WE’VE been watching Raelene Drew’s slick HR Holden get gradually quicker over the years. The almost stock-appearing HR Premier has had a variety of naturally aspirated Chev small-blocks in the past decade or so, but the latest incarnation, with a turbocharged LS engine, is the quickest yet.
Raelene has raced the car several times over the years, with her three sons egging her on from the sidelines, but the driving force behind the modifications is her husband, long-time drag racer Mark Drew. His own 430ci Torana runs mid-nines, and every so often he seems to get bored and plugs a new motor into Raelene’s HR.
This time they’ve ditched the 400ci small-block and replaced it with a 403ci LQ9 iron-block combo that runs a Callies crank and rods along with CP pistons. Hanging off the custom turbo headers is a S480 Borg Warner turbo producing around 17psi, and the whole thing runs on a diet of E85. Just in case you’re wondering, Raelene still drives the car on the street, albeit with the boost turned down.
After some initial teething problems, Mark seems to have the turbocharged HR sorted and it’s producing some impressive numbers – especially for a car with factory leaf springs and a column shift. Check out this video from the guys at Fullboost.com.au – it shows the old Premier running a best of 9.25@154mph on 275-width drag radials.
“We haven’t even started yet,” Mark reckons. “It’s a pretty basic tune, but we’re going to put it on the dyno this week and find a bit more, then we’ll be back out to the track this Sunday. I reckon she’ll run an 8.70.”
Watch the in-car footage carefully and you’ll see Mark put his hands on the horn for the launch. “That’s the transbrake,” he says. “I’ve got a switch that turns the horn off and turns the transbrake circuit on, and then you just have to push the horn to activate the transbrake.” It’s a cool system, but of course you have to be careful not to hit the horn accidently during a run. That could be exciting!
But our favourite moments are the casual way that Mark shifts the Powerglide into top gear with the column shift and places his hand back on the original bus-sized steering wheel as he screams past the car in the other lane, and the factory console trying its best to slide into the back seat.
We don’t think it’ll be very long until the HR dips into the eight-second zone, which begs the question: will that make it the quickest column-shift car in the country? If you know of something quicker, let us know.