Nitrous 427-cube HQ Monaro GTS

After a long on-and-off gestation, Simon White's nitrous-huffing HQ finally debuted at Motorvation 36 and was one of the stars of the show


Simon White’s killer HQ Monaro GTS was a massive hit when it was unveiled at Motorvation 36 earlier this year. The crowd loved it and the judges thought it was pretty cool too, awarding it 2nd Top Paint, 2nd Top Bodywork and a spot in the Top 10. The car even made the Grand Champ Top 5 after some pretty impressive results in the driving events.

First published in the September 2022 issue of Street Machine

What made the HQ stand out from your regular unveiled car was how well it was sorted and how hard Simon was willing to push it. It probably helps that Simon is a bit of a tragic when it comes to Queys, having owned quite a few over the years – most recently a stunning blue four-door that ran mid-10s, which got sold off as a roller to help fund the coupe build.

Part of that four-door lives on in the coupe in the form of the small-block Chev, which has copped a bit of a freshen-up and top-end upgrades like a bigger manifold, carby and cam – not to mention some nitrous. The previous combo made 513hp at the tyres naturally aspirated, but Simon expects this one to make closer to 550. “We’re looking at punching a 200-shot through it, so that should take it over 700 easy,” he says. “The aim of the build is to run a nine-second quarter.” With more power and less weight, that looks like a pretty reachable target.

The engine definitely has some pedigree, as it was built and tuned by George Separovich at Blown Motorsports. It might be a small-block, but it measures up at big-block numbers, with 427 cubes of Chevrolet’s finest filled with SRP pistons, LPC crank and Molnar offset rods – all forged, of course. The AFR 210cc heads are topped with a Super Victor II intake and billet APD 850cfm carb. A hefty hydraulic-roller from Comp Cams gets everything moving, while four-into-one headers with two-inch primaries feed into a twin three-inch system.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as this car has a pretty cool story behind it. If we go right back to when it left the factory, you would have been looking at a Chrome Yellow Monaro GTS with a black interior and a high-compression 253 in the engine bay. Fast-forward to almost 20 years ago and the old girl was looking quite a bit different, with metallic blue paint, a WB front end, some Weld Pro Stars and a 308.

“All my life I wanted an HQ Monaro, but I couldn’t find one, so I bought an LX Torana SS hatchback when I was 22,” Simon explains. “The Torana was completely stripped down and I fitted an A9X kit to it, but then I got offered good money for it. Around the same time, my Monaro popped up for sale. I rang the guy up – I was away at work – and I just said to him, ‘It’s sold, mate. I’ll buy it.’ I picked it up and drove it home, and then one night we decided to do a burnout in the shed, snapped an axle and it sat in the shed for about the next nine years.”

That decade-long hiatus wasn’t without progress, though, as Simon was collecting parts and saving money for when he could tackle the project properly. This was going to be a build with no compromises, but in the meantime, he built four or five other cars – all good practice for when it came time to tackle the Monaro.

The initial task was to get the body rust-free, so Simon took the car to Clive Ross at The Hammer Works. “The rust work took five years on and off,” he says. “The right-hand quarter was made from scratch. I found a NOS left rear quarter, which cost me a pretty penny, but I couldn’t find a right-hand-side one, so Clive made a template off the left-hand one and made one from a flat sheet of steel. I wanted to do everything properly; I didn’t want to cut any corners, so if there was any rust in the door skin, we didn’t cut the corner out – I put a whole new door skin on. I didn’t want to patch things up.”

After getting the car back from Clive, Simon sat the Quey in the shed for another year, but after that, the afterburners kicked in and the whole car was finished in the space of 12 months. “I took the car to Neil Moneypenny and his team at Xclusivefx, who fine-tuned all the bodywork and spent a lot of time perfecting those perfect lines and gaps,” Simon explains. “The car went in for body and paint mid-November 2020, and I got it back in September 2021.”

While the bodywork was getting sorted, Simon had the interior spruced up by Tim Rayment. It’s all been restored back to early-model HQ factory spec, with the only departure being the B&M Pro Ratchet shifter and a dash panel that’s fully customised but still looks like a factory piece. Simon had Craig at OC Billet machine up an insert to house a full suite of Auto Meter gauges, and the machine-turned veneer finishes it off perfectly. OC Billet also provided the bonnet latch and catch, as well as the bonnet and boot hinges.

With the car back at home, Simon and a bunch of good mates got busy assembling it, and by early December the car was pretty much finished. All it needed was to get tuned up, so it was off to Blown Motorsports for a few pulls on the chassis dyno – but that’s where things went a little bit haywire. During the first baseline pass, the brand-new 3.5-inch tailshaft let go, damaging the HQ’s floor, exhaust and diff in the process.

With Motorvation coming up fast, that wasn’t the result Simon was hoping for, but he’s not the kind of bloke to chuck in the towel, so the floor was fixed and an even beefier four-inch tailshaft went in, as did a new diff centre.

After making it to Motorvation, the car performed flawlessly, competing in all driving events and even doing a massive skid after the Grand Champ awards. While he might not have won the big prize – which went to his good mate Simon Birch in the Suzuki Mighty Boy (SM, Jul ’22) – Simon doesn’t care; that’s not why he built the car.

“My wife loves the car and is happy to see my dream come to life,” he says. “She has been very supportive from start to finish and we both love cruising the Monaro with our two kids in the back seat enjoying life.”


Paint: Glasurit custom candy green
Type: 427ci small-block Chevrolet
Inlet: Edelbrock Super Victor II
Carb: APD billet 850cfm
Heads: AFR 210/220
Valves: 2.08in (in), 1.60in (ex)
Cam: Comp Cams hydraulic-roller
Pistons: SRP forged
Crank: LPC forged
Conrods: Molnar forged
Radiator: Brown’s radiator, AU Falcon thermo fans
Exhaust: Four-into-one headers, 2in primaries, twin 3in system
Ignition: MSD
Transmission: TCI TH400, billet internals
Converter: Coan 4000rpm stall
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 gears, Truetrac, 31-spline billet axles
Front: King HQ Ultra Low springs, Koni adjustable shocks
Rear: King Torana Super Low springs, Koni adjustable shocks
Steering: Standard
Brakes: Wilwood discs (f & r)
Rims: Weld V-Series 17×4.5 (f), Weld Vitesse beadlock 15×8 (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson 26×6.00R17 (f), Nankang 255/60R15 (r)

Neil Moneypenny and team at Xclusivefx; George at Blown Motorsports; Terry at SHIFT Transmissions; Rory Smith at RS Installations; Tim Rayment for the interior; Todd at Rare Spares; Mick at Freo Tinting & Windscreens; Clive at The Hammer Works; Kelvin and Rob at ABR for brakes; James England at Proshine; Final Drive; Craig at OC Billet; all my mates who helped along the way; most of all, my wife and kids for putting up with the long nights in the shed and my moods, but supporting me all the way on the journey to making my dream come true.