EARLIER this year we headed down south for a trip to Tassie Nats 2019, and when Benny Burk hit the pad for the first time on Friday we knew something was up; it definitely didn’t sound like a V8 or even a 202 under the bonnet of his VK Commodore.
And lo and behold, it turns out the TREASON plates fitted to the Blue Meanie replica are justified, as under the bonnet is a Blue-blooded Barra.
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Benny’s owned the car for around 11 years, but after the old Holden 186 went rods-out, he decided it was time for a change. That change came in the form of a $280 aspirated Barra and computer from a BA Falcon, and the donk is still completely unchanged bar a retune of the factory ECU to yield 225hp.
“The conversion was a pretty simple process,” Benny says. “I just made my own solid engine mounts and it went straight in; we didn’t have to modify the firewall or anything like that.”
The car was originally red, but being a former panel beater, Benny decided to give the VK a makeover in the HDT guise, doing all the bodywork and paint himself at his work in his spare time.
“It wasn’t too bad when it was red, but I decided to step it up a bit this year with the Blue Meanie style,” Benny says. “It’d probably make Peter Brock roll in his grave a little bit.
“The car did get quite a bit of hate on the internet, but a lot of people like it too; it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship,” he says.
The rest of the driveline is made up of an EL Falcon four-speed auto, with a modified two-piece VL tailshaft and a VR rear diff with 3.45:1 gears. The set-up took a little bit of time for Benny to refine in order to keep the engine singing just how he wants to get to the maximum 230km/h wheelspeed needed to send the tyres in less than a minute and a half.
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The combo has proved to be a hugely successful one for him, winning the Tasmanian Burnout Championship outright in 2018 as well as the Four/Six-Cylinder class at Tassie Nats in 2018. Things were on track at Tassie Nats 2019 too, until one of the rear axles let go during the Top 30 final shootout on Sunday, meaning he wasn’t able to get both tyres off. He still finished second in the Four/Six-Cylinder class, while also running a PB of 13.95 in the drags on Saturday to cap off a solid weekend.
Benny’s already flagged the possibility of heading over to the mainland for a couple of events, saying his first hit-out could be at LOO5ENATS later in the year. If he does, he’ll no doubt ruffle a few more feathers in the process, but we’re keen to see it in action and see if he can add any more silverware to the trophy cabinet.
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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