Eddy Tassone’s twin-turbo HSV VZ GTO

West Aussie Eddy Tassone is no stranger to turbo V8s, having repeatedly etched his name into the history books of our sport

Photographers: Gavin Donnelly, Phil Blondel

EDDY first made his mark at Summernats’ Horsepower Heroes contest in the 1990s, in an adrenaline-charged showdown that resulted in an incredible-for-the-time 1376rwhp on premium unleaded with his Holden-powered Commodore.

This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Street Machine

Since then, he has done anything but rest on his laurels, busily working away with his Perth-based business Active Automotive. Like any success story, it’s come with its highs and lows. Back in 2013 he crashed his VZ GTO heavily at Racewars, rolling it and tearing up a bunch of parts, but walked away to fight another day.

Since then he’s had a bunch of kids, with another due shortly. He’s had to rebuild his car and his confidence, and has come back with what is truly one of the toughest LS-based twin-turbo combinations in Australia.

At a recent testing session in Perth, Eddy’s VZ ran 222mph over the quarter-mile on radials, putting on 58mph in the back half of the track to become one of the fastest 315 cars in Australia, at a weight of over 3800lb!

“I fitted a 454 LSX to the car around 10 years ago,” Eddy explains. “Kids arrived, so the cars went on the backburner. But late last year we decided to hit up the Summer Series up north – Darwin, Alice – and then down to Mildura and Portland. It was awesome.

“But ever since I’ve been racing this RHS engine deal, it spits out head gaskets like there’s no tomorrow. Make 1400rwhp or get the boost near 25psi and out they come. We were racing at Mildura, and sure enough, this thing kicks a head gasket out. We had no spares and all we could get was a Cometic, and the golden rule is, never use a Cometic on an O-ringed block. They were all we could get so we fitted them, and incredibly, it fixed the problem!

“Since then we’ve freshened the motor and added some Pro Mod 98mm turbos, and have been making headway. In the background, we ordered a brand new billet Noonan LS block and have tossed the factory ECU, which had bugger-all datalogging, and added a FuelTech ECU. We got to the point where the RHS blocks don’t work; we’ve been persevering with them for years.”

Eddy and his team are excited by the new Noonan deal and are now working on a combination where they can run the solid block with water-cooled heads.

“I’ve run a lot of solid-filled engines and we didn’t have heating issues, so we are working on an engine oil cooler, a lot like the modern plug-in transmission oil coolers that racers use between rounds at the track,” Eddy explains. “It will sit on the floor of the car on the long drives, and there will also be a separate water system for the top half of the engine.

“The new cylinder heads we are running are from Energy and are a Callies product that we are very excited about. They make big power and are going to get us to where we want to be with this car.”

“It’s so sketchy to race this car; you are on the noise for so long, so much goes through your head in that time. I have not raced since the crash and I know you are supposed to get back on the horse and be scared; I’m starting to think that maybe the horse kicked me!”

The team’s untimate goal with the VZ is to run 400km/h over the 1000m at Racewars.

“I don’t know why I’m so hooked on this event, but that’s my goal,” says Eddy. “The event is currently dominated by all-wheel-drive rice-burners, but I want a rear-wheel drive, and the way the car reacts shows the skill of Black Magic Race Cars. It’s like an old Valiant – it doesn’t squat; it separates and hooks up.”

It hooks up all right – the car recently ran a 7.18 followed by a 7.14 at a mental 222mph.

“We are looking forward to getting back to the track to improve,” Eddy declares. “The track was really average when we raced, so we know we can do a lot better.”

Photographers: Gavin Donnelly, Phil Blondel