IN TUFF Street, the earth literally shakes beneath your feet. When a Commodore ute with open pipes and a 1500hp blown injected Hemi lopes past you, that’s just what happens.
It’s no place for the meek. It’s where the ratbags of Summernats come to suck piss and party, and the default setting is unapologetically loud, wild and crazy. Of course, that’s precisely what makes it so awesome.
As the name suggests, the cars that congregate in Tuff Street are the toughest on offer at Summernats. We’re talking meth-chugging, nitrous-ingesting, mechanically injected crimes against safe, responsible and economical motoring. There are, however, varying degrees of toughness.
The Street Tuff class is for untubbed cars that, if you were game, you could feasibly get away with driving on the street. But they wouldn’t be Tuff Street cars if they didn’t have a little bit of fruit poking through the bonnet, a fat stance and some wide rubber. A classic example is Glenn Coburn’s always-immaculate big-block HG Premier, which copped a blower in the off-season. It finished second in Street Tuff behind Russell Taylor’s killer ’69 Monaro.
The Pro Tuff class is for tubbed and back-half cars with tough blown mills and mile-wide treaded tyres. It’s the sort of class that suits the modern breed of show-quality burnout cars like Matt Cowan and Mark Siracusa’s wicked ONIT Torana, which got the win over Daniel Souvleris’s wildly revamped, ex-Elite Top 10 KRANKI ute.
Lastly, the Comp Tuff class is expressly for those who live their lives a quarter-mile at a time. At Summernats 29, the baddest of the bad was deemed to be Bob Heritage’s killer ONGAS LC Torana coupe, edging out Nathan Eggleton’s Monaro.
“Tuff Street cars have evolved a lot in the 15 years I’ve been involved as a competitor and as a judge,” chief Tuff Street adjudicator and past champion Mark Hayes said. “Years ago guys used to borrow the blown motors out of their mates’ ski boats for Tuff Street, but now you’re getting a lot more detail, knockout engine bays, and crazy [purpose-built] blown engines.”
With its insane level of detail and sky-high metal mountain, the ONIT Torana belonging to Cowan and Siracusa is a case in point, and at Summernats 29 the car was able to defend its outright Tuff Street Championship and record two wins on the trot. Daniel Souvleris’s KRANKI HJ finished runner-up in the outright stakes, with its 1700hp, 14/71-blown 572ci big-block wowing the judges.
As far as the judges’ Hardcore Award is concerned, attention to detail doesn’t matter quite as much as pure, balls-out lunacy. For Summernats 29, that honour was bestowed upon the aforementioned twin-mag Hemi-powered VY Commodore ute of James Souvleris – GONUTS by both name and nature! s