Twin-turbo 440-cube CL Charger

Russ Scougall won’t be slowing down when he quits the nine-to-five; he plans to go faster, chasing eights in this twin-turbo V8 CL Charger

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Retirement. For many, it’s the opportunity to slow down a bit, take it easy. Maybe buy a four-wheel drive and a two-storey caravan for a leisurely road trip, getting in the way of truckies on the way to somewhere like Birdsville or Broome.

First published in the July 2023 issue of Street Machine

Or, if you’re a car nut like Queenslander Russ Scougall, you could use your impending retirement as the motivation to build a twin-turbo Valiant Charger capable of chasing eights at Drag Challenge!

The appeal of Chrysler Australia’s coupe has been with Russ for a long time. “I was 10 years old when the Charger came out in 1971,” the plasterer explains. “My uncle was a flamboyant sort of fella; he was a cane farmer and he bought one new. My dad collected it for him, and for a month before my uncle got it, I was the coolest kid in town!”

Childhood influence lasts for life, eh? “It’s been a bit of an obsession,” Russ agrees. “I bought a Charger from a car yard in 1990. Unfortunately, I had to sell it, but later, when I turned 40, my wife surprised me with a Charger R/T – a genuine E38.” Happy birthday!

“It was a great car,” Russ recalls. “It had won a few trophies; it was a concours winner the first time it was shown. But after a few years, I began hankering for a bit more power and fun than the six-cylinder, so I sold it.”

The CL Charger you see here is its replacement, bought from an acquaintance as an unfinished project a few years after the birthday R/T was sold. “It was in boxes,” Russ says. “It was cheap. But we built it up and put it back on the road with a naturally aspirated motor.”

My three sons are also into cars, so I thought it would be good if we could all do events like Drag Challenge

The result was trophy-worthy; the Charger scored a Top Aussie Coupe gong at a Mopar Sunday back in the day. Then the almost inevitable chase for power began.

“We bought a supercharged 440 Mopar small-block from the USA,” Russ says. “But that was a disappointment; it only did two passes at Mopar Sunday and it had had it. All the galleries were full of swarf, so it must have been assembled by idiots.”

Russ had the supercharged donk rebuilt by mate Dean Lindsay for nearly 700hp at the wheels. It was a lot of fun for the next few years, until Russ forgot to turn the electric water pump on at an event at Queensland’s Lakeside track. “By the time I’d noticed the temp was up and flicked on the pump, I’d already hurt it,” he laments. “But it was an excuse, in a way, to get everything back under the bonnet so it could be used on the road. I thought we could do a Drag Challenge up here; my three sons are also into cars, so I thought it would be good if we could all go and do events like that.”

With that in mind, the car was delivered to Kavey, a bloke Russ had met through the building industry who project-manages and builds customer cars in Maroochydore under the KV’s Race Fabrication banner. What Russ wanted in terms of power and performance was going to require a bit more rear wheelarch, along with a rollcage to be track-legal, so the car was stripped almost bare. “I wasn’t quite sure what I needed to do; I just knew I wanted twin turbos!” he says. “But Kavey has been around a while, drag racing and all that, so he explained that if we’re going to run fast and to do the times I wanted to do, we’d need hardware such as a ’cage and a parachute.”

That’s why every piece of this top Aussie coupe has been modified or reimagined. That’s especially true of the engine bay, of course, where the plumbing for the turbos took precedence. Kavey quite sensibly installed the Garrett 35/82 snails forward and outboard of the cylinder heads so the exhausts could quickly exit to the wheelarches to minimise heat in the bay.

For cooling, Kavey used a PWR intercooler and radiator cores with a modified radiator support panel. There’s more handiwork in the throttlebody and intake, too.

The engine is built on what Russ describes as an R3 340 block. “It’s Mopar’s race-style block with siamese bores,” he says. Russ had run cast-iron heads with the blower, but these days the boost is squeezed under a set of alloy Indy 360-1 ported heads. A Scat stroker crank brings capacity out to 440ci.

Russ was keen to keep a Chrysler gearbox under his Charger, so it runs a Torqueflite packed full of ex-US bits by builder Bob Grant.

“It took around two years,” says Russ of his Charger’s most recent and most potent build. He’s a big fan of Kavey’s work in getting the Val to this point: “The talent the bloke has is second to none.”

The Charger had only just been completed before our photoshoot, so it hasn’t yet been launched hard from the line. “It’s a car I’m yet to learn, but we should be able to dip into the eights with it,” Russ says. “It’s run 10.20, but that was its previous guise.

As many know, one or two seconds here is almost a universe away from, say, taking a 13-second car into the 11s – the law of diminishing returns and all that!”

The lads haven’t leaned on the tune yet, either, but things are looking good so far. With a modest boost pressure of 14psi and with very conservative timing of just 22 degrees, the combo showed 941 horses at the treads.

Future plans include a switch to E85 fuel, which will require bigger injectors, so Russ will have to save a few more pay packets before he retires to put some more coin into the Charger!


Paint: Jet Black

Type:440ci Mopar R3
Turbos:Twin Garrett 35/82
ECU:Haltech Elite 2500
Heads:Indy 360-1, CNC-ported
Camshaft:Comp Cams
Conrods:Eagle H-beam with ARP bolts
Pistons:Diamond forged
Crank:Scat 4340 billet stroker
Oil pump:Melling
Fuel system:Three Walbro pumps
Cooling:PWR radiator
Exhaust:Fabricated 3.5in system
Ignition: Haltech coil packsFabricated 3.5in system
Gearbox:Chrysler 727 Torqueflite by Bob Grant
Converter:A1 Converters 3500rpm stall
Diff:9in, sheet-metal housing, Strange alloy carrier, Detroit Locker centre, 3.7:1 gears
Front:Torsion bars, Afco shocks
Rear:Gazzard Brothers mono-leaf springs and shocks
Brakes:Wilwood discs and calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder:Under-dash
Rims:Weld Magnum; 15×5 (f), 15×10 (street) or 15×12 (track) (r)
Rubber:Rapid P309 205/65R15 (f), Mickey Thompson Sportsman 28×12.00R15 (r)

My mate Kavey for almost the whole build; Dean Lindsay for the engine; Jeff Gill at Maroochy Smash; Kye Knight for tune; Jai Bobbye at Sunshine Coast Car Detailing; special thanks to my wife Jenny for supporting my obsession