AFTER a successful tilt at the 2019 Street Machine Drag Challenge in his Plymouth Duster (SM, Jul ’20), Anthony Raschella was amped to play in his new ’67 Chevelle Malibu at this year’s Drag Challenge Weekend in Queensland. But the biggest hurdle was always going to be getting to the Sunshine State from Anthony’s home in Adelaide.
First published in the January 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Troy Barker
“With all of the COVID restrictions, we were seriously looking at heading up to Tennant Creek and then into Queensland via the highway to Mt Isa or through the Strzelecki Track,” Anthony said when we spoke to him a few weeks out from the event. “But now it looks like we can go up through NSW, and while I’d like to take the Strzelecki, I also want to get there.”
Anthony has been racing for decades, so even a turn-key combo such as this Chevelle still copped special tweaks, from adding toe-in to the fronts, raising the front suspension for weight transfer and changing the coolant out for Water Wetter
Anthony’s wife Kylie and 10-year-old son Lawrence were stoked to be heading along for the ride, too. “Lawrence was keen to come last year, but it was my first event as an entrant, plus we were also helping out Mark Whitla with his Capri, so we had some long days and very late nights.”
To get the Malibu performing as a turn-key cruiser, Anthony put in the hard yards getting it up to spec for the big weekend. “The challenge seems to be in the lead-up. I like things to be right, but I just don’t have the time,” he said. “I made a few changes like setting up the suspension for racing, adding Tuff Mounts, bolting in a racing harness and adding a tailshaft loop. Everything I’ve done is for reliability, not performance.”
Anthony would love to make a raft of modifications before the next DC event, but time isn’t on his side. “I have a killer TH350 sitting here, but then I’d need to change the tailshaft, which means I would change the diff, and then I’d want to tub the car. So it’s a big snowball effect”
Motivating the Malibu is an alloy-headed 400ci Chev small-block coupled to a TH700 trans, 2200rpm converter and a factory 12-bolt diff with LSD and 3.23s. “I know that the trans is the weakest link, so Mike from MV Automatics went through it and put in a new valvebody,” Anthony said. “I know it’ll be good on the highway and good on fuel, at least.”
10-year-old Lawrence Raschella is a drag racer in his own right, having piloted a Junior Dragster for the past couple of years
So what were Anthony’s expectations for the big Yank tank? “It won’t rotate the world, but hopefully it’ll do a 12.3-second pass – at least it should on paper,” he said. “The previous dyno was 350hp at the rears, and it’ll get dynoed again to tune it for reliability and see if we can get more horsepower out of it.”
Consistency was the aim for DCW 2020. With the Malibu set to battle it out in the Carnage Dial Your Own bracket, Anthony was keen to better his 2019 12th-in-class placing. Unfortunately, swift and unexpected COVID-19 restrictions put paid to the Raschella clan’s big adventure. With the car loaded up, the family were headed for the border when a last-minute SMS came through advising that they could no longer enter Queensland.
To say the trio were devastated is an understatement: “My family were excited for the event, and to have done it with them would have been the best thing,” Anthony said. “We had planned to get to Queensland a bit earlier so Lawrence could do the theme parks and we could be tourists.”
Still, at least Anthony now has time to tweak the Malibu, and the Raschellas have their sights firmly set on the next Street Machine Drag Challenge event.
1967 CHEVELLE MALIBU
Class: Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own
Engine: 400ci Chev
Carb: Quick Fuel 750
Diff: 12-bolt, LSD, 3.23:1 gears
Best DC 2019 Pass: 12.28@113mph (in Duster)
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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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