QUICK SIL­VER

> STEPHEN MOL­SON’S HZ UTE WAS JUST GO­ING TO BE A WORK HACK, UN­TIL A TASTE OF TURBO LS POWER CHANGED HIS MIND

Street Machine - - Contents -

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

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