Six is fun, but Mopar addict Shane O'Halloran wanted a blown Hemi for his R/T Charger clone
This article on Shane's Charger was originally published in the August 2006 issue of Street Machine
MOPARS are an addiction. Have you ever known a Mopar owner to have just one car? Nope, they’ve always got another stashed away some place. While some Mopar owners are content with just a couple of cars others have a full-blown case of the Mopar virus. Like Shane O’Halloran; he’s developed quite a collection over the years.
“My very first Charger I bought when I was 16. I’ve still got that car,” he says.
In fact Shane reckons he’s got around 90 Mopars stashed away, mainly Chargers and Hardtops. They aren’t just your base models either; Shane has eight R/Ts in that collection.
Unfortunately neighbours tend to frown on that kind of obsession. Shane used to keep a lot of cars at his house until one day the council came knocking.
“They showed me an aerial shot of my backyard and said move them or lose them,” says Shane. “They dropped the shot on the table and asked me to point out my house. It wasn’t hard.”
This prompted him to buy an industrial-size shed and move the cars for their own protection. Nowadays Shane uses his Mopar addiction as part of his business, Charger Spares in South Oz.
What about the Charger featured here? Looks like an E49 doesn’t it? Even worse — from a Mopar fan’s point of view — it looks like an E49 big tank car.
You can feel the collective shudder running through the Mopar community but don’t panic: with only 21 of those built, Shane wouldn’t cut one up. This Charger started life as Mercury Silver VH XL, the perfect starting point for an R/T clone.
Shane bought the Charger from a mate back in 2003. It wasn’t perfect, with body damage front and rear, but it had potential.
Being a guy who knows his way around a spray gun, Shane resprayed the Charger in original Mercury Silver after repairing the damaged sections. The E49 style R/T stripes give the Charger that extra zing — as well as giving Mopar fans heart attacks. Out the back there’s a pair of mini-tubs to house those 15x10 Sampson Engineering wheels and 12.5in Mickey Thompson tyres. Valiants aren’t known for their torsional rigidity so some frame connectors were installed to keep the chassis straight and true.
Shane built the Charger as a street/strip car but with no drag racing happening in South Oz at the moment it hasn’t been seeing much of the strip. Before things shut down the car ran 11.8@114mph — not bad for any brand of six-pack. Shane reckons performance improvements are just around the corner with plans to overdrive the blower by 10 per cent — at the moment it’s spinning at 1:1 with the engine.
So how about that blower? Not the sort of high-performance jewellery you usually see hanging off the side of a swinging Six-Pack.
“I love my R/Ts but you know they’ve always got Webers. No-one has done a proper blown Hemi yet,” Shane reckons.
Filling the factory Torqueflite-spec donk with good bits like 8:1 Probe forged pistons and R/T Six-Pack rods was a job for Shane’s mate Frank Bergamin. Frank’s pretty cluey when it comes to performance Mopar engines but he was also responsible for a lot of the mechanical set-up in Shane’s Charger.
“He’s the mastermind to this blown work of art — Frank’s work and skills really brought it together nicely,” Shane says.
Hanging off the side of the Hemi is a Godfrey blower sourced from the same guy who sold Shane the Charger. If you haven’t heard of a Godfrey blower, don’t worry — it threw us as well.
When the blower was fitted there were problems with oil finding its way into the intake path so it was clear that something had to be done. But where do you send such an odd-ball blower? To blower guru Jeff Ramsey in Sydney, that’s where.
“It’s a cabin pressurisation blower from an older aeroplane,” Jeff says.
Finding bearings and seals to suit wasn’t too hard for a man of Jeff’s talents and with the blower refreshed it was plonked back on the modified Cain intake and fired up again.
The long, narrow intake of the blower doesn’t lend itself to twin fours so the guys turned two 500 Holleys sideways; there’s some out-of-the-box thinking for you.
With a blower and a pair of Holleys on one side of the engine and a rebuilt Vertex magneto on the other, this mighty Six-Pack has all the fuel and spark you could ever need. On the track the beast ran a first pass of 13.33 seconds but as with any new car it had a few bugs to sought out.
“We had some problems with the carb leaning out on the first run so Frank changed the jets in the carbs to a bigger size and checked the plugs at the end of each run.”
Nowadays the Charger is churning out respectable high-11sec passes, and that’s at just 8psi boost.
“It’s nice to have the best of both worlds,” says Shane. “R/T stands for Road/Track.”
1971 CHRYSLER VH CHARGER
Colour: Mercury Silver
Engine: Hemi 265, Torqueflite block
Blower: Godfrey Engineering 8psi
Manifold: Cain alloy, modified
Carbs: Twin 500 Holley two-barrel
Head: Ported, cast iron
Pistons: Probe forged 8:1 comp
Cam: Crow solid
Ignition: Vertex Magneto
Exhaust: Custom headers, twin 2.5in system
Transmission: Torqueflite 727, manualised
Converter: 3800rpm Dominator
Diff: Nine-inch, 31-spline billet axles, 4.11 gears, LSD
Brakes: Valiant discs (f), Ford drums (r)
Springs: Torsion bar (f), leaf (r)
Shocks: Monroe (f&r)
Chassis: Mini-tubbed, frame connectors
Wheel: Aftermarket sports
Seats: Retrimmed buckets, black vinyl
Gauges: Auto Meter
Shifter: B&M Pro Ratchet
Cage: Alloy four-point
Rims: 14x7 (f), Sampson Engineering 15x10 (r)
Rubber: Goodyear 235/60/14 (f), MT 29x12.5 (r)