468-cube big-block 1970 Holden HG Premier

David Desreaux needed something to cruise in while his other car was in the build, so he knocked this HG Premier right out of the park

Photographers: Nathan Jacobs

This article on David’s HG Premier was originally published in the August 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

BUILDING an elite-level car can be a painful process. It often takes years and costs a small fortune. But for David Desreaux from Canberra, the most painful part was having nothing cool to drive while his prize Holden HG GTS Monaro was in pieces.

The Super Platinum silver paintwork turned out better than David expected. He went for a solid white roof rather than the typical pearl white many go for. Refurbished chrome work and GTS flutes in the front guards finish things off nicely

“About three years ago I stripped my Monaro and sent it to Paul Sant at ProFlo Performance in Sydney,” David says. “Obviously to build an unveil-level car is very expensive, which is why it’s ongoing. I started to get upset that I didn’t have anything to drive in the meantime, and I’ve always wanted an HG Premier.”

David got wind of an HG Prem for sale that had been kept in a container for the previous 20 years, but by the time he chased up the owner, the car had already gone to a more nimble-footed buyer. Months later, he was flicking through Facebook and saw the exact same HG advertised for sale.

“I called the guy and went and bought it,” says David. “The guy who’d bought it was Marc Leake from Theuma & Leake Racing.”

David started stripping the Premier as soon as he got it into his shed.

“In the beginning I just wanted it to be a nice pub cruiser,” he says. “My mate had a rotisserie and suggested we ‘make it sweet’, and it kind of snowballed from there.”

David was never in doubt about the wheels. Convo Pro 15x4s and 15x9s on the front and rear, respectively, provide the classic look he was after. He also fitted a set of Wilwood brakes front and rear to pull the big girl up

The car had been resprayed 20 years ago and was still looking good, but the paintwork got scratched when David and a mate were working on it, so it was redone like everything else.

“The car was coming up too clean not to do things properly,” he says. “I didn’t leave any part of the bodywork untouched. I either bought new bits or had parts rebuilt.”

David scored the Dougan’s Racing Engines big-block from a guy who had run it in an HQ. He tells us he changed a few things in the top end, but otherwise it’s basically as it came. Weighing in at 468 cubes, or 7.6L in other money, it’s certainly not a bad tool for waking up the neighbourhood

Next port of call for the Prem was Marko Body Repairs in Mitchell, where the paint was stripped and the body smoothed.

“I wanted to keep it silver with a white roof,” David says. “The guys picked a Honda colour called Super Platinum, and we also decided on doing the roof solid white. The guys did a top job. I couldn’t be happier with the way the panel and paint turned out. Big shout-out to Matthew Nelson who laid down the paint!”

The car spent the best part of a year at Marko and returned home towards the end of 2017. The problem was David was keen to have it finished for Summernats 2018.

“The paint was finished seven weeks before Summernats, so it was up to me to get everything else finished,” he says. “It’s a helluva task when you have three kids and run your own business.”

The interior was fully redone by Winner Products in South Australia, who David found through advice he got on various HG-related Facebook groups.

“The trim had to be the factory colour and have all the original features that came in the Premier,” he says. “Other than the black carpet on the floor and on the door trims, the guys made the trim to how it would have been in 1970. I can’t fault the job they did.”

Under the reverse-cowl scoop is a bad-arse motor that befits the car’s exterior toughness – a 468ci big-block Chev. Built by Dougan’s Racing Engines in California, it was imported by a local guy who ran in an HQ before David struck him a deal.

“I’ve had a few things in the top-end changed, but that’s about it,” David says of the mega-donk. “It made a very healthy 589hp at 5500rpm on an engine dyno. It’s got so much torque; more than enough for a pub cruiser.”

The big-block is hooked up to an Al’s Race Glides reverse-pattern Turbo 400 transmission with TCE 4200rpm stall converter. The diff is a Ford nine-inch with Truetrac centre, 31-spline axles and 4.11s.

The original trim has been restored to its former glory. The seat and door trims were redone, as was the roof-lining and carpet, while the factory steering wheel was retained. The B&M shifter and Auto Meter gauges are virtually the only telltale signs that the Prem is packing serious heat beneath

All up it took just 13 months for David and his cohorts to take the car from a clapped-out shipping-container find to the stunning Street Machine feature car you see here. Somehow David managed to meet his deadline and get the car to Summernats 31, but only just.

“I had help from mates with the brakes, windows, interior and wiring; the rest was up to me,” he says. “It wasn’t easy, but on 2 January, about 30 minutes before Summernats scrutineering started, I had the car finished.”

David has plans to take the Prem to the dragstrip soon and see what kind of numbers it can generate. And then, of course, he’s still got the HG GTS Monaro project to finish off.

“The Monaro will be my unveil build,” he says. “I’ve owned the car for 19 years. It’s almost ready for paint. There’s a lot of custom tube and sheet-metal work. For now, the Premier is the perfect substitute.”


The main reason David bought the HG Prem is because he wanted ‘a pub cruiser’ while the HG GTS Monaro that he’s owned for close to 20 years is being turned into a show car by the wizards at ProFlo Performance.

“I took the HG GTS Monaro to Summernats for years and years without so much as a picture in a magazine,” David says. “So I said to a mate: ‘Let’s build it so everybody takes notice.’ I’ve got quite a lot of people who are big in the car-building scene keeping track of how things are going, so I’m definitely excited to get it finished.”

David is tight-lipped about what the build entails, though he did reveal that it’ll run a blown small-block and will feature lots of sheet-metal and pipe work (and possibly candy paint, but you didn’t hear that from us).


Paint: Honda Super Platinum

Type: 468ci big-block Chev
Induction: Weiand Team G single-plane
Heads: 990, cast
Camshaft: Lunati solid-roller, Lunati lifters
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: JE forged
Crank: Scat, steel
Oil pump: Melling HV
Fuel system: Aeromotive
Cooling: PWR
Exhaust: 2in mandrel-bent primaries, dual 3in at the diff
Ignition: MSD Pro-Billet, MSD 6AL

Gearbox: Turbo 400, reverse-pattern
Converter: TCE, 4200rpm
Diff: Ford 9in, Truetrac, 31-spline axles, 4.11:1 ratio

Springs: Pedders (f), King Springs (r)
Shocks: Pedders 90/10 (f), Pedders (r)
Brakes: Wilwood discs, four-piston calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood

Rims: Convo Pro; 15×4 (f), 15×9 (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson; 15×4 (f), 15×9 (r)