Services helped run the project as he is the man with the knowledge and skill!”
The previous owners had worked on the panels and primed it up ready to paint. After Warren looked at it, however, he sent it back to his local sandblaster. They then pulled the dodgy patches out and started on the body all over again.
Balclutha Automotive Services handled much of the heavy fab work, including the massive tubs, custom four-link rear, floor mods, six-point rollcage and tube-frame front-end. They fitted McDonalds Brothers front tubular control arms, made a new transmission tunnel, added tunnels to the floor for the custom exhaust, got the Black Racks steering aligned and made the mounts for the A1 adjustable coil-over struts at both ends.
Other fabrication included mounting the engine on a heavy-duty plate, as well as adding the huge fuel cell in the boot, along with the mounts for the Aeromotive fuel pump and battery that all share boot space.
Quintin Smith from South Otago Customs was the man with the huge job of not only doing all the mods Warren wanted, but also straightening the HQ shell to perfection. It had to be on-point because Warren has a thing for black cars and had picked Super Deep Black by Spies Hecker for the coupe. Quintin was also going to be on the gun.
Careful height positioning of the engine in the chassis allows Warren to have the car super-slammed, but still use it on the road. To ensure it is reliable, the big-inch motor package is fired by an MSD ignition and is kept cool by an Aussie Desert Cooler Burnout King radiator
The South Otago Customs boys were flat-out doing body mods on the HQ to tidy up the familiar shape. They flattened the firewall, removed rain gutter guards, flat-sheeted under the bonnet, closed up the cowl vent and then got shaving. The stock wiper motor, locks and rear indicators were all smoothed over, while GTS guard flutes were added as well as ’68 Camaro grille vents from Billet Specialties.
If the devil’s in the detail then Warren’s engine bay is almost satanic. The crossmember has been smoothed and has paint that’s better than on many new cars’ bodies. Aussie company McDonald Brothers supplied the tube front arms, while the custom extractors have been HPC-coated
“I really like the shape of the HQs and especially the coupes. The only thing I was not a big fan of was the dash as they have square lines, and I have never really seen a nice adaption of aftermarket gauges to a factory dash, so it had to go,” Warren says.
To remedy this, Quintin also sheeted out this insane all-metal interior. The floors, doorcards, kick panels, speaker mounts, dash and console are all steel, with the hard textures offset by cloth M&H race seats, Pioneer stereo and silver B&M shifter and Auto Meter gauges.
The Auto Meters keep tabs on that huge blown mountain sitting up front, built by Big Al’s Toybox in the USA and imported ready to go straight in the HQ’s snout.
Behind the 18-inch front billets are a set of huge six-piston Wilwood disc brakes, squeezed by a matching Wilwood master cylinder. Out the back, behind the 20s, is more Wilwood hardware with another pair of discs and four-piston calipers
“It’s a 555-cube Chev putting out about 1100hp,” Warren says. “We’re doing high-nines at the moment and hoping to get better. It’s registered and has a warrant of fitness because I spent plenty of time making sure we could drive it at this height and with the supercharger front-mounting the engine.”
An Innovate LM-2 keeps an eye on proceedings. The wideband oxygen sensor unit will alert Warren if the air-to-fuel ratio runs too lean or rich; neither state is good. As they say – knowledge is power
The 555 Bowtie packs forged slugs and an Eagle steel crank, topped by 360cc CNC-ported alloy heads and a BDS 8/71 supercharger with twin Holley 950 boost-reference carbs. The Monaro has an aggressive lope thanks to the Comp Cams roller cam, while the heads copped Manley stainless-steel valves, and Moroso was called on to safeguard the oiling with one of its billet oil pumps and an over-size sump.
Inside, Warren’s ride is all Pro Street function, with minimal concessions. The full-steel cabin has a six-point rollcage from Balclutha Automotive, a Pioneer stereo, M&H fixed-back seats, and Billet Specialties tiller and handles
It’s a serious package, backed by an equally stout drivetrain. A 3500 stall converter passes the near-900lb-ft into a reverse-pattern, transbraked and manualised Turbo 400 auto, with a Winters full-floating nine-inch diff out the back, chock-full of Strange 40-spline axles and a full-spool centre.
“It is road-legal and I do drive it on the road. Most of the cops give me a wave and carry on, as it’s just beyond them. Where do they start? Everything is certified so it’s all legal. But it is pretty good at going sideways at 110km/h.
“Even though I have run a 9.9 it is heavy, which goes with the number plate: 1FATHQ. It weighs 1850kg with all the steel work, so to fix that I want more power, and am looking at building a new engine now.”
We’d say more power to Warren, but with 1100hp already under his belt, we don’t reckon he needs any more!
1972 HOLDEN HQ MONARO LS
Type: Chevrolet big-block
Crank: Eagle steel
Heads: 360cc alloy
Cam: Comp Cams roller
Carburettor: Twin Holley 950 four-barrel
Induction: 8/71 blower
Box: Turbo 400
Converter: 3500 stall
Diff: Winters full-floating nine-inch, 40-spline axles, full-spool 4.11 gears
Brakes: Wilwood six-pot (f), Wilwood four-pot (r)
Rims: Billet Specialties; 18×7 (f), 20×15 (r)
Rubber: Michelin 225/45 (f), 31×18.5×15 (r)
Roger, Tania Binnema and Andrew from Balclutha Automotive Services for getting it on the road; Quintin and the team at South Otago Customs for fabrication, panel and paint; Chuck Mann from Rotorua V8 Performance; Al Lombardo from Big Al’s Toybox; Balclutha Auto Electrics; Dave; Brendon Shearing for his advice; Mick, Darren and Roger for their help at the drags