Jason Behan’s turbo LS-powered Valiant VG ute

Jason Behan builds yet another super-cool Valiant for radial racing and cruising - this time a turbo LS-powered VG ute


If you’re a bit of a Mopar tragic, you might remember a bloke by the name of Jason Behan. We featured his stunning VG Valiant coupe, MINTVAL, in bare metal in the July 2016 issue, before unveiling the completed ride in SM, Nov ’19. The pro touring masterpiece was an incredibly detailed build stuffed full of big-block Mopar goodness fed through a 1050cfm Dominator carb.

First published in the April 2023 issue of Street Machine

Well, Jason is clearly a Mopar maniac himself, as he’s come back for more with another stunning VG – this time a ute that he’s dubbed MINTVAL 2.0. In some respects, it’s a much simpler build than his previous ride, yet in others, it’s far more complex.

“The ute’s come up nice and it doesn’t owe me that much,” Jason says. “We spent money where we needed to, like the Paul Rogers transmission, Circle D converter and 35-spline axles – the stuff that will kill you if it goes wrong.

“I built the car from a bare shell in the backyard, with a lot of help from Craig Walters,” Jason continues. “He’d come out on Saturdays and weld it all up, and then Callum Conway – who painted Daryl O’Sullivan’s ABADHK – blew the paint over it.”

That makes it all sound very simple, but there was a bit more to it than that. “I wanted a more useable car, something I could do Kenda with, some eighth-mile events, take the dogs to the beach and do Street Machine Drag Challenge,” Jason explains. “I picked this up from Brett Morgan about six years ago.

It’s a one- or two-owner car that was in primer when I got it, and it was tidy – probably too good to chop up. We didn’t have to do any repairs underneath it, but we did tub it to the rails, four-link it and brace the chassis over the diff.”

Hardened Mopar fans may have to close their eyes for the next bit and open them up in a couple of paragraphs, because Jason knew that the path to having a reliable, streetable and powerful engine was to go for a turbo LS combo. “It’s an iron-block 5.3 with a Pulsar S480 on it,” he says. “I just wanted a small-cube cast-iron deal, because that’s where the competition is at the moment, and on a small tyre, too.”

The engine installation is neat and tidy, but if you’re looking for elite-level detailing and hidden everything, you’re looking in the wrong place. This car is all about being easy to work on, so the coils are in an easy-to-reach location, the wiring is neat but not hidden away, and the engine was even mounted off the firewall to make access to the bellhousing bolts a bit easier.

And let’s face it, this era of Valiant has the perfect spot to put your tools down on the inner guard. The fuse panel and relays are all mounted in the glovebox for easy access as well.

The mill is a “legit stock bottom end” according to Jason, but he has taken the precaution of putting an ARP stud kit through the bottom end and a fresh set of bearings. “If we get 850hp on a hub dyno, that’s plenty; that’s where we’re going to stop it,” he says.

Apart from the honking turbo, the heads (CNC ported by Robby Abbott) and the Brian Tooley Racing camshaft are where the real magic lies: “I got all the BTR stuff through George at RaceMAX Direct, who I met when I was doing my Indy heads for the hardtop. He does a lot of Hemi stuff, but he’s doing a lot of LS stuff as well,” says Jason.

It’s a neat and simple affair inside, with black trim over the stock bench seat and a Holley dash in front of the driver. Jason also has the hand-held unit connected, which helps with the closed-loop tuning. There’s also a ratchet shifter and an aftermarket steering wheel that looks very much like it belongs in a Charger, but the rest is as it left the factory.

Once things get serious and the boost gets turned up, a rollcage and presumably a couple of race seats will go in. But for now, Jason’s just going to enjoy cruising the car and hitting the track every now and then. “It starts up no worries every time, doesn’t leak oil in the driveway and it’s not too noisy – it’s good,” he says. “I heard someone is starting a ‘True 6.50’ class over the eighth-mile, so we’re going to do that and street it for 12 months. Then we’ll turn it up.”


Type:5.3L cast-iron LS
Inlet:Holley Lo-Ram
Turbo:Pulsar S480, T6 flange
Heads:CNC ported
Crank:Gen 4
Radiator:Made in China
Exhaust:Custom headers, single 3.5in system
ECU:Holley Terminator X
Trans:Paul Rogers Powerglide
Converter:Circle D
Diff:Sheet-metal 9in, 35-spline axles
Front:Standard torsion bar, Viking adjustable shocks
Rear:QA1 coil-overs
Brakes:Wilwood discs (f & r)
Rims:Weld V-Series 17×4.5 (f), Weld Alpha-1 15×10 (r)
Rubber:Mickey Thompson ET Front (f), Pro Street Radial X275 (r)

Craig Walters at Sunday Speed for the endless hours on the build; Ryan Yanko at ASAP Auto Electrics; Callum Conway for the paint; James at Pulsar Turbo Australia; Mark Tralau for the engine build; Kye Knight at Knight Family Motorsport; Evan at Burson Beerwah; Cody Young at CDY Motor Trimming; Anthony at Valiant Parts Garage Queensland; JB Tyre & Mechanical; Kellie Farraway for supporting another Valiant build