Logan’s garage: boys don’t grow old, their toys just get expensive

From VW Golf’s to almost every model of the Ford Escort, Durban drag racer Logan Chetty has had his fair share of fun in some of South Africa’s most loved cars. Picture: Supplied/ Auto Rush

From VW Golf’s to almost every model of the Ford Escort, Durban drag racer Logan Chetty has had his fair share of fun in some of South Africa’s most loved cars. Picture: Supplied/ Auto Rush

Published Apr 25, 2024


THE adage that ‘men do not grow up, their toys just get more expensive’ is personified in Durban drag racer, Logan Chetty.

Having owned more than 20 vehicles, mainly Ford models from the ‘golden era’, including the mk1 Escort, mk2 Escort - 1600 Sport and a Datsun GX named Axel, Chetty has earned a reputation on the track for his bespoke builds and seriously quick times.

Logan and his old drag car, a Datsun GX named Axel. Picture: Supplied

Chetty, 44, of Glenashley, owns and runs a telecommunications business called LCK Communications from his workshop in Durban North, a place that also houses his ‘toys’.

Currently in his garage, sits a blue Chevrolet Apache with a V8 engine and his two dragsters, a Ford Escort mk1 and a Toyota Corolla box shape with a 2JZ turbo conversion -which he traded with Johan Bothma, with his Datsun GX for with

He also owns a host of other ‘project’ cars and ‘daily drivers’, including a turbo swap Toyota Hilux bakkie.

But his love for cars extends mainly to the track, where he is now chasing a time of 9-seconds flat in his orange Escort.

Logan Chetty’s orange Ford Escort mk1 named Flash. Picture: Supplied

Starting out in a front wheel drive Volkswagen Golf mk1, like many others from his generation and the present cohort of racers, Chetty decided to make the shift to rear-wheel powered cars as they offer more potential.

“I started with a Golf 1 but did not do too well. I moved to a VR6 engine in the golf and then I tried a Caddy [VW].

“Eventually, once I jumped into an Escort, I could not go back. There is a big difference between a front wheel drive and rear wheel drive car. The launch, the acceleration. It is a big difference and once I got a hang of that, I couldn’t go back,” Chetty said.

But designing a car built in the early 1970’s to go down a 400 metre stretch in less than 10 seconds is no easy feat, which prompted Chetty to contact a legendary car-builder from Shallcross, Yogan Naicker.

Yogan and his son Sugan Naicker are responsible for building some of the fastest 4-cylinder engines in the South African race scene, including the Mazda FE2 Engine, which powers Chetty’s orange Escort.

They do all this in their backyard in Shallcross.

The orange Ford Escort mk1 before Yogan, Sugan and Logan embarked on the project.

“I was racing the Golf 1 at the Mtubatuba drags and I remember spending the entire day changing the CV joints and shafts because we broke about five sets. I came back and sat in my office and I remember looking through a Gas Magazine and Kovilan’s Escort was on the cover.

“There was no number for Yogan’s Trix but it was on the sticker of the car. So I tried to decipher the numbers and got a hold of Yogan and told him I wanted to build a car. First he said no and that he had retired. But after a few days he got back to me and said he would look at the car and that’s how we started,” Chetty explained.

Logan holds up a image of the Escort cast in grey before it was repainted orange. Picture: Supplied/Auto Rush

“It took about a year to build but every time that it had been out, it has achieved more. The first time out, it ran in the 11’s, second time out it was low 11’s and third event it was in the 10’s,” he added.

But entering a single-digit time on the quarter mile is an excessively costly affair, which Chetty attested to.

The parts that go into a car are not only bought, but built and fabricated to suit that specific car and its needs.

Chetty said he was lucky to have a wife who was understanding of how stressful the life of a businessman could be, and that his need to race was just an escape from his life filled with responsibilities.

Picture: Supplied/ Auto Rush

But, the Logan Chetty that jumped into the Golf 1 over a decade ago, is not the same man in the Escort today. His outlook on the track and business is also not the same.

“I think I am pretty much the same person. But, I like to better the car and myself. With the car it's hard to explain. But, let's say you build a car and its 500 horsepower: the first time you drive it, it's exciting, the second time it's also exciting. By the third time you get so used to this thing that it's like a daily driver now.

“Now it’s no longer exciting, you need to change the game. And when you change the game its bigger turbo’s, more horsepower, bigger motor and bigger gearboxes. It has gone to the point where some of these gearboxes cost the same as an apartment,” Chetty said.