Carralbyn 1/8th-Mile Drags

Old-school racers took to the runway for Queensland’s second annual Carralbyn 1/8th-Mile Drags

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

THE Carralbyn 1/8th-Mile Drags brought thunder to the Valley for a second year as around 100 pre-1968 cars raced down the Kooralbyn Airstrip over the last weekend of February. Four hundred entrants and a heap of spectators came through the gates for the wild display of old-school arm-drop racing.

Before the heads-up racing got underway, shenanigans teed off on Friday, with a friendly game of golf at the Ramada Resort. Saturday featured a cruise through the streets of nearby Beaudesert, with lunch and a few beers at the Rathdowney Pub. Octane started pumping that afternoon, though, with a test ’n’ tune at the airstrip, followed by dinner at Lilies restaurant.

Things rev’d up at 7am on Sunday as the gates opened for the main event, with drag cars and show ’n’ shine entrants flooding in. Three hundred pre-75 rat rods, hotrods, and more Chevys than you could poke a nine-iron at filled the airfield beyond capacity, causing an overflow of cars to line the streets.

Racing began at 9am with the Ladies class, followed by flathead-powered hotrods, then the remainder of entrants were called to line up. These drag classes ran in rounds until 1pm, when it was time to give out the awards. The event’s Top 10 and trophy winners were judged on their builds and eagerness to race. The winners showcased the wide automotive variety at the event with hotrods, gassers, pick-ups, an EK Holden, a ’67 Volkswagen and a Plymouth coupe all winning a title.

1. After racing last year in his FX Holden woody, Gary Schulz returned with 541 cubic inches of big-inch Poncho badness. The ’67 Pontiac Lemans Coupe is powered by a Kauffman Racing engine, which lays down 472 horses at the wheels and has run a best of 10.65 on the quarter-mile. To get the Pontiac drag-ready Gary added a transbrake, reconditioned the manualised Turbo 400, and threw a set of slicks on.

2. Running a 307 and Turbo 350, Michelle Dillon’s chopped 1949 Ford single spinner turned heads as she pulled up to the startline. The lead sled landed on Aussie soil late last year, with a well-worked body and rounded bonnet. The build was pieced back together three months ago, and now includes a custom grille. Michelle, who admitted she’s never raced before, took home a trophy for her cracker effort.

3. This 1965 XP Falcon is a clean streeter, and tough on the track. “Originally it was going to run a six-cylinder Typhoon motor, then we saw a Boss 520 in a magazine and it just snowballed from there,” said owner Kev Quigley. American Ford legend Jon Kaase is responsible for the motor and eight-stack Inglese injection set-up.

It has a full-steel chassis with TCI goodies up the front and a McDonald Bros four-bar set-up in the rear, while stopping power comes courtesy of a set of Wilwood brakes. The coupe was raced for the first time at Kooralbyn and didn’t miss a beat all weekend.

4. Michael Pizzi’s turbocharged ’57 Chev is a thing of beauty. The show-spec home build began 10 years ago when Michael stripped the shoebox back to a primed shell before piecing it back together. “It’s a mild 350 build from bits I had sitting around.

I built the motor and turbo manifolds myself to suit the billet-wheeled BorgWarner S366, and the gearbox is also home built. It’s a turbo 350 in front of a nine-inch and the combo makes 445hp at the wheels,” said Michael, whose wife Rebecca also got behind the wheel over the weekend.

5. Seven hundred man hours went into hand-crafting the polished aluminium body of Kenton McKay’s 1928 lakes-style roadster. The bored and stroked flathead sits on an original boxed chassis with the custom classic packing a billet crank and rods, Harman Collins race cam, modified Eddie Meyer heads and inlet, with a custom stainless exhaust system among many other mods. Frank Sinclair was behind the 2012 build before Richard Noske took over to craft the unique metalwork. The eye-catching combo saw Kenny win the title of Top Flathead.

6. It was big-block versus small-block as a ’37 Plymouth coupe pulled-up beside a ’34 Chev tudor, but there’s no point racing for pinks when you own both cars! Dean Wilson had hotrodders drooling all weekend over his two show-quality builds. With a Turbo 350, 4000rpm converter, LH Torana front end, BorgWarner diff and 31-spline axles, the 406ci tudor has been the reliable racer for a decade. The 947hp coupe was unveiled at Summernats 2019 and has taken home a plethora of trophies, and one look at the engine bay tells us why. The E85-swilling, injected big-block breathes through twin Holley throttlebodies with a nitrous system on standby for the day Dean’s feeling brave.

7. The title of Miss Kooralbyn was awarded to flag starter Rose D’Luxe [From left; Rose D’Luxe, Tina Von Squeeze, Loulou Fontana, Alana Wilkie, Dani Werner].

8. Darren Cahill raced his 1961 XK Falcon ‘Executioner’ every chance he could get, making consistent passes in the 60s-style gasser all weekend. “My son Mason and I built the car in six weeks,” said Darren. “We put a 350 Chev that we had laying around into the rolling shell and added a set of Edelbrock heads, a large hydraulic flat-tappet cam, Super Victor manifold and Ultra HP 750 carby on top. It’s now got a transbraked Powerglide, and we’ve got a 400 Dart block coming that should double our horsepower!”

9. Juice Walton’s gasser runs a 530ci fuel-injected big-block Chevy, which he built in his shed. The ’50 Studebaker now makes 830 horses and huffs methanol. “It’s got a hotrod dropped front axle on a buggy spring, with a four-bar Ford nine-inch diff in the rear,” he said. Juice recently replaced 300lb of sheet metal with a fiberglass tilt front.

10. Juice got the crowd going in his blown dragster, which packs a 417ci Donovan Hemi V8 fed by an 8/71 blower and Hillborn four-port injector hat. It is backed by a Powerglide and a full-floating nine-inch.