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Cruising Alice Springs in the Funderbolt and Loose Cannon gassers

By Dave Carey | Photos: Chris Thorogood, 31 Aug 2019 Red CentreNATS

Red CentreNATS goes next level, unleashing a pair of blown and injected gasses on the streets of Alice Springs!

Cruising Alice Springs in the Funderbolt and Loose Cannon gassers

RED CentreNATS is in full swing at Alice Springs this weekend and things have levelled up in a big way.

One of the big attractions of the event is the special permits that the local authorities grant to highly-illegal vehicles to cruise the streets for the weekend. We've seen crazy burnout cars and seven-second drag cars take up the offer, but things have gone the next level, with two of our favourite gassers getting the all-clear!

Damien Kemp's blown and injected Funderbolt is the fastest gasser in the country - if not the world, with high eight-second passes to its credit. And Biggsy's Loose Cannon '55 Chev isn't far behind, with a PB in the nines. 

Waiting to turn onto the Stuart Highway, Damo is a picture of concentration; his eyes constantly glance at the scant few dials on the dash. His left arm darts out trim the radiator fan, “It’s running E85, so it sits nice and cool; it’s on 165 right now,” he yells, barely audible over the noise.

 A gap in the traffic means we’re on and the 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 vintage gasser begins what is a very rare journey; a fully legal road run to the local takeaway. Perspex windows shake and suddenly the Stuart Highway’s roadside trees start to blur. The slicks give a twist and shout and we’re at the speed limit in the blink of a watering eye.

 Nothing quite prepares you for the brutality of going for a Macca’s run in an eight-second, 1000 horsepower vintage gas drag car. As the Highway screws through The Gap that parts the MacDonnell Ranges, and the bark of Damo’s 440-cube Dart Windsor echoes off monument’s ancient red walls. A second later, our hedonism is repeated back unto us, it is the anger and fury of a blown, mechanically injected big block holding itself back on public roads; very unfamiliar territory.

 The Stuart Highway spreads into four lanes and Steve ‘Biggsie’ Biggs lines up next to us, his similar-prepped 1956 Chev standing tall on a solid front end. As photographer Chris Thorogood hangs out of the back of our rented Nissan X-Trail, I’m almost certain we’re about to slide out on his tears of joy, amongst other fluids.

 Turning right into the McDonald’s drive through, Damo’s head ducks and weaves around the 440-cube mechanical monstrosity that appears, quite literally to have burst from the Fairlane’s bonnet. Sitting up so high, it would be easy to lose a child or even a short-wheelbase Holden Jackaroo in the blind spots. He twirls the tiny vintage steering wheel and with a few deft moves, we’re lined up for some McFood.

I look to my right and see Damo has relaxed a bit, cracking a grin for the first time on the trip. “Hi, can I take your order please,” the muffled girl asks through the speaker box. His answer isn’t quite what she is expecting, “That was f*cking awesome!”

Parked in scrutineering on Thursday, the organisers are having a problem. They’re willing to give Damo a road pass, but only if he can do something about the zoomies.

Enter local copper Cameron Vivian, “I saw they were having some troubles,” he says, “and I like to help out.” Cameron’s solution; rocking up the next morning with a couple of bits of steel bent up to protect the innocent from the zoomies’ savage blast. Legend!