There isn’t a show or event that goes by with someone asking, “what made you do this”, and “why did you choose this car”? But to tell the story properly, we probably need to go back to the beginning … early in 2010.
In the Beginning
Andy and Mick are a pretty average couple, who just happen to love motorsport. Having been invo
lved behind the scenes in drag racing for many years, they decided that it was time to purchase and race their own car. With the help of Simon from Allfast Torque Converters, Brenton Baxter’s old 1969 LC Torana was altered ready for Andy to get behind the wheel.
Having never driven anything even close to this powerful before – under the watchful eye of Simon – Andy went through the process of learning how to drive a sub 9second drag racing car. But as licensing day moved closer, the universe decided it had other plans. Andy was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer putting everything on hold.
Coping with Breast Cancer
Coping with a life threatening diagnosis and the resulting treatment is hard on any family, but Mick and Andy found solace in being connected and being involved in the motorsport community. Hanging out at the workshop with their newly purchased race car, or heading to the track to watch and cheer on their fellow race friends. Mick and Andy found the strength in that community spirit and support to fight, and the ability to recharge their emotional batteries throughout their difficult journey.
Sharing the Support
After racing the Torana for many years, Andy and Mick had decided it was time for a change. Around the same time, a fellow racer – who had been through a similar journey with his wife – came to Andy with an idea.
“Do you think we could share the activities of our sport with other families going through cancer, to help them in the same way this community has helped us?”
A few more discussions resulted in the idea of providing passenger rides to both help families deal with the stress of cancer, but also to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care WA to help families cope with the day to day pressures.
Choosing a Car
A few appropriate vehicles were offered but Andy and Mick were looking for something unique. When the Mercedes Benz popped up in Gumtree Andy and Mick knew it was the perfect choice. Yes it was heavy and not really designed for racing, but the shape was there, the size was there, and it was unique. No-one had turned a Mercedes Benz into a custom modified drag racing car before. So Mick drove the still licensed Merc around for a few months while they created a wish list for Simon.
But What Engine?
Everyone knew that the Mercedes engine had to go. It’s condition was half the reason Andy and Mick picked up the car at such a discounted price. But what was the right engine to put in its place?
That’s when Simon noticed that in 2004 Mercedes Benz was merged with Daimler Chrysler. It was a no-brainer … a 6.2l Supercharged Hellcat Hemi crate motor was ordered.
What a Wish List
Because it was a very unique car, being built for a unique reason, Andy had a pretty long wish list for Simon as he planned the build.
Firstly the overall speed had to be limited so Therapy on Wheels could take their passengers out on track on a regular race event. And while looks were everything for this sometimes show car, safety was paramount. It was also important to keep maintenance requirements down to a minimum, allowing the team to take the car out on show or to a race meet without the need for lots of gear.
Radial tyres were a must, to allow the option for country race meets, and also the ability to drive the car on and off the trailer, and around showgrounds.
And finally, Andy had one more very unusual request for a drag racing car – if she could do circuit hot laps with passengers. This final request being custom designed by WA Suspensions.
Good Things Take Time
A year in the planning, 2 years in the build, and help from countless people and businesses worldwide, this one of a kind – world wide – Supercharged Hellcat Mercedes finally made her race debut.