BLOCKBUSTER

THERE’S NO RB30, LS OR EVEN A HOLDEN V8 IN THIS VL CALAIS - WE’RE TALKING TWIN-TURBO BIG-BLOCK INSANITY!

STORY AIDEN TAYLOR

BRENDAN Cherry is a veteran of Street Machine Drag Challenge. He entered the very first event back in 2014 when we had just 18 cars, been at every DC since. From 2014 couple of different turbo LS combos. But beginning dream car – an HK Monaro.

The HK was already a bit of a weapon when Cherry bought the thing, having been built into an elite-level show car by its previous owner and equipped with a Merlin 572ci big-block Chev. The car was perfect to a lot of people, but not quite how Cherry wanted it, so he put twin BorgWarner S480 turbos on the big-block and went racing!

AT SWAN HILL ON DAY TWO OF DC 2018, THE VL MANAGED AN 8.30@160MPH NOSING OVER IN THE TOP END - SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT

In 2017 the Monaro competed in Drag Challenge, driving across South Australia and Victoria, clocking up plenty of road miles and track abuse along the way. No one could quite believe the torture Cherry put the stunning Monaro through.

But while it looked ace, the car didn’t really perform to the driveline’s full potential, due to the small 255 tyres, the car’s hefty weight and a suspension design that wasn’t ideal for drag racing.

So for 2018 Cherry built a whole new car with good mate Josh Ploeger. Taking Josh’s tidy VL Calais and the driveline from the Monaro, they built a more race-focussed car with bigger 315 radials and more sophisticated suspension. The car was tried and tested a couple of months ahead of Drag Challenge

2018 for street reliability, but at the track the big-banger combo damaged the TH400 only a week before the event.

> DRAG CHATTER

CRAZY COROLLA!

KRISTIAN and the guys from Goleby’s Parts in Queensland have set themselves a real task in preparation for this year’s Drag Challenge Weekend. Kristian has bought back his 1978 Corolla wagon as a rolling shell, which used to have a 700hp 1JZ and ran in the high eights. He plans on throwing another built 1JZ VVTi donk back into the little ’Rolla, force-fed by a Precision 72/75 turbo.

With both E85 and a Haltech Elite 2000 in hand, Kristian is aiming to crack over 800rwhp this time and push back into the eights during DCW.

The car already has a ’cage and ’chute ready to go, so Kristian’s time will mostly be spent on fab work to get the rest of the car up to scratch. He’s floated the possibility of running in either of the new 235 radial or six-cylinder classes.

SENG-SATIONAL

DRAG Challenge regular Terry Seng has driven some seriously quick cars in his time, but in March he was given the opportunity of a lifetime when Kyle Hopf from 6boost gave him a steer of his Pro Mod Camaro at Round One of the Kenda 660 Drag Radial Series at Willowbank. With a bit of seat-of-the-pants development, the crew consistently worked their way down into the fours before the rain put a halt to further proceedings. Terry walked away with a best of 4.08@188mph, and was stoked with the experience.

NEW LS RECORD

THE Gullotto brothers, Sam and Lorenzo from Western Australia, are no strangers to running some quick times, with Lorenzo finishing third overall in DC 2018 in his 1400hp VL Calais.

Recently the boys pulled the 388ci LS dart mill out of Lorenzo’s VL and slotted it into the front of Sam’s Pontiac GTO Pro Stock car, with a conversion to a single 94mm GTX55 turbo in the process. With Sam driving and very few adjustments, the boys smashed out a best of 6.691@211mph to break the record for the quickest LS-powered car in Australia.

“It took us a little bit by surprise with how quickly it did it,” said Lorenzo. “We didn’t even really adjust the chassis or anything like that, so it was good to get the record.”

The plan is to leave the donk in the GTO for now and run a few more events, with the VL possibly coming back with a new set-up for Drag Challenge 2019.

With the ’box fixed, they then hurt a bearing in the bottom end while tuning on the dyno. But Cherry and crew weren’t giving up on their DC dream, replacing the bearing and making it to

Challenge 2018. Unfortunately the transbrake wasn’t working, so the VL didn’t perform as hoped.

It was back to Frank at Allsparks to fix the transbrake and replace the thermo fans to help keep it cool on the street, before driving through the night to Swan Hill Dragway for Day Two. The car managed an 8.30@160mph nosing over in the top end – something wasn’t right. So Cherry pulled the pin and decided not to compete at Mildura the next day, with the aim of coming back to race at Swan Hill on Day Four. The team worked all day Wednesday to replace a head gasket, machine a head, replace the valves and get it all back together.

IN THE SUMMERNATS 32 HORSEPOWER HEROES DYNO COMP, THE TWINTURBO BIG-BLOCK LAID DOWN A WHOPPING 1469HP AT THE HUBS

With everything buttoned up, they arrived at Swan Hill on Day Four ready for action, but luck just wasn’t on their side. The VL struggled for traction and eventually hurt the cylinder head on the opposite side to before, so they packed her up and headed home.

Since then Cherry has got it all working properly and even took the car to Summernats earlier this year, where he came runner-up in the Horsepower Heroes dyno comp. The twinturbo big-block laid down a whopping 1469hp at the hubs, second only to Bubba Medlyn’s monumental 2483hp.

While it made massive grunt on the dyno, the big-block coughed and spluttered its way to that figure with ignition issues. At that point Cherry was still running a fairly archaic

distributor ignition system, but since then he has upgraded the dizzy and set the timing with a crank trigger sensor. He also added a Racepak dash to keep an eye on the engine’s vitals.

Now the boys just need to get to the track seven-second to continue their quarter-mile! charge towards s that elusive seven-second quarter-mile!

JOSH PLOEGER & BRENDAN CHERRY 1987 VL CALAIS

Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

SPECS

Engine: Merlin 572ci BBC

Turbo: Twin BorgWarner S480s

Transmission: Preston Automatics

TH400

Converter: TCE 8.5in

Diff: 9in, full spool, 35-spline axles

Power: 1469rwhp

BEST DRAG CHALLENGE

2018 PASS: 8.30@160mph