Jovan Batar’s big-block HK Monaro

Jovan Batar's HK Monaro is a tubbed, big-block street fiend with hidden details for days

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Sacked low over big ’n’ littles, with a Kinsler-injected big-block Chev up front and factory-style aesthetics, this HK Monaro might initially seem like a typical pro street build. But the devil is in the detail with Jovan Batar’s latest creation, and he’s got a Summernats Top 10 Elite plate to prove it.

First published in the May 2022 issue of Street Machine

Having already blown us away with his FATXE Falcon (SM, Jan ’20), we know Mr Batar loves a tough streeter, but it is the small details on this HK that really make it special. Some of this work includes the ‘5 Litre Holden’ logos on the rocker covers being scaled up to fit the big-block rather than the slimmer 307 small-block, and the rear wheelarches being remade to suit the 29-inch-tall tyres while keeping the original shape instead of just being stretched.

Perhaps most amazingly, the build took just over a year, thanks to Jovan having a clear vision before he’d even started looking for a base car. “I knew what I wanted from the start: pro street, BBC with staggered stack injection, good stance and factory styling,” he says.

“I’ve always loved red Monaros and this base-model one popped up with black trim, and it was perfect. I bought it after sending Andrew Ash from AA Panel Craft down to go over it; I didn’t even go look at it! I was tossing up whether or not to leave it as a base model, but I just thought it would have a lot more impact dressed as a GTS.”

Jovan’s background as a construction manager meant he knew how to work to tight deadlines and handle multiple trades on one project. “I did up a construction schedule, contacted all the trades and talked through my ideas to make sure they were good with the timelines. If we didn’t have that program, it just wouldn’t have happened on time.” The ball started rolling with AA Panel Craft stripping the HK back to bare metal and fixing what little rust there was, before sending it to Paul Sant at ProFlo Performance for the fab work. One of Jovan’s key requirements for PROGTS was to be able to enjoy the open-air feeling you get with a pillarless coupe.

“My biggest wants were that the rear had to run a tall tyre, it had to sit slammed, and the rear window had to open fully,” he explains. “Paul thought I was mad, but he got the job done and aced it.”

This required major surgery on the rear quarter panels, which had their openings moved 50mm back. Adam from Southern Classics & Customs then made new arches running a larger diameter to suit the fat meats while still retaining the HK’s gorgeous body lines. “The best part of doing this compared to a standard guard stretch is that we avoided a flat spot, and it allowed us to still run the factory wheelarch moulds,” Jovan says. “Adam stretched the rear moulds to suit the new diameter.”

Meanwhile, ProFlo built a rear clip with custom rails from under the back seat to the rear, along with a braced nine-inch, four-link and track locator. There was plenty of fresh sheet metal required to cover this, with Jovan keen for it to retain an OE look with swage lines.

A similar treatment was applied to the engine bay. “I wanted to keep to the factory shape of the engine bay but have it all smoothed out,” Jovan says. “The front skirts were boxed up and Paul ran the steering arm through there to create space for the headers. I didn’t just want a plain flat firewall, so I told Paul to do a 25mm recess that follows the shape of the engine.”

Once the fab work was handled, AA Panel Craft sorted the body while Mick Carter got a head-start on the trim. Andrew from AA also mounted hidden seatbelts and smoothed the underside of the bonnet and bootlid. It was then time to lay down the original Picardy Red, but this time with GTS gloss-black stripes and trim, while the engine bay and undercarriage were painted satin black.

While all this was being done, Paul Sant was busy at ProFlo screwing together a stout 632-cube fat-block Chev, running a Dart Big M block, Scat rods, Callies crank, JE slugs, AFR Magnum heads and a 284/294 solid-roller bumpstick. Up top, the big talking point is the Kinsler stack-injection manifold, converted to EFI and controlled by a FuelTech ECU.

“I started searching for a second-hand manifold and came across one that was already converted to EFI and suited a tall-deck BBC, so I grabbed it,” Jovan explains. “Owen from OAC Engineering redid all the linkages and fuel lines for the manifold, and I had him do billet trumpets so they matched the billet bonnet hinges.”

While it hasn’t had its full-beans tune yet, Jovan is expecting around 900hp from the monster donk, which will be putting the hurt on a Turbo 400 transmission and 4500rpm converter. Down the back, the braced Competition Engineering nine-inch housing runs a Strange Engineering centre, 35-spline axles, Eaton Truetrac and 3.5 gears.

With the mechanicals sorted, the trim wasn’t far behind, and the race was on to finish the car ahead of its Summernats 34 deadline.

“I wanted the trim to appear as factory as possible but with quality leather,” says Jovan. “The centre console was modified to sit lower, I got ProFlo to weld on a new shaft to the shifter to make it look like a factory manual, and factory-style pedals were used. Mick Carter moulded the rear seat in fibreglass, and moving the rear arches back helped keep a flat rear seat. I didn’t run any woodgrain; I preferred it all black.”

As the clock ticked down to January 2022, the Monaro headed back to AA Panel Craft for final fit-out, after Mark from Ontrak Auto Electrical finished connecting the lightning spaghetti.

“Unfortunately, the boys at AA Panel Craft didn’t have much of a holiday this summer, and that’s something I will never forget,” says Jovan. “We debuted the car on the Friday night of Summernats, and I was overwhelmed with the attention and feedback the car received – not to mention the awards for Top 10, Top Pro Custom and 3rd in Standard Paint!”

Some may be tempted to wrap such a clean, well-presented machine in bubble wrap, but Jovan built this car to drive. “MotorEx will be the last show the car will be getting judged at,” he says. “The car was never built to be a trailer queen, so after MotorEx, she will become the weekend cruiser. Hopefully one day I will get to race it, as it should dip into the nines.”


Paint: Picardy Red
Brand: 632ci big-block Chev
Induction: Kinsler stack injection, EFI-converted
ECU: FuelTech FT600
Heads: AFR BBC Magnum 385cc
Camshaft: Solid-roller, .740in lift, 284/[email protected]
Conrods: Scat
Pistons: JE
Crank: Callies
Oil pump: Melling
Fuel system: Aeromotive Stealth pumps, 730cc injectors
Cooling: PWR radiator, twin 12in thermo fans
Exhaust: Custom 2.25in headers, twin 3.5in exhaust system
Ignition: MSD LS1 coils
Gearbox: Turbo 400
Converter: 4500rpm
Diff: 9in, braced Competition Engineering housing, Strange centre, 35-spline
axles, Eaton Truetrac, 3.5:1 gears
Front: Rod Shop IFS, Viking coil-overs
Rear: Four-link, Strange coil-overs
Brakes: 355mm discs and six-piston Wilwood calipers (f), 300mm discs and
four-piston Wilwood calipers (r)
Rims: Weld V-Series; 17×4.5 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber: M&H Racemaster 185/55R17 (f), Mickey Thompson Sportsman 29×12.50-15

Andrew and Marty at AA Panel Craft; Paul at ProFlo Performance; Mick at Raw Hide Interiors; Mark at Ontrak Auto Electrical; Owen at OAC Engineering; Al at Al’s Race Glides; Adam at Southern Classics & Customs; Craig at OC Billet; Bliss Custom Machining; Danny’s Moulding Restorations; Gerto at Coburg Plating; Shane at EPT; Early Plastic Chroming; Glass 4 Classics; Rare Spares; A Class Metal Finishers; Ray Spence; the Fitzpatrick boys; my car group for the ongoing support and help – Mickey, Duke, Trifo, Mimi, Chuck and Cika; Stoj