630ci Merlin Chev-powered HK Monaro GTS runs five-second eighth-miles

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

WE CAUGHT up with Mildura local Charlie Pitt at the recent Nostalgia Drags. His wheelstanding, matte-black HK GTS Monaro was the talk of Sunset Strip, so we had to find out more.

You’ve just done an almost full-height wheelstand, is that the usual?

I’m surprised at the height. It usually does a small one, but nothing like that. I know that I go slower doing it, but I enjoy it. I can actually adjust the Monaro’s wheelstand height by the weight distribution; I have a bit of a secret up my sleeve on that one.

Had the HK for a while?

Gee, I reckon it’s about 27 years. My brother had it for a while before that; I swapped him a buggy for it. It was a bit of a wreck when I first got it; it had hit a few trees here and there. The driveline was a 253ci, with a Saginaw ’box and a 10-bolt Chev diff.

What’s in it now?

It’s a Merlin 630ci big-block Chev built by Darren Morgan. We’ve limited it to around 1000hp to suit my tyre size, but it’s good for 3500hp if I want to step up to a blower. Behind is a Powerglide and nine-inch, both built to withstand that sort of horsepower. Being a small tyre with the genuine GTS body and original suspension, we figure 1000hp is about all it can handle.

Those slicks are literally wedged in there.

Yeah, they’re a tight fit; I went as big as I can go. I lipped the guards and did some minor panel-beating to help fit the 28x15x10s. It doesn’t like it going around corners, but I don’t race around corners!

What’s the story behind the matte-black paint?

In 2000 I was mid-rebuild and rushed to get it ready for Sunraysia’s Quickest Street Car, so I did a quick matte-black paintjob and never changed it. At the time I’d just built a 510ci made up from a few different engines. We had heads-up racing and I won every race to get the title. It’s a huge trophy!

How’d you finish up today?

My best was 5.97@113mph – and it’s still a leaf-spring car. I tore up a few springs before I figured out the best combination, which I’ve created out of a couple of different sets. They’ve been in there for two years now.

So are wheelie bars going on next?

Nah, I think wheelie bars could unload it. I won’t contemplate it at this stage. I’ll just keep racing it the way it is.