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Weekly Motor Fix: front-engined insanity —‘Stormin’ Norman aims for fives!

23 November 2015


Bryan ‘Stormin’ Norman is no stranger to excitement when it comes to pedalling an overpowered, out of control, front-engined missile down the quarter-mile. For many years the Alexandra resident regularly loaded his previous FED onto a trailer, hitched it to the back of his ’57 Chev, and started driving north — and by north we mean very north, way north in fact; Stormin was a regular at Meremere. You do the math, Alexandra to Meremere and back is an awful amount of road to travel!

Now Bryan, by his own admission, is no spring chicken any more, so to help with the massive travelling distances required to race (over 1000km each way for the car’s debut at the recent test and tune at Masterton Motorplex), he purchased the ex–Wayne Curry transporter bus; so now when he gets tired he can just pull over onto the side of the road and push up a few Zs in the back  if he feels the need.

The recent outing to Masterton was the first time the new FED had been pushed out of the shed. Over the last four years Bryan has toiled long and hard, finances permitting, assembling the 226-inch chromoly chassis of his own design. The car, at present, is unpainted, but will be, according to Bryan, “painted at some stage … maybe.” 

The goal at the moment is to just get out there, have some fun, and see what she’ll do. Starting with a blank sheet of paper and with zero data, it will be a steep learning curve for him, but that doesn’t faze him as the plan is to take baby steps, starting with half passes to see what it will do and how it behaves. If things go well he can start to lean on it a bit.

You’ll notice that we haven’t mentioned what motor Bryan is peering around while he patiently watches the staging lights count down, waiting for the final amber light to burn. This is where things get interesting, as his weapon of choice is not for the faint-hearted, and has more than earned its stripes with numerous five-second passes at the back of John Neilan’s Digga Dragster. That’s right, 470 cubic inches of MBR Hemi sit less than a foot away from his face … it’s no wonder he’s going for the gently, gently approach!

The final pieces to the puzzle that transfer the power from the potent Hemi to the track are a Turbo 400 trans and a Strange Engineering nine-inch diff sitting right underneath his … well, you get the idea. Speaking of which, you really need a large set of those to propel this thing down the strip. Thankfully Stormin Norman does, and we can’t wait to see what this thing can do on the strip. Can we all say five-second passes? We wouldn’t be at all surprised!