LAST issue I updated you on the work we’ve been doing on POR440, my turbo LS-powered barn-find Valiant.

Well, after we worked through a huge to-do list, the car finally left the Haltech stables with a whole bunch of trick gear to monitor the vitals, and made it to the track at last. An impressive 608rwhp on 18lb of boost was enough to guarantee a decent number on the timing boards, even at a Wednesday-night street meet.

The first pass was pretty smooth, with a 10.1@136mph, although the car wouldn’t hold on the transbrake on the startline to build up boost. And with the rev limiter set at 6500 and with 3.5 gears and a 235 tyre, the engine was hitting the limiter well before the finish line. Despite all this, the car was running superbly.

But greed for speed got the better of us, and with Haltech’s Mitch Smith and Scott Hilzinger buzzing through all the vitals after the first run and giving the deal the green light, we decided to add another 2lb of boost.

The next pass didn’t start well, with the transbrake slipping (later identified as a faulty governor in the Powerglide) while trying to get the car up on the two-step at 3700rpm, and we rolled off the startline with a 1.85-second 60-foot and only low boost. Nonetheless, the little 325ci junker was knocking on 20lb on the first-second gearshift and clicked off a 9.9@142.5mph, again on the rev limiter.

Sure enough, we got booted out for having no parachute, though we were not going to get another run that night anyway.

Now that the ’box is fixed, we’re pretty certain a bottom nine is on the agenda. We have since changed the rear-end ratio to a 3.2:1, and will not add any more boost until we get the car into the 1.3s in the 60-foot, which we are confident of doing, as the Gazzard Brothers rear end is planting that little 235 tyre amazingly.

With each performance gain we have incredible data on how every part of the driveline is coping. The next step will probably be the addition of some baffles to the oil pan, as the g-forces are pulling the oil away from the pick-up at the top of first gear. One thing is for sure: An eight-second pass out of this junkyard heavyweight (3580lb) is looking more possible every day.

Ongoing thanks to the guys at Haltech for amazing tech support; Norm Alavanos and the boys at Northmead Auto Centre for looking at the transmission immediately; Ben Doble from Phillip Radiators for lastminute fabrication work; and Chris Sioustos for dropping everything and lending a hand in the pre-Drag Challenge frenzy. s