WORLD renowned purveyor of freedom, Cleetus McFarland, will be front and centre at Street Machine Summernats 33, and he’s ready to tear the event a new one with his blown 632-cube third-gen Camaro dubbed Toast. We sat down for a chat with the man himself about just how many bald eagles he plans to unleash upon our nation’s capital in the New Year.
Cleetus, are you excited to head back Down Under for Summernats 33?
Summernats is the loosest event I’ve ever seen. This will be my third, and it’s just so different from what we do in America. All we care about is speed, and all you guys care about is style, exhibition and showmanship. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum to what we do; it’s our spectrum flipped upside down.
You’ve had a steer of a burnout car at Summernats before, but this is the first time you’re bringing your own ride. Tell us how that came about.
At my first two Summernats I drove other people’s cars, and I as I left the second time I said I’m not coming back without my own car. You can’t truly thrash a car on the burnout pad at Summernats if it doesn’t belong to you; you’re always worried about damaging it. I figured if I brought my car I could go all out and if I smash it into the wall, I don’t care! So, I went away and we put together a third-gen Camaro called Toast, which is a car that really screams ‘America’. We sorted it out with an Australian-style burnout set-up, then we packed it up and shipped it Down Under.
Toast is a pretty legit skid car. Talk us through the build and the specs.
It’s got a Blueprint Engines 632ci big-block with a Blower Shop 10/71, Powerglide, nine-inch rear end, and a whole lot of freedom. A lot of burnout guys steer away from EFI, but we’re running Holley EFI and methanol. Steve Nogas with the KILLA B Camaro was the guy that I talked to about setting the car up for burnouts – things like the rear gears, tyre size and the cooling system. That helped a lot.
You only had a brief drive of the car before it went in the container, but how does Toast rate alongside some of your other toys?
It doesn’t handle well. It has no power steering and the brakes suck. It scared me; I almost hit a mailbox! I hope I don’t make a fool of myself; I’ve never been afraid of a big crowd, but the last thing I wanna do is disappoint them.
Do you think you can mix it with the Aussies?
Australians do the best burnouts in the world, but I think us Americans can hold our own. It’ll take me a few years to be able to run with the best. We’ll make mistakes and learn a lot, but we’ll keep coming back and improving until one day we hopefully win the thing.
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What are your plans with the car after the event?
It’s coming back to the States unless I can come up with a good reason to leave it in Australia. We have a burnout contest at my event Cleetus & Cars, which is basically a big burnout party. It’s a smaller version of what you guys do; we don’t have full-fledged burnout contests like they do in Australia. But I want to bring Toast back to the States because people there haven’t seen a real burnout car, and it’ll blow their minds. When I saw the first Australian burnout I thought: “Holy shit, these guys are nuts.” Anyone who’s seen cars like KILLA B or LYNCHY in action knows it’s like nothing you’ve even seen before; videos do it no justice. I’m going to try and show people in the US what it’s like. But before then, if the car survives Summernats, we’ll take it to Sydney Dragway the day before we leave. I have no idea what it might run, but if I can find a good tyre maybe it’ll go nines.