BLOWNK: Brendan Simpson’s HK Holden Premier

Brendan Simpson kicks his goal of owning a blown HK Prem streeter

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Old hands know that project cars are never truly finished, as we’re always tinkering on, improving or spicing-up our rides. For Ballarat’s Brendan Simpson this had culminated in a tidy, small-block-powered HG Premier, but the call of a belt-driven intake had never ceased.

First published in the May 2024 issue of Street Machine

“It didn’t make sense to cut up the HG, which drives so nicely and is so reliable, to fit a blower,” Brendan says. “I’d always wanted an HK Premier since I was a kid as I love the rear-end on them. When I was a young bloke, I was buying and selling cars for a bit of extra money, and I bought an HK Premier wagon really cheap off an old bloke.

“It looked like it had been painted with a brush, but I loved that beautiful old car, and I drove it as a daily for a while. Someone made a great offer on it – more than what I’d paid – so I sold it and thought I would need to get another one someday.”

Time has been unkind to most of our beloved metal, it having spent years on the road and serving time as old, cheap transport. Rust, crashes and general neglect have thinned the herd, so now there are fewer mint, untouched HK Premiers than gypsies with mortgages, but Brendan got lucky.

“I ended up finding this one local to me, on eBay, and it was already media-blasted and etch-primed,” he says. “The seller was going to do it up for his dad, but his dad’s health turned so they bought a running car, and this project came up for sale.”

Buying someone else’s pre-stripped project can be a huge risk, but Brendan again lucked out and got a good one. “The car had been dragged out of a paddock, but the body was really good; it had the original floors in it, original boot floor, and original beaver panel,” the life-long Holden fan explains. “There were some dents, and a quarter-panel had been filled. The panel beater had to work that a fair bit where there was a ripple, and the front doglegs and spare wheel-well all needed rust repairs.”

With new front guards and a replacement boot lid, the body was ready to be worked up; along with the deleted fuel filler and wheel arch moulds, the Prem scored split tubs that retain as much factory appearance as possible. “I wanted the boot to look factory, and I spent years looking in and under cars at shows to find out how people fit the wheels and tyres they have,” Brendan laughs. “The spot-welds were unpicked, around an inch was added to the middle of the wheel tub, and it was then sat on top of the chassis rail and welded flush with the rails.”

The extra real estate was required thanks to the blown small-block Chev up the front. Built by Chris Dalton at Dalton Automotive in Geelong, it’s a classic bit of street-machining hardware that favours reliable grunt over bulk horsepower. Swinging 350 cubes, the crank is a steel Scat piece, while the rods and pistons are forged and the cam is a hydraulic-roller for improved reliability and ease of maintenance over old flat-tappet designs. Up top are Edelbrock alloy heads and a manifold and polished 6/71 supercharger from The Blower Shop, with twin Holley 750cfm four-barrel carbs.

Spark is delivered by an MSD Pro Billet dizzy and 6AL digital box, while pump unleaded is fed from a custom alloy fuel cell mounted in the boot. Ditching the stock low-slung fuel tank means the twin three-inch exhaust has a simpler, direct shot straight out the back.

“I bought the engine as a turn-key set-up from South Australia from a guy going to a big-block, and it actually came out of an HK Kingswood,” Brendan says. “He’d got it from the bloke who built it, and I thought it worked out perfectly because the seller actually delivered it to me!

“It only had a single keyway on the crank, and when Chris pulled the sump off to have a proper look at it, we discovered it wasn’t quite what was advertised and wasn’t built to suit the blower set-up on it. It was a bit frustrating to work out, but it was still a good thing to buy.”

The combo has delivered 417rwhp on 10psi, with a manualised Paul Rogers TH350 and Dominator 3200rpm convertor behind it. Brendan found a BorgWarner diff from a VN SS, which he had shortened, fitted with billet axles, and packed with 3.55 gears for plenty of pep on the open road.

“It’s a bit basic and a bit old-school; there’s no fuel injection and it still has a Holley mechanical fuel pump on it,” Brendan says. “The torque makes it crazy! I wouldn’t say I drive it hard, but when I’ve given it a go it’s like a two-stroke dirtbike and you get out with your hands shaking.”

Street Machine readers are used to reading about cars with four-digit power figures and running single-digit ETs that would’ve won events in the Wild Bunch days, but that isn’t the point of Brendan’s HK.

“It wasn’t built to drag race – I built it to have fun in, go to the pub and cruise around in,” he laughs. “The wife, kids and I usually get it out on weekends, and we’ve driven it up to Hanging Rock, or down to Melbourne from Ballarat, and even down to Queenscliff. Friends told me blown cars aren’t reliable and they run hot, but we haven’t had a problem.” Two killer, reliable Premiers, ready to cruise? Brendan is definitely living the dream.


Paint:Customised Silver Mink
Brand:350ci Chevrolet small-block
Induction:TBS 6/71 and manifold
Carbs:Holley 750cfm double-pumper
Crank:Scat steel
Heads:Edelbrock E-Street
Camshaft:Crow hydraulic-roller
Fuel system:Holley mechanical pump
Cooling:PWR radiator, Spal thermo fan
Exhaust:Pacemaker 4-into-1 headers, 3in system
Ignition:MSD Pro Billet distributor, 6AL box
Gearbox:Paul Rogers manualised TH350
Converter:Dominator 3200rpm
Diff:BorgWarner M78, billet axles, 3.55 gears
Front:King Springs coils
Rear:Reset leaf springs
Brakes:HQ discs (f), HQ drums (r)
Master cylinder:GM
Rims:Weld V-Series; 17×4.5 (f), 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber:Mickey Thompson; 175/55R17 (f), 265/50R15 (r)

Massive thanks to the wifey and kids for their patience; my brothers and mates for helping along the build; Damien Forbes; Matt Petrovics at Pro Street Restos; Luke Quick’s Performance Auto Electrics; Josh at First Choice Automotive; my mate Jamie for endless advice on these old girls.