THE world of altered dragsters is a melting pot of interesting and wacky creations. Competitors are always experimenting with new and exciting ways of hurtling themselves down the drag strip in what is, in essence, a long metal stick with wheels bolted to it.
Queenslander Rod Williams has always loved playing around with Aussie-built Ford inline sixes, from putting on spectacular smoke shows in his blown crossflow-powered Ford T-bucket dragster to the turbocharged crossflow that’s been slapped in the middle of the dragster built for his daughters Chloe and Emily.
Now he’s chucked a Barra into his Bantam altered. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the Aussie Ford sixes, so moving to the Barra for this new project seemed like the obvious choice,” says Rod. That may be so, but the way Rod makes the thing tick over is anything but obvious.
The donk itself is a fettled version of a BF non-turbo petrol Barra, with Surecam regrind cams, JE pistons and Scat rods. While all that is fairly conventional, the monster 6/71 blower hanging off the side of the thing certainly isn’t, and the lack of EFI sees the combo wade further into uncharted waters. A custom manifold made by Rod’s workshop Raw Automotive & Performance gives the blower its new home, while a belt-driven distributor and mechanical injection with MSD ignition means there’s no need for any form of EFI.
“We’re a small workshop in Dalby, so we wanted to show we’re capable of more than just a tune of the factory ECU and a bolt-on turbo kit like all other Barras,” Rod says. “Plus I like doing things a bit differently.”
Rod believes the package is easily pushing out 700-800hp at the rears running on methanol and low boost, with the potential to push that well over 1000. “Because it’s such a new car I just want to make sure we can get it down the track properly before we turn it up, but it should be well and truly capable of 1200hp at the tyres,” he says. The rest of the driveline consists of a C4 Ford auto and a nine-inch diff.
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The Bantam altered has been in the build for quite some time, and Rod is still yet to run it down the quarter. “We’ve only had it out twice so far, and it’s done a 1.1-second 60-foot and a lazy 5.7 on the eighth,” he says.
The car will hit the quarter at this weekend’s Jamboree at Willowbank, racing against his daughter Emily in the mid-engined dragster in the Extreme class. “I’m hoping for low eights to high sevens, and it should be fairly close as Emily usually has better reactions and that car can do mid-eights pretty easily,” Rod says.
‘’It’ll be good to line up against my own daughter for a race, but I can assure you once we get near the startline it’ll be a single mindset of grabbing the win.”