Chevrolet Luv ute prepares for Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

Shane Locke's Chevy Luv is the little ute that could, taking it to the big boys at Drag Challenge Weekend

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Nathan Jacobs, Ellen Dewar

DRAG Challenge brings a whole bunch of killer street cars out of the woodwork for us to gawk at, and Shane Locke’s 1975 Chevy LUV is certainly one of those. That’s partly due to it being a bit of a rarity on Aussie roads, but also simply because it’s a 10-second aspo Bunnings hauler.

“I got it around six or seven years ago from Melbourne, and other than the engine, the old boy and I have done just about everything to this car,” says the Queenslander.

Underneath the LUV’s skin sits a 634hp small-block Chev, stroked to 383ci with a bunch of forged internals and Dart heads, with a custom-built 750cfm carby drinking pump E85. During last year’s Drag Challenge Weekend, a Turbo 350 ’box and VN Commodore BorgWarner diff got the job of sending those ponies to a pair of 235 radials.

DCW 2019 was actually Shane’s second crack at a Drag Challenge event, having taken on the first DCW in 2018 in the K&N Dial Your Own class. “The alternator failed pretty early on in the weekend, and because it was an RX-7 alternator, getting what we needed proved difficult, so it put us out,” he says of that first campaign.

Fast-forward to 2019’s Drag Challenge Weekend and the results for Shane couldn’t have been more different. He recorded a 10.79@123mph on Day One at Willowbank, a 6.79@99mph on Day Two at Warwick’s eighth-mile and then banged out a 10.64@121mph on the third and final day back at Willowbank to secure second spot in the Tuff Mounts 235 Radial Aspirated class.

“I was stoked to finish second,” Shane says. “I never had a hope of beating Nathan Ghosn in that Capri, but I sure as hell was going to give it a dirty great big crack!”

Despite his class runner-up spot, the weekend wasn’t without drama for Shane. “We actually snapped the bellhousing and transmission mount from the thing twisting on the second day at Warwick; it made a decent mess,” he says.

But even with these issues, he still had a ripping time. “I love the challenge. To be able to drive your car home after three days of Drag Challenge is pretty special.”

Shane uses the LUV for more than just racing, taking it out for a stab as often as he can. “I still use it as a ute; that’s why I haven’t ’caged it. It still has a bench seat,” he says. “If you’re gonna build it, you may as well drive it.”

Since DCW 2019, Shane has given the car a bit of a birthday, and he plans to return for another crack. “It’s now got a ’Glide in it with a 6000rpm TCE converter,” he says. “I’ll certainly be putting my name down for future Drag Challenges; they’re ripping events. The people are awesome and friendly and it’s just a good time.”


Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated

Engine: 383 small-block Chev
Transmission: Turbo 350
Converter: 3000rpm
Diff: VN Commodore, 3.9:1 gears
Power: 634hp

Previous PB: N/A
Best DCW 2019 Pass: 10.64@121mph

Andrew Braisher for paint and panel; Leigh Darke at Speedlab Transmissions; Neil Robertson and Richard Horvat at Ricardo’s Autoworks for the engine; Straight Jacket Racing; Fab Weld Customs; Locke & Unload Container Services; Perfect Cover Up; Motorheads Car Club