I came across my 1978 HZ GTS in May 2020. After viewing the vehicle, it became apparent to me, that the vehicle was a great example of a survivor HZ GTS. Although the car didn’t have the body coloured bumper bars, the honey comb wheels or the HZ GTS pin stripping, like the car in the marketing photos. The HZ GTS I was about to purchase had low mileage, was matching numbers, still had the original engine and most importantly had no significant modifications’.
The vehicle is a May 1978 Pagewood built vehicle, with a 5 Litre (L31), 4 speed manual (M21), in Palais White, Slate Black vinyl interior (18V). The vehicle was optioned with Air Conditioning (C60). The vehicle was sold to me with all documentation proving the matching numbers. Whether the vehicle was built with the chrome bars or they were fitted at the time of sale is not certain, but the dealer invoice suggest the body coloured bumpers were removed and chrome bumpers were fitted at the time of sale, at the same time the stick on body side mouldings were fitted.
Having gotten the car home, my original plan was to take the car back to bare metal, respray the car (still in Palais white), fit a power antenna, and paint the bumper bars in white. However, the more I looked at the vehicle, I decided to maintain the survivor nature of the vehicle. After all, the original paint is in good condition, with some rust in the usual locations. Instead I set about fixing things that had broken over time and undoing modifications.
I am the forth owner of the vehicle. Throughout its previous ownership's, little modifications had been done to the vehicle, which is evident by the amount of work I needed to make to the vehicle to get it as faithful as it was in 1978.
Within the first six months of ownership, I had the broken patches of the slate black vinyl replaced on the front seats, fitted new front seat cushions, repaired the AWA AM radio, repaired the broken trip meter, replaced the antenna which was not much better than a coat hanger with an original antenna, replaced the air filter housing where the snorkel had been cut back, apparently to give better induction sound, and I repaired the broken demister lines on the rear window. I removed the dodgy aftermarket thermo-fans, which promptly landed in the bin. The air conditioner was brought back to life too, with a replacement schrader valve. No detail was too small to be left undone, to ensure the car was a faithful and functional, as it was in 1978, so it could be classified as a true survivor. I even repaired the cigarette lighter! Most of the work was undertaken by myself, with specialist work for the seat trimming, the radio and trip meter repairs, and the air conditioner repair.
I have had the Quadrajet repaired, due to the secondaries not opening, repaired the original fuel gauge sender unit, cleaned the sludge from the fuel tank, which is by far the worst job I've done on the car. I have also had the exhaust system replaced with a new 2” system, as well as the springs and shock absorbers.
After working on the car for every weekend in the first six months of ownership, I gave the paint a polish and prepared the vehicle for its first outing at the 2021 Monaro State Titles, where it scored second place in the HQ-HZ Survivor Category.