Dave Andrews’s pro street LC Torana

Summernats 17’s Best Tuff Street car has some serious mumbo


What separates Dave Andrews’s fluoro-green LC Torana from lesser street and strip warriors is the supreme attention to detail. The kind of finish most racers wouldn’t bother with and a level of engineering that plenty of show blokes wouldn’t care to indulge in.

First published in the July 2004 issue of Street Machine

The mountain of polished metal spilling from the engine bay, the acres of rubber under the haunches that make steam-roller wheels seem anorexic, and a rollcage that could double as a set of monkey bars have all been crafted to not only work well, but to look awesome doing it. Strap on the shades and soak in the ocean-deep paintwork, sanitary custom interior and clinically finished competition undercarriage. It all screams of dedication.

You don’t get this quality by accident and it’s no real surprise that Dave’s Torrie scored Best Tuff Street at Street Machine Summernats 17, although he had to beat some of the meanest street-registered cars in Australia to get his hands on the silverware.

To be the best among the toughest show cars in Oz, your ride needs major attitude, and the little Holden has it by the bucket-load thanks to the blown small block Chev sitting pretty and polished in the engine bay. The 850hp mouse motor saw quarter-mile action during a past life in Peter Flynn’s wild hatchback Torana drag car, recording a PB of 8.60 seconds. As it’s going to see race duties with Andrews, Glen from G Force Race Engines freshened it up before it was slotted between Holden guards.

Internally, there’s a truckload of high-quality race-prepped parts that’ll make a horsepower junkie salivate like a rabid dog. The block is an 010 350ci Chev that now displaces 364ci and is filled with such goodies as a steel crank, aluminium rods, forged pistons, roller cam, Isky springs, roller rockers and more. Up front, an aluminium radiator sits proud next to a custom catch tank, with an Edlebrock water pump residing near by.

While it’d take a trainspotter to pick all that, even blind Freddy couldn’t miss the Fisher 6/71 blower and Enderle mechanical fuel injection set-up looming large on the skyline. Yup, this mechanical monster gets its hit though regular injections.

The rear end of the car holds no real surprises, just tried-and-true bulletproof drag engineering. A fully manualised two-speed Powerglide auto was also built by Glen at G Force while the motor was out, and it sends the Chev’s torque south to a nine-inch diff that’s copped an aluminium centre, Strange billet axles and a highway-unfriendly 4.3:1 final drive ratio.

Interestingly, Dave chose to fit ladder-bar suspension with Spax coil-overs instead of the more fashionable four-link set-up. The ladder-style is seen as a cheaper, easier set-up to install and tune than the more complex four-link. Up front there’s nothing radical either, with drag-spec 90/10 shocks and stock-spec springs holding the Torrie’s nose off terra firma.

Among the biggest ‘wow!’ features of the car are the 15×12 toilet bowl-deep Weld Alumastar rims, carrying 29×13 Mickey Thompson rubber (31×13 for the track) while cheese-cutter front runners are used at the sharp end.

On the outside, the straight, almost-stock panels are matched by the period-perfect luminous green paint. The straightening of the body was done by Novocastrian Troy Anywell, whose orange six-pack Torana graced the cover of Street Machine several years ago.

Despite the factory 70s look, a keen eye can pick the slightly fatter guards under the bum, along with the rolled valance under the rear bumper. However, no-one could possibly miss the bright, coolant-green paint covering the Holden two-door.

The shell, engine bay, undercarriage, boot and the interior (where it’s not covered with cloth) is coated in Spies Hecker Mint Tulip, giving the impression the whole bare car was bathed in a giant vat of radioactive paint. There’s more green on show here than Senator Bob Brown on a fact-finding tour of Ireland.

Breaking up the radioactive hue are the satin-silver bumpers, grille, headlight and taillight surrounds, which provide a striking contrast to the highly-polished engine.

Inside, the race-style interior has been smoothed, honed and painted to perfection. Thanks to the comprehensive roll cage, the back seat had to be turfed, leaving the rear half of the cabin in just painted steel — like you’d find in most track-oriented cars. However, the metal in the Torrie’s cabin was smoothed to perfection, before being covered in the same phosphorescent colour as the body.

Dave Lewis at Cardiff Motor Trimmers re-covered a pair of Hornet race buckets which hold Andrews in ways the original vinyl tombstones never could, while a flash MOMO tiller gives idle hands something to cling to, especially when the loud pedal is mashed and the projectile’s launched up the quarter-mile.

Gear selection duties are handled by a classic B&M Pro Stick shifter and to keep our boy Dave busy, a brace of Auto Meter gauges monitor vital signs of the mega-power motor. They sit in individual cups in a custom, smoothed-metal dash top that’s been coated in more Spies Hecker green, broken up by a contrasting satin silver plastic housing.

While some say the T’rana’s too good to race, Dave’s itching to go to WSID and have a red hot go. A parachute has been bought since Summernats and wheelie bars are being made. After all, it might look a bazillion greenback dollars, but it’s built to go!

Shakes and ladders

Ladder bar suspension is a substantial improvement over stock. It helps eliminate spring wrap-up on leaf spring-equipped cars which can slow 0-400m times and cause significant damage.

It’s quite easy to install ladder bars and typically requires fewer sub-frame modifications than a four-link. Adjusting a pair of ladder bars is quite easy since there are only adjustment holes at the front of the bar. The remaining adjustment is in the lower portion of the bars and is for returning the pinion angle to its correct position at one or two degrees nose-down in relation to the driveshaft.

In a four-link, improved suspension adjustability is the greatest benefit. It can improve quarter-mile times through fine tuning for varying track or traction conditions.

It’s well suited for short wheelbase cars that have minimal clearance from the rear axle centre-line to the driver’s seat. They are also well suited for street rod and pro street applications where uneven road surfaces are encountered, which can be compensated for by running the bars in a parallel fashion.

If your primary concern is drag racing and you’re not afraid to educate yourself a bit, go with a four-link. However, a ladder bar suspension is easier to install, less expensive to set up and cheaper to maintain. Additionally, it’s less complex to adjust, but does not have the extensive adjustability that the four-link has to offer.

Dave Andrews
1971 LC Holden Torana

Colour:Spies Hecker Mint Tulip
Type:Chev 350ci
Heads:Brodix Track 1
Crank:Steel aftermarket
Pistons:Forged CP flat tops
Rings:Total Seal gapless
Conrods:BRC alloy
Bearings:King Race
Blower:Fisher 6/71
Squirt:Enderle mechanical injection
Exhaust:Wizard two-inch primary, four-inch collectors
Gearbox:Manualised two-speed Powerglide
Converter:5000 stall Dominator
Tailshaft:Thick-wall Hardy-Spicer four-inch
Diff:Billet alloy nine-inch, 4.3:1
Springs:Stock-spec Pedders (f), Spax coil-overs (r)
Dampers:90/10 drag-spec (f), Spax (r)
Brakes:Cross-drilled Leyland P76 discs (f), Hugo race (r)
Calipers:HZ Alloy (f), Ford Laser (r)
Wheels:15-inch Weld Alumastars, 15×4 (f), 15×12 (r)
Tyres:Mickey Thompsons
Steering:Custom one-piece column
Seats:Re-trimmed Hornet buckets
Belts:Simpson five-point
Steering wheel:MOMO
Shifter:B&M Pro Stick
Gauges:Auto Meter

Scott Macdonald at Swansea Smash Repairs, Troy Anywell for the bodywork, Dave Lewis at Cardiff Motor Trimming, Lee, Mick and Peter at Rampage, Craig Bromhead the auto electrician, Mick and Mark at Arthur’s Auto Dismantlers, Graham Lilford at Wizard, Glen Durham at G-Force, TJ and Johnno for the sheet metal and trans tunnel work and finally Jeff, Michael and Chad for helping out at Summernats and Maurice Fabiette for engine help. Cheers blokes!