IF YOU take a look in the engine bay of most engine-swapped HR Holdens, you’re likely to find one of the usual suspects: a Holden V8, an LS, maybe even a hot 202. But Mick Jurenec defied all expectations by dropping an angry Mazda 13B rotary in his HR ute instead.
A towie by trade, Mick has owned his HR for 15 years, and eventually decided to combine it with his other passion. “I owned a genuine RX-4 when I was younger, and I really regretted selling it,” he says. “I loved the bridgeport and I love my ute, so it just made sense!”
The boosted Mazda Series 5 rotary has been living in the classic Holden for seven years now. Mick says there was plenty of tricky stuff involved to make everything work, including custom adapter plates for the reverse-pattern C4 gearbox he runs.
The whole engineered set-up comes to a featherweight 1100kg. Paired with a rev-happy 327hp powerplant, Mick says there’s more than enough power to get up and boogie.
The ute remains untubbed, but Mick still managed to jam 10in-wide wheels in the rear via shortened billet axles, which are hooked up to a 28-spline VL diff.
Mick is still breaking in the HR, though he’s taken it roll racing and to Powercruise. He plans to hit the strip after a proper tune and dyno session in the next couple of weeks.
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As for his choice of swap, Mick says he gets plenty of interest. “Heaps of people guess it’s a fully worked 202 with a massive cam – when I pop the bonnet I mostly just get: ‘Wow!’”
After doing all the work himself, Mick reckons the HR is pretty much where he wants it. “I get out of it with sweaty hands; I just love it. It gets my heart racing,” he enthuses. Apart from some stiffer springs and new shocks to tighten the ride, the ute is unlikely to see great change. “A four-link rear would be great, but I can’t get that engineered.”
Mick extends his thanks to Kevin of South Coast Rotaries for all his help along the way in creating his unusual build.