IT WASN’T too long ago that 1000hp at the treads was big news, but these days it barely seems to raise an eyebrow. Still, it’s interesting to go back and watch some of the legends of yore – check out Mark Arblaster’s WAR440 Valiant reeling off over 1000rwhp at Summernats 21.
Now you would think that with 1000hp at the tyres Arby would have been a frontrunner back in 2008, but this was the heyday of the Horsepower Heroes competition and there were six cars making four-digit power figures. The thing that set Arby’s car apart was that it was supercharged while the rest were all running turbos. The other major difference to today’s competition is that all competitors had to do two power runs, which were averaged to give a final power figure; the highest horsepower figure didn’t necessarily win.
At the front of the field was Craig Munro with his TRYHRD HSV ClubSport; Craig ran 1895.7rwhp and 1817.8rwhp to take home the top trophy. However he didn’t have it all his own way. Gus Nichols’s twin-turbo 572ci ute cranked out over 1700rwhp in qualifying and looked set to go over 2000rwhp in the finals when the tailshaft let go and exploded the transmission at 1939.7rwhp on his first run. Unable to complete the second run, this left Craig to take the win.
Other top-end runners included Garry Pope’s gold VX SS, which made over 1500rwhp in qualifying using a single massive Turbonetics turbo, but this seized in the finals, leaving him out of the top placings. Lyle Lemon’s VU SS ute was also up there with a twin-turbo 416ci Chev combo that made 1713.5rwhp in the finals, enough to give him second place overall. Jake Edwards was thereabouts too with his Torana; using a factory Holden block and 393 cubes, Jake punched out 1031.7rwhp with a blow-through carby.
As for Arby’s Valiant hardtop, it was packing 490 cubes of Mopar big-block with a massive F3R ProCharger, and already had some eight-second timecards to its name. After qualifying with 1028rwhp, Arby went on to win the Turbo/Supercharged Big-Block class with a best of 1079rwhp after Gus Nichols’s aforementioned ute destroyed its transmission with a spray of flame and shattered parts.
So while Arby’s Val might not have been the most powerful car at Summernats 21, it certainly had everyone reaching for their earplugs whenever it hit the rollers. Listen for yourself!
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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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