Crack open the Aug-Sep ’85 issue of Street Machine and you’ll be hit by a wave of Gen-X nostalgia so strong, you’ll swear you can smell the Impulse body spray. On the cover is Geoff Paton’s King Rat LX hatch – our first nine-second feature car. Inside is the engine-build story for our HQFORU giveaway car, a Plankkman comic strip, and even a couple of scantily clad models.
Included in that mix is Darryl Smith’s HG Kingswood, which he called DS-497, a Malachite Green stunner that boasted 80s street machine cred up the wazoo. We’re talking wide 12-slot rims and fat BF Goodrich rubber tucked behind pumped guards, just for starters. There was a shaker scoop through the bonnet, a Premier front end and leather trim for a touch of a class. She was tough too, powered by a grumpy, high-comp small-block, backed by a Muncie four-speed. Tough enough for 9.50s over the old Oran Park short track, in fact.
Dubbed the Green Hulk, the HG scored plenty of trophies during its show career and a heap of ink, too. Besides the SM yarn, it also got a spread in Street Heat, more than a few newspaper articles and was the main feature of an exposé on the street machine scene in the April 1987 issue of Penthouse.
Darryl was the president of the HK-HT-HG Street & Custom Car Club, and a highly active one at that, staging a series of successful Holden vs Ford-themed shows in Sydney’s west.
While the HG has been in hibernation for almost 20 years, it’s once again prowling the streets of Sydney. We caught up with Darryl’s son Trent to find out more.
Your dad has passed, Trent?
Yeah, we lost Dad in 2020. Even though he was confined to a wheelchair and had been unwell for a long time, his passing really hit us hard.
He was dearly loved by us, our mum Lynette, my sister Sharlene and my brother Daniel, as well as by my brother-in-law and all the nieces and nephews. We all miss him dearly.
What prompted you to get the HG back on the road?
Some time ago, I convinced Dad to clean out the garage and get the car going again. We’d been working on it together for quite some time.
Our goal was to get it ready for the 2020 HK HT HG Nationals in Bathurst, but he passed before we got there.
That must have been heartbreaking.
Definitely. That’s why a group of us, including my brother, brother-in-law, nephews and a few family friends, decided we’d get it going for the funeral. We thrashed for 60 hours straight, firing up the new engine to bed-in the cam at 3am.
Rather than being pissed off, the neighbours knew what we were trying to do and came over to cheer us on.
You got it to the funeral?
Unfortunately, no. The next day, we kicked in the guts, and it coughed, stalled and wouldn’t restart. Later we found the module in the dizzy had shat itself.
We put it down to that it was raining that morning and Dad didn’t want us to drive it.
Why did your dad leave it parked for 20 years?
He competed at a lot of shows: he was organising the Holden vs Ford shows; he did shopping centre openings and the like. He also raced it at Oran Park for many years and at Castlereagh a few times.
When the club folded in the mid-90s, Dad seemed to lose interest in the car and took up golf. I tried for many years to get him interested in getting it going. Then one day something changed. Dad fell in love with it again; working on it lit a spark in him.
What’s been changed on the car?
Robbie from Edmargs Engine Reconditioning built a new 350 with 11:1 comp and a forged bottom end. We bought a new block and crank but reused the fuelie heads and Victor Jr intake that Dad ported 40 years ago.
A host of braided hoses and other lines were replaced with new stuff. A lot of things like the brakes and the Muncie had to be rebuilt, including a new Super Muncie case and a Dellow bellhousing.
The car looks identical to its 1985 SM feature.
Dad was a stubborn bugger. He insisted on doing everything and having everything the same as when he built the car in the early 80s.
I also wanted to keep it just as it was, like a time capsule.
Did you have to arm wrestle your brother and sister for the car?
While I’m the one that takes it out and looks after it, technically it’s not mine. It belongs to the family, which is the way we want it. If I’m heading out, we do a ring-around, including all the nephews, cousins and friends, to see who wants to head out and catch up. It’s a real social outing every time it goes for a drive.
We keep Dad’s club jacket in the rear window, which helps us keep him in our hearts and minds. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to do that.
1971 Holden HG Kingswood
Engine: 350ci small-block Chev
Gearbox: Muncie fine-spline
Diff: 31-spline HO Ford 9in, 4.1:1 Zoom gears
Brakes: HQ discs (f), Ford discs (r)
Wheels: 12-slotters (f & r)
Rubber: BF Goodrich; 225/60 (f), 295/50 (r)