Turbo LS-powered 1937 Ford pick-up coming to Drag Challenge 2019

Mike Rohal’s ’37 Ford pick-up is ready to pound single-digit passes at Drag Challenge 2019

Photographers: Troy Barker

AFTER banging out a 10.6-second PB at Street Machine Drag Challenge last year in his fresh twin-turbo LS-powered VS ute, Mike Rohal decided to throw caution to the wind five months before this year’s event and chase nines in a whole new car.

“Stupidly, I decided to turbo LS my ’37 Ford pick-up, and have worked on the car every day since, along with customer engine builds,” says Mike of engine reconditioning shop JH Southcott. “I like hot rods and I found that LS turbos are addictive, so I combined the two.”

The once 137rwkW, 283ci-powered shop truck has copped the works in readiness for the gruelling five-day challenge. “This time I chose a single Garrett G42-1200, as it’s rated at 1200-1500hp and it fits under the hood for rego purposes,” Mike says.

The 73mm turbo feeds an LS2 brimming with strong go-fast parts, while a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU controls the PULP and E85 tuning. Behind is a stout SFI-cased Powerglide with 3500rpm converter, feeding down to a heavy-duty Strange alloy nine-inch running a Truetrac, 3.25s and sturdy Currie 35-spline axles mounted by a parallel four-bar.

“Last year I couldn’t get a good 60-foot, so I’ve come at this with ethanol, a bigger torque converter and transbrake,” Mike says. “I hope to crack a nine, and there should be an eight in it somewhere.”

Due to the constricted build timeline, Mike’s testing will happen at Calder Park on Day One! “Right now it has a base tune on 98 so that I can do a few short drives this week,” he says. “We’ll do the ethanol tune later in the week; then it’ll be the big test-drive from Adelaide to Calder.

“I still need to finish the interior, make a lid for the tray, bleed the brakes, clock up some kays, and do the ethanol tune,” he continues. “Oh, and make the bolt-in rollcage.”

With less than two weeks to go, we can’t wait to see what times this monster hot rod lays down at the 2019 Street Machine Drag Challenge.