Eight-second twin-turbo LS-powered VG Valiant

Daniel Ward’s hater-proof, eight-second VG Valiant beats with the sacrilegious heart of a twin-turbo LS, and he built the whole thing himself!

Photographers: Steve Kelly

FOR Daniel Ward, it’s all about going as fast as possible for the least amount of money. That’s why he dumped a twin-turbo LS into his VG Valiant, pissing off a whole bunch of Mopar enthusiasts in the process.

First published in the August 2021 issue of Street Machine

“It had a 360 small-block and a 727 in it when I got it, but there was no way I was going to get the same results I did with the LS with any kind of Mopar engine,” Daniel asserts. “Plus, it is fun to see the Mopar boys cry a bit!”

When he got the car around three years ago, Daniel put a single-turbo LS1 set-up in it, but it now runs an alloy-block 5.3-litre (325ci) LC9 LS with twin Pulsar SXE369 turbos. As with everything in this car, Daniel put together the engine himself using the standard crank, Spool Drag Pro I-beam rods, CP pistons and rings, and stocko LS1 heads breathing through a custom-grind cam. “The LC9 has a siamesed bore, so it’s a lot stronger than other alloy-block LS mills,” he says. “Plus I wanted to keep the nose of my car light, which is why I didn’t use an iron 5.3.”

Fuel is E85, fed via 2200cc Bosch injectors and twin Walbro 525 pumps, while brains come from a FuelTech FT550. Daniel’s current PB was set at 26psi, but he plans to shove 40psi into the thing, which should yield around 1400rwhp.

“At the track I actually use timing to control the power more than the boost, because that can be changed within a tenth of a second, unlike boost,” says Daniel. “I like to leave the line with as much boost as I can, then use the timing to keep it happy.”

The transmission is a Powerglide with a Sonnax billet gearset, manual valvebody and transbrake, built by Daniel using a PTC converter stalling to around 3800rpm. He also built the rear end himself, using a Ford 8.8-inch diff with Strange 35-spline axles, 3.5:1 gears and traction bars.

For Street Machine Drag Challenge in October, Daniel will be ditching his normal 275 drag radials, instead taking on the small-tyre crowd in the Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class. “I don’t aim to necessarily win anything, but if I could run mid-fives over the eighth and mid-eights over the quarter and finish, I’d be stoked,” he says. “I haven’t had anything but 275s on the car, so it’ll be interesting to see how it reacts.”

This year won’t be Daniel’s first crack at a DC event, having taken on our shorter Drag Challenge Weekend three-dayer in Queensland late last year. “Drag Challenge had always been a bucket-list thing for me, so when I saw the weekend event pop up last year, I thought it’d be a perfect warm-up for the big one,” he says.

The VG managed a pair of nines at Willowbank and a mid-six over Warwick’s eighth-mile, but there was a reason for that. “Just before the event, I blew a hole in the side of the old LS1, so I threw together an LM7 iron-block 5.3 with stuff I literally had lying around, and it did the whole weekend with 20psi of oil pressure!” Daniel laughs.

And his outlook for the big dance in October? “This one should be a bit less stressful,” he says. “We’ll tow a trailer, and the car has been solid on track so far this year, so it should be a really good week.”


Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Blown

Engine: 325ci Chev LC9
Inlet: Holley Sniper manifold
Turbos: Pulsar SXE369
Heads: Stock LS1
Pistons: CP
Conrods: Spool Drag Pro I-beam
Crank: Stock
Ignition: Standard LS1
Fuel system: E85, 2200cc Bosch injectors, twin Walbro 525 pumps
ECU: FuelTech FT550
Cooling: Alloy HQ radiator, AU thermo fans
Exhaust: Stainless headers, twin 3.5in system
Power: 1200rwhp 
Previous PB: 8.74@153mph 
Best DCW 2020 pass: 9.51@145mph

Burson Auto Parts Murwillumbah; JB Tyre & Mechanical; Pulsar Turbos Australia; Abbott Engines; 247 Hose & Fittings; Mac’s Stainless Fabricators; Murwillumbah Truck Centre; my girlfriend Lucy and all the boys who helped me out with the car and at the track