DRAG CHAL­LENGE

> RO­HAN HUTSON’S GOR­GEOUS SHOE­BOX CHEV IS NOW BLOWN AND BACK FOR DC 2018

Street Machine - - Contents -

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!”

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