> STEPHEN MOLSON’S HZ UTE WAS JUST GOING TO BE A WORK HACK, UNTIL A TASTE OF TURBO LS POWER CHANGED HIS MIND
A nuts-and-bolts look at Stephen Molson’s eightsecond HZ ute
STEPHEN Molson was one of five West Aussies to make the trek to Adelaide for last year’s Street
Machine Drag Challenge, and one of three to finish in the Top 10 overall – although he only just snuck in thanks to a few people falling by the wayside. “We did the Steven Bradbury, that’s what we did,” he laughs.
That’s probably making light of his HZ ute’s performance, as it’s no slouch, having run a best of 8.83 back at the Perth Motorplex, but some of the potentially quicker cars on Drag Challenge were struggling to run a good number on some of the tracks.
Steve was happy to bank any run under 9.50 and then hit the road early, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with Drag Challenge really living up to its name. “We got to Swan Hill on the first night and cracked a fuel tank,” Steve recalls. “Luckily, Josh Lopreiato’s team had brought along their own welder and their own boilermaker with them and we ended up Tig-welding in the car park of the hotel at midnight, with a firehose filling up the fuel cell. But that was the only mechanical problem we had.
“We took a little bit of boost out of it, but on the first day of racing in Adelaide it was ridiculously hot; then, by the time we got back to Adelaide on the last day it was 11 degrees and they couldn’t get any temperature in the track,” he continues. “Because we had everything wound right down, it was hitting a limit in the ECU at three-quarter track and I didn’t know what it was. We were running 10.50s and maybe a 10.1. I couldn’t get hold of Justin, my tuner from BYE Performance, so in the end I took all the limits off for one last run. Because the day was a lot cooler with much higher air density, it was making a lot more boost and the car just wanted to go.”
There were other issues on the five-day trek, but mostly related to driving the car in pissing rain down winding country roads, which while picturesque were at times a little nervewracking. “There were some pretty epic country roads, single lanes with no marking,
WE DID AN LS1 WITH A TURBO KIT IN A VZ UTE, AND IT WAS A LOT MORE FUN THAN I ANTICIPATED. I’D HAD BLOWN CARS BEFORE, BUT NEVER HAD ANYTHING TURBOED. WE DECIDED IT WAS A GOOD THING TO DO
The reverse-cowl scoop was fabricated by Clint Digiovanni from SRM and tapers front and rear. It’s no bigger than it needs to be, and to top it off, it’s all steel. While the oneeyed-monster look might suit the turbo and look tough, it didn’t help much when it came to night driving