LS-swapped 1963 AP6 Valiant debuts at Drag Challenge 2018

We check out a freshly built AP6 at Drag Challenge with a V8 transplant that might ruffle some Mopar feathers

Photographers: Michelle Porobic, Chris Thorogood

PATRICK Lawler and his mate Todd Marshall decided they wanted to build a car specifically to take on Drag Challenge, so with the clock ticking they dug Patrick’s AP6 Valiant out from under his house and got to work.

The Val was only a shell when the boys dragged it out back in February, and the plan was a pretty simple one: do some fab work, put the running gear in it, give it some love with the paint gun and anything else it would need to take on DC.

The running gear in question is an LS1 (we can already hear the Mopar fans among you moaning) borrowed from a Commodore and a Turbo 350 ’box hanging off the back of it. Blowing through the GM donk are two Chinese GT35 turbos, making the package good for 470rwhp.

Most of the fab work took place at Todd’s house. Mini-tubs were on the menu, along with rack-and-pinion steering also borrowed from a Commodore. Fitting the LS wasn’t overly complicated; other than the crossmember needing some massaging the conversion didn’t have too many hiccups. “It all went together pretty easily in the end,” Todd said.

Patrick gave his AP6 a lovely coat of blue and then it was all hands on deck to get the car finished and trailered down from Queensland.

Drag Challenge went really smoothly for the untested package, the boys doing little more than refuelling and soaking up all that DC has to offer. Their best pass of the week was [email protected], running in the K&N Dial Your Own class. Due to running without a ’cage, the boys were restricted to 11.0s, but the car had run a 10.60@130mph at the only test day it had before DC. Patrick is keen to get a rollcage into the car and run consistent 10s next year.

“We’ve already ordered all the tubing to do the ’cage, so that should get done in time for next year,” said Patrick. “We’ll get an E85 system into the car and crank it up from 9psi to 20psi and hopefully run in the low 10s in Radial Blown.

“Thanks to Todd Marshall for the fab work, Peter Gehle for the tune and Jamie Kitching for helping with the build.”

The boys addiction to DC events hasn’t wavered, with Patrick entering the Valiant in our upcoming Drag Challenge Weekend 2019, May 3-6 in Queensland. Since then they’ve run an even better PB of 10.36, and for DCW they’ve switched from the K&N Dial Your Own class to the highly-competitive Haltech Radial Blown class.


Class: K&N Dial Your Own

Engine: LS1
Turbo: Twin GT35
Transmission: Turbo 350
Converter: TSI, 3000rpm stall
Power: 470rwhp
Diff: Hilux, 3.7:1 gears
Previous PB: 10.60 @130mph
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 11.11 @101mph