1JZ-Powered HT Holden ute sleeper

There should be around 260-280hp at the tyres, so Shane reckons a low 13 should be on the cards for his 1JZ-powered HT Holden ute sleeper.

Photographers: Brad Miskiewicz

For a relatively young man of 36 years, Shane Willmott sure has crammed a lot of cool cars into his life, starting off with an HR Holden powered by a 186 stroked out to 221 cubes and boosted with a turbocharger off a Mazda!

There’s a piece of that HR on his 1JZ-powered HT Holden ute – the FOOLSGOLD plates: “The HR had a chamois-coloured interior and metallic gold paint,” he says. “It was the original colour but I took out the fine metallic and put a coarse one in when I repainted it. I never got rid of the plate and put it on the ute when I was driving it around as a bunky.”

Other cars that have come and gone through the Willmott shed include a VG and a VS Commodore ute, an HQ one-tonner, and an HT Monaro. There’s also an HZ Sandman panel van that Shane has just finished restoring to factory stock, so he’s a big fan of classic Aussie V8s as well, but loves tinkering with turbo stuff.

Volkswagen salesman Ben Horsfall has a very different turbo six-cylinder to take out on the weekends. 

Shane does practically everything himself. With a background in motor body building, the panel work is pretty easy work for him, but he’s also become pretty handy with a spray gun and has done full resprays on all of his cars except the HR.

Shane originally got this HT ute for $2300 – full grandpa spec, sun visor and all the problems that go along with owning an old car that hasn’t been maintained. “It kind of burnt me in a way,” he says. “The harmonic balancer fell off when I was driving home from TAFE one day. I drove it to Margaret River for the weekend and then on the Monday when I drove it to work I pulled out of the driveway and the diff just disintegrated on me. It frightened the shit out of me; I thought someone had thrown a brick at the car!”

A pair of killer home-built Holden commercials at the WA Hot Rod and Street Machine Spectacular

At one point, Shane even used the ute to cart sand and rubble while he renovated his house, although it was far from a dunger. “I lowered it about 100mm because it was like an Overlander, gave it a bit of a buff, painted the wheels black and polished the hubcaps – it wasn’t too bad.”

Shane has owned the ute for over 10 years, fixing up bits and pieces here and there, but it was about eight months out from Motorvation 30 that he decided to go hammer and tongs on the ute, stripping it right down to a bare shell for a full rotisserie rebuild.

Barra the rest of the world by all means, but a Monaro?

A lot of Shane’s mates gave him grief about going with a late-model Japanese turbo engine, but there was some pretty sound reasoning behind it. “It’s quick and it’s cheap horsepower and you wouldn’t know it’s in there,” he says. “When I was playing around with the 186 [in the HR] I had a blow-through set-up with a carby and found I was working on it more than I was driving it. The idea was to get something that was already meant to be.”

At this point the engine has standard internals, but Shane has upped the boost to 11psi and may go up to 14psi, which is about as much as the stock turbos can withstand. There’s also a front-mount intercooler, dump pipes off the turbos and a three-inch exhaust system. Even with the relatively large exhaust, the car is pretty quiet out the back and doesn’t draw too much attention to itself.

Shane also kept the Toyota gearbox, which is a four-speed overdrive unit, and it comes in very handy considering the 4.11 gears that Shane has installed in the nine-inch. While the ute only runs stock wheels and hubcaps with skinny 205 tyres at the moment, Shane did mini-tub the rear by adding 50mm to the stock wheel tubs – after panel-beating them to perfection first. The rear tray is complete with a couple of sheets of ply, heavily varnished and then routed to accept some polished stainless strips. It’s pretty tidy, but still usable as a ute, although I doubt Shane will be carting too many loads of sand around anymore!

While Shane hasn’t managed to get it down the track yet – he’s been too busy getting his Sandman finished – there should be around 260-280hp at the tyres, so he reckons a low 13 should be on the cards, with plenty more up his sleeve once he starts playing around with the boost and tune-up. It might not be super-quick compared to some of the cars out there, but remember this is just a little 2.5-litre motor that isn’t too far from bog-stock. Getting an old red motor to run those times would require one cranky bit of gear, for sure.


Paint: Silver Mink

Type: Toyota 1JZ-GTE
Inlet: Stock
Turbos: Twin CT12A turbos
Head: Stock
Exhaust: 3in with turbo dump pipes
Ignition: Stock

Gearbox: Toyota Supra four-speed overdrive auto
Diff: 9in, 4.11 gears

Steering: Stock
Brakes: Discs (f), drums (r)

Rims: 14×6 steelies (f & r), Monaro caps
Rubber: Sunfull 205/70/14 with redlines (f & r)

My dad Ron Willmott for all his help; Louise Roberts for her patience and letting me spend so much time in the shed; Joey Crane, Bernie McKenna, Colin Roose and Rodney King for those times I needed to ‘phone a friend’ at seven o’clock at night; MLB Paint Supplies for being a great help.