Ten cool cars from Powercruise Queensland

Powercruise #86 took over Willowbank Raceway for a weekend of automotive hijinks. Here are a few of the neat rides that caught our eye

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson, Dave Reid

Brisbane’s Powercruise #86 was a three-day treat of cruising, powerskidding, drifting and racing at a scorching Willowbank Raceway. Plenty of new builds hit the track for the first time, and there was some mad, off-the-wall stuff to go with the big-power old-school muscle and moderns.

Here are some of the machines that turned our heads.

1. It may still be a work in progress, but Andrew Reid’s airbagged 1964 XM Falcon wagon was a highlight of the show ’n’ shine. Its rear doors have been welded, the C-pillars are gone and it’s been stretched 250mm between the A- and B-pillars. There’s an extra 100mm ahead of the front guards, the bonnet’s stretched 100mm, roof gutters are gone and he’s flush-fitted a coupe windscreen.

A Mighty Mite C4 transmission and nine-inch diff helps the Russell Jones Specialised Engines stroked 302 Windsor make 601hp on the dyno. An aeronautical-style metal interior adds to the madness.

2. With the aero of a block of units, Powercruisers had little reason to worry about Millsi’s rust-stained 1980 CF Bedford SWB van – until he lit it up. Its built turbo Barra with Nitto 3.8-litre de-stroke is good for 1100hp and screams to 10,000rpm, and set about smashing just about every rival at Willowbank. At well over two tonnes, it’s a heavy beast even before you add up to seven passengers to enjoy the fun.

The eight-point rollcage can be unbolted to make the van practical (sorta) for Millsi to transport motorbikes or all the tools for his gardening business. “It’s actually easy to drive,” he said. “All the hard work’s been done. It stops well once; then you need a lap to cool the brakes down.”

3. Peter Faulkner’s ’83 turbo VH Commodore won the powerskid comp after plenty of spectacular, screaming runs down Willowbank’s spectator-packed pit straight. The V8’s S480 turbo pushes 25psi to deliver 1100hp, making it an 8.3-second weapon.

It features a two-speed Powerglide, custom nine-inch diff, custom AFCO coil-overs and custom rear-mounted radiator. “It’s unreal; a full adrenaline rush,” Peter said after his well-deserved second powerskid victory in a row.

4. The LS1-powered YPAYTAX ’76 Mk2 Escort was a crazy spinner on the pad, but gave a scare with a fire underneath the car while driver Andrew Vock and builder Ben Griffin were celebrating their smoky brilliance.

The little Ford has a Powerglide transmission, HiLux diff, methanol and 100-shot of nitrous.

5. Always a fan favourite, David Power’s suicide-door HJ One Tonner, FLAT RAT, had a scary moment when it lost a rim during a cruise session on Friday.

Its 520hp, 6/71-blown 355ci Holden V8 doesn’t help forward visibility, and nor does the four-inch roof chop, but David still works crowd-pleasing miracles on the pad.

6. While most would lock their Monaro GTS in a dehumidified garage and watch it surge in value yet further, Peter Sauer’s out ripping skids in his. The ’68 has a blown 377-cube small-block, backed by a Powerglide and nine-inch, and was killing it in the powerskids final.

It sounded incredible, but on its way back for another run, Peter floored it and there was a nasty bang, a flash of flame and groans from the crowd. Game over, but it’ll be back.

7. Jamie Swift reckons his NO GILT VH Commodore was hitting close to 200km/h in the powerskids before he backed off. “It’s just set up to go fast, so I struggle to pull up for the corner,” he said.

The built 6.0-litre packs a GTX5020 snail and has gone 8.0@169mph, so it made short work of its Mickey Thompsons at Powercruise as it skidded spectacularly.

8. Greg Trapnell’s 1976 Chevy Monte Carlo was just a tired stock cruiser two weeks ago, but he’s loaded in a Trapnell Race Engines 520-cuber with an 8/71 blower under “the world’s largest reverse-cowl scoop”. The Alfa Motorsport bonnet cost $4500 alone, but is the size of an aircraft carrier.

“We brought eight sets of 20-inch tyres to blow off it and it’s chewed over 200 litres of methanol in just one day,” Greg said. Hey, nobody said these big Yank tanks were good for the environment.

9. Battle of the Cortys. Dave Waddington’s ’66 Mk1 uses an SR20 2.2 with a worked head and bottom end, backed by a Powerglide and nine-inch.

With nitrous, it’s good for 500hp, which is close to what Brian Heffler gets from his ’74 TC Cortina with its naturally aspirated six-litre LS, Powerglide and HiLux diff.

10. Sean Sticher paid $10K for his SL/R 5000 about 28 years ago, which has proved a cracking investment. It looks show quality, but this Torana doesn’t mind a bit of tyre smoking. “It reminds me of the old days when we used to run on the roads and outrun the coppers,” Sean said of his powercruising.

The car’s Dart-block 350 has been bored out to 383ci and has a 6/71 blower with two 750 double-pumpers on it. And yes, it sounds as good as it looks.

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson, Dave Reid