UPDATE: The Hackshop boys took on Street Machine Drag Challenge 2023 as a two car team and we’re pleased to say they killed it!
Nathan’s NF Fairlane ran a best of 10.88 seconds at 123mph on the final day at Dragway at the Bend, which followed a string of 10-second PBs that kicked off on Day One with a 10.96@122mph. And the Fairlane finished just outside the Hare & Forbes DYO Top Ten!
Daniel’s stick-shift, LS-turbo VY ute did run into some self-inflicted issues at the end of Day One, but we’ll wait for the boys to drop part two of their DC ’23 adventure before we reveal more on that. What we will say is that the ute did still complete the week, running a best of 12.359 seconds at The Bend on Day Five. Enjoy part one of their coverage below:
It’s not uncommon for street machiners to undertake Drag Challenge-specific builds, but Nathan Camilleri and his sidekick Michael Ludviksen went one step further. They decided to start a YouTube channel, Hackshop Garage, to document their antics as they prepared Nathan’s turbo NF Fairlane for Drag Challenge.
First published in the June 2022 issue of Street Machine
“I’d never drag-raced before, but I love using my cars and that’s why I loved the idea of Drag Challenge,” says Nathan. “So I decided I wanted to do it. We started getting the Fairlane ready and filming videos about the build for YouTube, and it just grew from there.”
Since then, the boys have amassed nearly 20,000 subscribers in just two years, and have taken on other big projects alongside the Fairlane, including LS swaps on both an HQ sedan and a BMW E30; odd jobs on Michael’s HQ Monaro; an XY Falcon GT build that’s still in progress; and a smattering of other projects. As for the Fairlane, it’s Nathan’s first proper car, which he’s owned for the past seven or eight years and was already on this path before the channel kicked off. “I fitted an eBay turbo kit to it beforehand, and the channel started because I blew the engine, so we built the one it has now,” he says.
Michael had experience rebuilding engines, so Nathan sourced an EF-spec SOHC six-cylinder mill for the Fairlane and the boys got to work. Keeping things cheap and simple, they kept the original crank, rods, pistons and head. The bottom end was simply given a refresh with a home-job hone of the bores, some ACL Race bearings, new Hastings rings with slightly opened ring gaps and a high-volume oil pump. The factory head has been spruced up with a Crow Cams Stage 4 stick and double valve springs, with an MLS head gasket and head studs sealing the goodness into the combo.
“I originally just turbocharged the SOHC engine because it was easier than doing a Barra conversion,” Nathan says. “Now it’s a platform that I love and will definitely be keeping for this car. We do have a forged motor in the works now, but this was a cheap and simple way to get the car back together.”
Keeping in theme with the budget build is a J-piped exhaust manifold feeding a no-brand Wuhan war-whistle. “I don’t even really know what specs it is,” Nathan laughs, “but it works and makes good power right now.” That power is around the 300rwkW (402rwhp) mark, with a Haltech Elite 750 and E85 keeping things safe at around 14psi.
The rest of the driveline is as simplistic as the mill. The BTR four-speed auto has been fully manualised and houses a TCE 2500rpm converter, while the diff is still a Borgy with an LSD centre and 3.23:1 gears.
The boys originally jammed to get the car ready for our stillborn DCW Sydney event, which was scheduled for the start of 2020 before COVID took hold. We then weren’t able to run a southern DC event for two goddamn years.
Nathan and Michael finally got their chance in March this year at our three-day Drag Challenge Weekend Victoria event, with the first and last days at Heathcote Park Raceway and a road trip to Mildura in between for some eighth-mile action.
Day One was Nathan’s first run down a drag strip for both himself and the car. “I was nervous coming up to the line; I knew what to do, but I was still shitting myself!” he says. “Because we had the drag radials on, it was actually the first time I’d driven the car with proper rear grip – it pinned me to my seat!”
The Fairlane cracked straight into the 11s on its first pass, running an 11.93@105mph and exceeding the boys’ expectations.
“We were absolutely stoked with that; we couldn’t bloody believe it,” Nathan laughs.
They safely made the 450km trek to Mildura and ran a 7.82@91mph over the eighth. The only drama they had all weekend was when the power steering pump let go on the route back down to Heathcote, but a generous fan delivered one from his car to get them to HPR for the final day of racing.
There, the car further improved its PB to an 11.67@116mph, well and truly giving Nathan the drag racing bug.
“I’m hooked now; I’m already making plans to go back and go even faster!” he says. “We didn’t leave the line that hard, and I reckon we can pump around 18psi into the set-up as-is, so I want to go out soon and chase a low 11 or even a high 10.”
Once that box is ticked, the Hackshop boys have some spicy plans to upgrade the Fairlane before the next DC. “We’ve got a proper banana exhaust manifold, bigger injectors, a 50mm wastegate, and we’ll get a proper intercooler and name-brand turbo on there as well,” says Nathan.
The boys did a cracking job capturing the whole weekend in an hour-long special on their YouTube channel, so make sure you check it out. “I just loved the vibe; it’s everything we thought it would be,” says Nathan of his first DC go-’round. “You could walk up and talk to anyone about cars for hours. There were no egos and it was just a really welcoming and awesome event. We can’t wait to do it all again!”
1995 FORD NF FAIRLANE
Class: Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own
Engine: Ford 4.0L SOHC six-cylinder
Camshaft: Crow Cams Stage 4
Inlet: Skid Factory manifold
ECU: Haltech Elite 750
Rotating assembly: Standard
Oiling: High-volume pump
Ignition: LS1 coils
Fuel: Walbro 460 pump, 960cc injectors
Cooling: Custom Ferntree Gully radiator
Transmission: Ford BTR
Converter: TCE, 2500rpm
Diff: Standard BorgWarner, 3.23:1 LSD
Drag Challenge PB: 11.67@116mph