NATHAN Clarke has replaced his 2016 Drag Challenge ride – a supercharged V8 LC Torana – with this Holden HG Belmont.
“I bought this one from Joel Blake at Parry Rd Performance in Queensland,” says Nathan of his awesome time-warper. “He’s one of these blokes who finds cool old cars, cleans them up and sells them. I asked him to find a nice, clean one and throw a venetian blind in the back for me.”
Back home in Sydney, Nathan put the Belmont in the shed of good mate Dominic Pelle. If that name is kinda familiar, it’s because Dom has also been a Drag Challenge participant in his grandpa-spec, blue-with-white-roof HK Holden Kingswood – with a turbocharged LS V8. Can you guess what happened next?
“Me and Dom have been working every afternoon until midnight on it, every second week,” Nathan says. “I got an LS engine from a mate in Blayney but it had no accessories on it so I had to chase all those parts.”
Most of the parts to install the engine and pipe for the GT42R replica turbo were crafted in Dom’s shed. “The car’s been nowhere; me and Dom did everything right here,” Nathan says. “It was like therapy. We had a really good time doing it!”
The trans is a TH350 three-cog auto that Nathan – a forklift mechanic – built himself, while the converter is a 2800rpm unit that was traded for a case of beer. The rear end is a locker-equipped nine-inch from Altra 9. Nathan reckons its brand-new housing was the single most expensive component of the whole build. It’s tied to the car with a set of “I dunno” springs and some off-the-shelf OE-replacement KYB gas dampers.
“I blew the first motor,” reveals Nathan. “I had the wrong wastegate spring and put a piston through the block in the first week trying to tune it.”
Now, just a few weeks later, there’s another second-hand motor in the car, one with an even more dubious past than the first 140,000km unit.
“I pulled this motor out of a mate’s backyard – I have no idea of its history,” Nathan says. “I drained water out of the sump and it didn’t turn over. To be honest, I thought: ‘What the hell am I doing?’ But I sprayed some WD-40 in the bores and wound it over with a breaker bar. It turned out all right – there’s no blow-by.”
The management is a Holden system dominoed from a mate who replaced a factory brain-box with an aftermarket unit. The VY-spec harness was wired into Nathan’s HG by a workmate, Casey Leonard, and tuned by Ross Wye at Springwood Car Care.
On a safe 10psi tune and with little more than a few taps with a hammer to fit some 235/60 drag radials under its butt, the HG laid down a firstname.lastname@example.org at Sydney Dragway. Nathan can’t wait to road-trip to Adelaide with a bunch of mates and run Drag Challenge!
Drag Challenge 2017
Day one: Monday 13 November
Air, Adelaide, SA
Day two: Tuesday 14 November
Sunset Strip, Mildura, Vic
Day three: Wednesday 15 November
Swan Hill Dragway, Swan Hill, Vic
Day four: Thursday 16 November
South Coast Raceway, Portland, Vic
Day five: Friday 17 November
Air, Adelaide, SA