Russell Paveyís 200mph Morris Minor Ď1000í Drag Car.
(Article by Russell Pavey / photography by Steve Thomas from Visual Velocity)

I started on the car about two and a half years ago. I bought a chassis from a local drag racer, Simon Holgerson. Simon ran a VW beetle. The car was always evil handling and out of control. The car lost control in a burnout and slammed the wall at Willowbank raceway in Ipswich.
After I got hold of it, the entire rear end and most of the roll cage was cut off. Everything on the car was wrong or bent. I built a new back half, added a funny car roll cage and added a foot into the cabin area. (Iím 190cm tall) I would have been better off scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch but you know what itís like when you start on something.
I then began to figure out how to fit the body. There were some obvious problems with the wheelbase for a start. The best place to stretch it out was in the front so 14 inches was added to the nose. The bonnet was left in the standard location and the front guards dragged forward. The front was reshaped for some better aerodynamics. Simon did most of the work to make the front clip. He is a friend and was a great help with this part of the project.
I then focused on the rear end. I knew I needed at least 33x16 slicks and they were not going to fit under Morris guards. I built the new rear end and diff housing. I fitted the slicks and mocked the whole thing up. I cut the body away until it all sat how I wanted it. Then the real fun started. I had never made anything without some kind of mould before. I cut strips of tin, shaped them and welded them into place to form a rear guard. I kept going until I had an entire guard. Then I had to make another guard on the other side that looked exactly the same as the first one. I made several jigs and fixtures and then cut templates of each part of the curve. There were about fifty templates all up. It took around three months just to get the rear guards to look the same. Please donít measure them though!
Now I had the look I wanted and it was time to make a fibreglass body. Again something I hadnít done before. It took about two months to make a mould of the body. The mould was in three pieces spilt down the length of the car. One roof section with two sides. I made the doors separately. Once the fibreglass was done, I cleaned the workshop ( BIG job) and got busy with the fit-up.
I fitted the motor and gearbox first. The KB is a hemi engine and they are very wide. I made some new dash bars and used 6mm aluminium as engine plates. I mounted the body and the doors. I fitted the front and began to work out the dash area. This was a real headache. KB's need a lot of maintenance between rounds so everything in the dash area has to be removed to service the engine within minutes. A good friend, Dave Coles from Race Central gave me a hand and he made some aluminium panels that are held in with Zeus fasteners. We then had to make a new lower windscreen panel out of fibreglass.
At this point the project had taken about 22 months and I was getting frustrated. I decided that I needed to finish the car in time for the Winter Nationals in June 2004. I had two weeks to do it. In fact exactly two weeks before the race I was lying on my back painting the underside of the chassis with 2pac paint.
I enlisted the help of every friend I have and worked on the car day and night. I didnít spend any time at work (I have some very good staff) and worked on the Morrie from morning to midnight. Its time like these you have to appreciate your friends. Looking back, I think they must be as crazy as I am. When the Winter Nationals arrived the car was finished but I couldn't compete. We hadnít finished the car in time to do the mandatory licensing passes. I put the car on display at the Winter Nationals but that was all.
The car did the start of its licensing in late July but after just a short burnout and launch - the engine ate some pushrods and we retired.
About October, I took the car to Warwick raceway (1/8 mile) and completed my licensing. The car ran well - the driver was all over the place. Best numbers were 5.1 @136mph
I needed to do a full quarter mile pass for my license and fronted up to Willowbank a week before the Nationals in November. Under the watchful eye of ANDRA officials I ran the car to about a thousand feet and pulled the parachutes. The Morrie ran a 7.44 @ only 140. The half-track numbers were 4.57 @ 156mph. I figure the car was on its way to a 7.0 - 6.9 second pass at around 195 - 200 mph.
Then the big problems began. I had fitted the car with 40 spline flanged axles, which are not legal to run faster than 7.50 seconds in Australia. When I fronted at the Nationals a week later there was an ugly scene where I was warned that if the car ran faster than 7.50 I would be banned. period. I only ran two passes at the nationals. A 7.57 and 7.48 both with the parachutes out just after half-track. I went home and ordered some floating axles.
The next meeting was the one where the photos were taken at WSID on Jan 15th. With the new axles on board I was really keen to run the Morrie at full noise through the deep end. 200mph here we come! But it was not meant to be. On the first pass in qualifying, the Lenco gearbox lost top gear. A small problem with the air shift button on the steering wheel was rectified and we were ready to run. I decided to rev the engine up on the start-line this time because previously I had been leaving the start-line at idle. I revved it up to around 3000 rpm and let it go. The Morrie carried the front wheels for about a hundred feet (good shot of this on and was charging like never before when at the top of second gear, it lost power and I shut it off. Back in the pits I found it had sheared the keyway that drives the bottom blower pully on the crankshaft - worse news was it had spun badly and had damaged the crank so bad the hub would not come off. I packed the Morrie up and headed for home. It rained about an hour later so we were doomed whatever was going to happen.
So right now, I have cut the crank hub off and tidied up the crank. I should have it all together in a night or two. The Morrie's next venture is March 12th at Willowbank and I canít wait. Want to come along?

Latest update on Russellís progress with the Drag CarÖ.
(This was taken from an e-mail we received from Russell on 14/3/05)

I ran the Morrie on Saturday at Willowbank. I had a few dramas and only got one qualifying run. I've been experimenting with leaving the start-line with a few revs on board and tried using around 3000rpm on this attempt. The Morrie just went nuts. It lifted the front wheels, shook the tyres and turned left toward the centre-line. I had to back off, have a big reef on the wheel and bang second gear before gunning it again. The result was a 7.59@192mph.
Racing started soon after and I had decided to give the revs up launch away. The tyre shake from the first effort had shaken apart a few things including the air bottle and regulator for the gear shift system. When first round came, I stepped off the clutch and the Morrie just sat there and bogged down. It took a second to clear itself before rocketing away with the front wheels high in the air. The race was lost but it did run 198mph through the finish. Oh so close to the magical 200mph mark.
Victor Bray came over when we were packing up and just smiled. He loves the Morrie and just shakes his head when he sees it run. I'm sure he thinks I have a death wish. He did have some very good advice regarding my clutch settings and why the car is so violent on the start line. I canít wait to try out his ideas.
Next meeting is April 23/24 at Willowbank and it should be a blast. Hopefully, the Morrie will run a 200mph pass with maybe a six-second timecard to go with it.
I figure I would have to be a contender for the fastest Morrie in the world with a 200mph pass.

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Updated 12/4/05