SOUTH Australia’s Pacemakers Drag Team keeps pumping out top-notch, race-ready nostalgia humpies. Dean Walding’s Pulsator-tribute gasser is the latest to hit the track, and we caught up with him for the FX’S maiden voyage at the recent eighth-mile Mildura Nostalgia Drags.
Why’d you build a Pulsator tribute?
Pulsator was the original name of an FX race car that went on to be called Dirty Harry. I had known where Dirty Harry was sitting for 20 years. I missed out on buying it, but became involved with the car and brought it to the Mildura Nostalgias last year to be displayed alongside a tribute car. I had an FX that had been sitting in my father’s shed for 20 years, so I decided to build a replica of the Pulsator.
How’d you go about it?
I bought a ’40 Chev I-beam front end, and then I had to figure out how to get it into the front of an early Holden, and get the nose into the air. So, I built and fabricated everything myself, using the parts I had sitting around: a 350ci Chev, Turbo 400, Salisbury One Tonner diff, seats and rollcage. I have steel rims as I don’t have the money for fancy rims; it also has second-hand slicks and front-runners. The only things new are bearings and necessities. Pulsator was built on a shoestring budget.
And you hadn’t raced before?
No, the first run was so nerve-wracking. I’d only driven it for the first time three days before, getting it out on a private road to see if it drove straight. I scared the crap out of myself as I didn’t realise it’d go so quick. It ran deadstraight; I was so happy. It was exciting, and now the bug has bitten. I’ve already bought a set of alloy heads and another manifold, ha ha! It wasn’t meant to cost much, but I just want to run consistent times, so this is meant to be the last thing that I buy.
What times did you pull?
I started with an 8.9-second first run, then I dialled in an 8.65 and ran an 8.66-second pass in my final. I won two of my three races, losing the first one due to my low dial-in – I had no idea what I was doing, as it was the first time I’d raced.
What do you want from the car?
I want it reliable and consistent so it’s then up to me as the driver. A 15-second car can beat someone running 10s – that’s the exciting thing about it; it’s all about your dial-in. The vibe for nostalgia drags is really huge at the moment and I’m having a good time with the Pacemakers Drag Team while racing early-model Holdens. We’re not running low quarter-miles but we’re consistent and having fun, and that’s what it’s all about for me.
Tell us about the Pacemakers team.
We’re a bunch of blokes headed by Romano and Michael Puntin that have recreated 60s cars from the Brooksfield days. There is a Munster replica, She’s Ace replica, now the Pulsator, and the original Exterminator is coming out soon. We help each other and keep the early nostalgia style of racing going.
I had an FX that had been sitting in my father’s shed for 20 years, so I decided to build a replica of the Pulsator