ANOTHER in a long line of killer sleepers on Drag Challenge, Matt Jones’s HK ute is farm fresh, but it packs a tough aspirated smallblock, runs bottom 11s and flies completely under the radar.

“On the first day I did the flexplate in the carpark before 11 o’clock – it dropped all the teeth on the trailer!” Matt says. “Then it busted a rocker stud on the way to Portland and I managed to track a couple of second-hand ones down in Bendigo, so I chucked one in and kept going.”

Being able to get between tracks with a minimum of fuss is all-important on Drag Challenge, and with that in mind, Matt fitted a fairly unique overdrive transmission especially for the event. “It’s a Turbo 200, which is a 4-speed auto from GM Buicks in the States,” he explains. “They’ve got better ratios than a Turbo 700 with a taller overdrive, so I decided to fit one because the ute has got a 4.3:1 nine-inch in the back.”

Originally a 161ci three-speed from Alice Springs, Matt built the ute up over a couple of years, then pulled it all down and gave it a birthday before Drag Challenge.

“Next year I’ll do a few things differently, but the event’s been great,” he says.


Class: Castlemaine Rod Shop DYO


Engine: Chev 383ci Transmission: Turbo 200-R4 Converter: 4000rpm Diff: 4.3:1 Power: 320rwhp Previous PB: 11.35@116mph Best Drag Challenge Run: 11.22@116mph


Greg Jones