Wanna go drag racing on a budget? You could do a lot worse than building yourself a HAMBster. Originally developed in the US via the Hokey Ass Message Board on www.jalopyjournal.com, HAMBsters made their way Oz few years back thanks to a bunch of highly motivated Sydney Hot Rodders led by Joe Rodriquez. HAMBsters are built to reflect the early dragsters built in California after WWII and must be powered by either sidevale V8s or pre-62 inline sixes of US or Australian origin. You can read the full story at www.hambstergarage.com.
HAMBsters have been breeding like rabbits ever since - the one we are looking at here is the work of Queenslanders Matthew Fry and Barry Hartshorne. Barry has a background in hot rods and fast Ducatis, while Matt is a self-described Valiant freak. Like most HAMBsters, Matt and Barry's Valiant slant six -powered beast is a true budget-built effort. "The engine came out of Barry's old ute," says Matt. "The clutch and pressure plate where lying around on the floor of my brother's shed, while the diff was pulled out of a wrecked Hilux we found in the bush. We got the diff tricked up for a bottle of bourbon. The frame rails were from an unfinished product and we got the body for the right price from Brass Knuckle Kustoms. We've also got some great sponsors, including Rob at AutObarn Lawnton, who has helped out with lots of parts and good advice."
Driving through a floor-shifted 3-speed, the HAMBster has so far run a best of 14.07 at 98mph with Barry at the wheel. Since then the boys have fitted a set of triple downdraught Strombergs and are a looking forward to getting it tuned up and running its first 13-second pass. "Our car is pretty heavy for a HAMBster," says Matt. "It weighs just under 800kg, but we wanted it to be safe first and foremost."
The boys (and their crew member Benny) have been having a ball with the car and even won the very first Nostalgia meeting they entered back in 2009. Wanna check it out in person? Be at Mopar Sunday, 31 July, Willowbank Raceway.