Home-brewed, turbo LS-powered Holden EH Special

Tim McClure brought his home-brewed, turbo LS-powered EH Special all the way from Western Australia to take on his first Drag Challenge

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Shaun Tanner

From the outside, Tim McClure’s lovely EH Special looks like nothing more than a nice Sunday cruiser. But while it’s certainly capable of that, the 600rwhp turbo LS under the bonnet makes sure it’s a certified tyre-fryer at the drop of a hat. “It loves doing top-gear burnouts; it’s done plenty of those at Motorvation over the years,” the Western Australian says.

First published in the June 2024 issue of Street Machine

Tim has owned the EH for around 20 years, and it’s had quite a few iterations before the current LS combo. “When I originally got it, it had a 186, and I daily drove it for around three years like that,” he says. “Then I built a turbocharged 202 for it, but that didn’t last beyond the first test drive, because the diff blew to pieces!”

It then got a 400ci small-block for a while, along with the current Turbo 350 ’box and nine-inch diff. “That ran a 10.96@124mph, but after around 18 months, it was tired, so I pulled it out and sold it off to fund the LS,” Tim says. “I found a stock L98 with low kilometres, so I started with that.”

Originally, the plan was just to have a healthy, cammed LS. But mid-conversion, some head-scratching about the headers led to the turbo being added. “I figured out I’d have to make some headers, so I decided if I was going to do that, I may as well go turbo,” Tim laughs.

Shoehorning the whole lot in there wasn’t easy. “I had to modify the crossmember, shift the steering column and massage the firewall,” Tim says.

As for the engine itself, Tim stuck with the standard rotating assembly to keep things on budget. “I did the BTR Stage Two Turbo cam kit, which includes all the pushrods and everything you need, and just gapped the rings for boost,” he says.

The turbo in question is a Pulsar S480, breathing around 10-11psi with management from a Holley Terminator X. “That’s wastegate pressure, which the tuner Jeff Johnson was happy with,” says Tim. “There’s room for more if we want it, but we’re still only on pump fuel at this stage – no ethanol yet.”

Drag Challenge 2023 was Tim’s first, having watched the event from afar for several years. “I’d always wanted to do it, and then after it was delayed a few times [due to COVID], I jumped on this one,” he says. “A few mates and my son came across for it, and we had a great time.”

The EH ran flawlessly all week, which was a welcome surprise for Tim. “We only did one to two passes on the first couple of days, because we weren’t sure how the road legs would go with the trailer and all,” he says. “But it was a great experience; I really enjoyed the road routes in particular.”

On track, Tim started his week at The Bend with a 10.64@134mph. Day Two at Mildura’s eighth-mile saw a best of 7.04@106mph, followed by a 10.73@134mph on Day Three at Heathcote. “It doesn’t have a transbrake, so the 60-foot is always lazy,” says Tim. “We also had shifting issues at the start of the week, which we got sorted by the time we got back to The Bend.”

The final day back in South Australia was a pearler for Tim, with the EH churning out a fresh PB of 10.33@136mph. “It goes to show that this thing will go nines with a proper launch; the miles per hour shows that,” he says. “We’d need to ’cage it at that point though, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to do that yet.”

Regardless, Tim is more than keen to put his hand up for another Drag Challenge. “It’s a ripper week, so even if we have to come back and just run 10.50s, I’d be happy with that,” he says. “It’s well worth the long trip over!”


Class:Hare & Forbes Dial Your Own
ECU:Holley Terminator X
Turbo:Pulsar S480
Camshaft:BTR Stage Two Turbo
Oil pump:Melling
Fuel system:Walbro 525 pump
Gearbox:Turbo 350
Diff:9in, 31-spline, 3.7:1 gears
Rims:Weld Draglite; 15×4 (f), 15×9 (r)
Rubber:Nankang; 165/70R15 (f), 275/60R15 (r)

Mark at B&B Smash Repairs; Chrisso at Bush Chooks Autos; Jeff at Power Management Solutions; Holley; George at Blown Motorsports.