580hp blown LSA-powered LX Torana at Drag Challenge 2018

Dean Soderblom’s Torana sedan swapped from carby small-block to blown LS and now runs nines

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic, Shaun Tanner

DEAN Soderblom’s ’76 LX Torana has been around for a fair while now, but he just finished dropping in a new motor in time to compete in Haltech Radial Blown at Drag Challenge 2018.

Holden LX Torana“I’ve had the car about 15 years and used to drag race it with a small-block Chev and ’Glide,” Dean said. “But then I went on Drag Challenge a few years ago in an LS Commodore and decided I needed to have a go.”

He nabbed a supercharged 6.2-litre LSA crate motor and had Matt at Webster’s Dyno & Performance in Wodonga whip up a custom cam. The Gen IV LS also copped valve springs, and a pulley upgrade to push 12psi through the stock TVS1900 1.9-litre blower, which made 578hp at 5800rpm.

Holden LX Torana“We had converter issues on the dyno, so we got it running well enough for the event and packed up,” Dean said. “Two weeks ago we got it finished at midnight, took it to Swan Hill and it ran a 9.80@135mph, but then we put a looser converter in it to save the ’box.”

The engine is run by a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU, which also features a flex-fuel sensor, allowing Dean to run pump fuel on the street and boost-friendly E85 on the track. Down the back the LX runs a two-speed Powerglide, TCE 4200rpm converter, and a nine-inch with 3.5 gears.

Holden LX Torana engine bayDean was blown away at how good the LS combo sat on the highway during DC. “It is really great to drive on the road,” he said. “It sits on 110km/h at 3000rpm towing the trailer. I love the old-school engines, but these late-model engines drive so much better, although it is a real learning curve for me.”

The Melburnian and his crew did have their hands full chasing some set-up quibbles, namely having too much snot! “We struggled with it blowing tyres off it,” said Dean. “It was a matter of finding ways to get it down the track to try and run a nine, as we did a 10.0 at Swan Hill on Day Two.”

Holden LX ToranaAfter netting a 6.32@109mph on Mildura’s eighth-mile, Dean cracked out a 9.75@136mph on Day Four at Swan Hill. He then laid down an 8.31@123mph on Calder’s 1000ft strip on Day Five to round out the week 22nd out of over 50 cars in Haltech Radial Blown.


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

Engine: GM LSA
Blower: Stock TVS1900
Transmission: Powerglide
Converter: TCE 4200rpm
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 gears
Power: 578rwhp
Previous PB: 9.80@135mph
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 9.75@136mph