If there’s anything in drag racing that’s akin to riding a bucking bull, it’s being in the seat of Australian Russell Taylor’s Holden Torana.
For Taylor, a former competitor of the Top Alcohol Funny Car division, widely considered one of the most physically challenging vehicles in drag racing to drive, this certainly isn’t his first rodeo — pun intended on the rodeo. His Torana is perhaps the shortest wheel-driven vehicle to ever carry so much horsepower, and it’s a sight to see as it makes every effort to defy Taylor’s input as it rockets to near-5-second elapsed times.
The Torana, which is campaigned in the AA/AP classification within Top Comp, is powered by a 521 cubic-inch Brad Anderson Hemi with a Crower crank, Bullet cam, GRP rods, JE pistons, Jesel lifters, Noonan heads and intake manifold, and Reid rockers. The oomph is provided by a PSI D-rotor screw supercharger, and Taylor shifts the car using a B&J transmission and triple-disc clutch. A relatively common engine combination in Top Doorslammer and Pro Modified competition.
But let’s get to the very obvious, unconventional thing about Taylor’s Torana.
The two-door Holden Torana had a factory wheelbase of 96-inches, give or take a few tenths of an inch. To allow for the larger engine and to promote better handling, Taylor stretched his radical ride out….a whole 2-inches. Ninety-eight inches, and somewhere in the vicinity of 3,500 horsepower. We’ve never heard of a power to wheelbase formula, but if there was one, this one would be wildly upside down.
For comparison’s sake, Pro Stock cars are 105-inch wheelbase, and a typical Pro Modified car, which is running the sort of speed and elapsed times that Taylor’s Torana does, is 112-inches. Most Pro Modified racing venues don’t even allow anything under 100-inches to compete, giving you some sense of how nuts this car is.
Taylor has been a best of 6.18 at 235.06 mph, and as you can see in the clip above, he had to pedal and wrestle the car to the finish line to get it. While we could be mistaken, this may well be the quickest and fastest wheel-driven car ever of 98-inch wheelbase or shorter. If it’s not, it’s certainly up there on the list.
“It’s a great car to drive, being a manual. It’s very twitchy at times due to the short wheelbase, but I still respect it for what it is,” Taylor says. “Having to pedal it to get it back where you want it to go is all a part of driving a car in my eyes. And who doesn’t like wheels-up at speed? In saying that, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the car without my crew — Mick, Simon, Al, Greg, Adam, and my dad, Geof — just knowing that everything is done right makes it a lot easier.”
While Taylor’s Torana seemingly has a mind and intent of its own, his focus is to park it in the fives.