Holden 355 stroker-powered 1977 HZ One-Tonner – Reader Ride

Up on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast, even the farm utes are V8s


This article on Bec Mossman’s Holden One-Tonner was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

Local hairdresser Bec Mossman loves her cars and certainly treasures the motivational forces a V8 under the bonnet delivers. Her pride and joy – and daily driver – is this immaculate Ultra Blue 1977 HZ One-Tonner.

How long have you had the Tonner?

Going on three years.

What have you done to it?

It was in pretty good nick when I got it – very neat and straight. After I hit a rock and holed the sump I replaced the 308 with a 355 stroker. Lionel Durre from Engine Improvements in Yeppoon has built some massive engines and I asked him to build the stroker; it’s a great engine! When I bought the Tonner it had unsightly marine carpet on the tray, which had to go! So while it was off the road I decided to put a polished timber tray on the back. I’ve done a few cosmetic things to the interior; there are now blinds in the rear window and new seatbelts. But really only little things.

Is there anything more you’d you like to do to it?

Not much. I love it as it is. Maybe a new diff, but that is all I want to do to it now.

Have you taken it to any shows? Weren’t you at Summernats?

No shows yet, as it has been off the road for a little time getting the stroker fitted. I did go down to Summernats 30 with my partner Stephen Crisp, who had entered his ’75 John Goss Special coupe. I really wanted to take the Tonner, but taking two cars all that way to Canberra is hard work. Steve lets me drive his car, so that made Summernats great fun.

Who decides on which car to take out?

We usually take the two cars. We have a two-year-old son, Gos, so the little fella goes in the coupe with Stephen and I drive the HZ.

So, what got you into cars?

My dad’s always had Holdens: Monaros, an HZ wagon, a WB ute and he also had an HZ One-Tonner. Mum told me they traded their WB ute for the 308 HZ wagon; they took me home from hospital in that car. It was the family car when I was growing up, and it was the same colour as my One-Tonner. At one stage Dad also had a yellow and black V8 Monaro; he has a photo of me as a real young ’un under the car, helping him with a spanner in my hand! So I started really young. I helped Steve rebuild the Goss Special. It started as a rusty shell. I really enjoyed helping him and he pushed me into getting a drive of my own.

How do you cope with the salty sea air up here?

That’s hard. The garage is well sealed and the cars don’t stay out in the air for too long, although I’m a hairdresser and I’ve had a salon for about eight years so you’ll find it parked outside the salon when I’m there. I often use the Tonner when travelling to weddings and special events at the local resorts.

Any plans to take it on a longer drive?

I’d love to take it to the Red CentreNATS at Alice Springs. Not this year, but hopefully soon.

Do you have your eye on another ride?

The Tonner is forever, but I’d like to get an HZ wagon like Dad had, and also a sedan – brings back memories of his cars. We’ll have to get the space first!