Keep up to speed with New Zealand’s most exciting race series — Enzed Central Muscle Cars

Holden power for Hopkins

Clarke Hopkins’ Heads Racing Supplies–prepared Torana has been at the pointy end of the Group 1 field ever since it debuted in Central Muscle Cars (CMC) back in 2010. Since then, a few different engine combos have been under the hood, but Clarke’s always stayed loyal to the car’s having a Holden 308–based combo. But for the upcoming season, things are set to get far more serious, thanks, in part, to the big guns now being well up on horsepower in relation to the Torana. To fix the deficit, Clarke’s decided to sit out the Bathurst tour to focus on an engine build like no other. 

Based on an Australian-made Torque-Power Little Paw block, the motor has a bore of 4.125 inches and stroke of 3.75 inches to displace 400ci, smaller than the potential capacity that can be achieved with one. The heads are six-bolt CNC–ported Torque-Power TP 230cc items filled with 2.15-inch intake valves and 1.625-inch exhaust valves operated by a large-diameter Crower cam.

Up top is a 950cfm Braswell carburettor on a Torque-Power Pro Paw manifold, while MSD components have been used to take care of the ignition side of things. The result is exactly what Clarke asked for: a motor that works best between 4000 and 8000rpm, topping out at a massive 780hp at 7800rpm and 571 lb·ft at 5700rpm.

With the engine being the first of its type to be used locally, people will be watching to see how well it goes. Rodney Heads, of Heads Racing Supplies, says, “They’ve had these blocks in 1500hp twin-turbo drag cars in Australia, so there shouldn’t be any problem in that regard”, and that gives the team plenty of confidence in them.

With Clarke’s talent behind the wheel, the Torana sure looks set to give the pointy end of the field a good shake-up! 

The Bathurst team

As you can see from the list below, we sent the best to try to stick it to the Aussies on their home turf. Many of the cars had been given a mechanical overhaul as well as a cosmetic touch-up for the trip.

  • Bruce Anderson, Ford Mustang
  • Calvin Andrew, VK Commodore
  • Tony Barrow, VK Commodore
  • Paul Clarke, Ford Mustang
  • Cam Crawford, XA Falcon
  • Greg Cuttance, Ford Mustang
  • Grant Dalton, Chev Camaro 
  • Michael Eden, XY Falcon
  • John Elliott, LJ Torana
  • Sean Fowler, LX Torana
  • Tony Galbraith, Valiant Charger
  • Ross Graham, LX Torana
  • Steve Hildred, HT Monaro
  • Greg Holden, XT Falcon
  • Mark Holland, Chev Camaro
  • David Hopper, Chev Camaro
  • Duane Ingley, Dodge Challenger
  • Brendan Mason, Chev Camaro
  • Colin Meadows, Chev Camaro
  • John Midgley, XE Falcon
  • Steve Noyer, Ford Mustang
  • Dean Perkins, XD Falcon
  • Steve Ross, VK Commodore
  • Steve Scoles, Chev Camaro
  • Tristan Teki, Chev Camaro
  • Andrew Turner, VK Commodore