They say dedication reaps results. Listen to the tough streeters owned by Dwayne Gerdes over the past three years and you’ll know what we mean. The first, a neat HR, was fitted with a strong 192, Aussie four-slot and limited-slip nine-inch rear end – not a bad way to start out! Next came a worked 308-powered HG, followed by an HT Prem complete with a tough 350 and all the gear. But they were just practice for the magic FC you see here.
First published in the June 1989 issue of Street Machine
Dwayne’s ambition is to own one of Melbourne’s toughest streeters. That’s right – this car is only stage one of a long-term project that will eventually result in a blown 350-powered 10-second street animal.
Dwayne bought the FC as a rolling body. It came complete with a shortened ‘Tank’ Fairlane housing and genuine Ford 4.11 LSD gears. The diff housing itself is smoothed and chromed, and hanging off it is a set of Mike Reilly-built 36-inch ladder bars and a floater kit. Keeping tabs on bounce are Pedders gas shockers and retensioned HR Holden leaf springs.
Up front he’s got LH Torana rack and pinion steering and front-end components off a HR. The brakes are late-model HZ items, however, with the calipers polished and a remote VH40 booster mounted under the right guard.
Since buying the car Dwayne has fitted new ball joints, chromed many parts and slipped on a set of Pedders springs and chromed 90/10 shockers.
He has also flung the wheels the car came with and replaced them with Weld Racing Pro Stars, shod with skinny drag-style 3.5-inch Olympics up front and big, sticky Posi-Tractions at the business end.
Although smoothed and sprayed matte black at the time of purchase, the FC’s classic sheet metal needed a little more massaging. All panels were hand-cut back to metal before being re-smoothed to perfection. The front guards were also radiused slightly to clear the 15-inch wheels and some badges and moulds were deleted. Rapide two-pack putty formed the base for the rich Venetian Red top coats.
The interior is race-ready with Capri buckets up front stitched in black vinyl with red velour inserts. It’s built for comfort as well as speed, so the original FC rear bench has been retained, although it too has earned matching vinyl and velour.
The door trims and hoodlining are stitched in complementary velvet and the dash surround has been chromed. A friend bent up the six-point roll cage with mounts for the racing harnesses while another friend helped manicure interior fittings around the roll cage.
You have got to admire the extent of help that’s come from friends. Rather than wait until a pumped 350 emerged from the engine builder’s workshop, Dwayne bought a stock 307 from yet another mate for a measly $210. After all, why have your streeter sitting in a shed when you could be out cruisin’?
As it turned out, the 307 had only done minimal miles since a rebuild. Even so, it was stripped, copped a suitably dialled Chevy Orange cam, Weiand Team G manifold, Holley 650 double-pumper and Mallory twin-point dizzy – all of which encourage a little more action when the pedal hits the metal.
Another mate (see, Dwayne’s got himself quite a team) bent up a set of big-bore extractors that run through the inner guards and out to a twin 2.5-inch system. To top it off, a Moroso Stage One nitrous kit was fitted with the 10-pound bottle relegated to the boot.
Once the 307 was in place, Dwayne completed the engine bay with a custom four-core radiator, a fair amount of chrome, some braid and a cut-out battery mount.
KB Transmissions of Beaconsfield bolted a full-house TH400 trans together in anticipation of serious grunt from the heavy-breathing 350. It’s more than adequate for the smaller Chevy, being fully manualised with a Stage Three Transgo shift kit and a 3000 stall Dominator converter. Cog-swapping is handled by a B&M Star Shifter. A cut-down, chrome-plated thick-wall Ford prop shaft transfers the urge rearwards, and contrasts nicely with the Venetian Red undercarriage.
Despite a relatively mild 307 up front, Dwayne’s FC has run a best of 12.02sec at 106mph at Calder – with an empty nitrous bottle! No wonder he reckons 10s – or even 9s – are on the cards when the Archie-Robinson-built blown 350 is installed. Now that should be tough enough.
|Dwayne has two cool projects on the go in 2008 – a blown and injected 540ci WB ute and a twin turbo one-tonner!
|Mazda Marine Blue
|15×8- & 15×3.5-inch Weld Racing Pro Star
|Capri bucket seats, black vinyl/red velour, velvet hoodlining and door trims
Steeped in history!
Dwayne’s FC has a long history on the Melbourne scene. It first burst onto the scene under the ownership of Victor Reilly. In fact, it was featured in the very first issue of Street Machine!
The car then passed onto Mark Dickinson. “I owned it from 1984-1986 just before Dwayne. When I bought it Victor had been racing with his nitrous-fed small block. He wouldn’t sell it to me til he ran a 10…
I put it back on the street so that I could use it, rewired it, fitted new carpets, horn, wipers etc. I got it to run consistent 12.5’s on BF Goodrich T/As. This is how it was when Dwayne bought it, minus my engine.”