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Reece's HZ GTS

In 1978 I was 15 years old and was pushing trolley’s part time for Safeway when an older co-worker arrived in a brand new (or near new) HZ GTS. It was Flamenco Red in colour, and I thought it was the best-looking car I had ever seen. Life and family followed, so it was 2012 before I decided I just had to get one.

A white GTS came up on eBay, and before the auction ended, I went and had a look at it. It was a Jasmine Yellow car that had been repainted in Palais White. The tartan interior was changed to some aftermarket fabric and the whole car was a bit run down – but complete nevertheless with original 308 engine and turbo 400. When auction time ended, I bid the highest amount that I could, but alas, I lost the auction.

Devastated, I searched for another HZ, but at that time nobody had one that they wanted to sell that was in any sort of good condition.  Months went by, then one day the same car that I lost at the auction came up for sale again on ebay. This time I didn’t hesitate and clicked the ‘Buy Now’ button and purchased the car.

When I got it home, I did a full inventory of all the items on the car and even though it had been rebuilt before, most of the original items were on it. What I had purchased was an October 1977 build GTS fitted with L31 engine (308ci), M21 transmission (TH400), power steering, factory aircon. Its GU4 Salisbury axle had been replaced with a 9 inch. There was 304,000km on the odometer.

Over a 6-year period, I performed a full nut-and-bolt rebuild of the car. After total disassembly, the body was sand blasted, and all panels checked for rust and dents. I performed all the repairs on the bodywork myself and farming out the final paint application to a professional. The decision on body colour was easy for me, as I had always wanted Flamenco Red since 1978.

I also wanted to improve on the factory performance as I remember reading reviews of the car in the day that whilst journalists agreed it was the best handling Holden they have ever driven; the power train was thought to be nothing spectacular.

Consequently, I had the engine reconditioned by Pavtek with a 355 stroker crank. I then assembled the rest of the engine to improved specifications (aluminum Yella Terra -3 heads, roller rockers, roller cam, ASR sump). Topping it all off with an MSD Atomic throttle body fuel injection. The engine was then run in on the dyno and tuned to run perfectly with the ICE electronic ignition. Exhaust gasses exit via Castle Headers 4 into 1 extractors with Jet-Hot coating then through an x-pipe to a dual 2.5” system.

The rest of the driveline consists of rebuilt TH400 with shift kit, 4” tailshaft and a rebuilt 9” LSD differential with 31 spline axles and 3.25:1 ratio. 

Final assembly of the car consisted of purchasing new or reconditioned fasteners, rubbers etc. and the interior was fully redone in slate vinyl.

The aircon components are mostly complete, although there is still some finishing off to be done.

So now the car is club registered and I can say that it is so much fun to drive and really lives up to my expectation from back when I was 15 years old. It looks great, sounds fantastic and is a pleasure to drive. I intend to drive and enjoy this car for many years to come.

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