Winiata Reid’s HQ shows you don’t need a huge budget or years of experience under your belt to own a standout car

Growing up with a dad who is a self-confessed petrol head with a penchant for anything fast, Winiata Reid was always going to end up with some cool rides. At just 23-years-old his roll call of previously owned cars reads like a wish list for many of us, yet we get the feeling this is just the beginning.

With dad encouraging him all along, not to mention setting the benchmark with his nine-second street car among others in his collection, Winiata’s rides have been getting better and better, and when the opportunity to purchase this HQ came up he jumped at it. Although he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty himself, the HQ was already up and running, and couldn’t be built for the price the seller was asking.  

Like Winiata, the previous owner of the HQ has had a bunch of very cool cars over the years, and seems to pump out another stunner around once every 12 months or so. With full-on business commitments, he hired HQ guru Carl Johnson to build the majority of the vehicle and manage all other aspects, and what a job Carl’s done.

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With years of HQ building under his belt, and his own impressive HQ projects currently on the go, Carl was the obvious choice. Of course, it helps that he knows what constitutes a cool car, so he didn’t need to keep running back and forward to the owner for reassurance.
After numerous HQs were purchased to use as parts for the project, all the best bits were combined to create a good solid shell with rust-free doors. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a decent HQ door in the last few years will know how difficult that task can be. 
Because Carl has plenty of panel beating experience, the body was prepped in-house before being shipped off to Shane at Prima Panelbeaters to work his magic with the Spies Hecker paint. Before this could happen, an Australian-style half cage was fitted, which leaves onlookers in no doubt that the car is made for much more than just sedate cruising.
The brief for the HQ was it had to be tough yet still drivable in comfort. It’s a brief that has been well and truly met. 

The stout small block up front with a Weiend 6/71 blower is the centrepiece of the build, and is the reason Winiata was so eager to take possession of it. The engine upon which the big butter churn sits was built by Muzza at Speedsource in Warkworth, and is based around a 350 small block. Inside the block now resides a Carillo crank that takes displacement out to 383ci. 
With Carillo rods and boost-friendly pistons as well as a bunch of ARP fasteners holding the lot together, the bottom end should be up to the abuse it will soon see. Here’s hoping it lasts longer than the first engine combo that was in the car: that block split within the first few hours of being on the road.

Atop the engine sit worked TrickFlow heads. They house larger valves that are under the orders of a solid cam. 

Good fuelling and breathing gear were deemed essential, especially as both Winiata and the previous owner aren’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of tyre frying. With this in mind the engine was specced with twin 750cfm Demon carbs that are sent their liquid gold by a Carter fuel pump and Magnafuel regulator. With an MSD ignition to kick off the combustion process and three-inch pipes clearing the spent gases, it’s a cool combination that goes to show you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a bunch of fun.

The twin three-inch pipes incorporate Flow Master mufflers before dumping at the diff. While not strictly legal on the streets, the setup sounds awesome, and that’s just at idle. Once up in the rev range the cam comes alive and the resulting engine note, combined with the whine of the supercharger, is as good as it gets.

Take aim

With the car being built for events such as Powercruise (which is on a few weeks after this magazine goes on sale) the engine bay has been made to look as pretty as it is powerful. As part of this, the inner guards have been removed to reveal the custom springs and aftermarket shocks that are now fitted. The other plus side of the removed guards is to allow the heat generated in the bay a bit more of a chance to escape, especially when the car is sitting static with the revs up high and the tyres on fire. 

To keep the rubber turning there’s a Ford nine-inch diff that has been fitted with 31-spline Strange axles and a limited slip head. With 4.11:1 Richmond gears, it’s the perfect combo with the Turbo 400 trans that does the shifting.

Knowing the boys all like to get out and cruise, the interior was designed with the factory bench seats front and rear. They’re now both covered in beautiful tan leather that offsets the red perfectly. While the door trims look like expensive leather, they’re actually just recoloured factory items. Other interior upgrades include a couple of Auto Meter gauges and a B&M shifter. Although it’s not the easiest to hear over the engine, a Pioneer stereo system has also been fitted.


With the car being a very well-built combination of cruiser and bruiser, it’s a wonder why the original owner wanted to sell it. Winiata, on the other hand, is understandably stoked to add it to his collection. 

From what he mentioned, it sounds like his younger brother has just about completed a nine-second drag car to go head-to-head against the old man’s. 
With a brother like that and plenty of rivalry and support among them, it looks like this petrol head family’s antics are bound to continue for some time yet. We wonder what that will bring for Winiata and his kick-arse HQ. 

One thing’s for sure, you’ll be able to see it in action at Powercruise. 

  • Engine: 383ci (6.3-litre) small block Chev, 350 block, Carillo 400 crank, Carillo rods, ARP bolts, ARP head studs, Mellings high-volume oil pump, Crower solid cam, Crower lifters, ported and polished Trickflow heads, oversized valves, twin 750cfm Demon carburettors, Weiand 6/71 supercharger, Carter fuel pump, Magnafuel regulator, MSD 6AL ignition, MSD leads, Pacemaker headers, twin three-inch exhaust, twin FlowMaster mufflers, custom radiator, smoothed engine bay
  • Driveline: Turbo 400, 3500rpm stall converter, nine-inch diff, 31-spline Strange axles, LSD head, 4.11:1 Richmond gear set
  • Suspension: Custom springs, aftermarket shocks, Nolathane bushes all round
  • Brakes: Stock
  • Wheels/tyres: 16x8-inch Simmons B45 polished rims, 205/50R16 and 225/50R16 Goodyear tyres
  • Exterior: Spies Hecker red
  • Interior: Full leather retrim, Sparco steering wheel, B&M shifter, Auto Meter Pro-Comp gauges, half cage, Pioneer head unit and speakers
  • Performance: Untested

Driver profile

  • Owner/driver: Winiata Reid
  • Age: 23
  • Occupation: Social worker
  • Previously owned cars: Tunnel rammed nitrous ’23 T-bucket, Valiant Hemi Pacer, two 350 Chev-powered Capris, three Toranas
  • Dream car: Big block blown injected nitrous LJ Torana
  • Why the HQ? I bought it because of the engine, nothing like a big blower out the bonnet
  • Winiata thanks: Muzza at Speedsource for the engine build, Big Mel for tuning the car, Murray and Sanjay, my dad Dave

This article was originally featured in NZV8 Issue No. 67. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:

Todd Wylie

Todd Wylie has been involved with NZV8 magazine since before the first issue was printed, and has been the editor for the last eight years. Growing up in the heyday of the Jap-import scene, he's not adverse to Japanese vehicles, having worked for NZ Performance Car previously, as well as owning a few well-known examples. These days he cruises at a slower pace in a 1956 Cadillac Coupe and dreams of building a Model A tudor.