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Kevin's Diary - 1967 Holden HR X2 Premier
I have owned my 67’ Holden HR X2 Premier since 1999 with the intention of restoring it to a Pro-Street level vehicle. For those who don’t know, a Pro Street car is one that has a drag strip pedigree but with ‘street-able’ qualities. In a nutshell, it is a highly powered street-legal vehicle just as comfortable going down the quarter mile as it is driving down Sydney streets.
The decision to go down this path with such an iconic classic Australian car has had mixed reviews.
Some suggest that a rare model such as the X2 should be taken back to concourse condition rather than having it highly modified into a performance car while others say this is the perfect donor to undergo a dramatic face lift. I tend to agree with the later and seeing as I control the purse strings on the build, a performance car it shall be.
Now on face value, the car will look original from the outside, with the only mods a set of highly polished billet wheels and a highly lowered stance. Inside the car, the originality will also be preserved with original trim, dash, fascia’s and original premier seats. The only mods inside will be an aftermarket stereo, billet steering wheel and steering column.
The major mods will be taking place under the bonnet and to the drive line. To keep this car themed with classic Australian engineering I remained with a straight 6 Holden donk.
Currently I have being built a race bred 202 blue motor bored out 40 thou with every conceivable bell and whistle.
Mated to this we have gone with a JZED head design which flows around 430HP. That is serous ponies for a Holden six and a car weighing just over 1000kgs.
To transfer this power to the tyres I have already purchased a Toyota Supra 5 speed box and a Borg Warner diff out of a Commodore VS Maloo Ute. Suspension and brakes at this stage are undecided.
The resto will be taking place in a domestic garage without the use of hoists, rotisserie’s or other workshop machinery, however, an experienced resto technician will be spearheading the build with typical workshop tools and devices. For this reason it will be a frame-on full nut and bolt restoration.
Below is a brief photo diary of the process in bringing this 1967 Holden HR X2 Premier back to life.
Stage 1 – Stripping the Car
The first stage of the resto project was to strip the car.
The major consideration for those who are about to embark on a project of this kind is to bag and tag.
While its time consuming, we labelled and bagged every part removed.
In the odd case the original builder cannot reassemble someone needs to step in and complete the build. Without a systemised tagging process this would be near on impossible. The stripping of the car took two of us two days to complete.
Stripping and more stripping. Photo and label everything
Stage 2 – Engine Bay
Once the car was stripped we commenced on the engine bay. My builder likes to complete a section of the car starting from the front and moving back. What this means is paint stripping the engine bay, converting any visible rust, repairing any unnecessary drill holes getting it in primer. I should note, at this stage we weren’t familiar with POR 15 or any PPC products. The paint stripping was completed, all repairs made and the first lot of primer went on before my father brought home a catalogue and I was introduced to the POR 15 range of products.
After a bit of negotiation, I convinced my builder to trial the product on the front radiator support and on the underside of the bonnet which had some major rust issues. The POR-15 system goes against the grain with most panel beaters / spray painters as it’s completely different to the normal way of painting.
After giving it a go my builder was so impressed with the finish of POR 15 and how the process of POR-15 Marine Clean and POR-15 Metal Ready completely stopped rust in its tracks we have decided to primer the entire car with the product ensuring rust will never be a problem again. The hard finish is incredible.
This has added more work as now the entire car needs to come back to bare metal so we can apply POR 15 in the correct manner.
Stage 3 – Paint Stripping the Car
We decided from the outset we wanted to strip the car by hand using paint stripping gel and scrapers.
Most people thought we had rocks in our head as soda blasting would complete the job to a higher standard and in a fraction of the time.
However the decision was made to save money. 3k soda blasting ate into a chunk of the finances which would ultimately mean compromising on the details at the end of the build.
Paint stripping the outside panels of the HR took us 6 weeks.
Stage 4 – Beginning to use POR 15
The next stage was to begin file finishing the panels and commence the rust prevention process.
Using POR 15 is completely new for us and the concept of washing bare metal with water takes some getting used to.
Seeing how Marine Clean and Metal Ready prepares the surface for paint is amazing and for the first time user, seeing the metal turn from a beautiful clean newly soda blasted silver to an orangey-rusty colour is a little confusing at first until you get a sense that this reaction to bare metal is normal.
It looks ugly after applying Metal Ready but you can see the rust literally disappear.
The metal needs to be roughed up as there is no primer. The POR-15 Metal Ready also etches the metal.
Stage 5 – Soda Blasting the rest
At the 8 week mark, once the entire car was stripped of paint on the outer panels, we decided to concede defeat and send the car in to soda blast the remaining work.
This consisted of the under carriage, wheel arches, floor pan, boot, dash, inner door skins and door jams.
We also decided to soda blast the engine bay even though we had completed it weeks before to high fill stage.
Unfortunately this work was done before we learnt of POR 15, so to be safe we are redoing the engine bay similarly to the rest if the car.
A week later and the entire car was prepped with POR-15 Marine Clean (water based de greaser) and POR-15 Metal Ready (rust remover and zinc phosphate etching).