1977 Holden HX Statesman DeVille - Reader Ride

By: Con Raphael with Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

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Con's Statesman has been turned into a replica of the car he let go of 30 years ago

When they started out with the HQ Statesman, the interior on the basic model was essentially the interior of an HQ Premier. It had a 202 and three-speed column shift and proved not to be all that popular.

Holden had the De Ville as the upmarket version all the way through, until the Caprice came along.

The driveline in this one is a 308 with Turbo 400 and a 3.08:1 diff, so pretty much what would have left the factory.

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This car has been in Unique Cars magazine before, but it looked very different. It’s had a lot of work done and is now a pretty exact replica of a car I owned back in 1987 and ended up selling in 1990. Like a lot of people in a similar situation, I ended up regretting letting that one go.

| 2021 Market Review: Holden HQ-WB Statesman

That car had a few adventures. It was stolen about a month after I bought it and was recovered after around six weeks. I made some minor changes to it over time, such as a set of 12-slotter wheels.

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I let that first car go for a few reasons. It was getting tired mechanically – I had been pretty hard on it (I was 18 at the time) and I think the people who stole it gave it a rough run as well.

There was a known weakness with this series, where the lower control arms meet the chassis rails. They have a tendency to crack under the additional weight of the V8s and this wasn’t fixed until Radial Tuned Suspension came along. They’re fitted with a couple of additional bracing rods.

| Reader Resto: 1972 Holden HQ Statesman

As a mechanic (Con works with Mick at Glenlyon Motors in Melbourne), I can advise that you should run an eye over them when it’s on a hoist and do not fit nolathane bushes, as they’re too stiff. Go for normal rubber.

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It took me 30 years to finally get this car back to what I had, and yes it was a lockdown project.

One of the first tasks was to strip out the interior and I had some generous help from Wadih Romanos at Coburg Motor Trimmers to get it all back together. Dashboard Doctor in Coburg is still the go-to place for dash repair, and that was another on a long list of jobs.

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There are a lot of interior details that are like my first Statesman, including the stereo, equaliser and speakers. And you see the seat covers in the front? They’re out of the original one!

It was a lot of effort, but I’m pretty close to having it where I want it and the car brings back a lot of memories.

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From Unique Cars 456, Sep 2021

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