IT’S SUPER-IMPORTANT THAT YOUR CAR MODS ARE APPROVED BY AN ENGINEER, OTHERWISE YOU ARE LINING YOURSELF UP FOR A CANARY
BACK when Van Wheels turned into Street Machine in 1981, just about every town had a lonely straight section of road where you would gather on a Friday or Saturday night to see who had the quickest street car. It was no rules, run what ya brung, heads-up, first past the post wins. Some guys wanted rolling starts; others wanted a standing start with a double dropped armwave from a friend in front.
These days with CCTV, mobile phone photos, vehicle confiscation penalties and the police monitoring social media, finding out who is king of the street has to be done at a track. And what better place to find out who has the true quickest street car in the land than Street
Machine Drag Challenge? If everything goes according to plan, when this issue arrives in your letterbox I’ll be at Drag Challenge for the first time. I can’t wait. Drag Challenge is one of the best things Street Machine has ever done, and I take my hat off to Scotty for his hard work. I reckon Geoff Paradise, the founding editor of
SM, would be proud of Drag Challenge and smiling down from above.
Long before Drag Challenge, a few of us used to jump in our streeters and drive them thousands of kilometres to race. I had some great times in my old sludge ute driving to Calder or Eastern Creek. Getting there was half the fun. It’s like a huge adventure that tests your car out to the max and eliminates any debate over the definition of a true street car. Not many people will appreciate all the hours of work that goes into getting a car ready for an event like Drag Challenge, and in some cases driving for hours interstate to compete.
Recently Luke Murry, the current owner of my old white HG ute, asked me about putting an LS in the car for Drag Challenge. Replacing a 308 Holden with an LS might be blasphemy to some, but these days it makes sense. They’re cheap, reliable, make good power and parts are readily available. I’m looking forward to seeing Luke racing my old ute once again with LS power.
One of the things I said to Luke was to check what is legal with a compliance engineer like Gavin Cass at CCW Vehicle Approvals. Just lately the police have been setting up roadblocks before various motorsport events and defecting cars and bikes that don’t comply. That’s why it’s super-important – especially if you’re involved in an accident that results in a severe injury or fatality – that your car mods are approved by an engineer. Something I would recommend to all street machiners driving their car to any event is to keep a photocopy of the roadworthy certificates and engineer-approved modifications in their glovebox. For instance, replacing a stock banjo Holden diff in an HQ with a nine-inch is one of the first changes anyone makes in a tough streeter. But if you don’t have an engineer’s approval for the nine-inch you are lining yourself up for a canary.
And while on the subject of police, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been flagged over for a roadside breath test or have been followed while driving my cars or riding my bikes. I think how you behave on the road becomes general knowledge to them, and if you don’t do dumb stuff on the street, they leave you alone; you can drive a tough street car, blow in the bag and be on your way. I’ve had compliments on my old HG ute and HZ wagon when pulled over by the cops.
There is a local event called Covered In Chrome and the police do a drive-by every time. They only stop to chat to the organiser if a member of the public reports hooning in the area, and instead of harassing the participants, the person responsible for the anti-social behaviour goes on the police database. With the potential for impoundment or confiscation, being on the police’s radar is not a smart thing these days.
I’d like to congratulate David Sheehy of CPV Tuning for picking up two trophies in his latemodel Mustang (see the September Stage Write) at the Benaraby meeting in October – one for Super Street quickest qualifier and one for the win. The unopened, naturally aspirated 5.0L Coyote-powered ’Stang took out Super Street with a [email protected] pass on a 10.65 dial-in. Five of the CPV Mustang’s passes were between 10.653 and 10.658, and the mph range at night was between 127.13 at 127.18. So the car was super-consistent – a bracket racer’s dream – and the only changes David has made since my September column are the addition of a Cobra Jet manifold, twin 65mm Ford Motorsport throttlebody, five-inch air intake pipe and 4.11 diff gears. Something David mentioned that I was pleased to hear about was the number of people who came up to him and said they’d read about his Mustang in Street Machine. He said this magazine reaches a lot of people.