'Barn-find' VG Valiant Hardtop will be gunning for the nine-second zone at Drag Challenge

Videographers: Mick Hinchy

WHEN Street Machine columnist Mark Arblaster – AKA Arby – told us he was bolting a turbocharged LS engine into the front of his new ‘barn-find’ Valiant hardtop dubbed POOR440 we thought he was crazy, but there’s some method to the madness.

It all started when Arby stumbled across a weather beaten, but surprisingly rust free, VG Valiant Hardtop on Gumtree. He snapped it up and started making plans for a low buck street and strip machine. The idea was to take a tough but stock LS 5.3-litre truck engine and hang a turbo off it to make somewhere around 600hp at the tyres. While that may sound like an insane amount of horsepower on a stock bottom end, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the lowly 5.3 can handle that much and more.

With the help of good mates Martin ‘Toothy’ Tooth and Richard ‘Sumo’ Wallace the guys cut off the existing Hemi six engine mounts and made up a new set of mounts to suit the LS-engine and Powerglide combo. Then they made up some log manifolds and a crossover for the Borg Warner turbo along with an intercooler sitting in front of the radiator.

Up the back there’s a sheet-metal nine-inch diff sitting on a set of relocated leaf springs and some Gazzard Bros traction bars. There’s going to be a Haltech ECU to control the fuel and spark, with a Haltech digital dash and data-logger to monitor the engine’s vitals on the drive.

With plans to run this old Valiant deep into the nine-second zone the guys are planning to fit a full cage as well as mini-tubbing the rear end so they can squeeze some more rubber under the bum. Initially though, they want to see if they can run nines on a skinny 235 radial.

Right now the guys are thrashing to get the car ready for Street Machine Drag Challenge 2016. That starts in late October which gives the team just under four months to get the beast ready for five tracks in five days and 1500km of road driving. Now, that’s going to be a challenge.

Anyway, check out the video and let us know if it’s the coolest idea ever, or an abomination that should be destroyed Hank Scorpio style. Use the comments section below.