John Whyte’s LS-powered 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline at Drag Challenge 2019

Canberra's John Whyte had the closest thing resembling a bona fide sleeper in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown at Drag Challenge 2019

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Luke Hunter, Shaun Tanner

JOHN’S 1950 Chev Fleetmaster sedan looked ready for a rockabilly cruise-in, but is actually hiding a completely re-thought drivetrain and suspension package.

The 5.7 LS1 mill runs mildly worked heads and cam on an otherwise stock bottom-end, controlled through a reflashed VY Commodore PCM brain-box and paired to a 4200rpm SDE converter and a four-speed 4L60E transmission. The big news for 2019 was the 42mm turbo hanging behind the driver’s headlight.

“My wife gave me the turbo for Christmas,” John laughed. “It is my daily driver at home, so I don’t want to break it or run faster than 11s, because I don’t want to have to ’cage it. I’ve got other cars at home to go fast; this is nice and comfortable.”

While it looks stock, the chassis has been significantly upgraded, with coil-over suspension at each corner and a BorgWarner diff out back packing 3.72 gears. Running 8psi and regular 98RON PULP fuel, the big more-door Chev made 450rwhp.

Day One of DC 2019 started on a high for John, running an 11.47@126mph. While this showed the car had the legs to run a low 11 or high 10, John elected to not keep making passes and risk ending up with four neutrals in the 4L60E, so he hit the road instead. At Mildura’s eighth-mile, a 7.65@87mph on Day Two was bettered to a 7.57@99mph on Day Three, backed up in Portland with a 7.59@100mph on the eighth there.

Back in Calder on Friday, John ran a Drag Challenge PB of 11.32@128mph, before hitting the road early.

“I had a wedding in Canberra at my place on the Saturday,” laughed John. “The Chev cruises so nicely on the road; it just eats up the miles. I’ve driven it all over the place and it is just brilliant.”

Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

Engine: GM LS1 5.7L
Turbo: 42mm mystery turbo
Transmission: 4L60E four-speed auto
Converter: SDE 4200
Diff: BorgWarner, 3.72:1 gears
Power: 450rwhp
Previous PB: N/A
Best DC 2019 Pass: 11.32@128mph