Charlie Dixon’s turbocharged CV8 Monaro

AFL star Charlie Dixon is gearing up for his first crack at Drag Challenge in his nine-second Monaro

Photographers: Troy Barker, Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic

While most people know Charlie Dixon as an AFL power forward for the Port Adelaide Football Club, in our world he’s known as an avid car nut who’s built some seriously tough machines – including this 750rwhp CV8 Monaro.

“I guess my love affair with cars comes from my dad,” says Charlie. “He always had me around cars as I was growing up, so that’s what I waste all my money on now!”

Charlie got himself this 2002 CV8 Munro around four years ago, and it wasn’t long until he started getting serious about modifying it. “When I got it, all it had was an exhaust system and some big Harrop brakes, and I drove it around for about a month before we started making plans to boost it,” he says. “I originally wanted to ProCharge it, but the boys at Paul Pavlou Motors talked me out of that and I went with a turbo set-up instead.”

The team from Adelaide’s Paul Pavlou Motors got to work turning the CV8 into a turbo brute. First on the list for Paul and his crew was the Monaro’s original LS1, which is now pushing 750rwhp on around 18psi. LS experts might raise their eyebrows at an alloy-block LS being subjected to that much stick, but Charlie explains that retaining the original LS1 was another of his dad’s influences. “He’s all about having matching-numbers engines and all that stuff, so we built the original LS1 for the car instead of getting an iron block or later LS,” he says.

“A few people have questioned pushing an LS1 that far, but it’s been together like that for around three years so far with no issues.”

The mill has been massaged out to 383ci with a Scat crank, upgraded rods and CP pistons. A VCM 16 cam kit was used for a new stick, and the original cathedral-port heads were CNC ported.

The hairdryer is a GTX42, breathing through an intercooler and LS Pro Series intake manifold, both from Plazmaman. A Haltech 2500 Elite ECU takes care of engine management, and the donk sips E85.

The Pavlou crew also sorted out the rest of the driveline. The original IRS rear end has been binned and replaced with a Castlemaine Rod Shop nine-inch live-axle conversion, with a Strange centre and 3.25:1 gears. The car is a factory manual, and initially Charlie retained the T56 ’box with the turbo combo, before making the switch to the Powerglide it has now.

“I loved watching Cleetus McFarland bang gears on YouTube, and that’s what I wanted to do, but the truth is the manual was too hard to race with,” Charlie explains. “I do a lot of roll racing at Tailem Bend, and so many times I’d line someone up and then miss a gear and lose a race. So now we’ve got the ’Glide in it, which makes it much easier.”

The car had previously run a best of 11.1@145mph with the manual ’box, but the drag-strip drought currently happening in South Oz meant Charlie had to travel all the way to Heathcote Park Raceway in central Victoria late last year to chase a new PB with the fresh ’Glide. The car ran a 10.1 straight off of the trailer, before a few more runs yielded a blistering new PB of 9.6@145mph.

“It was a bloody awesome day; the car just rips, and to run a mid-nine is just incredible,” Charlie enthuses. “It’s also pretty funny when you consider what the Monaro is now, given it was originally just meant to be a fun car to go drive in the Adelaide Hills!”

Charlie does have some future plans for the CV8, but first he has to get some racing done in between his AFL commitments. “The turbo is just about at its limit right now, and I’d love to tub it as well and re-do the interior,” he says. “But the way it is now is how I plan to race it this year.

“I got injured during the AFL pre-season, but the flipside of that was that I was able to do Holden Nationals,” he continues. “I’ll squeeze in some racing where I can around footy now, and then I’ll be doing the big five-day Drag Challenge later this year, which I’m super-excited for.”



Class: Haltech Radial Blown

Engine: 383ci LS1

Inlet: Plazmaman manifold

Heads: Ported LS1

Pistons: CP

Crank: Scat

ECU: Haltech Elite 2500

Fuel system: E85

Transmission: Powerglide

Converter: 3800rpm

Diff: CRS 9in, Strange centre, 3.25:1 gears



Mick, Sean, Steve and Harry at Paul Pavlou Motors; Ben at Elite Trim; Jason Waye at Tuff Mounts; Wheel & Tyre Kingdom; Dash Original; Castlemaine Rod Shop; my mum and dad and everyone following my channels