Flashback: Mark Sullivan’s HQ cruiser

Back in 2010, Mark Sullian whipped up this cool HQ cruiser between elite hall builds

Photographers: Tony Rabbitte

What do you do when you’ve built five feature cars — including a SMOTY winner — in the past five years but find yourself stuck for a cool cruiser? The answer is this smooth-as-silk HQ built by Mark Sullivan, owner of PROcoat Hi Temp Ceramic Coatings on the NSW Central Coast.

First published in the October 2010 issue of Street Machine

“I bought this car for [my wife] Carol to drive, and we needed a car to use until the next big project is finished,” he says. And before you ask, no news about that ‘next big project’ until it’s done.

The first thing that grabs you about this car is the body. Mark and his mate Bill ‘the third’ straightened the tired panels, along the way they deleting the side indicators and creating a subtle theme that repeats throughout the car. The bumpers and stainless trim lost their original polish and now wear two-pack silver to further complement the body colour.

And then those rims. It is no surprise to anybody familiar with Mark’s style that they’re from Showwheels. These hoops are ID317s and they suit the car perfectly. To fit the sizeable 20×10 feet under the rear quarters, things needed to move and Mark saw to that himself.

“I tubbed the car at home in the shed. All of my cars have been done at home — the Firebird (SM, Feb ’09) never left my shed for the entire build!”

Under the bonnet, the HQ is far cleaner than when it left the factory in 1972. That’s because the heater box and a gazillion holes have been smoothed over and covered in the same hue as the exterior. The 350 crate motor that fills the bay has been detailed as lovingly as the body and sports a 650DP Demon carb that sends premium unleaded through a coated Hurricane intake.

A set of cast heads guide the atomised fuel into the chambers where it’s squeezed by KB hypereutectic pistons. After the 580thou-lift cam opens the valves, spent gases are released into the atmosphere through a set of Pacemaker headers that have been touched with the PROcoat magic wand. They’re not the only parts to benefit from Mark’s business; the manifold, bonnet hinges, rocker covers, wiper motor, brake booster and control arms are all coated too, continuing that subtle theme from the exterior and just looking schmicko into the bargain.

The power generated by this street-friendly combo is passed through a stage II kitted T700 trans to a factory 10-bolt Salisbury diff. To compensate for the wider rims the diff was shortened and now sports billet axles and 2.78 gearing for very laid-back Sunday drives. A custom tailshaft and 2800rpm high stall converter complete the driveline package.

The car handles bumps on the street thanks to Pedders shocks and lowered Kings springs sitting in all four corners. Standard steering components, which have been tastefully powder-coated for a clean look, receive their commands from a Showwheels tiller.

Which neatly leads us inside, where the seats have been updated to Mazda 6 items lovingly covered in sand-coloured cowhide by Mark’s mate Trenten Smith. With good quality dash pads for HQs getting harder to source these days, Trenten prettied it up with lashings of the same leather, then added Speco gauges in a neat custom panel wrapped in a little more cow.

“I wanted to cover the dash pad in the same material for a uniform look, you know — the same colour and texture,” Mark says. “When you paint them, they eventually crack anyway.”

A B&M shifter has been tastefully hidden in an HJ console that came with the car — “It’s the only thing left of the interior that came with it!” The door trims sport billet door handles and window winders that complement the refined interior.

Having built five — make that six — cars in the past five years that have featured in Street Machine, you have to wonder where the passion comes from, to build at such a high level.

“Well I’ve been into cars since I was on my Ps but only really got into it when I sent photos of a Torana hatch I had at the time in for Readers’ Cars. I liked seeing the car in the mag, so I decided to get serious.”

“Now I concentrate on the details and I taught myself how to paint. 1BADHK was nice but attention to detail is bigger for me now — trying to hide things, shave things, 1BADHK had nice trim but it was original. People look for something special so you have to go that bit further.”


Colour: PPG Ice Blue

Make:Chev 350ci
Manifold:Hurricane Hi-rise
Carb:Barry Grant 650 Demon
Cam:580thou lift “lumpy”
Pistons:KB Hypereutectic
Ignition:MSD with 8mm leads
Fuel pump:Holley
Radiator:Fenix alloy with thermo fan
Exhaust:Ceramic-coated Pacemakers, 2½in twin system
Power:Enough to cruise
Trans:T700, stage II shift kit
Diff:Salisbury, shortened, 2.78 LSD, billet axles
Shocks:Pedders (f&r)
Springs:Kings lowered (f&r)
Seats:Mazda 6 buckets
Dash:Custom, Speco gauges
Rims:Showwheels ID317s, 20×8.5 (f), 20×10 (r).
Tyres:225/30 (f), 255/30s (r)

Trenten Smith, interior; Bill III, body; Chris, Showwheels; JP Engines, diff; PROcoat.