We chat to Kiwi Karen Hay about her 1927 Model T that has run deep into the six-second zone!

Photographers: Alastair Ritchie

A CROSS the ditch in En-Zed, Karen Hay is a bit of a drag racing celebrity. She was dubbed the Queen of Speed in 2014 when her Brogie-built 1927 Model T roadster ran [email protected] at Tauranga to smash the NZ women’s drag racing record previously held by Faye Grant. SM caught up with Karen at Beach Hop in Whangamata.

This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Street Machine magazine.

Karen Hay Model T 1What have you brought along to Beach Hop? Is this the record-breaking beast?

Yep. We brought our ’27 T roadster. We’ve recently just had our Nationals where we broke the women’s record with 6.41@214mph.

Karen Hay Model T 3That’s impressive. So what’s under the hood of this machine?

We’ve got a 482 big-block Chevy. We recently went from a supercharged engine to running two Turbonetics Performance 88 turbos. Due to the transition, we’ve had to change a couple of things with the way we stage. We now have to spool the turbos up, as opposed to the superchargers. We’ve got a bump box too, which can look quite vicious on the line, but now we’re fully spooled when we take off. The power also comes in a little bit slower at the beginning and then really ramps up at the top end.

Karen Hay Model T 4What sort of power does it generate?

It’s capable of 2300hp, but we’ve only had about 2000hp at the moment.

Sounds plenty. So, it’s pretty lively on the track?

Yeah, when she goes straight she’s a bit of fun. You can have issues with a short-wheelbase car, but even so I’d much rather be in a short-wheelbase car.

Karen Hay Model T 5How’s the season been for your team?

Well the season didn’t start too well. Every run at the beginning of the season, we either broke a valve, or a rocker, or a spring. But she came together in the last two meets. So we’re really pleased.

Karen Hay Model T 2Any record-breaking attempts coming up?

We have the Nostalgia Drags coming up, so we’re here to promote a bit of awareness for people to come and see what we do. [The Nostalgia Drags] is the last meet of the season, so our goal is to lay down a 220mph pass.