WEST Australia is kicking some serious goals right now with LS engines on the drag strip. Tony Mazzitelli’s mini-tubbed, twin-turbo 1738rwhp VF Maloo is a great example, having run 7.59@166mph after only a dozen or so passes.
This article was first published in Street Machine's LSX Tunner magazine #09, 2019
“I was about to chop up my VE Maloo I had previous when a mate found this VF cheap enough that we couldn’t say no,” explains Tony. “It is a genuine Maloo as all my cars in the past have been real HSVs, so it would be out the ordinary for me to chop up one that isn’t.
“I pulled the Maloo apart and sent it straight to Adam at Cronic Customs where he had the job of getting the ’cage sorted, pull the IRS out and get a four-link in it, and get the wheels and tyres to fit.”
This involved cramming a beefy Strange Engineering Ultra diff housing with 40-spline spool and billet axles, and 3.60 gears. The rear brakes are now floating Race Products items with Wilwood four-pot calipers, while Gazzard Brothers supplied Santhuff double-adjustable, radial-valved coil-overs for the rear.
“We went with the Pro9 rear clip kit for the VE-VF as a starting point, but with the amount it was changed we probably should have just started from scratch,” explains Tony. “It was supposed to be a basic six-point ’cage but turned into having bars everywhere and a funny car hoop. At the end of the day, I had a goal and safety wasn’t going to be compromised.”
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Tony’s VF is a solid counterpoint against the theory that more cubes are always the answer. Instead of running with 427ci, 440ci, or larger, Tony went for a smaller package.
The Dart LS Next block swings 388ci thanks to a Callies Magnum crank, custom CP pistons and billet Oliver rods, with a custom Comp solid-roller cam and Jesel solid-body lifters rounding out the bottom end. Higgins six-bolt LS7 heads are matched to a CID LS7 intake, topped by a 105mm Wilson throttlebody and swallowing boost from a pair of Gen 2 Precision 7675 snails.
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Behind the front bar is the oil tank for the dry sump system, while a custom PWR radiator and 14in Spal thermo fan keep a lid on temperatures. Tony uses a Racepak V300SD data-logger to help read what the car is doing and set it up for its next run
A FuelTech FT500 ECU fires FuelTech Smart Coils that ignite the E85 hosed into the small-cube donk by a Waterman Mini Bertha pump and Siemens 2400cc injectors. Boost is managed by twin Precision 46mm wastegates, while a Precision PT4000 water-to-air intercooler keeps a lid on intake charge temps.
There are heavy-duty parts throughout the motor, including the 7/16-inch Jet Engineering pushrods, Crower stainless shaft-mount rockers and Peterson R4 four-stage dry sump pump, with a Moroso dry sump pan living under the pressure-fed small-block. The snails are mounted on 1 7/8-inch manifolds with four-inch dump pipes poking out front.
RC Components Exile wheels run 17x4.5in on the front and 15x12in out back, double-beadlocked to keep the M/T 275 Pro Radials from twisting off the bead. Mickey Thompson 26x4in front-runners live on the turning end, hiding Strange Engineering four-pot brakes
“I had the engine sitting around for about four years as Jeff from Streetbuilt Racing sourced parts,” says Tony. “I got put onto Frank Marchese at Dandy Engines in Melbourne and it was a no-brainer that the engine had to be sent to him to be put together after seeing a few videos of his car, FAIRXW, which runs 7.000@200mph.
“While Frank had the engine, I got put onto Fred at Protrans in Sydney, who specced-out a gearbox that would be up to the task. He said it’s the same as what is in Frank’s XW so I told him to build me one!”
That trans is a Reid-case TH400, paired to a PTC bolt-together convertor and Boninfante billet flexplate, with an M&M Transmissions billet shifter responsible for banging ratios. A carbon-fibre Driveshaft Shop shaft passes the thousands of horsepower down to the Pro9 diff.
“Once the engine was back in my hands, I mounted it in the car so Lundy Race Fabrications could start mounting the turbos and doing all the hot side ’cooler piping. We spent a few nights on it after work and he got it all ready for me to finish the car off by plumbing the thing from front to back. Dad wired the whole car in a weekend with a FuelTech FT500 ECU and Racepak V300SD data-logger, plus he moulded the dash and steering wheel to look original again.”
With the car coming together, poor Tony was tapped on the shoulder by that bugger Murphy’s Law, and issues started springing up, causing delays
“We had a lot of problems along the way,” he sighs. “From injectors staying open to a broken flexplate to snapped dry sump mandrels, all before we even got it onto the dyno! We were trying desperately to get it onto the dyno before Christmas but we didn’t make it. I got it all sorted in the New Year, but then we had little things happen on the dyno like relays falling out somehow and scavenge pumps stopping. Once we got all that sorted, it came to the party and started making power.
“It made 1706hp at the hubs on Roo16, but I had a couple of small issues so I ran some ideas past my mate Aaron Deery, then made the call to switch to E85. It made 1738.7rwhp and had power across the board, plus the few issues Aaron and I discussed all went away; the man is a genius!”
Even without the turbos this little 388ci combo punches well above its weight. “It made 703hp at 8000rpm running naturally aspirated on the engine dyno, which would normally be enough for a tough aspirated set-up on its own,” laughs Tony
With the ute ready to rock, Tony was ready to hit the track and start shaking the combo down. Normally this is a long process as the driver has to get a handle on controlling the car, while also tuning the engine and suspension, but Tony and the Streetbuilt crew were on fire from the start.
“We went to the track and managed an 8.8@162mph at a Wednesday night street meet,” laughs Tony. “I then had to licence the car and do my licence at the car’s first meet, but I broke the gearbox on the first pass and that put us out for a few weeks.
“It was sorted and back in the car thanks to Rocky at LSX Powertrain so we headed to the last round of radial racing for WA. The first pass, to finish my licensing runs, was an 8.1@181mph straight off the trailer.
“The next pass went 7.97@184mph. then 7.91@193mph in the second round of eliminations, and 7.66@190mph in the last round. We will start working on the front half and see how far we can push the little 388ci combo. It isn’t a light car, coming in at 3810lb, race weight!”
Tony has nothing but praise for Streetbuilt Racing who helped put the VF Maloo together. “The amount of time and effort that Jeff put into fault finding small issues, tuning and retuning is unbelievable and it wouldn’t have been finished with the amazing results if it wasn’t for him,” he says. “Nads and Frank from Dandy Engines were also just a phone call or message away through the whole fire-up and tuning side of things. The support from them is unbelievable; nothing is too hard!”
Tony has since whittled his PB down to a wild 7.59@166mph and is keen to keep pushing until the slips start with a six.
“It is still early days but we will chip away at it,” he says. “The goal was to run 7.99 at 190mph and we did that within a handful of passes, so I want to run a four over the eighth-mile, and we aren’t far off. My next goal will be to chase a six-second pass at over 200mph. With a lot of track time and patience I am fairly confident that the next few upgrades will do it.”
2016 HSV F-GEN MALOO
Paint: HSV black
Brand: Dart LS Next 388ci
Induction: CID LS7 intake manifold, 105mm Wilson throttlebody
ECU: FuelTech FT500, Racepak V300SD data-logger
Turbos: 2 x Precision Gen 2 7675
Heads: Higgins 6-bolt LS7
Camshaft: Comp custom solid-roller
Conrods: Oliver billet
Pistons: CP custom
Crank: Callies Magnum
Fuel system: Waterman Mini Bertha, Siemens 2400cc injectors
Cooling: Custom PWR radiator, 14in Spal fan
Exhaust: 1 7/8in turbo manifolds, 4in dump pipes
Ignition: FuelTech Smart Coils
Gearbox: Reid-case TH400 auto
Converter: PTC bolt-together
Diff: Pro9 sheet-metal diff, Strange Engineering Ultra housing, 40-spline spool, 40-spline billet axles, 3.60:1 gears
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Santhuff double-adjustable shocks
Rear: Four-link, Santhuff double-adjustable shocks
Brakes: Strange Engineering 4-pot calipers, Strange discs (f), Wilwood 4-pot calipers, Race Products floater discs (r)
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: RC Components Exile; 17x4.5 (f), 15x12.5 (r)
Rubber: M/T ET Front 26x4in (f), M/T Pro Radial 275/60 (r)
Mum and dad for putting up with me through the whole thing, walking in and out of work as I please, and sometimes not even showing up; my partner Annaleese for listening to me talk and dribble non-stop at all hours of the day, mostly about stuff she probably has no clue about. The time and hours away and I put into the car; Adam, Cara, Dave and team at Cronic Customs for all the fab work and countless part orders; Jeff at Streetbuilt Racing for the time and effort he has put into the car and tuning side of things on the dyno and at the track; Frank, Nads and team at Dandy Engines; Lundy from Lundy Race Fabrications; Aaron Deery for putting up with the 101 messages and ideas; Amanda and the team at Emerald Ink & Miss Boss Racing for the constant support on and off the track; Derek and Lilly from The Penthouse Club Perth; Andrew at Illusive Signs; Alex from High Torque Detailing; Joe and Guilia at Total Concrete; Joe at QC Industries; Mel at Steelmakers