Holden 355-powered HK Premier at the Holden Nationals

Rino Smil's tough 580hp 355-cube HK Prem cruiser

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

RINO Smil is justifiably proud of his 1968 Holden HK Premier. “I bought the car in Coffs Harbour about three years ago; it was painted and in full grandpa-spec, but I took the overriders and sun visor off and put all the running gear in it,” he says. “I love the colour; you don’t see too many Tennyson Turquoise cars getting around.”

Under the bonnet is an angry 580hp 355-cube Holden motor assembled by Wayne Cartledge at Race Comp Motorsports. It’s backed up by a fully manualised TH350 with a 3500 stall, running back to a 4.3-geared nine-inch diff.

The big girl runs standard leaf-spring rear suspension at the moment, but Rino says he’s going to invest in a set of slapper bars to tackle the HK’s tendency to twist up and lift the front left wheel as it leaves the line.

“I get it out most weekends and go for a cruise up to Melbourne or down the coast with the missus and the kids,” Rino says. “They love it; it’s a good family car.”

Factory styling, plenty of power, Auto Drags and a fat stance are hallmarks of many Geelong early Falcons and Holdens, but as Rino says: “The ’K is king.”