> ROHAN HUTSON’S GORGEOUS SHOEBOX CHEV IS NOW BLOWN AND BACK FOR DC 2018
ROHAN Hutson, owner of this tough blown ’55 Chev, reckons Street
Machine Drag Challenge is the best week of the year. “It’s a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts all there for the same thing,” he raves.
With Rohan positively gushing about the event within the first 30 seconds of our conversation (it was like he was reading from a late-night infomercial script!) you just know this fella can’t wait to go fast and have fun at DC 2018!
This will be the Victorian’s third crack at Drag Challenge, and this time around his classic-cruiser Chev has been given a few tricks and tweaks.
“It was a factory V8, one-owner, 71,000mile car,” says Rohan of the Chev, which he’s owned for a decade. “I put a tough smallblock in it and it did a [email protected]”
With the help of giggle gas, Rohan ran in the Dial Your Own class at DC 2016. “At that stage it was a standard-type body and chassis but had tough running gear in it,” he says.
“My second year – last year – I put a fourlink in it,” he continues. “It didn’t need it, as
THE 10-SECOND, GASSED 383-CUBE SMALL-BLOCK HAS BEEN LIFTED OUT; IN ITS PLACE SITS A BDS 8/71-BLOWN, HOLLEYFED, 540-CUBE BIG-BLOCK CHEV V8
I’M EXPECTING IT TO RUN IN THE HIGH NINES, BUT TO BE HONEST, THAT DOESN’T MATTER TOO MUCH. THE AIM FOR THE EVENT IS TO DO A TERRIFIC ROAD TRIP AND HAVE FUN!
such – it had hooked up pretty hard in 2016 with the standard-type chassis, 255 tyres and Caltracs – but I wanted more rubber under it.”
The car now sports a set of 315/60/15 ET Streets, and also scored a ’cage and a few other items that raised its weight and pegged it to around 10.9 for 2017. But the tubbed rear end, larger footprint, safety ’cage and tighter rear suspension were great preparation for this year’s upgrade: more grunt!
The 10-second, gassed 383-cube smallblock has been lifted out; in its place sits a BDS 8/71-blown, Holley-fed, 540-cube bigblock Chev V8. To keep costs under control, the ‘new’ engine was sourced second-hand. Originally built several years ago by The 308 Shop in Dandenong, Rohan tore it down to its Bowtie block and Dart Pro1 alloy heads for a precautionary freshen-up of the basics: steel crank, hydraulic-roller cam, H-beam rods and JE forged pistons.
“It made 1011hp on the dyno and 965lbft,” Rohan says happily, one month out from DC18. “It’s drinking pump fuel at the moment, but it’s my intention to set it up to run on E85. But that might have to wait until next year. For E85 I’ll need a much bigger tank and I don’t think I have time to get that into the car for this year.
“There are still a few things to do,” he continues. “I’m doing quite a few midnights right now!”
The big-block is backed by a tough Reidcased Powerglide transmission. “Yeah, that’s fancy!” Rohan exclaims. “I bought it from a mate, Milan Dokic, who used it in his burnout Camaro. We gave the ’box a freshen-up, too. It’s capable of holding a lot more power than I have, so it should be trouble-free. I hope so!”
The engine/driveline conversion – and the desire for a hassle-free cruiser – saw Rohan splash cash on a rack-and-pinion steering system, stout tailshaft and a new radiator.
For Drag Challenge the car will tow a 6x4 trailer. “That carries the Esky and our tools and tyres,” Rohan says. “I’m expecting it to run in the high nines, but to be honest, that doesn’t matter too much. It’s a street car and the aim for the event is to do a terrific road trip and have fun!”