IF YOU follow the APSA racing, you would have no doubt heard of the Toowoombabased Gazzard Brothers Racing and their seven-second HG Holden. You may also know about the incredible work they do with shocks, enabling small-tyre radial cars to explode off the line, which has led to a burgeoning export business to the US.
The brothers in question are actually called Scott and Paul Cortina – so where did the ‘Gazzard’ come from? “It’s a reference to Running On Empty,” Scott says. “Years ago three of us used to cruise around in a genuine XY GT, when the movie was still very popular, so someone called us the Gazzard brothers. We really didn’t want to be known as ‘three apes with Jacko doing the wheel work’; it was anything but complimentary.
In fact I used to fire right up over it.
“The name gradually faded away and we started doing work on some pretty nice cars. One day, years later, a bloke was quizzed about who was doing the work on his car and he said the Gazzard brothers. Bloody hell, it stuck, and was plastered everywhere! So we started using it. I even got it tattooed on my arm!”
After fixing everyone else’s cars for a number of years, the ‘Gazzard’ boys decided to build a car of their own. “We had an HT ute out the back and we sent it off to Warwick for paint and panel,” Scott explains. “The beater cut the bloody floor out of it and said he would do a fabricated floor. We didn’t want that. We wanted a 10-second car that we could cruise.
So we dragged the HG parts car from out the back of the shed instead and started hunting around for bits.”
Scott saw an ad for a new big-block Chev and stroker kit and started there. A mate then decided he wanted to build a blown combination, so they swapped the new stuff for his 555ci engine. Not long after, a better set of heads came along.
Meanwhile, Kyle from 6Boost – another success story from Toowoomba – made a nice set of pipes for the combination and fitted a rollcage and a bunch of other fabricated parts to the car. He continues to work with the lads on a number of projects.
“We got the 555 on the dyno and it made 760hp and 710ft-lb on pump gas,” Scott recalls. “Dwayne at TCE built us a converter that we could use for the street, but with the option of adding some spray if we wanted to. The car only ran a 9.60 with the tight converter and 3.5:1 gears, so we figured we should get a bit of nitrous happening.
“Once we added the nitrous it was a whole different deal. It ran an 8.80 on our second pass with a 275-shot. It wasn’t long before we maxed out the 450 nitrous shot and got the car to run into the 8.5s.
“When the first twin-turbo 275 car ran 7.90 in Sydney, we made the decision to really step it up.”
The engine combo the HG now runs is not too different from what they started with: a Big M block and 565ci, with a Callies crank, Oliver rods and custom Diamond pistons. Heads are Brodix CNC-ported Head Hunters, bought from fellow Queensland racer Stuart Henry. The heads are perfect for a nitrous application, and Scott and Paul still run the PKRE nitrous kit with an AED 1150 Dominator carb on an Edelbrock 598 Victor manifold.
“We have been running a Powerglide in the car for three years now, with the same converter we started with,” Scott says. “Our Racepak Sportsman datalogger has picked up that we have just six per cent slip, which is good.”
The factory springs have now been replaced with a set of Gazzard Brothers custom-made split leaves. They built the springs out of 5510 steel, so they could keep the narrow factory spring box on the chassis.
The boys had been messing with the front and rear shocks at every meet, pulling them apart to build their own valving to try and overcome a range of issues, from huge wheelstands to blowing the tyres off.
“Running fast on a small tyre is all about shock absorber control and power management,” Scott explains. “The real work has gone into the
GOULBURN, NSW racer Chris Deegan is stepping up in Pro Street, ditching the smallblock Chev from his Torana in favour of the combo that ran so successfully in Steve Sarkis’s 10.5 Pontiac: a 540ci KB Oldsmobile that has previously run 6.48@219mph.
The Olds combo includes a carbonfibre hat, 16/71 supercharger, MSD Pro Mag, complete fuel system and recently freshened bottom end. While this deal would certainly have the goods to put Deegan’s Torana in the sixes, a bit less tune would see it as a 7.50 contender all day, every day.
The car is currently at Street Car Fabrications for a bunch of work, including notched rails, new pipes, front and rear engine plates, fuel tanks, breather cans and a braced rear-end housing. It currently runs a twospeed Powerglide, but rumour has it this will be upgraded to a two-speed TH400.
NEWCASTLE’S Jeremy Martin has a new combo in his VB Commodore, replacing the single-turbo big-block Chev that ran a best of 6.90@204mph. It’s one of Pro Line’s killer 481X deals, fitted with twin 98 Pro Mod turbos.
The VB is now a full-chassis tube car, thanks to work by Street Car Fabrications, and with the new engine it will make in the vicinity of 3000-3500hp.
This is set to be one of the most exciting and toughest cars to hit the 2016 season.
PAUL Todarello’s stunning LX hatch that debuted at MotorEx in 2014 is getting closer to making a track appearance. We have been dying to see this bullet strut its stuff, but Paul has been busy getting married and settling into a new house.
The 557-cube big-block Chev with a pair of 82mm lungs promises to be good for sixes once Paul Sant from ProFlo Performance finishes the wiring, new transmission, tailshaft and diff centre. Hurry up Mr Sant – we wanna see this thing go!
rear suspension. We started with AFCO shocks and a 90/10 front, but most of the set-up work has been in revalving these. At that stage the car was running 1.31 in the 60ft, so we bought a shock absorber dyno. We have probably spent $20K on shocks and the dyno to get things right.”
Eventually the boys got the shocks sorted and the car has run a staggering firstname.lastname@example.org on a 1.17sec 60ft. That is hauling!
Scott says they’ve never been tempted to change to electric shocks. “It’s our goal to build a shock that all racers can afford for half the cost of electric shocks. In principle what you need is a shock you can hit hard out of the hole but then has smooth control as the car builds up speed, so it doesn’t ratchet as you go down the track.
“A lot of shock gurus will say that you need different shocks for four-link, ladder-bar and leaf-spring cars. The reality is that they are not different in principle. All shocks are created equal and it’s a matter of finding the sweet spot where the valving needs to be set. In any case, we are not interested in building springs, roll bars or shocks for ladder-bar or four-link cars. We want to focus on small-tyre radial cars.”
So what does the future hold for Gazzard Brothers Racing?
“We are going to put the car on a diet,” Scott says. “At the moment it weighs 3500lb with me behind the wheel.
“In relation to our products, it is just out of control for us at the moment – we’re exhausted, as we still both work day jobs. We are currently discussing dealerships with a number of people in the USA, but we want to get the local products ironed out first; there is nothing worse than a product that doesn’t fit and we don’t want that to ever happen here.
“At the moment we are really focused on building shocks, so that no matter what your application we can supply a shock that will be perfect for your needs. Like anything with racing, you need to buy the best straight-up or you will certainly buy twice, as so many of us have.” s
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