Deborah Peters’s Holden HR panel van

Deborah Peters from Wanneroo, Western Australia, has been a revhead since she was 16 years old

Photographers: Jordan Leist

Since she was 16 years old, Deborah Peters has been heavily involved in all sorts of four-wheeled activities, from cruising to drags and much more – all thanks to her then-boyfriend and now-hubby, Ralph. These days, Deborah is undoubtedly a revhead in her own right, with a particular passion for her slick 1967 HR panel van.

First published in the October 2022 issue of Street Machine

It seems you’ve been around cool cars most of your life?

My first car was an HQ Kingswood, and Ralph has had me out in the shed with my head under the bonnets and helping out ever since. I’ve also owned HK, HG and HJ Holdens, before chasing some luxury with a BA GT FPV.

I owned that for 12 years but almost never drove it, so I sold it in pretty much showroom condition to buy something old-school again.

And that’s where your HR pano came along?

We bought it off Mark ‘Happy’ Williams in 2016. The panel van was a sad sight, all covered in dust with a few dents. But Ralph could see past that, saying, “This is the one.”

I’d always loved Holdens, preferring their smaller body than the big XA-XC Fords. Though I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with a panel van, as with those small rearview mirrors I can barely see down the sides!

What’s under the bonnet?

It’s a 186ci with a lumpy cam, Aussiespeed Performance manifold and 450cfm Quick Fuel carb. It came with triple SU carbs, but they were an absolute headache to tune and so temperamental, so we went with the single carb, and now she’s a pearler!

She loves five-grand gear changes. It’s so cool for a six-cylinder and fun to drive.

She looks sweet, too!

The day after I bought the HR, it went straight to our friends, Sam and Cassie Rhodes at Vulcan Panel & Paint.

They spent six months straightening it and then painting it Phthalo Green. It’s a custom colour that resembles British Racing Green but with pearl through it.

Neat trim job!

That’s a recent addition. It felt great to rip out the old, gross, manky green interior with SAAS racing seats. Panel vans often have bright crushed velvet, but I wanted a clean, sleek look.

I bought the Premier seats and then had Tyson from ProStitch do the entire trim. I kept the gauges, as they were already there, but added custom touches like the door trims, which I designed myself

And the HR has taken out a swag of awards?

Yes, though I still can’t believe it. Through the West Coast Vanners, I learned of the WA State Van Titles, so I went along to support it. After a look around, I’d hoped for a Top 10 and maybe Top Interior, but I cleaned up! I was gobsmacked! I won Overall Champion of the Show and four other awards.

Now, being in Street Machine is the cherry on top. I could never part with the HR; I totally love it!