Logan Muir’s 648 cube HQ Monaro packs more punch than Mike Tyson
Words & Images // Jordan Leist
For Logan Muir, there was never going to be any form of compromise on his incredible ’73 HQ Monaro. From top to bottom, the car is just as much show car as it is race car. I had heard good things about the car, knew the names behind the build and I was still flawed when I finally came face to face with it. In the flesh, the car looks as perfect as it does in the photos. Logan’s commitment to a quality finish needs to be commended and it is easily, one of the very best cars that FORGED has ever had the privilege of featuring.
Back over in NZ, where Logan grew up, his old man punted the exact type of HQ around before selling it whilst Logan was still a young bloke. “To be honest, I wanted that car badly. I chased it all over the country and found it but the guy didn’t want to sell it to me. I offered him silly money for it but he didn’t want to bite. Funnily enough, the car is a drag car these days so at least that is something to be proud of. I basically had to settle for something over here and I was just plain lucky to find a factory Tangerine Orange coloured car and in good condition.” explained Logan. That was around ten years ago and the initial plan called for a neat tidy up and to create a decent streeter with a bit of power. Looking at the car now you can see that plan was well and truly scrapped. What was Logan’s downfall you may ask? Booking the car in for a set of mini-tubs and then having his mates on his case, day in day out, about turning the car into something way, way more serious. “Yep, the boys put the pressure on me straight away. They all own really tough cars and one mate in particular, Chris Biddle, was a terrible influence. They didn’t give up so I just had to do what they said” laughed Logan.
The decision was made to actually give the car and purpose and for Logan, it had to be drag racing and in particular – APSA classed competition. “I started going through the rules of the various classes and made some calls to the blokes over East and asked what it would take to make a HQ fast and competitive. They all tried to talk me out of it, saying it was going to be too heavy and too big but I wanted to stick with the HQ – I was sick of seeing all the Capris and Toranas and my dream car was a HQ four-door so I just asked some more questions and they knew I was being serious. In the end, it really came down to what engine I wanted to run and I had access to something pretty damn special, a 648-cube monster” That motor just happened to come out of Chris Biddle’s HG sedan. “Chris was planning on going with a big turbo set up so his motor was for sale and it was easily the biggest and most powerful motor I knew of, so it made the most logical choice to buy that and build the car around it” explained Logan.
It was the boys at Chevpower who originally sorted the donk so you know it was all good. The Dart block has been kitted out with a Callies Magnum Plus crank along with Oliver rods and JE pistons. Brodix machine ported cylinder heads are treated to titanium valves and Manley valve springs. A solid roller cam and Crower 904 lifters finish off the internals. Looking after the oil flow is a Moroso billet oil pump and alloy sump. Perched atop of the 648-cube mountain motor is that killer CFE sheet metal manifold that that is fitted with twin 1150cfm Dominator carbies which are fed by the one large Magnafuel pump. An MSD crank triggered distributor takes care of the spark, along with an MSD 7AL and the burnt gases are expelled through custom headers that flow into 4 ½-inch collectors. For a race car, the engine bay is spectacular – not one thing is out of place and the finish is perfect. Besides looking good, the engine does perform. Geoff Chaisty tested it out on the C&R Motorsports engine dyno and the Chev didn’t disappoint – a naturally aspirated 1,301 hp at the flywheel with 1,022lbs/ft. of torque. Big, big numbers in anyone’s language.
A Dedenbear Powerglide with a TCE 6,500 converter takes care of the shifting thanks to Chris Dimoff at DTM Transmissions. The rear end is just as serious as the front of the car – try a sheet metal 9-inch with Mark Williams gun drilled 40-spline axles and a matching full spool centre with a 3.5:1 final drive. The car pulls up easily thanks to Wilwood and Strange braking components and of course, the parachute doesn’t hurt either.
Armed with his rule book in hand, Logan headed to the one man he could trust to set up the chassis correctly – Mr Geoff Black from Black Magic Race Cars. With Logan aiming for Mod Street Unblown, there were certain regulations that had to be adhered to. “One thing I did mention to Blackie was that I wanted a car that still had some room to move with another driveline as an option in the future. If I wanted to run a radial class and something like X275, the car would have to be able to suit that too. What he delivered was on the money.” said Logan. The front shocks are QA1 coilovers with the rears wearing Strange double adjustable units. The standard suspension points have been retained with chrome moly adjustable arms with rose joints used. The chassis has been section, the rear tubbed for the larger rubber and the nose wears Strange rack and pinion steering and drop spindles. The extensive chrome moly bar work is pretty impressive and the same can be said the impeccable job on the full cage inside the car. “With the little amount of testing we have done we know there is some work is needed in the set up. Because I wanted a car that was slammed I had Blackie set it up that way but sadly, in drag racing, a low car is a slow car. Hopefully we can reach a compromise so that the car comes up a little bit and delivers the power a little better. We are planning on playing with spring rates and there are a few other ideas kicking around too. I love how the car sits and that’s the problem” laughed Logan.
Looking to get the very best job possible, Logan sent the car over East to get the panel and paint done. “I had to make a choice, wait around whilst all the shops were busy here and not have the car done or find someone I could trust over East. My mate had his Torana painted by Jason Hoctor over in Melbourne and that was all I needed to see. It was top notch.” Before the original Tangerine Orange colour could be applied there was plenty of work to be done to the body. A flat firewall, a new boot floor and a custom transmission tunnel was incorporated into the shell by Blackie back in Perth, and an extra 2 ½-inches were added to the rear guards in anticipation for the large rubber. In an effort to reduce the weight of the car Logan went for several fibreglass panels and even Lexan windows. “We even went to the effort of lightening the inside of the doors and stripping the hinges back. Wherever I could take some weight out we did our best to remove all we could. The hardest part is the car still weighs 3,050lbs with me in it, while the minimum weight in the class is just 2,800lbs and guys are achieving it.” The body is finished off with a bonnet scoop that cost a ‘million dollars’ and a nicely fabricated rear wing. For the shoot, the car rolled on a different set of rear wheels – for the race track, the HQ wears 15×10 Weld Magnums with beadlocks on a 28.5×11.5×15 slick and the front is treated to 15×4 Magnums on Front Runners.
Crack the door open and be prepared to be impressed. The interior is flawless for a race car; hell, it is just flawless full stop. With weight saving being the name of the game, Logan opted for as much carbon fibre in there was he could. The expensive gear finds itself adorning the seats as well as the door cards. An RJ’s lightweight race wheel and a Precision Kwik Shift do their part keeping weight to a minimum too. It was Jason who suggested that the interior should cop the same custom metallic grey as the underside of the car and it looks an absolute treat in both places.
With limited testing and track time Logan has run a solid 8.20 @ 169.9mph but firmly believes that the car has a lot left in it. “The plan is to crack into the 7s and do that consistently. It is just hard to get track time with my work roster so I have to be patient and work at it. I would also love to get the car over East on regular occasions to battle it out against the APSA guys over there. In a few years I might even consider going with a twin turbo set up and race in different classes but at this stage, I just want to get the car fully sorted and make the most out of this combo” It’s funny how things work out – as I stood looking over the car during the shoot, I could see it as my next cover, I just hadn’t said it but I reckon Logan knew it, he leaned over to me and said “You know everyone loves a good HQ, right. Is it good enough for the cover?” Well, this HQ isn’t good it is sensational. It is a job well done mate, bloody well done.