Billy Bongo – my super powered van

There may be a perception of what car a fighter pilot might choose to drive. Most would imagine something sporty or perhaps a muscle car with a big engine. They might even think that it would be owned for the specific purpose of extending a fighter pilot’s image as a macho man.

Well I’m no different, I own and drive a piece of high powered machinery that is barely controllable. A mate of mine, Dave Warby and I set about to improve the power output to a ridiculous level. The engine was removed and completely overhauled, a large Harley Davidson carby was installed and a set of hand made extractors [headers] attached. The original belt driven fan was replaced with an electric one to further increase the power output. Initially we had an overheating problem as the cooling system tried to cope with the increased power but we have managed to fix this with some experimentation with the tuning.

So what is this brute of a machine that has become part of my fighter pilot image? It is a 1989 Suzuki Supercarry van with… wait for it… a 998cc four cylinder engine. After all the modifications we estimate that it produces around 50 HP, yep 50. I have included a photo to prove that I actually do drive this van everywhere and I am proud of it.

Posted on February 29, 2016 in Phil's Blog Posts

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About the Author

Phil Frawley is a human who was truly born to fly. As a young boy he spent countless hours building model airplanes and dreaming of the day when he would get to control an aircraft. Phil’s hard work, determination and perseverance finally paid off when, after five years as an aircraft technician, he was accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force 92 Pilots Course in July 1974. After a career spanning more than 49 years, mostly as a fighter pilot, he is now retired but still flys the L-39 Albatros taking people on adventure flights. He still holds a Guinness World Record for having been the oldest active fighter pilot of all time, a proud achievement.
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