Nothing screams ‘tough-as’ louder than a blown and injected Torana coupe. In just about any colour, they look like the perfectly sized pocket-rocket to jam a whole bunch of blown bent-eight whoop-arse into.
First published in the October 2022 issue of Street Machine
Queensland tow truck owner Randall Laurie has owned this stunning LC Torana for over 15 years, and for obvious reasons, the car is perfectly summed up by its MR NUTS number plates. Blown and mechanically injected combos like the one in MR NUTS are just so raw – no electronics and no technology; just a gut feel for a tune-up, a bunch of boost and let it rip. We couldn’t think of a sweeter sound than hearing this thing singing its head off as it crosses the finish line at 7000rpm in top gear.
“I bought the car as a roller back in 2006 from a mate of mine in Toowoomba,” says Randall. “From what I can piece together, the roller was built for Colin Bevis, who ended up selling it to a mate, who then did nothing with it for 12 months before I bought it.
“It took a few years to get it going, but I started with a small-block Chev, raced it and Powercruised it. Then I started getting more serious, so I did less at Powercruise and more at the track. Initially it just had a 6/71 with carbies, which later progressed to an 8/71 with a Big & Ugly hat. This car has had a lot of changes over the years.”
As far as the pre-existing fabrication work went, it was a pretty good car with a rear clip that seemed to work. In 2008, after the 383 SBC first went in, the Torry ran a 9.30 on a 10.5in-wide tyre. But Randall wasn’t satisfied with that.
“From the time we put the first motor in, we were always going to build a better one,” Randall explains. “After running the best we could with the 383, we started on a 400-cube deal.”
There was no need to reinvent the wheel; just go with what works: a Dart block, quality Callies crank, Oliver conrods and CP pistons. Being a blown combo, the heads weren’t as critical as in an aspirated combination, but Randall still opted for AFR 245s topped with Jesel rockers and all the good bits.
With the new motor combination and a bigger 8/71 blower, the car went straight into the eights from the first meeting, and ended up running into the 8.50s on 20psi of boost back in 2013.
“We persevered for a while and blew it up several times with bad tune-ups and bad advice, but it ended up running a best of 8.08 over the quarter-mile,” Randall says. “After you blow them up a few times, you learn a lot and work out that you need to get a handle on it yourself.”
The car then got parked for a few years until Randall decided to give radial racing a whirl.
“We were the first blown and injected car here to try radial racing, and we ended up pulling a massive wheelstand after running a 4.97 pass in qualifying at a Kenda meet three years back,” he recalls. “The car came down hard after all four wheels were off the ground, which basically wrecked the original chassis. Up until that point, the car had looked very average – the paint was pretty poor – so we ended up fixing a lot of rust in the car.”
Kev from KPM Performance Engines in Gatton pretty much took charge of the rebuild, with Scott Cortina helping with some of the front-end repairs. Once all the straightening, rust repairs and chassis stuff was sorted, it was off to Jason from Jas Race & Restoration to paint and panel the car, set the suspension up and bolt the whole thing back together.
The interior is very pro street, with the electronics limited to an MSD Grid ignition phased to an MSD 44-amp magneto, along with a Racepak datalogger gathering intel on the basics, including eight EGTs.
“Kev takes care of the wiring and tuning, and with the fresh rebuild we decided to step the blower up again with a 10/71 and Joe Blo injector hat on the same 400-cube motor,” Randall says.
The same attention to detail and quality follows through the rest of the driveline, which includes a USA-built Keith Neal Powerglide and a sheet-metal nine-inch with a Strange alloy centre, floater axles and Gazzard Brothers shocks. The ladder-bar rear works well, and on a 275 tyre, the car has run as hard as 1.13 in the 60-foot, with a bunch of 1.16s and 1.17s.
“We are struggling to keep the front on the ground at the moment; the car just wants to wheelstand, so we are trying a few different options,” Randall says. “We don’t want to take power out, so it may mean adding weight to the car, which currently weighs in at 2900lb.”
On a recent hub dyno test, the small-block showed 1100-1200hp on the couple of hits it made to 7000rpm.
“To get the car off the line without blowing the tyres off it, we have gone to an air throttle, which really helps feed the power in,” Randall explains. “We’ve also got an air shifter in the car to time shift points perfectly. We were hoping to run some good numbers at Sydney at the recent Kenda meeting; the track was the best ever, but we ended up hurting the transmission, which is a pity, as we recorded our best 60-foot yet.
“I’m probably a bit different to a lot of racers. For me, it’s all about running a new personal best rather than going rounds or even shooting for event wins.”
While many racers are drawn to turbocharging, it’s a path Randall has no interest in. There has been some talk in his camp of possibly going to a blown big-block, but the jury is still out on that one.
“I’m very time-poor, so I’m lucky I have a great team of mates to look after the car for me,” Randall says. “For now, it’s all about having fun and improving on my 4.79@140mph PB on 275s.”