Street Machine - - Urban Warfare -

IT’S PRETTY rare to­day to see a racer make the move from turbo power back to me­chan­i­cal su­per­charg­ing. Tur­bocharg­ing is seen by many as the horse­power an­swer to ev­ery­thing. But Cen­tral Coast, NSW, racer Matt Grubisa has ditched his mid-six-sec­ond, twin­turbo 10.5 Ca­maro for a ’67 Nova, com­plete with a 526 Hemi, PSI su­per­charger and a set of ra­di­als.

“I just got to the point with my rac­ing that I needed some­thing easy to main­tain and cheap to run, that would make truck­loads of power and I could do the main­te­nance and tune on,” Matt says.

The Nova has been around for a while, hav­ing been for­merly owned by Frank Ma­mone. The rolling body was built orig­i­nally by Don Ness Race­craft in the USA, and is a real nice piece, ru­moured to have cost al­most $200K. With a 490ci Hemi and a D-ro­tor PSI su­per­charger, the car ran con­sis­tently in the 6.5s, but even­tu­ally hit 6.37 at around 230mph with a larger-ca­pac­ity mo­tor and C-ro­tor PSI.

Since tak­ing pos­ses­sion of the roller, Matt had the boys from Cen­tral Coast Smash Re­pairs strip it to a shell and tidy up the body­work. Craig Burns at SCF Race Cars fresh­ened the rear end, fit­ted new poly­car­bon­ate win­dows and com­pleted a full fit-out of the car.

Matt was lucky enough to find a com­plete long en­gine for sale in Queens­land. The 526ci bil­let­block Brad An­der­son mo­tor was a spare for Top Doorslam­mer racer Mark Har­ris, and was in real nice shape, hav­ing never been win­dowed, and needed only a new set of rods and a gen­eral once-over at Newby En­gi­neer­ing.

The donk is all-busi­ness, with a 44 Amp mag­neto, ARC mod­ule and MSD Grid sys­tem. Top­ping the 3000hp pow­er­house is a D-ro­tor PSI su­per­charger with an En­derle K-style bar­rel fed by a Water­man Li’l Bertha fuel pump.

In­stead of a Lenco-style trans­mis­sion, Matt has opted for a two-speed TH400 built by Mark Micke at M&M Trans­mis­sion in Mid­west USA, with all the good gear in­clud­ing a 1.5:1 first-gear ra­tio and driv­ing the lat­est-style full-bil­let Coan torque con­verter.

Ra­dial rac­ing to­day is all about power de­liv­ery and sus­pen­sion, and there have been no cor­ners cut in this area with Matt’s car, with the lat­est­de­sign four-way Men­scer shocks con­trol­ling a fully fab­ri­cated rear end with 40-spline axles swing­ing mas­sive 15x14 Weld rims wear­ing 315 Mickey Thomp­son Ra­dial Pro sneak­ers.

De­spite the grow­ing num­ber of top-end ra­dial cars in Aus­tralia, this is the first blown Hemi ex­am­ple in the coun­try. One thing’s for

sure: The Nova will drive past the 6.60s Matt’s Ca­maro man­aged with the horse­power tank on near-empty.

“I feel I have all the best peo­ple on the team, with the Newby boys han­dling the mo­tor, Kon from Wol­lon­gong Au­to­mo­tive Ser­vices in charge of tune-up, elec­tron­ics and data ac­qui­si­tion, and Craig Burns on the sus­pen­sion,” Matt says.

“For now all I want to do is drive it, but I re­ally want to learn this set-up and how to sort it my­self at the track. I just don’t want to be in a po­si­tion where I’m re­ly­ing heav­ily on any­one but my­self.

“We are lucky the car has a Ra­cepak com­puter and seems to have ev­ery sen­sor you can fit, so we can re­ally chip away at this once we get it to the track. We’re pretty clear on where we want to head and that’s in the low fours over the eighth-mile.”

It’s hard to be­lieve that a blown Hemi, typ­i­cally known for be­ing an ag­gres­sive com­bi­na­tion, can do that well against the turbo bri­gade, but with guys like Ste­vie ‘Fast’ Jack­son rul­ing the roost in the USA with bot­tom 3.7s over the eighth-mile, Matt is pretty up­beat about the po­ten­tial of this stun­ning car.

“We are hop­ing that the main­te­nance side will be pretty easy as we will keep the revs un­der 10,000, prob­a­bly around 9500, in­stead of buzzing it to 11,000. This means we will re­ally only need to run the lash on the valves be­tween rounds,” Matt says. “Hav­ing said all that, if we need to step it up at var­i­ous meets to be com­pet­i­tive, we will. For now, we just want to get it down the track and pull the pan off the en­gine ev­ery meet to make sure ev­ery­thing is happy.”

The car is sur­pris­ingly light, weigh­ing only around 2850lb in full race spec, so it should be a good ride.

NOVA CANED: Known for his twin-turbo 10.5 Ca­maro that ran mid-sixes, Matt Grubisa is hop­ing that switch­ing things up with Psisu­per­charged 526 Hemi power in his ’67 Nova will see him into the low fours over the eighth-mile

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