THE BUT­TER­FLY EF­FECT

JEFF PYE HAS BEEN AT THE COALFACE OF ELEC­TRONIC FUEL IN­JEC­TION FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES, AND HIS LAT­EST TOUGH HOLDEN EN­GINE ROLLS ART AND PER­FOR­MANCE INTO ONE

Street Machine - - Legend -

I RACED MY OWN RAIL POW­ERED BY A 138 GREY WITH METHANOL-FED TRIPLES; IT RAN 11.80S AT SURFERS

CAST your mind back to 1992; those with long mem­o­ries will re­mem­ber a story we ran called Hot Tuner, about a young Queens­lan­der mak­ing waves with EFI. Well, a quar­ter of a cen­tury later, that same qui­etly spo­ken, good­hu­moured and very per­son­able bloke, Jeff Pye of J&J Fuel In­jec­tion, hasn’t looked back. We spoke with Jeff as he cel­e­brates 30 years in busi­ness as J&J, rem­i­nisc­ing about his early days and delv­ing into his lat­est build.

How did your pas­sion for cars and tin­ker­ing with me­chan­i­cal stuff be­gin?

I started pump­ing gas at the lo­cal garage when I was 12 years old and was taken on as an ap­pren­tice there at 14. It was the To­tal ser­vice sta­tion at Mans­field in Bris­bane, which was owned by a bloke called Barry Wraith; he was well-known in 1970s rac­ing cir­cles for his hot Mi­nis and plenty of tough six-cylin­ders. His pre-cross­flow Fal­con six-pow­ered 105E Anglia was awe­some.

What was your first car?

It was an AP5 Valiant sta­tion wagon with a slant-six donk and Torque­flite au­to­matic that had the push-but­tons on the dash. I paid $200 for that car, which doesn’t sound like much, but it was de­cent coin when you were only earn­ing $46.10 a week [laughs].

Did you get into drag rac­ing wholly and solely, or have you com­peted in other types of mo­tor­sport?

No, it has al­ways been drag rac­ing. I fin­ished my ap­pren­tice­ship at Eagers Holden in Wool­loongabba and the ser­vice man­ager there was a bloke called Kenny Holtz. He and his brother drag-raced a tough FJ called Dixie Chicken that ran a hot grey mo­tor – that thing ran flat 13s, which was re­ally mov­ing for a side­plate sedan. I raced my own rail pow­ered by a 138-cube grey with methanol-fed triple SUS, which ran through an HT three-speed and 3.89-geared FC diff; it ran in the 11.80s at Surfers, and that feel­ing of the power-toweight was in­cred­i­ble. It was called Satan’s Side­plate [laughs].

I’ve seen your J&J Fuel In­jec­tion name around for years; when did you kick things off?

My wife Jenny and I are the ‘J&J’ and we opened for busi­ness back in 1987, so it’s been 31 years. We’re al­ways busy and I think it’s be­cause we do all of our work to a high stan­dard and have a solid cus­tomer base. Ver­sa­til­ity is also the key – J&J does ev­ery­thing from gen­eral ser­vic­ing and me­chan­i­cal work to in­jec­tor re­con­di­tion­ing and per­for­mance en­gine build­ing and tun­ing.

What was the ap­peal of EFI and how did you get so in­volved with it at such an early stage?

In the mid-1980s EFI was be­com­ing the big thing with VK Com­modores and XF Fal­cons. I was im­pressed by the torque of these EFI en­gines, how sweet they ran and their throt­tle re­sponse. This new tech­nol­ogy timed nicely with open­ing J&J and I knew it was go­ing to be the way of the fu­ture.

That must have been a steep learn­ing curve com­pared to the in­for­ma­tion that’s avail­able to­day.

Most def­i­nitely, but we were all in the same boat; I went back to school and did a heap of EFI cour­ses to get me started, then got busy tin­ker­ing and learn­ing on the job. My claim to fame is that I pi­o­neered some of the first EFI methanol en­gines and street cars to run down Wil­low­bank back in the day, firstly us­ing screw­driver-ad­justable ECUS be­fore mov­ing on to dig­i­tal ECUS.

That Holden V8 mo­tor is a pretty wild­look­ing bit of gear; do you have a pref­er­ence for Holden en­gines or is just some­thing you’ve de­cided to de­velop?

I’ve been a Gm/holden guy all of my life, firstly with grey mo­tors then red six-cylin­ders and of course the early-headed 308s. Any­thing with mul­ti­ple but­ter­flies has al­ways been my pas­sion, so I am happy to adapt that knowl­edge to any en­gine re­ally. I’ve built a num­ber of cross­flow Ford six-cylin­ders too with great suc­cess, so I en­joy the chal­lenge. This cur­rent en­gine is a per­sonal project for me and is a 365-cube based around a VT Com­modore Series I block and –11 Dave Ben­nett al­loy heads (see side­bar, p. 31).

And what’s the plan? What will you be fit­ting it to?

I’m build­ing an HZ Holden ute as a street/ strip/show car. It’s run­ning a six-speed man­ual and four-link rear, so should be a great all-rounder with plenty of us­able power. I think it will be per­fect for events like Street Ma­chine Drag Chal­lenge, and it’s been great to im­merse my­self in a per­sonal project again.

What would be your most mem­o­rable or favourite project?

The cur­rent HZ ute; the en­gi­neer­ing in­volved with both the mo­tor and the car it­self has been both chal­leng­ing and sat­is­fy­ing in one, and I look for­ward to get­ting it fin­ished and en­joy­ing it.

Do you have a favourite car or builder that in­spired you as a young bloke, or even now?

Peter Brock. No ques­tion. What he achieved as a driver and in­no­va­tor through­out his ca­reer is leg­endary, and his suc­cess with the six-cylin­der LC and LJ To­ranas in the early 70s in­spired me to go down that path as a young bloke. I’ve owned heaps of hot rod six-cylin­ders and still rate the Holden six as one of my favourite en­gines.

So what’s next?

Pretty much just to keep on do­ing what we’re do­ing here at J&J. I’ll keep build­ing a few en­gines each year and we’re hop­ing to in­stall a dyno in the near fu­ture; in fact we’re prob­a­bly one of the last places that still do old-school dis­trib­u­tor re­graph­ing as well, so are happy to cater for both new and old tech­nolo­gies. My son, Jake, is in­volved in the busi­ness too and is my right hand man; he’s pretty much a chip off the old block, so I know the place will be in safe hands when the time comes for me to take a step back. He has the right ini­tial too for the J&J name, which will make the tran­si­tion even smoother!

ANY­THING WITH MUL­TI­PLE BUT­TER­FLIES HAS AL­WAYS BEEN MY PAS­SION, SO I AM HAPPY TO ADAPT THAT KNOWL­EDGE TO ANY EN­GINE

03: Jeff’s love for EFI and cus­tom en­gine com­bi­na­tions is a given, but he still en­joys tin­ker­ing with old-school mul­ti­ple-carb set-ups. This 202 should make around 300hp with triple 2in SUS, and is des­tined for a cus­tomer’s showspec LC To­rana. “The LC cur­rently runs VK Com­modore EFI, but the owner is keen to re­turn it to some­thing more tra­di­tional,” he says. “It’s a cracker of an en­gine so he won’t be dis­ap­pointed”01: Jeff hard at work at his new flow­bench, fit­ting up a set of in­jec­tors into the cra­dle for test­ing. “This new bench is state-of-theart and will flow up to around 2000-2200cfm. I still use the old benches, but more for in­jec­tor ser­vic­ing and methanol flush­ing; they’re just too re­stric­tive for mod­ern high-horse­power ap­pli­ca­tions”02: Jeff’s pro­to­type TPI set-up for red 308s was at least a decade ahead of its time in the Aussie mar­ket, us­ing the screw­driver-ad­justable, Aussie-made INJEC brain-box

Jeff and some of his cre­ations when we first fea­tured him back in the March 1993 is­sue of SM. The cross­flow Ford six was fit­ted to a T-bucket, dis­placed 253 cubes and made 350 horses on methanol at the time. The 202 (top right) lived in an LC To­rana

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