WADE Wagstaff’s PSI-blown ’57 Chevy has gone through a massive four-month refresh in preparation for the Kenda Tires 660 Drag Radial Series round at Sydney Dragway on 28-29 February. Wade’s shoebox will be racing some of Australia’s quickest radial-tyre cars over the eighth-mile, including other Radial Outlaw machinery like Dale Heiler’s Castle Hill Performance big-block VT Commodore and Matt Grubisa’s Pro Line Firebird.
“We started the build at roughly the end of October and we stripped it to almost nothing,” says Wade. “We started off doing a lot of carbonfibre repairs, and then it snowballed. We wanted to put a FuelTech FT600 and coil-on-plug ignition on the car so that one box runs the whole car, which meant rewiring the whole car front-to-back. We also freshened up the PSI D-rotor blower for a couple more pounds of boost, fitted a new carbonfibre injector hat and changed the fuel system.”
Other changes included powdercoating everything in the front of the chassis, freshening the motor with new rods and valves, changing gear ratios in the Lenco, lowering the ride height, changing the four-link angle and the car’s weight placement, and adding SCF Race Cars windows and a carbon wicker panel on the back.
The base combo is still a methanol-guzzling, 521ci aftermarket Hemi block wearing a full Noonan top end and driving through a three-speed Lenco. Zealous Airbrush Studio and Kruik Kustoms painted the Chev and added the custom airbrushed Grinch on the back, and once it was back together, Justin and Michael from JW Automotive wired the car and let Luke Marsden tune it on his hub dyno.
“It made peak power in first and laid over because we couldn’t get 200mph worth of air down the hat, but it made 3100rwhp,” Wade says. “I’m so keen to get back into it. We’re starting from scratch as we’ve changed so much, but we have a lot more data on hand with the FuelTech, which will help us find our feet. There’s no reason that on a perfect track and with a perfect tune it won’t go 3.60s.
“I have to give a massive thanks to my dad, my partner, our entire crew, Image Perfection for the detailing, and anyone who has helped for the endless hours we’ve spent on this rebuild,” Wade says.
Other big guns lining up to have a crack in the Race Parts Melbourne Radial Outlaw field include Craig Hewitt, Craig Burns, Simon Kryger, Joe Gauci and John Ricca. With so much horsepower on track, expectations are rife we’ll see plenty of passes in the three-second range as the pack of hyper-competitive racers chase Wade’s current PB of 3.82@197mph, which landed him top spot on the Outlaw Radial record list. And that’s in Australia – the pair have gone even quicker in the US, to the tune of 3.79 seconds at 196mph at Lights Out 10 in 2019.
A bumper pack of cars have entered the Speedy Diffs 275 Outlaw Radial class, with big names like Steve Bezzina, Paul Todarello, Graeme Horner, Ben Vlekken, Daniel Drury, Matt McCarthy and Terry Androutsos, all of whom are sure to put on a huge show for the Harbour City crowd.
In the Haltech 235 Outlaw Radial class, Drag Challenge regulars Mark Arblaster and Chris Kaarsberg will take on the likes of Dale Bickham in his Barra-powered Commodore ute, while Alysha Teale and Nathan Ghosn are two DC veterans taking on the Radial Rumble 6.40-index class. Perennial DC Radial Aspirated king Alon Vella will be part of the Radial Renegades 5.50-index class.
It all goes down at Sydney Dragway this Friday and Saturday, so if you’re in the area, get your backside trackside!