CHANGE OF HEART – HQ Holden

Tyson Mowarin, the Creative director at Weerianna Street Media in the north west of WA, has always been a car guy and that stemmed right back from his childhood. “I first got into cars when I was very young because my Dad and Uncles all had nice cars. They had Monaros; Toranas, Valiants, a bit of everything really.  I mainly remember my old man’s orange HQ coupe though. It was powered by a 350 Chev bored out and had a 4 speed manual with the gears inside out – third gear was on the bottom, and fourth was up top. It was a real laugh. Dad did all the mechanical work on that car, and we drove all over the state with the HQ. It was such a great time for the family,” Tyson said.

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In the early days of owning his own cars, it was all GMH stuff for Tyson. “I first started with a VK Commodore, went back to a ‘78 HZ ute, worked my way from a VY Commodore up to a VE SSV, and now I have gone back to a ‘71 HQ. Before the Monaro, my favourite car was the HZ ute. It was old; had style, a new 308 and a 5 speed made it go well, and it took me everywhere. I drove it back from Charleville QLD all the way to Roebourne then down to Perth. It was a great car.”

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A couple of years ago, Tyson decided he was over the new school Commodore he was rolling with and decided to go chasing a new project, another ute, but then that plan took a massive shift in direction. “I actually called Steve at S&E Automotives to talk to him about putting a 350 Chev and a 5-speed ‘box into an HX ute I just bought and drove back from Brisbane. Andrew who works there suggested that I just put an LS1 in it – he said it would be cheaper and just as easy, so I decided to go with that idea. When I eventually got to S&E, Steve was talking to me about what cars I was into. I told him that I really liked HQ Monaros. He knew where one was – Todd from Rare Parts had just completed a roller painted in Bionic Blue, and it was for sale. I don’t know how it happened, but I was out of the ute project quick smart and into the Monaro project. To be honest, it was the best decision I have ever made,” laughed Tyson.

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The new roller was delivered to the S&E workshop, and the build commenced. “I knew that I still wanted to go with an LS motor, but I decided that I wanted a brand new donk. Steve managed to source me a fresh LS3. I wasn’t after bulk power, so there are no major modifications performed to it just yet, instead, I was after something nice to drive and be totally practical. The way I see it, you can’t go wrong with the new stuff.” Steve slotted the motor in, fitted the fuel system which comprises of a Bosch 044 as the main pump and a Carter Black as a lift pump and bolted up the Pacemaker headers that feed the ‘Butler Built’ 2 ½-inch stainless steel exhaust system. A 102mm Pro Flo throttle body with a K&N filter was fitted up, and due to the extreme heat conditions of the State’s North, Tyson made damn sure that Steve fitted the HQ with air conditioning and a bloody big radiator too!

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“One thing I have always preferred is manual gearboxes. I think it is more enjoyable to drive a car through the gears than just putting it into drive,” explained Tyson. The obvious choice for the build was a T56 Tremec with an Exedy heavy duty clutch. Final Drive Engineering supplied the tail shaft and the 3.9-geared, sheet metal 9-inch with billet axles and a Truetrac centre.

With upgrades in the powertrain, it was necessary to make some improvements in the handling and braking departments too. Koni adjustable shocks and Kings springs do the job as do the slotted front rotors with Wilwood 4-piston callipers. The 15-inch Centerline Convo Revs are a unique choice of wheels and are shod with some decent sized rubber. “I wanted something different for my wheels, but I am not a fan of large diameter wheels on older cars. For me, 15-inch wheels are always the way to go, and I hadn’t seen another Monaro with these wheels on it,” said Tyson.

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Todd from Rare Parts did a great job on the rebuild before the sale, the Bionic Blue paint leaps off the body and inside the cabin, well, that is super-neat thanks to some fresh parts from the shop. Tyson did want to put his own spin on the interior though so some changes were made by Steve at S&E.

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“With the modern driveline, I thought it would be a nice touch to add some modern flavour to the car. That is why I had Steve fit the CV8 Monaro seats to the front and the rear of the car. I have a Monaro badge mounted between the rear seats – that was off my Dad’s orange Monaro. That’s a pretty special piece of the car for me as it will always remind me of my father,” explained Tyson. Trimcare were the guys who made a lot of work happened in the interior. They did the carpet, the hood lining and the great looking Houndstooth material on the seats. The dash looks pretty trick with the finish and the compliment of Autometer gauges.

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“I’ve set the HQ up to cruise the highways that’s why it has the 6-speed manual, the LS engine and the great diff ratio. The car just eats up the open road. It is such a nice car to drive too. It is easily the best car I have owned. I am glad that Steve and the boys talked me out of the ute project and into the Monaro. It has been like a dream come true.”

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