3000hp pro street LJ Torana – MRMAD

With over 3000hp on tap, the MRMAD Torana just keeps getting quicker

Photographers: Joseph Hui

If you made a list of the toughest Aussie pro street cars of all time, Ivan Tesic’s MRMAD LJ Torana would be high on it.

First published in the May 2024 issue of Street Machine

Our pro street scene was undoubtedly at its most exciting during the early 2000s, when blown and injected, big-cube nitrous and back-halved cars ruled the roost. It was around then that Ivan bought this car from racer Joe Cutelli, and not long after it was fitted with a 2500hp twin-turbo small-block Chev built by Ken Duttweiler (SM, Jan 2006).

Back then, making that kind of stonk with a small-block was huge, and the results came quickly as MRMAD headed straight into the bottom sevens. A number of chassis shops including Groove Ryder and Street Car Fabrications have waved their wands over the car across the years, and it’s had a few reincarnations. It now runs a twin-turbo big-block Chev that has catapulted it to a 6.58 at a monumental 230mph – one hell of a ride in a short-wheelbase car!

Looking at the Torana in 2024, it’s very old-school; it’s essentially a three-quarter chassis car with a stock pair of front rails and firewall. It’s heavy at 3000lbs, thanks to the steel doors, glass windscreen and the other big-block: the fella sitting in the driver’s seat!

The move to the billet 540ci big-block happened with help from good mates who crew on the car; it’s wearing a pair of Precision turbos and belting out the best part of 3000-3500hp. It’s heaps of shove for a rather dated pro street car with such a small footprint; many would argue it’s too much horsepower for that combination.

Ivan’s guys have always liked to throw MRMAD under the street car blanket, and a few years back they released a pretty awesome video of it cruising over the Harbour Bridge and through the Sydney CBD. If you want to get hung up on what a street car is then my guest, but having seen Pro Mods run up thousands of miles at drag-and-drive events around the world and run into the sixes, I can attest to the term having some pretty flexible parameters for some.

“The car might go a 6.40, or maybe even a 6.30 if the planets align”

The 540 in MRMAD is a serious bit of kit. It started life as a spare engine, owned by Mike Moran when he ran a class car. Mike’s connections with Aussie racer Rob Campisi saw the engine make its way to Australia, and Campo and his team of misfits (as he describes them) now do the maintenance, tuning and pit duties. The billet-block deal wears a set of 12deg Profiler-style heads; while they are water-jacketed, the team doesn’t currently run water in the car. The rest is as nice as you’d imagine, with a Bryant crank, GRP conrods and CP pistons. Compression is around 12:1, and the oiling system is a billet Dailey Engineering dry sump pan with a four-stage pump.

Ignition is supplied by an MSD Pro Mag and a BigStuff Gen3 ECU. As of now, they turn the engine to 9000rpm and replace the rods every 60 to 80 passes, with Westend Performance responsible for any
significant engine work. Other go-fast bits include 60mm gates on the 94mm turbos, a sheet-metal inlet manifold and two sets of Moran Maxx 500lb injectors. The injectors are fed by a Waterman Big Bertha belt-driven pump from a 30-litre front header tank and through a Weldon regulator. It’s a busy engine bay and it’s all tucked in tight, but ease of servicing is emphasised as much as possible.

Backing up the powerhouse is a Keith Neale TH400 three-speed with a first/second leave and all the bits needed to survive 3000hp. The converter is a Neil Chance bolt-together unit, and the rear is a bulletproof sheet-metal 9in with 40-spline axles, a floater kit, Mark Williams centre and a set of Big Bubba slicks with relatively plain-Jane two-way shocks.

“The car might go a 6.40, or maybe even a 6.30 if the planets align,” Robert Campisi says. “I’d like to see Ivan spend some money on the car, buy some better parts it needs and pull some weight out of it; it’s heaps-fast for what it is and I’m sure it’s a handful.

“We love giving him a hard time about it any time he lifts – we tell him the old Ivan wouldn’t have done that!” I guess we’re all getting older and smarter.

The car’s current best to the 60 is a 1.04, but there’s always room for improvement. The more you look at the car, the more you realise it’s just a massively overpowered classic pro street beast, which is why I love it!

Like any success story, it just doesn’t happen without the help of some clever and dedicated people, including (but not limited to) Rob Campisi, Vince Curtale, Darren Dark, the Morgans, and Fatty.