The crowd is fixated, standing on tip-toes vying for space. Through the thick acrid smoke you can hear the whine of a supercharged small block being dealt to. Through the murk the front of a blue HK Monaro emerges. The crowd is loving it, cheering, arms in the air. Bang goes a tyre. The crowd goes even wilder. A few seconds later another bang, as tyre number two explodes.
As the smoke clears the driver emerges through the sunroof to stand on the front edge of the car’s roof, arms aloft in celebration. He’s not alone, as the crowd cheers and applauds his efforts.
It’s this type of behaviour that brought Tristan Teki and his HK Monaro to our attention. Brutal is the best way to describe the manner in which Tristan treats the HK, but as hard as he is on the car, he’s equally skilled at screwing it together — and he’s pretty flash behind the wheel too. In fact, he’s built a combination that’s been tough enough to handle this sort of abuse for several years now without any major meltdowns. Instead he’s got a few trophies on the mantelpiece at home for his efforts.
Tristan has been destroying tyres for as long as he can remember, but the HK only came into his possession around five years ago. When Tristan purchased the HK, it was fitted with an injected 5.0-litre Holden motor. But it didn’t take long before his driving style didn’t really suit the mechanical componentry of the car. It was a combination of the third broken gearbox and the dislike of showing people a plastic cover in the engine bay that saw him devise a plan to refit a Chev motor.
A quick search on Trade Me uncovered a steel Chev small block for a decent price, so it was bought and dropped in the hole with a turbo 400 trans. The salespeople at Pro Parts in Palmerston North must be bloody good, because Tristan went there looking for a few shiny bits to tidy up the engine bay but instead came out with a complete 8/71 supercharger kit. I guess you could say that it’s shiny and makes the engine bay look the part, at least that’s what Tristan told his wife.
A day later he’d fitted a Holley pump and half-inch lines to feed fuel to the thirsty setup, and with cable ties holding the accelerator cable on, Tristan was off down the road testing. After nearly shitting himself at the car’s new power and dislike for traction, he knew he was onto a good thing.
Little did he suspect that the stock bottom end would last three and a half years of abuse before needing to be cracked open. Included in that time were many burnout comps, street drags and even a few trips down the quarter mile, with a best ET of 11.9 seconds.
Around two years ago and with a bit more cash under his belt, Tristan decided it was time to build the engine properly. For this he called upon the services of Rivers Speed and Spares, who stroked the motor out to 383ci with Manley pistons and an Eagle crank. Edelbrock Victor Junior heads were fitted, as was a Comp Cams cam and roller rockers. The days of it being a budget beater were over.
As a qualified mechanic, Tristan did most of the work at home, including fitting a whole bunch of MSD ignition gear and a well thought out cooling system. The latter includes an electric water pump, larger alloy radiator, the biggest electric fan he could find and a turbo timer. The turbo timer lets the car continue cooling even after the engine has been switched off and Tristan has walked away.
With the engine build going on, Tristan decided to crack open the transmission at the same time. Cameron Head at Automan Specialists was given this job, and as well as freshening it up, he fitted a manual valve body and a Hughes 3500rpm stall converter. So far the combo has been able to handle all the abuse Tristan has dealt to it, as has the nine-inch rear diff.
With the diff came Ford callipers and discs, which have remained in place and are now paired with HZ front callipers. In fact a whole HZ sub-frame and suspension assembly has been grafted into the car. New shocks were added at the same time, while the springs remain standard. Tristan wasn’t too worried about handling, though, because he’s got a Camaro race car for when he fancies turning corners.
It was always important that the car looked good, and thanks to some expert panelwork by Prestige Panelbeaters and paint by Jellymans Panel and Paint it now does. The colour is a bit of a ‘she’ll be right’ custom blue. With the chrome bumpers and bug catcher sticking through the bonnet, it doesn’t look bad. The mix of 14-inch front and 15-inch rear Cragar rims adds to the purposeful look.
Tristan has made sure the car’s interior is as comfortable for cruising the streets as it is sitting on the burnout pad. A set of bucket seats replaces the factory items and a Pioneer stereo system pumps out the tunes should he ever tire of the blower whine. It hasn’t happened yet, so it doesn’t seem likely that it ever will.
With recent success at the Powercruise Burnout competition, among others, he’s got a few titles to defend, so we don’t think the car’s future will change a lot from what it’s become accustomed to. It’s been such a reliable combination despite the trashing that it gets so regularly, and of course Tristan knows how to drive it, and knows how to get the crowd on its feet, so why would he want to change a thing? Except tyres, of course.
1968 Holden GTS HK Monaro – specifications
Engine: 383ci (6.3-litre) Chev, 010 overbore, four-bolt Chev truck block, Manley coated pistons, Eagle 4340 forged rotating assembly, stroker kit, Victor Junior alloy heads, Comp Cams roller rockers, Comp Cams cam, twin 650cfm Demon double pumper blower carbs with bug catcher, Weiand 8/71 supercharger, standard tank, 13mm braided fuel lines, Holley high-flow fuel pump, Barry Grant four-port regulator, MSD 6BTM ignition, billet MSD distributor, MSD leads, twin 2.5-inch pipes, alloy radiator, electric water pump, 356mm electric fan all on turbo timer, MSD 7000rpm chip, MSD BTM adjustable boost control
Driveline: Turbo 400 transmission, Hughes 3500rpm stall converter, manual shift kit, nine-inch diff
Suspension: HZ Holden suspension, aftermarket shocks, stock springs
Brakes: HZ front callipers and rotors, Ford rear callipers
Wheels/ tyres: 14×7-and 15×8-inch Cragar rims, 205/60R14 and 265/50R15 Cooper tyres
Exterior: Custom blue paint
Interior: Bucket seats, Pioneer audio system (head unit, components, 6x9s and twin 12-inch subs)
Performance: Approximately 600hp (450kW)
Tristan Teki – Owner profile
car club: Wanganui Road Rodders
Previously owned cars: HQ, HZ, WB Holden utes all with 350 Chevs, VS SS ute, VX Commodore
Dream car: My ’69 Camaro. Now I have to think of a new dream car
Build time: Six months about five years ago
Length of ownership: Five years
Tristan thanks: Big thanks to Grant and Dean at Rivers Speed and Spares 06 345 4402, Mark, Dean and Nigel at Pro Parts Palmerston North 06 355 2992, and all the family and friends who helped, and my understanding wife Joanne. Thank you.
Words: Todd Wylie Photos: Adam Croy[Gallery not found]