IT MIGHT take place in the US, but Hot Rod Drag Week is an international affair these days, with cars coming from all over the globe to compete in the world’s toughest street ’n’ strip event – and Swede Magnus Frost’s nitrous-assisted Opel Ascona is the one of the wildest we’ve seen to date.
If you need any evidence of Magnus and his mates’ insanity, look no further than the fact that this little Swedish Opel was built for street racing and has won the Stockholm Open six times. That’s an event where local street racers block off the highway and have at it. It’s been running for years and was legally run on an airstrip for a time before the authorities shut it down because of environmental concerns. So the guys took their action back to the streets.
You may be wondering why they aren’t all in jail; it comes down to a loophole in Swedish law. To be arrested for street racing in Sweden, the police must keep the offender in sight at all times and catch them behind the wheel. Which means basically the guys just have to outrun the police (who are hampered by a large crowd of people and cars), drive around the corner and jump out of the car. Even if the police find them standing beside the car, there’s no proof that they were actually driving it. Gotta love Swedish law.
The little Opel Ascona looks like the lovechild of an HB Torana and a Mk2 Cortina, and would have been powered by a little 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine. Magnus’s Opel is packing a whole load more capacity; try 540ci – or 8.7 litres – of big-block Chevy grunt. They’ve also added three stages of nitrous to make it totally nuts. The car is capable of high sevens on the quarter, but it was limited to flat eights at Drag Week because the traction was too good.
Yep, you read that right. The little Opel is used to running on street surfaces, so when they tried to use the same power in the US, the wild machine tried to stand on its tail. This meant the guys had to pull a bunch of power out of it to get the Opel down the track. Their best pass at Drag Week 2016 was 8.01@169mph, and the guys finished third in the Unlimited class with an average of 8.11@168mph.
The car is extreme in every sense of the word, from the funny car-style ’cage to the tinned-out interior and side-exiting exhausts that use slip-on mufflers. We have some doubts about whether the mufflers actually do anything, however; this thing is loud!
Word is that the guys will be back for another crack at Hot Rod Drag Week this year; we’ll see if they can run some sevens.