SEPTEMBER last year saw some of the world’s wildest machines descend on Sydney Dragway for the first World Fuel Altered Challenge. While the altereds were the central attraction, plenty of gassers from around the country came along to rattle some eardrums and wow the crowds with their mad stance and open headers, including Simon Adrichem’s wheelstanding 1950 FX Holden.
This article was first published in the July 2020 issue of Street Machine
What’s the story behind your FX?
I got the car eight years ago, and it was already set up as a gasser. I actually got it from the Ford brothers in Melbourne as a rolling shell. Back then it was known as ‘Bad News’. I’d always been into nostalgia racing, and at the time I was building an altered car, and it dawned on me that I’d probably never finish it. The FX popped up for sale, and because all I had to really do was slap a motor in it, I bought that instead.
What’s in the car now?
The engine is a 489ci Merlin big-block Chev, with a Scat rotating assembly, Dart Pro 1 heads, Jesel rocker gear, MSD ignition, alcohol mechanical Crower fuel injection – altogether a reliable selection of good gear. It’s actually a fairly mild engine for what it is, with only 10.8:1 compression. I’d love to say how much power it makes, but it’s only been tuned on the fly, so we have no idea. We’re certainly confident we could push more out of the engine, but I don’t think the rest of the car could handle it!
What about the rest of the driveline?
It’s got a McLeod clutch with a G-Force G101A four-speed manual ’box and a Long inline shifter, and in the rear is the usual nine-inch diff with 32-inch tall tyres. I’ve always had my cars set up as manual, as it’s just something I prefer – especially with the old-school nostalgic stuff. I’ve always been a GM man, so I may look at replacing the diff at some point.
What’s it like to drive?
It’s a pretty wild thing. The PB with the car is a 9.82@139mph, but it’s pretty inconsistent. It’s all about putting on a show as far as I’m concerned, and funnily enough it actually goes quickest when it goes wheels-up like that. At the moment it’s starting to break loose in the top end, so we’re going to put some double-adjustable shocks in the rear to try and sort that.
How do you rate the gasser scene in Australia these days?
I think it’s growing right now; the Fuel Altered drags at Sydney really showed that there is a big interest in them. While the altereds were the headline act, the feedback after the Sydney event was all about the awesome gasser show, which kind of makes sense as they’re pretty wild-looking things. Spectators love the cool car names and the crazy nose-up stance, and when you add big burnouts and wheelstands it makes for an entertaining bracket. I became involved with organising our events and racers in NSW with Gassers Australia. Our vision one day is to have a field big enough to make Vintage Gas the headline act. Vintage Gas is a fairly new class put together some 10 years ago, loosely based on the gassers of the 60s and 70s.
Any more projects in the making?
I haven’t got any more room at the moment. I’ve got a 1964 Chevelle with a 496ci big-block with a manual that’s got around 600rwhp. My next plan is actually to get my sons racing the FX and give them a go in the car. The idea will be that eventually I will race the Chevelle while they race the FX, which should be good fun.