A Highly Rated beaut ute

Lorraine and John O’Sullivan at their Tumut home with the 1966 Holden HR utility.


John O’Sullivan’s 1966 Holden HR ute has gone from being postal to poster-worthy.

Tumut resident John bought the vehicle from a reluctant seller in Wagga Wagga five years ago.

“He didn’t want to sell it but he had a wife and kids and he needed a sedan,” John said.

The ute was a former Post Master General’s vehicle and had originally been painted red.

It’s heritage had a bonus.

“It had a low-lying canopy which kept the water out,” John said.

“That’s why there was no rust on the floors.”

Other than this, it has little resemblance to its former mail-transporting self, thanks largely to the work of its former owner.

It has a deep blue paint job, a M21 four-speed manual gearbox, which replaced the original three-on-tree, and a 186 engine which had been rebuilt and bored and had new rods, pistons and steel crank added.

“It had triple SU carburetors but these were worn out so I replaced them with a 350 Holley,” John said.

The suspension has also been slightly lowered.

Only the interior needed attention when John bought the car.

“The inside was trashed; it was horrible,” he said.

John put bucket seats from a HR Premier and replaced the carpet, after a cigarette lighter-triggered fire burnt some of it.

The previous owner did most of the work on the ute, but John’s contribution hasn’t been cheap.

“Lorraine (his wife) calls it the bank because we have put so much money in it,” he said.

“You wouldn’t think an old Holden or Ford would cost you so much.”

Fortunately John and Lorraine are members of Tumut’s Snowy Cruisers car club, and have the NSW Government’s log book registration, allowing them to drive it 60 times a year.

“You wouldn’t really want to drive it more than that,” John said.

“It gets along quite nicely, but it gets cranky in low gear. It’s not much fun to drive in the main street in peak hour.”