IT’S good to be King. And of the 750 entrants who assembled at this year’s sold-out Red CentreNATS extravaganza, Graham Miller’s mega-tough EH Premier, EHMAD, proved most worthy of claiming the crown jewels.
Grand Champion is the pinnacle award at Red CentreNATS, and if you’ve ever been, you’ll know that the event attracts some stone-cold stunners. Just like at Street Machine Summernats, the RCN Grand Champion is awarded to the car that kills it in the judging and is then expertly wheeled in the driving events by its owner. Unlike Summernats, a key part of RCN is drag racing, so it was a handy thing that Graham’s EH came into the event with a PB that’s about as close to a nine as you can run without actually running a nine – a 10.002 at Willowbank, to be exact!
The EH was a going concern when Graham bought it, but it was a bit of a roughie in British Racing Green with a white roof. His business, SEQ Onsite Services, does a lot of media blasting, so after driving the car for six months, Graham yanked it off the road, stripped the paint off it and handled the repairs and Toyota Ice Blue paint job himself
And the ever-reliable EH backed it up at Alice Springs Inland Dragway, reeling off another 10.0sec pass to finish first among the Grand Champ contenders. Couple that with an impressive third-place finish in the motorkhana and a second in the grass events, and it’s easy to see that the title went to a properly fast car that’s also a genuine driver. Graham reckons he doesn’t fancy himself as a wheelman, but the results say otherwise!
The EHMAD number plates were purchased as a Christmas gift by Graham’s long-suffering misso, and for good reason. Aside from the sedan, he also has a kick-arse panel van build nearing completion, a six-cylinder wagon that’s more of a cruiser, and a ute which he is currently forbidden from spending any money on – the full set, then!
The EH is an older build – the owner-applied Toyota Ice Blue paint job and leather-trimmer Premier interior have been in place for 13 years – so it was unlikely that Graham could rely solely on the car’s show credentials to get the win, and he knew he would have to bring the noise in the driving events.
“I’m really surprised to have won!” said Graham, who had travelled to RCN from Brisbane. “My plan was to bring my new EH van to Red CentreNATS [In The Build, SM June, 2020], but it wasn’t going to be ready. I’m aiming for Rockynats with that one now. I’m just blown away!”
Speaking of blown, the Chris Hollingworth-built 406-cube small-block in the EH is topped with an 8/71 huffer and carbies, while the E85 tune was done by Justin Simpson at Horsepower Solutions. The car ran a basic 290hp, aspirated crate small-block for years, but a trip to Summernats opened Graham’s eyes to just how beaut belt-driven intake manifolds really are, so he had the current combo built a few years back.
The 406ci small-block Chev runs a Scat crank and rods, JE slugs, RHS heads and a hydraulic-roller camshaft, topped with an 8/71 TBS huffer and twin Quick Fuel E85 carbies – enough shove for a flat 10 over the quarter. For street duties Graham removes the 8/71 and fits a plate with a single carb to the blower manifold along with a reverse-cowl bonnet, but having the blower hanging in the breeze was definitely the go for Red CentreNATS
“Touch wood, it has been a really reliable combination,” he said. “The E85 keeps it cool and it drives nice around town. It only has a 3800rpm stall in it and 235 radials on the back. It has all the Gazzard Bros rear suspension stuff; that really helps it hook up.”
Leaf springs, small tyres and a sensible converter make for a fairly modest, streetable package that punches above its weight and exhibits clockwork reliability, all of which contributed to winning the main gong at RCN.
Graham and the EH are regulars at Willowbank Raceway, although he’ll have to keep an eye on the right foot to avoid going too fast
“Red CentreNATS was a great event. We made a holiday out of it – cruised up here over six days and will take about five days to get back. We got thumbs up everywhere we went, and the Street Parade was amazing. There is nothing like it anywhere.”
All hail the King!
1964 HOLDEN EH PREMIER
Paint: Toyota Ice Blue
Brand: 406ci small-block Chev
Induction: 8/71 TBS blower, twin Quick Fuel carbies
Camshaft: COMP Cams hydraulic-roller
Pistons: JE forged
Fuel system: Aeromotive E1000 pump and reg
Cooling: Custom Red Devil radiator
Exhaust: Custom headers, twin 3in exhaust system
Ignition: MSD 6AL
Diff: Nine-inch, Trutrac centre, 31-spline axles, 3.89:1 gears
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: HR front end, Pedders springs and shocks
Rear: Gazzard Bros leaf springs, Pedders shocks
Brakes: HQ discs (f), Wilwood ®
Master cylinder: Wilwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Simmons B45; 15×7 (f), 15×8 ®
Rubber: Kumho 205/50/15 (f), Mickey Thompson 235/60/15 ®
The missus for letting me be in the shed all the time; Les and Scott from Fat Pipes; Chris Hollingsworth, Justin Simpson, Andy from A&C Auto Electrics; Nyjel Boehme for helping with the car; Monty Brown