This article on Matt’s HZ Kingswood was first published in the January 2019 issue of Street Machine
PROJECT cars rarely tread a logical path. They often blow out from mild plans into full ground-up rebuilds that see the finished product go far beyond the owner’s modest initial intentions. Warrnambool’s Matt Lampard knows this all too well, having taken his HZ SL Kingswood from cool cruiser to mid-eight-second, 1440rwhp monster in just three short years. But he has had a heck of a lot of fun along the way!
“In three years this car has had three very different builds,” Matt explains.
He purchased the HZ from Canberra with a 454 big-block under the square-set bonnet, but that didn’t last very long. Selling off the 454, he then bashed a quick-and-dirty LS1 swap together in just a few months, in order to prowl the cruise route at Summernats. Along with way it scored a big cam, but it took another trip through a calendar for the grunt bug to really bite.
“A good mate of mine, Jamie McKenzie, had been into me about juicing it up, and soon after that, Luke Foley from MPW Performance was doing the same,” Matt says. “Soon enough I built an L98 6.0-litre, bought some manifolds, bolted a turbo on, and started making a fuel system. I thought I’d better fit some bigger tyres under it, but I didn’t have long to get it done for Red CentreNATS #2. I had lots of help from good mates of mine who would come around and help hold things in place and align bits and pieces ’til it was all done again. I ended up running my first 10-second pass with that set-up at RCN #2.”
After throwing rods, pistons and grout into the bottom end, LUMPER ended up running 9.29@147mph on that first turbo combo and saw a bunch of action at Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs, Powercruise in Queensland and Performance Car Mania in Winton over the course of one epic three-week road trip. But Matt knew that set-up was out of turbo, so he started talking to Luke and Adam at MPW about pushing harder.
“I spoke with Luke Foley over a few weeks and told him I was sick of seeing his tail-lights when racing,” Matt says. “I told him I wanted to flip him the bird to at least half-track, running window-to-window. He laughed and said: ‘So you wanna go fast, eh?’ Luke and Adam came up with a motor combo idea for me, so we sourced it out and then got it to Norm Karnilowicz to start building it.”
Norm, of Johnny Dyno Engines in Geelong, put together a combo based around a Dart block swinging 427ci (seven litres in the new money) thanks to JE pistons and billet Carrillo rods working on the Dart crank. The camshaft is a Brian Tooley stick from the USA, while GM high-performance lifters transfer the load to the six-bolt LSX heads from Powerhouse Engines, which have been filled with PAC valve springs and 64cc extreme-duty valves.
Either 98 premium unleaded or E85 is supplied by an in-tank Aeroflow three-pump cradle housing a trio of Walbro 460L/hr pumps. “The custom fuel tank in the rear can be filled from the boot like a normal fuel cell, but it can also be filled from behind the number plate like an original Kingswood,” Matt says
The combo is topped by a super-sexy Plazmaman billet 16-injector manifold, fed compressed air by twin billet BorgWarner SXE64/74 turbos through a 100mm throttlebody. The big-inch LS’s vitals are managed by a Holley Dominator EFI system, which includes the engine wiring loom, touchscreen dash, exhaust gas temp sensors and 2200cc fuel injectors!
“Nath Elliot and I made the exhaust manifolds at my place over a few weeks,” explains Matt. “They are four-into-one, 40NB in size, with a T4 flange plate. Nath, Jesse and I then made the exhaust system, and I got some other welder mates to help me zap it together to get the car done for Red CentreNATS
“While the engine was underway I started modifying the front of the car to suit the Torana steering rack,” Matt says. “Nath Elliott and I started making exhaust manifolds while close friend Jesse Bubb was over most nights and weekends helping spin spanners. Over the next few weeks my missus Sheree would cook tea for whoever was over to help get the job done.
“I got another mate, Dan Vickery, to make some baffles with a digital router and fold a 110L fuel tank up so I could weld it up and start making the three Walbro fuel pumps fit in nicely. Soon after that we were making intercooler piping and cutting up radiator supports, as I wanted everything under the factory bonnet.
From the turbos back, the exhaust is a 3.5in twin stainless system with twin Aeroflow mufflers and V-bands on the joints to make for easy fitment or removal”
“We got it all together, so I rang Adam and Luke at MPW to tell them I was ready. They said to come down the following Thursday, so I finished night shift at 6am and headed down to start making this beast run. I spent most of the day helping the MPW boys set up their new dyno, as they were still moving shops, so by the time we got it set up it was 4pm and I was burnt out bad.”
At that point Matt thought they’d all be ready to call it a day, but not the MPW crew.
The rollcage was built by Shane Marshall of Marshall Speed Shop. The factory buckets were retained for comfort, though reupholstered. “Race seats are currently getting wrapped in the same-style brown vinyl as the rest of the interior,” Matt explains
“They fired up the barbecue and chucked the car on the dyno to start running some numbers up – I was back to life!
“Adam had it all under control in no time and we pulled the pin at 11:30pm, close to 1000rwhp. I came back in the morning and Adam ended up making 1455rwhp!”
“It has a full custom instrument fascia to suit the Holley touchscreen dash, including blinkers and other LED warning lights, which has been wrapped in carbonfibre vinyl. The centre console had a few mods to help the RTS shifter fit, along with manual override switches for fans and the brake switch”
“It probably still has a fair bit left in it. There’s no need to push it if I can’t use all the power I have now. Over time we’ll learn more and will probably push it harder to see some bigger numbers.”
Behind the megawatt-making donk lives a 10.5-inch 3500rpm TCE converter and an FTI Level 5 Powerglide from DTM Geelong, housed in a Reid case and sending twist through a 3.5-inch driveshaft from A1 Automotive in Geelong wearing billet yokes.
“The new Holley EFI system had more wires then I had ever seen before, so I found a young gun auto electrician called Brett Wilkinson and asked him if it was something he would be interested in doing,” Matt says. “He said: ‘I dream of seeing this sort of stuff! I’ll be around every night ’til the job is done.’ I told him my missus cooks if people are here for tea, and the young fella ate that well for the next month he said he gained 4kg!”
“It is an awesome converter as I can drive LUMPER like a naturally aspirated car or I can jump on it and start ripping tyres up,” Matt says.
An aftermarket nine-inch diff packed with 35-spline full-floating axles, 1350 yoke and 3.25 gears was built by Aikman Engineering in G-town and is held off the tar by Viking double-adjustable coil-overs in the rear end. The same type of Viking coil-overs live up front, paired with Castlemaine Rod Shop drop spindles, and a manual Torana steering rack that replaces the stock Kingswood box.
“The first outing out with the new combo was at this year’s Red CentreNATS,” Matt says. “The track conditions were so bad we pulled nearly all the boost out of it, down to about 800rwhp. Although we had a good 1400hp on tap, it was going to stay bottled up until we could hit a good track.
“This all changed at Heathcote, where it ran an 8.8@158mph straight off the trailer. Tweaks from Shane Marshall on the suspension and fiddling with boost and rpm changes brought it down to an 8.4@162mph!”
A full-weight, big-boy HZ Kingswood street car running mid-eights surely proves we’re in another golden era of horsepower!
1978 HOLDEN HZ KINGSWOOD SL
Paint: VY Commodore Martini Grey
Brand: Dart six-bolt
Intake: Plazmaman billet 16-injector
Crank: Dart forged
Rods: Carrillo billet
Heads: Six-bolt LSX
ECU: Holley Dominator EFI
Turbos: Twin billet BorgWarner SXE64/64
Cam: Brian Tooley
Fuel system: 2200cc injectors, 3 x Walbro 460 pumps, custom tank
Oil system: Moroso sump, Melling oil pump
Cooling: Aussie Desert Cooler radiator
Exhaust: Custom manifolds, twin 3.5in system, Aeroflow mufflers
Gearbox: Reid-case Powerglide
Converter: TCE 10.5in 3500rpm
Diff: Custom 9in, 35-spline full-floater axles, 3.25:1 final drive
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Viking double-adjustable coil-overs
Rear: Viking double-adjustable coil-overs
Chassis: Torana steering rack, rose-jointed suspension ends, mini-tubbed rear guards
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers and discs (f & r)
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Billet Specialties 17×4.5 (f), Max Dumesny, beadlocked 15×10 (r)
Rubber: M/T front-runners (f), M/T Street Radial Pro 275/60 (r)