Street Machine - - Contents - BOB KOT­MEL


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.

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