The Beast: HJ Holden Premier wagon

Looking back on Peter Jakon's custom “The Beast” HJ wagon

Photographers: Phil Matthew

Without his wife’s help, Peter Jakon would own one of he slowest street machines on the road. Like it wouldn’t go. “She owns the motor,” says Peter. “She lent me the money.”

First published in the Oct/Nov 1985 issue of Street Machine

It’s not a bad sort of motor either. Pete started out with a fully rebuilt and balanced 308 (well, if it’s good enough for Brocky…) and added a Hi-Flow IH bumpstick, Schoen manifold, 650 double pumper Holley, Scorcher twin point dizzy, Mallory leads and piles of beautifully polished chromework.

Twin thermatic fans by Davies Craig keep the temperature down and the power up. There’s a Turbo 400 tranny with B&M shiftkit and a cooler.

Nowadays this HJ Prem wagon earns its name, “The Beast”. But three years back it was just a fairly neat stocker. At least it had the 308 plus factory air and power steering. But it was a pretty yucko gold and white thing that wouldn’t have drawn a second glance in the carpark. Peter paid $4900, which was around the right money and reckons it now owes him $15,000 all up. But he’s not about to sell it.

Peter isn’t handing out any tributes to the bloke who did the paintwork, though. “It kept cracking. It just wasn’t right. I should learn to paint myself and put in all the work. I did just about everything else – pulled the engine apart and put it back together again at Dad’s place, with all the usual urging parents do – ‘when will the car be finished’, that type of thing.”

A good measure of just how much thought and effort Peter Jakon has put into his wagon comes when you check out the wheels. He took them down to Precision Plating in Burwood for a touch of industrial gold plating — yeah, real gold! For as little as $30 per wheel you can get some gold and you can specify as much as you like. Pete reckoned $50 a pop should be enough to guarantee that the wheels will keep their glitter.

No wonder the wheels wound up costing a fortune. “I had them split at Ajax Wheels in Moorabbin,” he says, “so they are fully reversed.” “They”, incidentally are Appliance Cragars — 8 x 14 at the action end and 7 x 14 up front. Of course the rims have been rechromed. As far as rubber was concerned, Pete looked no further than a trusty set of BFG T/A 50s.

The remainder of the chromework was handled by Endeavour plating of Hawthorn (this is beginning to read like a Melbourne street directory!). Insulcar of Frankston did the tint job, while Laurie White of East Bentleigh went to work on the interior.

And did Laurie go to work! How about velour doortrims, custom carpeting throughout, including bathroom carpet in the rear, chromed seat frames and the usual velour inserts?

But the exterior has been changed to a greater extent. Peter is now reasonably happy with the troublesome Ford Satellite Brown paint job. All the original Holden badgework has been banished. So have the rear quarter indicators/reflectors and the rear door handles. There is no longer an external tailgate opening mechanism — at least not plum in the middle of the panel where you’d expect it to be. Peter has snuck a window control switch in behind the sedan-type flip down numberplate.

Other changes include fitment of an XB GT petrol filler and surround, HZ Munro mirrors, an HZ Caprice grille, tinted tail light covers plus chrome even on places like the bonnet locks and hinges.

There are K-Mac Competition bars front and rear and Pedders red heavy duty lowered (by three and a half inches) coils. Shocks are Pedders double action items at the front and pump up 150 pound Monroe-Wylies behind.

Peter has opted for a slippery diff with 3.55 gears. He has also made sure that the gases get away quickly by fitting a complete H.M. Headers two and a half inch single system plus extractors.

Apart from his wife, Pete wants to thank a number of his mates who helped him at different stages of the resto. Apparently, Glenn Traeger, Dave Carroll, Mario Skoblar and Andrew White all did their bit.

But next time Peter Jakon wants to paint his wagon, he just might do the job himself.