WEST Australian Brad Pettitt and his EH are just one of 50-odd car-and-driver combos preparing for the Street Machine Drag Challenge next week. The car was sent by train from Perth to Melbourne and arrived early this morning. The trailer is on the back of a truck on its way to Calder Park, while Brad himself is flying in next Thursday to pick it all up and get ready to race on Friday.
Brad’s EH is running a small-block 383-cube Chevy motor making 475hp and 480lb-ft on the engine dyno. When Brad can get E85 he can turn on the nitrous and pump out well north of 500hp at the crank, but he probably won’t be doing that for Drag Challenge. E85 juice is going to be tricky to find in some places and the car hasn’t been set up to run the gas on pump fuel. He’s going to bring all the gear anyway, and if all is going well he’ll hook it up for a Hollywood pass on the last day.
Without the bottle the car ran an 11.3-second pass while towing a trailer during a test run last week, and has set a best of 11.05 aspirated. With E85 and nitrous it has gone 10.5. Brad’s aiming for an 11.3 average for the five days he’ll be competing in the Dial Your Own class.
Brad has had the car for eight years and did most of the work himself. The body hasn’t been touched since about 1994, when it was resprayed by a previous owner, but Brad upgraded the drivetrain. The 383 is hooked up to a Turbo 350 transmission with a 4200 stall and a nine-inch diff with a 3.5:1 mini-spool.
“It’s really just a family cruiser, but I’m getting more addicted to racing it,” Brad says. “I had to pull the car seat out last week at the track. I forgot I left it in!
“It’ll also be staying on the sleeper hubcaps I cruise the car on. They’re custom-made 15-inchers that you can fit a drag radial on. So I’ve got a spare set of rears already fitted with slicks that I’ll stick on the car when we get to the track.
“There aren’t any events anything like Drag Challenge over in WA, so I figured I’d come over and give it a crack. Cruising and racing with 50 tough cars every day, sounds like a lot of fun!”
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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