TAKING on Drag Challenge is never an easy task, but Nathan Jehu’s 2004 Holden Caprice offers a luxurious way to do it if ever there was one – along with a casual 1100hp for good measure. DC 2018 was Nathan’s first crack at the event, making the trip over from WA for the week’s racing.
The Caprice started out life as a fairly standard luxo-barge, having all the mods cons Nathan wanted and an LS1 under the bonnet for a bit of extra poke.
Inevitably that wasn’t enough though, so Nathan shoehorned a 6.7-litre LSX block into the front of the Caprice. If that wasn’t enough, hanging off the 6boost exhaust manifolds are a pair of Garrett GTX35 turbos, making the whole lot good for 1135hp on the hub dyno at 20psi. Behind the monster donk is a red-case Turbo 400 ’box housing a Dominator 3500rpm stall converter, while the rear end is a custom fabricated McDonald Brothers four-link set-up with a Strange housing, sporting 3.5:1 gears on a full-spool centre.
It didn’t take long for Nathan to figure out the Caprice was a bit too fast for the street, and the staff at the Perth Motorplex drag strip were also getting a bit hot under the collar with the speed he was showing with no rollcage. Fast-forward to DC 2018 and Nathan was fully legal with a ’cage and parachute, with plans of finishing the week and averaging eight-second passes.
For the most part his goals were achieved. On Day One at Calder he ran a 7.51@147mph over the 1000ft, before bad luck struck on Day Two at Swan Hill. Nathan broke his timing chain on his only pass of the day, handing in a 9.12@142mph.
For most, a failure of this degree would be enough to put them out for the week, but Nathan gritted his teeth, and with all the spares he needed in hand, he tore down the entire front and top end of the engine to fix it. The boys didn’t finish up until 5:30am Wednesday morning, high-tailing it over to Mildura to squeeze in one pass of 5.87@127mph over the eighth-mile.
“There were a few times there on Tuesday night when I considered throwing in the towel, but we had all the bits there to fix it and everyone was super-supportive,” Nathan said.
“It was a pretty cool to see people willing to help and make sure we were all good, and when we rocked up to Mildura after the repair people were pretty excited to see us, which was awesome.”
With the drama for the week put behind him, Nathan pressed on with no issues on the road and threw down a time of 8.69@161mph on Day Four at Swan Hill. He backed that up by handing in a 7.26@150mph over the 1000ft on the final day at Calder, to give him eighth place in the highly competitive Haltech Radial Blown class.
“It was an awesome event you guys put on; it was great to spend time with so many likeminded people and it’s a great atmosphere,” Nathan said.
He’s not 100 per cent sure if he’ll be back next year, but if he is he may take the driveline out of the Caprice and put it into something a bit quicker. “Everybody’s going to get faster and faster, so I might look into building something else a bit faster so I can keep up,” he said.
2004 HOLDEN CAPRICE
Class: Haltech Radial Blown
Engine: 6.7L LSX
Turbos: Twin Garrett GTX35
Diff: 3.5:1 gears
Previous PB: 8.08
Best Drag Challenge 2018 Pass: 8.69@161mph