My most enduring memory from Street Machine Summernats 21 was poring over Clint Ogilvie’s new-again LC Torana, resplendent in the Top 60 Elite Hall. There it sat, flanked by awe-inspiring, mirrors-on-the-ground show cars, stinking of molten rubber with a pair of freshly slain tyres lying beside it.
This article was first published in the June 2020 issue of Street Machine
“Yeah, we made the Top 60 that year,” recalls Clint. “I think we came third in the Burnout Masters, and then we drove it into the hall on the rims.”
That a car built for the express purpose of sending tyres to bastard hell could go shoulder-to-shoulder with the best show specials in Australia is something that really stuck with me, and as history would eventually show, FRONT/BACK was first among a raft of show-quality skid pigs that followed.
The car ran on the cover of the May 2008 issue of Street Machine in that guise (its second showing on page one of the mag) – a wild blown, flamed, suicide-doored, hot rod-inspired build that blew people’s minds at the time. But the problem with building an elite-quality skid car is that they are routinely put in harm’s way. It’s something of an occupational hazard.
“We were up at Mildura Gazzanats, and we had an issue with a fuel line,” says Clint. “We had a big methanol fire, and it cooked the paint.”
The car made a triumphant return with a satin-black wrap covering the scorched paint and a screaming, all-motor Holden V8. But when the high-revving donk hurt a camshaft, it prompted Clint to take stock of the situation.
“We made the decision to go back to a blown combo, and while I would have loved to have stuck with a Holden, I wanted to make north of 1000hp reliably, and that’s hard to do with a 308,” Clint says. “I had some things I wanted to prove with the 308. People said you couldn’t supercharge them because they break cranks, but we won the Burnout Masters at Summernats 23 with a blown 308. Then we buzzed the aspo motor to 9200rpm! But I knew that going back to the blower meant it was time to put a Chev in it.”
Clint again turned to Speedworks to screw together the new motor: a 374ci, CHI 18-degree-headed set-up topped with a Littlefield 8/71 huffer that makes an impressive 1200hp on a lowly 15psi of boost. The guts of it includes a Callies Magnum crank swinging Oliver rods and Diamond pistons, with a cam boasting 270/280 degrees duration and .750in lift. A Dailey five-stage dry sump pump keeps lube up to the engine, while an Enderle pump shoots methanol at the PSI Deep Throat hat – a unique piece that took some tracking down.
“I saw one years ago and hunted high and low to get hold of one and couldn’t for love nor money,” says Clint. “I ended up buying a carbonfibre hat instead, and then PSI started making them again, so I sold my carbon hat to a guy in Adelaide who – as it happened – was looking to sell the hat I’d been looking for! I love the sharp lines of it and how they contrast with the curved lines of the car.”
The 1200hp on offer is a fair whack more than the car was ever good for in Holden-powered trim, and despite the fact that it won more than its fair share of accolades when plastic-powered, it’s certainly going to be a much more competitive, modern-day skid car with the Chev. In fact, it’s fair to say this most recent rebirth was more squarely aimed at winning trophies on the burnout pad than in the show ’n’ shine arena.
“The mentality was to enact the Keep It Simple, Stupid principle,” Clint says. “We redid the trans tunnel and moved the motor back; it’s way easier to get to nuts and bolts when something goes wrong. It’s the same story with the interior; everything is black, so it’s easy to keep clean. We could have mounted the ECU and the coils under the dash; it would have been neater, but having the ECU on the dash and the coils on the firewall makes it so much easier to diagnose faults and replace components if anything fails.”
What’s a mechanically injected car doing with an ECU, I hear you ask? While the fuelling is handled by the 10 hat-mounted and eight port-mounted injector nozzles, the Haltech Elite VMS (Vehicle Management System) is responsible for most other things, and Clint rates it.
“I’d originally bought a 20-amp magneto and front drive set-up, but my engine builder had been doing a bunch of blown EFI boats and he suggested the VMS would be the go,” he says. “The magneto is old technology, so I sold it and went this way instead; I’m so glad I did. The tuneability and datalogging capability is unbelievable. Information is key; the more you have, the better your decisions will be. Plus you can put so many safeguards against different parameters in place, and if it saves your engine once, it’s paid for itself 10 times over.”
Much of the fab work is carried over from the previous build, but the paint, while brand new and a big departure from how the car looked last time we featured it, is still pink. “I bought the car when I was 18 or 19 years old, and it was Strike Me Pink with XU-1 blackouts,” says Clint. “When the bloke took me for a test drive he mashed the throttle and it just smashed me back in the seat; I couldn’t get my wallet out quick enough! But there was no way the car was ever going to stay pink. All these years later, here we are – I guess it just kind of stuck!”
We’re glad it’s still pink, and as much as we loved it as a show-stopping skidder, we’re just as pleased to see this legendary Torana back on the pad, with twice the grunt its ever had, ready to mix it up with the big hitters of the Aussie skid scene once more.
IT’S EVOLUTION, BABY
Clint’s LC has evolved over literal decades from a humble street car into a tough all-purpose event car, a Summernats Top 60 stunner and a Burnout Masters champion, among other things.
Along its journey, the car has made the cover of Street Machine three times, not including the cover of the 2003 Summernats annual, which it also graced. The only other cars to score three SM covers have been Mark Jones’s FAT57 Chev and Adam Le Brese’s XC Falcon coupe, both of which were SMOTY winners.
The LC’s first cover was in February 2006, sporting a blown, carby-fed Holden V8 and rolling on Center Line Convo Pros shod in BFGoodrich hoops with the hoon writing facing out. Just a couple of short years later (May 2008), the FRONT/BACK Torana was back on page one of the mag following its most comprehensive rebuild. Still Holden-powered but with massive tubs, a rollcage, wild flame-job and a crazy custom interior, it made the Summernats Top 60 hall in 2008 and went on to win the coveted Burnout Masters title in 2010.
Now it’s back again, sharpened, Chev-powered and with a renewed focus on taking it to the heavy hitters in the Aussie burnout scene.
THE OGILVIE FAMILY
1970 HOLDEN LC TORANA
|House Of Kolor Pink
|374ci small-block Chev
|Modified CHI tunnel ram, 8/71 Littlefield supercharger, PSI Deep Throat mechanical injection hat
|270/280 degrees duration, .750in lift
|Dailey five-stage dry sump pump
|Aussie Desert Cooler radiator, thermos and shroud
|Haltech VMS, Haltech coils
|9in, 3.5:1 gears, 31-spline Strange axles, full spool
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES
|CRS independent front suspension, coil-over shocks
|Four-link, Strange coil-overs
|Wilwood discs (f), no brakes (r)
|Wilwood pedal, under-dash master cylinder
|WHEELS & TYRES
|Billet Specialties Street Lite; 15×4 (f), 15×12 (r)
|Mickey Thompson; 15×5 (f), 375/60/15 (r)
Speedworks; CHI; Tankards Panel Service; Fuelworx; Racewires; Aussie Desert Cooler; McIntosh Engineering; Crow Cams; ATS Automatics; Magnet Towing; our supporters and fans for making us feel loved wherever we go; massive thanks to Robyn, Chloe, Angus and Molly, and my mates for keeping me focused on the end game.