598-cube big-block Holden HQ Kingswood

When Nick Knight lost his licence for doing skids on the street, he resolved to be sensible and build this insane HQ

Photographers: Ben Hosking

WE ALL do it: scroll the ‘for sale’ section on social media, looking for our next project. Usually we’re just dreaming. Nick Knight took the next step.

First published in the June 2021 issue of Street Machine

“I was on Facebook back in 2015 and came across this dirty green HQ with an ugly cloth interior, but it had what I wanted in a streeter, so I booked tickets to Brisbane for me and a couple of mechanic mates,” says Nick.

A deal was done and the car settled into street duties back in Sydney before a blast at Powercruise saw the tired 350 give up.

“That’s where it all began,” Nick says. “I had Chad from Prostreet Engines bolt together a stout 406-cube small-block. We upgraded the trans and diff, and that combo never gave us an ounce of shit.”

It got punished on both street and strip for a couple of years, proving to be heaps of fun and plenty reliable. But change was coming. “We had an Australia Day party at my joint in 2017, and I made the massive mistake of getting the car out and killing tyres on the street. Being in the era of social media, it got filmed, I got caught, and I lost my licence for 26 months,” Nick says.

Nick put the downtime to good use, proposing to his now-wife Carlie. Thankfully she said yes, and a decision was made to freshen-up the HQ to act as a wedding car.

First stop was some chassis work, with a McDonald Brothers taxi-bar and hoop welded into the cabin. The rear of the trans tunnel was raised, and custom brackets were fabricated to fit up the seats. “I definitely wanted to go the pro street route, so Kirkeys and a set of Welds were a must,” says Nick.

The car was then stripped back for paint and panel, where a few unexpected surprises were uncovered. “It was at this point I realised we had opened a massive can of worms and my budget was going out the window,” laughs Nick.

The ’Q got sent to Shane at OLD G Paint & Panel, with the level and quality of work proving impressive.

“Shane is a close family friend, so from the moment I dropped the car off, it was clear he was taking the build personally,” says Nick, who was inspired after seeing the blue-green finish. “When we saw how nice the fresh paint was, we knew that we were building something special.”

The car then went into good mate Brett Sanders’s shed, where there was both the space and the tools required to get the job done right.

The trim was removed and sent to Pete at 44 Upholstery & Designs, who was given free rein to work his magic. The black, diamond-stitched door trims and rear seat complement the Kirkeys perfectly.

By this stage, the wedding was fast approaching.

Knowing the car was in good hands with Brett, Nick spent most of his time sourcing and picking up parts through the week. He’d then thrash on the HQ alongside Brett all weekend.

Just 24 hours before the wedding, Nick travelled two hours south to an RMS that had an appointment for him to get his licence back. He passed, and the finished HQ was the perfect wedding day accessory. “A huge effort from all involved got it ready for the big day,” he says. “The car was awesome; it almost overshadowed the actual wedding!”

After Nick and Carlie had returned from their honeymoon, the car copped a few more upgrades, including a switch to E85 fuel, with a new fuel cell, pump, lines and carb installed to suit.

A trip to Summernats 33 netted a trophy – second place in the Street Tuff category – in addition to countless smashed tyres and tons of fun. The car also got abused for three days straight at Powercruise with zero dramas, and Nick came away happy, inspired, and hankering to load up on grunt.

“Chad at Prostreet offered me the motor he was building for his own car; 598 cubes of big-block goodness was going in,” he says with an evil grin.

The tall-deck BBC required extra room in the bay, so the crossmember was chopped and the engine mounts revised several times before the motor was home. “Then we realised the bonnet wasn’t going to fit, so it was back to OLD G to get a new bonnet with a hole for the filter,” says Nick.

Tuned by Sam Fenech at Westend Performance, the HQ puts 683 ponies to the tyres and now has more than enough go to match the show.

The combo proved its worth earlier this year, winning the powerskid comp at Powercruise Sydney. Eighteen tyres and 150 litres of E85 later, Nick is stoked.

“The car is now exactly how I want it,” he says. “It wouldn’t have happened without the help, love and support of all my family and friends. I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve done.”


Paint: Cromax Chlorophyll Blue Green

Brand: 598ci Dart big-block Chev
Induction: Holley 950cfm Ultra XP E85 carb, Edelbrock Super Victor tall-deck manifold
Heads: AFR Magnum BBC aluminium 345cc
Camshaft: Howards custom
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: JE forged
Crank: Scat, Clevite bearings
Oil pump: Melling high-volume
Fuel system: Boot-mounted cell, Aeromotive 340gph in-tank pump on billet hanger, Aeromotive regulator, E85 fuel
Cooling: Fenix radiator, twin Spal fans
Exhaust: Castle Headers, 2.5in primaries with 3.5in collectors
Ignition: MSD Blaster coil, MSD leads, MSD distributor

Gearbox: Turbo 400, transbrake, billet gears & input shaft
Converter: TCE 4000rpm
Diff: 9in, 31-spline billet axles, Strange centre, full-spool, Daniel Engineering tailshaft

Front: Pedders shocks and springs, Nolathane bushes
Rear: Four-link, Viking coil-overs
Brakes: Wilwood 320mm disc/caliper combo (f), drums (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood

Rims: Weld AlumaStar 2.0; 17×4.5in (f), 15×8.5in (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R 26×6-17 (f), Kenda Klever H/P 245/60R15 (r)

Brett Sanders – nothing on this car would have been possible without him, he made my dreams a reality; my beautiful wife Carlie for putting up with me never being home as I was always working on the car; Shane at OLD G Paint & Panel; Pete Nichols at 44 Upholstery & Designs; Dave Miller at Miller Chassis; Chad at Prostreet Engines; Johnny and Gordo at Mobile Service Centre for the exhaust; Simon at Hazztech Services for the coatings; Branden for the auto electrical; Simon and Terry at Campbelltown Automatics; Sam at Westend Performance for the tune; Bejay and Nick at TSR Mechanical for the tyres; Wayne Fisher; Duffy; Nick Junge; Dave Sanders; Where’s Wally Towing; Pro Panda Detailing; everyone who’s helped that I missed

Photographers: Ben Hosking