Tim McEwan’s big-block Holden HQ

We caught up with Tim McEwan and his tough big-block HQ at the recent South Coast 660

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

WHEN we spotted Tim McEwan’s mean HQ terrorising its Super Street peers at the South Coast 660, we knew it was right up our alley. We tracked down the Portland local after the qualifying round to find out what makes his yellow-not-mellow machine tick.

Tell us a bit about the Quey, mate.

The motor is a 447-cube big-block that does 700hp NA at the flywheel on E85. It revs to 8000rpm and loves it! It was built to do skids and a bit of racing, as well as drive on the street. We put in a 427 steel crank in to destroke it, which was nitrided to handle up to 1000hp. She’s a good thing! I’ve had it for about seven years. When I bought it, it had an injected 5.0-litre in it, but I don’t believe injected motors should be in chrome-bumper cars.

That’s a tough package. What’s the rest of the driveline?

The transmission is a Turbo 400 that’s fully manualised with a 5000rpm converter. It’s got a Rod Shop coil-over front end and nine-inch arse-end with 3.55s and 31-spline axles. It’s just on a little 235 tyre at the moment, but it fits a 255 under it.

How’s it performed on the track?

We’ve been trying to slow it down today. Last night we ran 6.80, but we’ve gotta stay at 7.0 on the eighth-mile, so we’ve pulled some throttle out of it. I’m only using the first two gears, so I’m running out the back door at 7000rpm. On our first run today, we went 7.2 and I backed off, because the guy I was racing has been in trouble for being too quick and I was beating him! We just ran a 7.1, but I backed off at 6500rpm, so on the next one we’re just gonna full-send it, foot to the floor!

What’s next on the list?

We’ve actually put 150hp of nitrous through it and made 900hp on the dyno, but we wanted to get it down the track NA first. Now that Heathcote’s opened up again, I really want to stand on it to see what it can do on the quarter-mile. With the nitrous, I’m sure it’ll put me into the very low nines. It’s not quite regoed yet – I just need to make the wipers work and put a Truetrac in it to replace the spool.

Bet you’re pretty keen to get it on the street?

Everything I build has to be street-driveable. There’s no point letting it sit in the shed for half the year – you just want to get in and go for a drive!

Any plans to have a go at Drag Challenge?

We actually built the engine with things like Drag Challenge in mind. I was supposed to do it last year, but COVID sort of stuffed things up and I didn’t have enough money to throw into it. With work commitments, I don’t have time this year, but we’ll 100 per cent give it a crack next year!

We hear you’re building a matching yellow ute.

I’ve picked up a ute that had a 253 in it, but I’ve got another big-block and Turbo 400 to make twins! That motor has done 9.0-second quarter-miles and is E85 too, so if I have dramas I can swap parts over.