Street Machine - - Rods -

PLENTY of peo­ple want re-cre­ations of the le­gendary tour­ing cars of the 1970s, but how many go out of their way to build a tribute to the race team’s work­shop van? Well, Ryan Ford has, and he en­tered it into the Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown class for Drag Chal­lenge 2018.

The orig­i­nal HDT team van was cre­ated by HDT boss John Shep­pard, who fa­mously wouldn’t let any­one smoke, eat or drink in it, let peo­ple drive it wear­ing dirty clothes, or lend it out to known lead­foots. So we’re not sure what he would have made of this tyre­fry­ing ratty tribute!

“Bruce ‘Stork’ Cal­low owns the van, but he got me to build and drive it,” Ryan said.

“We started a few months ago with it run­ning a 173ci six, and the orig­i­nal plan was to put in a 308 and four-speed, but I got in Stork’s ear and we went with a blown big-block. I bought a 454 from Harry Haig and we then put in a blower cam and roller rock­ers.”

Pok­ing through the care­fully striped bon­net is a BDS 6/71 and twin Hol­ley 850 carbs that Ryan de­scribes as “shit ones that we just slapped on. Ev­ery­thing on this car is shit!”

Be­hind the 454 is a 2400 con­verter that Ryan man­aged to flare to 3600rpm at Calder Park on Day One, with a Raceglide and nine-inch pack­ing 3.5 gears round­ing out the driv­e­train.

With no time to dyno or take it to a meet to get it sorted, the boys used Drag Chal­lenge 2018 to shake the van down be­fore com­ing back with a vengeance in 2019.

After turn­ing up late on Day One, they thrashed to get a 12.2, but then chose to not hand in a times­lip, rul­ing them out of an of­fi­cial fin­ish in the Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown class. How­ever, they still road-tripped with the DC crew for the rest of the week and laid down a bunch of passes, with an [email protected] best at Swan Hill on Day Four.

“The tall tyres were hurt­ing us, so we swapped to some 28-inch rub­ber for Day Five at Calder Park to try to push it harder,” Ryan said. “We had the methanol in­jec­tion set-up but it was still only run­ning 4psi through the blower, so it wasn’t go­ing crazy.

“The new tyre im­proved the 60-foot, but it needed more boost, which was so frus­trat­ing! We’ll re­fine it over the next 12 months and look to come back with a flat bon­net, built mo­tor and a Procharger, aim­ing for nines.”

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