Red CentreNATS: 21 guns

Boris chooses 21 of his favourite rides from Red CentreNATS 2021

Photographers: Ash Wilson, Tim Nicol

Neither rain nor border closures could dampen the action at Red CentreNATS 7, with hundreds of killer cars coming out to play.

Journo Boris Viskovic managed to jump the WA-NT border to cover the show, running around alongside snappers Ash Wilson and Tim Nicol. You’ll find full RCN coverage in our upcoming November issue, but until then, here are 21 of Boris’s highlights from the weekend.

Aaron Clark’s Mad Max-inspired ’55 Peugeot blew our minds last year when it debuted at RCN 6, and he was back again this year. The Pug might not score too well in the shine department, but it more than makes up for it in impact and crowd appeal. The extra year has added even more patina and character.

This Malibu from SA is the latest addition to Anthony Raschella’s stable. The sweet cruiser runs a 400 Chev backed by a Turbo 700 and 12-bolt with 3.23 gears, but it still managed a very respectable 12.2@109mph.

You’re looking at the sweet engine bay of Gavin Blowes’ People’s Choice-winning HG sedan. The 383 stroker LS features an Edelbrock LS3 cross-ram intake that sports two LSA throttlebodies and is beautifully detailed to match the rest of the car.

Gavin bought the car as a stalled project, already painted in the stunning Soul Crystal Red and Chrystal White Pearl with contrasting Buckskin interior. There’s a Powerglide with a 4000 stall and a 9-inch with 3.89 gears and 460hp at the tyres, but Gavin reckons he built it as a bit of a cruiser. I guess if Gavin does his cruising a quarter-mile at a time, he’ll be just fine! A set of polished 15×6 and 15×8 Convo Pros with lots of dish finish it off nicely.

Leteisha Chun Tie debuted a new look for her PARTY TIME VK, as well as a new high-helix 8/71 blower on the 402-cube LS. It features EFI running off a factory ECU, and with just 8psi on E85, it made 848hp at the tyres. Ample!

In my opinion the coolest burnout car in the country at the moment is NOVAKILL, David Cufone’s Yenko/SC Nova. It’s a worthy replacement to the dearly departed 1FATRAT, but unfortunately suffered a suspension failure on the tip-in at RCN 7. Dave still managed to smash the tyres off the car but ended up tapping the wall as he exited the pad.

The rain held off long enough on Friday for Graham Miller to make the obligatory Macca’s run in his EH pano. It’s not that Graham was afraid of the car getting wet, it was just that he doesn’t have any air cleaners on the injection stacks and didn’t want to fill up the engine with water!

Julie Pfennig brought along her BMW 323i Targa racer with Sean Basford (SKIDRAGIN Celica) riding shotgun as pit crew – it’s a left-hand-drive car out of the USA. The 2.3 has been punched out to 2.7L and runs a Holley carb. They were having a ball right up until the diff blew up, but a call out over social media got the problem sorted.

Ross Mayes brought his blown and flamed ’32 tudor up from Adelaide, with his kids coming along for the adventure. Ross is a Summernats and RCN regular and loves putting the hot rod through its paces, but this year he was taking it pretty easy, as he’s got someone interested in buying the car, which would allow him to concentrate on his custom EJ two-door wagon build.

Daniel Catalano made a late decision to make the trek from WA to compete in the Masters in BLOWN40. The BNR engine was on song and impressed several of the punters in the crowd with how sweet it sounded. For his efforts, Catalano was rewarded with an entry invite to Summernats Burnout Masters.

Jay Chun Tie’s TINYTOWING Suzuki Carry is definitely one of the crowd favourites, possibly because of how cute it looks with its pastel paint scheme and compact proportions, but once the carby-fed LS1 fires up and the #tipinortipover goes into full effect, the crowd goes nuts. It’s one of the most entertaining burnout machines in the scene right now.

Adam Cross gave the tyres a good scrub in his VX SS. He went on to win the Street class at Sunday’s DYO racing.

I assumed the SLY502 plates on Scott Van Rysbergen’s SS Commodore were a carry-over from a previous BBC-powered car, but it turns out the car is indeed packing 502 cubes of LS power! It’s built around an RHS tall deck block with MAST heads, a Holley Hi-Ram and twin Accufab 4500-style throttlebodies. It makes 678hp at the hubs and gets down the track in 10.5@128mph.

Is this the best looking drag car in Australia? Greg Damiani’s absolutely gorgeous HG GTS Monaro took part in the 8-second Heavy Hitters bracket and took out the win with an 8.06 against a hard charging Graeme Horner in his VH Commodore streeter.

Aiden Stampalia made the trip across from WA in the newly blown – and untested – WRECKAGE Commodore to compete in the
Burnout Masters. It didn’t look too good when he hit the pad, and it turned out he had lost top gear, but he finished off the skid in second gear and still smoked the place out.

Ty Kelly’s LX hatch is a genuine SS and was possibly the loudest car at RCN. I fully expected to see some kind of big-block in it, but it’s a 355 Holden stroker that makes 535 horses – and you can hear every one of them trying to escape. It’s no slouch, with a 10.23@129mph timeslip.

I was at MotorEx Sydney in 2013 when Frank Quaini’s ’32 coupe was unveiled. It was an over-the-top hot rod with massive-diameter wheels and low-profile tyres on the rear, backed up with elite-level detail. The last thing I expected of this car was to see it popping wheelstands and running 9.50s at over 140mph!

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact there were three killer ’32 coupes entered and racing at RCN 7. This is David Bonetti’s example boiling the hides on his way to the finals in the Heavy Hitters 10sec bracket. Unfortunately, after completing his burnout, something let go in the engine bay and there was a cloud of smoke, quickly followed by a fire.

Graeme Horner’s sedate-looking VH Commodore made it all the way to the finals in the Heavy Hitters 8sec bracket, running an
8.37@178mph. There were quite a few cars with Horner Performance engines, which isn’t surprising, as he clearly knows how to make them haul arse!

Not many blokes retire at 65 and then go drag racing, but that’s what Kass Ward did. He bought back the Toyota Corona that his stepson had raced for many years, and jumped in head-first. With the 400 SBC punched out to 410 cubes, the car was running in the 9.70s at RCN. Kass made it all the way to the finals, but lost out to Connor Begley after a double-red light, double breakout run

I couldn’t track down the owner of this stunning Bolwell Nagari, but I spent quite a while admiring this stunning piece of Aussie sports car history. Under the bonnet is a Windsor featuring an Edelbrock intake and rocker covers topped by a four-barrel Holley. The wheels were stepped up to 16-inch diameter, wider in the back of course, a massive jump from what would have been 14×6 rims with 185 rubber when it left the factory. The interior has also been updated in a tasteful tan and black and the dash is filled with five accessory gauges as well as the speedo and tacho backed by a brushed aluminium insert.

John Curwen-Walker’s FX Holden will make my list of favourites no matter how many times I see it. This car is Street Machine royalty, being featured in the Oct/Nov ’93 issue, and it has truly stood the test of time, not just physically, but aesthetically as well. The stance is spot on, the wheel and tyre combo is spot on, and that tunnel-rammed small-block hiding under the bonnet is double spot on! The FX was the inaugural RCN Grand Champ, and even though the competition has hotted up over the last few years, the old girl can still hold her own.