We hung out with the guys at Castlemaine Rod Shop to see what goes into installing one of their custom front ends into a car like Peter Grmusa’s ATRISK XR Falcon burnout car

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

PETER Grmusa’s ATRISK XR Falcon is hands-down one of the most insane burnout cars in the scene. The specs are out of this world: 700ci big-block Chev, giant blower and 2000hp. It has enough grunt to take a tyre from brand new to a pile of dust in a matter of seconds; you’ve never seen a car so violent out on the burnout pad.

front endIt’ll be no surprise to anyone that an XR Falcon with 2000hp is a bit of a handful to drive, but Peter reckons it shouldn’t be. “When we built it we cut out the whole floor and put in solid rails, so it’s actually really stiff; it’s just a pig to drive because the front end was never designed for the kind of engine set-up I have,” he says. “It’s actually a hot rod front end modified slightly with parts from here and there. The control arms started bending from the weight, so we welded in some reinforcement plates, but it never really solved the problem.”

front endThe front end also used a Gemini lower ball joint for the top control arm, which was very restrictive and the whole arrangement didn’t have much adjustment. The steering arms were HR Holden items and the Commodore steering rack used resulted in short tie-rod ends, leading to all sorts of handling issues. It was all a little like a Boxing Day dinner – bits from all over the place made to work together, but not necessarily work well.

front endTo rectify this, Peter enlisted the boys at Castlemaine Rod Shop. “I just told them I wanted it to drive nice, and steer properly,” he says. “It would never even hold an alignment; actually my F100 skid car, F-DIS, handles better. I want to be up there winning burnout comps, and I think making the car handle right is going to be a big help.”

Since doing the custom front end in Thomas Beltrame’s FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser skid rig, The Rod Shop has done a bunch of unique IFS set-ups that can be adapted to suit coil-overs – or airbags like in Peter’s car – and a range of different brake packages, including Pete’s monster Wilwoods.

front end“Our control arms are made from heavy-duty, thick-wall steel imported from Spain, and it’s all fully engineered to hold the weight of these big heavy burnout engines the boys use,” The Rod Shop’s Marc Waddington says. “So it’ll do the job better and handle much nicer than Grmusa’s old set-up ever did. Plus it’ll be much easier to drive with the power steering we’re supplying.”

We hung out with the Rod Shop boys for a couple of days to see how one of their custom front ends goes into a car like big, heavy-duty pieces of Lego.

front endAs for the ATRISK Falcon, Peter isn’t giving away too much about his plans just yet. His main objective initially is just to piece the car back together and make sure it drives right. From there, anything could happen. And knowing Pete, it probably will!