WHAT does it take to get a car built in less than five months? A bunch of good mates sure helps, and so does a deadline that you absolutely, positively can’t miss. For Perth’s Vic Brockman, this HT wagon was meant to be a project that he could tinker on when he was a bit quiet at work, but that’s not really how it turned out.
I knew nothing of the back story when I spotted the car at Motorvation 33 parked up under a gazebo. It looked pretty tidy with its crisp Ermine White paint, red Premier interior and nicely detailed Holden V8 under the bonnet, but then I started to read the little information board that was placed next to the car and realised how important it was to share Vic’s story.
It started like this: “On the 15th of August, 2018 I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given a six-month prognosis. My only wish was to build my final car and bring it to Motorvation.”
Ordinarily, when writing a feature story, I’d ring the owner and have a good old chin wag about what went in to building the car, but that wasn’t an option with Vic. The disease has progressed so rapidly that he’s already lost the ability to speak, so with a combination of written notes from Vic and some conversations with his partner Julie-ann, I’ll do my best to fill you in on the details.
Vic bought the car on the 10th of March, 2018 as a disassembled and partially started project. It had all the bits and pieces stuffed into it – or so they were told – but as is often the case, there were quite a few parts they had to find to complete the car. Vic sold a really tidy 1970 Plymouth ’Cuda to fund the project and as soon as he saw the wagon he knew how he wanted it to look – white with a red Premier interior. The previous owner thought that combination sounded terrible, but as you can see from the photos, it works a treat.
The build started on the 2nd of September, 2018 leaving just four months and 17 days until Motorvation. It was time to get cracking and Vic knew exactly who to ask for help – his best mate, Dean Kelly. “We have been friends since high school and used to go down to Scarborough beach to watch the burnouts and built quite a few cars together over the years,” says Dean.
Dean and Vic got the body ready for primer and then on the 8th of September, Jason Miles put the word out asking if anyone could help get the body started and ready for paint. “The response was overwhelming and in two days she was ready for Dean to paint,” says Vic.
With a bit of help from Reece Regan of Real Restorations, the car was painted in Vic’s backyard shed, and as you can see from the pics, it turned out pretty nice straight off the gun. With Motorvation coming up fast, there wasn’t time to colour sand the paint.
While you’d definitely class the wagon as a bit of a cruiser, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra ponies under the hood – you know, for safe overtaking and getting out of sticky situations – so the mighty 308 got treated to a SCAT stroker crank and forged I-beam rods to take it out to 355 cubes. A set of ported VN heads with a three-angle valve job helps it breathe and an Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake and Demon 650 carb supply the fuel. A shift-kitted Turbo 3500 with a 2700rpm stall sends the torque back to a big Salisbury diff, keeping the old girl all Holden.
I’m not sure if there’s a way to tell the difference between the HK-T-G Holdens apart from the grilles and tail-lights, but the trainspotters out there will probably have picked that it’s actually an HT body fitted with an HK Premier grille and tail-lights. Why? Because Vic thinks they look better – and I tend to agree. The Premier theme is carried through to the interior with door trims and seats from the luxury Holden installed. The Monaro steering wheel is a neat touch and ties in nicely with the Hurst shifter and trio of AutoMeter gauges mounted just ahead, reminiscent of the HK Monaro’s console-mounted tacho.
Finishing the car off is a set of Weld Draglites measuring up at 15×6 and 15×8 and wrapped in 185 and 235 rubber. That might sound small by today’s standards, but it’s a bit of a throwback to Vic’s youth in the 80s when that was a pretty tough combo, especially in Perth where the cops would be on you in a flash for having wheels over seven inches wide.
Even though a lot of people chipped in to help, especially in the last three weeks, Vic did a tonne of work on the car right up until he physically couldn’t do it anymore. “He put in some long days because he knew he was going to get sick and wouldn’t be able to later on, he even trimmed the back section of the car and did a really nice job,” says Dean.
While there were dozens of people that helped out during the build, there were two people that went above and beyond that Vic and Julie-ann would especially like to thank: “Simon Duncan – without your moral support and assistance, we would not have been able to make it. Whenever I felt like giving up, you would always call, text or even drop by to give me moral support to keep going.
“Dean Kelly – we have built many cars over our decades of friendship but this one is the most precious of all. When the chips were down you stepped up and made a dying man’s wish come true, and that my friend, is the true meaning of mateship. I could not have done this without you.”
Words // Boris Viskovic
Unfortunately, yesterday, 17-4-19, Vic lost his battle with the disease.
Condolences to his family and friends, may he Rest In Peace.