Michael Keen came to us a while back after purchasing one of our previous customers cars whose engine had come to an untimely demise. He quickly wanted to get the EVO 4 back up and running, not only to the condition it was previously running however slightly improved. Already being a quick streeter under the ownership of his friend Tristan, Michael went for a purely E85 drinking 450+ kW atw monster. We supplied the necessary STM forged short block and associated fuel upgrades, Michael then got to work piecing it together. After a trip from Invercargill to Wellington for tuning Michael got back to enjoying this 4wd powerhouse.
Whilst this was happening we also were getting the last bits and pieces together to get Project Haggis certified and back on the street after Chris Rae, the owner, had decided to call off the pursuit for the world factory short block record.
Michael called one day and we threw around the idea of how we could get the EVO 4 going that little bit better and giving it a more Drag specific workload. We knew we needed a better engine/turbo package however for the changes that Michael wanted he would need to lift his game when it came to setup, tyres, roll cage etc. Michael got talking to Chris Rae and before you knew it Project Haggis had changed hands and Michael now owned two great STM prepped vehicles. The idea was simple. Swap the standard engine into the EVO 4 and put the built engine into the EVO 9, simple huh? Once we got the details sorted we knew that the built engine was not going to be able to handle the potential power Michael was looking for and some work to the bottom end would be required. This seemed wrong, as this engine was barely a few thousand kms old. We decided another bottom end would be the way to go and we could do everything once and do it properly.
Andre dusted of his engine building tools and got stuck in assembling a 1000hp STM bottom end including the likes of ACL bearings, STM designed drag JE piston set and Carrillo rods. This was mated with the head previously found in the EVO 4 and was all sandwiched together with a one off experimental (to us) head gasket. The long block was ready to go. Now don’t think the previous head was standard, this had some attention from Kelford’s in the way of cams etc and also included an STM solid lifter kit. The cams are of a street variety and this coupled with the original TO4 turbo in place they would limit power and give Michael some much needed seat time at a competitive level.
From here the team got to work piecing the car back together with some of the old set up and some extra goodies Michael took from the EVO 4 like the Hypertune intake.
Once the car was in one piece we reinstalled the STM Ghost Shifter and the Ikeya shifter to allow for gearshifts at the touch of a button. This was all possible because of one of the huge bonuses Chris had left in the car for Michael, a PPG Drag set already installed into the factory 5 speed gearbox. Things were about to get exciting!!!
With a date set for tuning and the necessary travel arrangements made, Chris (our tuner) got the final touches completed and then we waited for the all-important Sparktech Ignition and CDI unit to arrive. With only a day to spare the courier turned up and the ignition was fitted to the car. Due to the fact we wanted to make sure all was well for our southern guests, Chris had already run the engine in on the Dyno with the standard ignition in place. This went without fault which gave us confidence moving towards the final tune.
With Michael already on the ferry Chris bolted the car to the Dyno to do some initial runs. This didn’t go as planned and fuel pressure was falling off. After some quick diagnostic checks Chris quickly pinpointed the issue to the external fuel pump fitted to the car. By this time Michael had arrived and himself, Chris and Tristan got to work changing over the troublesome fuel pump. Once sorted tuning begun.
Now in all my years at Speedtech I have come accustom to the fact that when playing with relatively large horsepower cars things do happen and delays occur so I don’t get too surprised or too disappointed if things don’t always go to plan with a drag car. However this was a shock of a different kind. At mid afternoon Chris and co emerged from the Dyno and said “we’re done” in a casual kind of a way. The car had made the figures we had hoped for with a final result of 700hp at the wheels. This was due to the limitations of the turbo and of the fuel system which we knew was going to happen and again was a good place to be for a first season of racing. It had also done this in a relatively well-behaved fashion, which we really did appreciate.
Being that Michael is the owner of his own workshop, MAK Automotive Ltd, we thought it fitting that we left him some work. On his return the plan is to give the old girl a bit of a tidy up, a bit of a diet and for Michael to get to know the car as until the time of tuning he had not seen it in person. With the CO2 bottle and regulator still on it’s way as well as the Weld Racing wheels, that have been organised by Firestone Wainui and supplied by BG Marketing, there is still a lot to do however being that it is only July it is by no means a last minute dash.
With Michael’s car effectively finished we now turn the concentration to Chris Anderson’s Ute which is currently at Sinco Customs having some major changes performed before hitting the strip this season. More to come on this soon….