PHOTOS: ADAM CROY NAME: SHANE WALDEN // AGE: 48 LOCATION: AUCKLAND // OCCUPATION: OPERATIONS MANAGER
NZ Performance Car: Hi, Shane. Your RX-8 isn’t quite the example you’d normally see on our pages — what do you use it for?
Shane: Hey, guys. This was my attempt to build a car that would get the younger guys into ‘street stock racing’: it’s basically racing and drifting in one, and you get to hit the other guys! Forever, the class has seen mostly Holdens and Fords go at it, with a handful of Soarers and the odd lone model Euro — it’s mainly down to a few rules that limit cars at 4.8-litres carbureted (two-barrel) or 4.0-litres for fuel-injected motors and the barring of forced induction. So, I thought why not enter something rotary powered like an RX-8? They’re cheap to purchase and parts are readily available.
Would that make it the first of its kind in street stock?
Yeah, this is the first time anything rotary powered has been entered into street stock, and it took a bit of hoop jumping to get it signed off, but, now that it has been, it will be much easier for people to follow suit. I hoped that it would draw interest from the guys who are out getting into trouble on the streets and give them a channel [in which] to pursue their interests safely, and legally.
Good thinking, Shane. How hard was the transformation from street car to street stock?
Not too bad at all, really, as the rules dictate that most components like the motor, gearbox, diff, suspension, etc., must be of OEM equivalent. So, all that means for making it a stock car is really stripping the interior and non-essential exterior parts and fabricating up all the safety equipment. The car has extensive bracing and plating to ensure [that] when it takes a hit, the driver stays safe. My doors have been replaced by a sheet metal panel with 4mm steel plate on the side intrusion and 6mm plate above the drivers head. Likewise, the bumpers have been replaced with something more suited to nudging your opponents, and the alloy wheels binned for steel versions for safety reasons
And what’s the story behind the paintwork and number?
That was done freehand by well-known New Zealand artist Otis Frizzell. I asked him if we could create a ‘street’ look and perhaps include some camo, and this is what he put together. I quite like how subtle he’s integrated the flames on the front into the camo as it progresses down the car — I think he was really into the whole thing, too. As for the number, well, ‘689’ reads the same upside down, and we put the upside down ‘A’ there to go along with that.
It looks the part, too. Where can readers find more information about street stock racing?
Check out speedway.co.nz, or hunt out your local club — there’s clubs all over the country.
Cheers, Shane — good to see people modifying their cars in all flavours.