It has to be said that Ryan Shreeve has good taste in cars. He knows what he likes, and he knows what will work. He might even be smarter than all of us too because he buys cars that are already completed, gets a good deal and then puts his own spin on them – always making them better than ever before. He truly has a knack for it. That might sound kind of simple to do, but he has one major downfall – a lack of self-control with the number of mods and changes that he makes. It is as if he can’t help but go over the top when chasing perfection. A prime example is his ridiculously cool 1974 HQ Holden Ute.
“I saw the car advertised on eBay in early January 2016, and it caught my attention straight away. I’ve always loved the HQ ute as it’s an icon of Australia, and when you add tubs, satin-finished Centerlines and Barbados Green paint, it was the sort of car I couldn’t go past. After a few weeks debating with the better half about buying the car, I was shocked to see the price dropped when I finally had the approval to buy the new project. It was like it was meant to be. I called the owner Rod Wilson, and we did the deal. It was as simple as that,” explained Ryan.
When the car arrived in Perth, it was better than what Ryan expected. “With the initial build so good I decided that I would have some fun in it before I put my mark on her. I sent it off to Nick Mann at MADinc for a full colour-sand and polish, and then the 355ci motor got a quick tune. To my surprise, it went bloody well!” After a few cruises and car meets, Ryan decided it was time to pull the ’Q off the road for a complete rebuild.
“It was always going to be a tough thing to do because I really liked the look of the car. I could have gone for a colour change, but it didn’t seem right because the first thing that appealed to me was the Barbados Green colour. I decided that I would re-paint the whole car in the same green.” Ryan didn’t have to go too far to deliver the stripped body to Sam and Cassie Rhodes from Vulcan Panel and Paint. What he got in return was an exceptionally well-finished product that looked better than ever. To freshen things up a little more, Ryan updated the car with some new shoes.
“What I had in mind was a tougher look, so I went to Cronic Customs where Adam Spiteri hooked me up with some Weld Pro Stars that he bead-locked for me and the front of the car copped brand new Alumastars.” The front wheels are 15×3, and the rears are a whopping 15×15 wearing 33×19.5in M/T tyres. The black wheels brought the car up-to-date with the current trends of 2017.
Looking for as much attitude as possible for the new build, Ryan decided that nothing screams tough quite like a blown motor. In a strange set of circumstances, the original owner Rod happened to call up Ryan to see if he wanted to buy another motor for the HQ, and yep, you guessed it, it was a supercharged combo. I don’t think Ryan is Irish, but luck was most definitely on his side that day.
“I had George Separovich from Blown Motorsports pull the motor down to look over things. He assured me that the guys from BNR Race Engines did an excellent job on the 400ci Chev.” The Dart block was filled with a double keyway Scat crank with Eagle H-beam rods that wear SRP blower pistons. There is a custom solid roller cam and AFR 210 heads, but of course, the real star of the show is the Newby 6/71 huffer fitted with Pro Systems E85 carbies. “The combo made 700hp at the rear wheels on 14 pounds of boost. The engine was built to handle 15-18 pounds, so we have a little left in her,” said Ryan.
Backing the new donk is a transbrake-equipped Powerglide that feeds the power to a shortened 9-inch which is mounted between those massive wheel tubs and four-link set up.
Something else that didn’t really need any alterations was the GTS-themed interior. Autometer gauges, race harnesses and a new-school B&M shifter do make things a hell of a lot cooler though.
“I have to say that none of the rebuild would have happened if it wasn’t for Matt Williums from Preedy Auto Electrics. He basically oversaw the whole project for me, from start to finish. He did an awesome job. He really did outdo himself, and I can’t thank him enough.”
This isn’t the end for Ryan and modified cars though. He still has two other projects on the go at the moment – a pristine XE ESP and a very serious Pro Street Cortina that has been going through some testing and sorting. The question is, will he be able to control himself with those projects – I hope not!