Nine cars to watch at Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

A bunch of cool rides that have caught our eye on Day One of DCW

Photographers: Ash Wilson, Chez Images


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

DRAG Challenge virgin Rowan Ellem brought some heavy metal to pop his DC cherry, in the form of a 1967 Dodge Coronet. Bought as a wreck in 2003, the big Mopar rocks a mild Martin White-built 440ci big-block topped with Trick Flow heads, and makes 468rwhp.

“We have two nitrous kits on there, including one that is 100rwhp, but I’ll only use one to avoid spraying the rods out of it,” Rowan laughs. “It only has a cast crank in it, with a 727 auto and 8¾-inch Mopar diff with 3.7s.”

A mono-leaf rear end with Competition Engineering CalTrac bars work with the 255 radials to move the big-inch barge down the eighth-mile in 7.0s, while Rowan made his own chassis connectors, added carbonfibre bumpers and a fibreglass bonnet to cut the Plum Iris Coronet’s mass down to 3500lb.


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

WHILE he has a seven-second, 2JZ-powered KE20 Corolla at home, Scott ‘The Hoff’ Hoffman brought his JZA80 Supra to run at DCW 2020. The car’s original 2JZ is long gone, replaced by a Toyota 1UZ-FE V8 making a smidge over 1000rwhp. The quad-cam four-litre donk has upgraded internals, including Argo rods and big Kelford cams, while comp was dropped to 8.5:1 to suit the rear-mounted, journal-bearing Garrett GT4788 party-starter.

“It has gone 9.40@150mph on about 36psi,” says Scott, the man behind Cleveland Exhaust & Suspension Service. “I run a Haltech Elite 2500, ’Glide, and I just spent a bunch of time sorting the cooling system and adding a/c.

“With no ’cage, I can only run 10.50s this weekend, but I think it has an 8.99 in it. It was only meant to make 1000hp at the crank, so it has some head-lifting issues that fire rings would fix, but I am not stripping this engine down to do that.”


Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

ACCORDING to Reion Sammons, his HQ was a “stock, rusty blue 202 ’73 Premier with air and steer” until recently. It was reborn as a Monaro lookalike when Reion transferred the blown, tall-deck, 598ci Big M big-block from his ’65 Impala to the Quey.

“It went 9.80@114mph in the 5200lb Impala – hard on the brakes,” laughs Reion. “It was starting to wreck the Chevy, so I ’caged the HQ and got it teched. Hopefully it goes 8.70, but it is 4200lb with 160 litres of methanol in the back, plus a full stock tank for road fuel.”

Reion will remove the BDS 8/71 blower after each day’s racing to run the road legs aspirated and on pump fuel. “It’s a seven-year-old engine and I think it made 1450hp back then,” he says. “It is built for fun, not for taking it too seriously!”


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

QUEENSLAND’S David Challen rocked up to Drag Challenge Weekend with his nine-second 1970 HT Premier. Sporting a 4.8-litre iron-block LS wearing twin high-mount eBay GT35 turbos, upgraded cam and intake manifold, it has made 700rwhp on just 14psi and gone 9.60@141mph – despite the rotating assembly and heads still being all factory hardware.

“We have turned it up a bit since the dyno, and that 9.60 was pushing through the converter, so I changed that and hopefully we’ll go bottom nines,” David says.

Behind the E85-guzzling LS is a Powerglide and nine-inch combo, which Dave is hoping will help him trap 150mph.


Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated

BRISBANE’S Mark Riek debuts his Torana at Drag Challenge Weekend having only completed it on Wednesday night, following a 12-week build. Like plenty of others, Mark has seen the light with an all-alloy, 5.7-litre LS1 up front, taken from an extremely low-kilometre Statesman. To this, he’s added a FAST manifold, Higgins heads and a Comp Cams bumpstick, all sitting on Tuff Mounts hardware.

Running on 98 pump fuel, the original-paint Torana churns out just a touch over 400 horses at the hubs through a 4500rpm TCE converter, Protrans-built TH400 and Truetrac-centred nine-inch rear.

The Torana’s factory air conditioning has been plumbed to the LS1 air con compressor to keep Mark and his mob cool on the road legs.


Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

DRIVEN by good mate Ben Wilkinson, Gold Coast-based Brendon De Ruyter’s 1995 Integra VTi-R highlights the variety of cars running at Drag Challenge Weekend. It’s also a showcase for some super-clever stuff; tucked under its factory front-drive floor is an all-wheel drive system sourced from a Honda CR-V mummy-mobile!

The Auto Perfection-built, 101 Motorsport-tuned turbo B-Series engine hasn’t been opened in 13 years. “It’s done countless runs down the quarter,” Ben reckons.

When it was a front-driver, it packed 600hp on around 35psi of boost and laid down a 10.2@146mph. But now it’s running with an extra 200 ponies and all-wheel drive, who knows what surprises this Honda has in store for us at DCW 2020!


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

THIS Camaro is untested coming into DCW 2020: “It’s been around the block!” owner Jason Davidson laughs.

Donk-swapped with an ex-wrecker’s 5.7-litre alloy LS, the Camaro is an ex-roundy-round racer bought by Jason 10 months ago for its extensive rollcage that complied with IHRA tech inspection to allow the car to run sub-10.5s. Now running a Holley carb, the LS feeds its twist to a TH350 auto and an alloy-centred nine-inch.

Jason describes the body as “rough but tough”, but it’s a little lighter than his previous One Tonner, so it should be quicker than the Tonner’s 10.6 and be a great street/strip cruiser.


Class: Carnage Dial Your Own

FILIP Petrovic’s 1973 Falcon has an aura of old-school street machining coolness. Under the bonnet is what Filip describes as a 408-cube ‘Clevor’ – a Dart-blocked Windsor wearing Cleveland-type CHI alloy heads and fed by a Holley carb. A C4 auto and Truetrac nine-inch diff completes a trad-tech driveline that puts down 440hp to the wheels on 98 fuel.

Being his own boss at Top Dog Convertors & Mechanical, Filip has done everything on the car except the paint over the past six years.

Three test runs a few weeks ago saw the Falcon post a best of 11.02@124mph, and Fil hopes his no-trailer sailor will be into the 10s in the Carnage DYO class.


Class: Haltech Radial Blown

SHANE Baker’s 1982 VH Commodore carries a couple of turbos on its VT-series injected powerplant, along with COME alloy heads. On around 23psi of boost, it develops close to 1000hp, although Shane (who builds performance hardware at his business, Shane’s Bikes, Boats & Performance in Warwick) isn’t sure of the precise figure: “I have a dyno, but I street-tuned and datalogged this one,” he says.

There are few doubts about that, as prior to Drag Challenge Weekend, the E85-fuelled sedan has run 8.47@165mph in the quarter and 5.3 in the eighth-mile. And Shane does that on an untubbed, standard suspension layout, too!