LIFER: Nick Sassine’s 450rwhp 355ci VK Holden Commodore

04 Apr

Nick Sassine's Holden VK Commodore


At the ripe old age of 31, Holden-addict Nick Sassine finally popped his old-school cherry with this kickass VK SS clone – and he’s keen for more
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Nick Sassine's Holden VK Commodore“I’ve owned Holdens all my life,” says 31-year-old Sydneysider Nick Sassine. The builder/developer got stuck on the brand thanks to his family. “My uncles and grandfather all had VKs at one time or another and I loved the shape,” he says. “My first car was a VN Calais 5L. It was repainted orange and had big wheels. That was 15 years ago.”

The Calais proved to be total cop bait, but Nick wouldn’t be deterred. “It got attention everywhere I went,” he says. “I remember having a drawer full of defect notices and spending all my spare time going back and forth clearing them.”

Eventually he got sick of the bureaucracy and sold the car, but couldn’t live without a Holden – instead turning his attention to later-model examples. “I ended up with a VY Maloo and from then on I bought newer model Holdens. I also had a VZ Senator and more recently a VE Senator,” he says. “But while driving around I’d see these old-school Holdens out cruising and I’d think to myself ‘There’s nothing like an old-school Holden. I’m going to build myself one of those one day’.”Nick Sassine's Holden VK Commodore

And that’s exactly what Nick has done. Although, fate had a helping hand in getting him started on his journey. “I had to get the front bar of my VE repainted. I walked into the workshop and spotted a freshly painted VK shell sitting there in that Blue Meanie colour,” he says. “It had no motor, no interior… it was just the shell. I figured it was someone’s project and wasn’t for sale.”

Clever Nick made a few enquiries and learned that the car belonged to Sam, the spray painter at the shop. Nick convinced him to sell the shell and with a deal done, Nick had himself a project car. First thing on the agenda was an engine and Nick approached Sports Tech to build him a 355ci Holden stroker (see spec’ box) and a little more convincing by Nick saw him secure a built T350 that Milad from Sports Tech had in waiting for one of his own projects.

Nick Sassine's Holden VK CommodoreNick still needed an interior and a rear end and he found both in Melbourne. “I found a car in Melbourne that had a Scheel trim and a 9in in it,” he says. “Now I had two VKs. My bank account was getting smaller and so was my driveway!”

With the 9in sent off for reconditioning and narrowing, Nick had the Scheel trim steam cleaned to find it practically brand new underneath the grime. Months went by with Nick scouring the globe for parts to finish the project off and in quick succession it was towed between Sports Tech (to put the motor, ‘box and 9in in), Budget Exhaust (where the twin 2.5in system was fitted as well as having the undercarriage sprayed black), Sports Tech again (for the wiring) and then home for final assembly.

“I was getting closer to hearing it fire up for the first time,” Nick says. “Finally that day came and the sound was heard streets away. It was like music to my ears!”

With most of the car complete, Nick went in search of an HDT body kit to get that iconic SS Group A look. At the same time, the car was given its stance with King Springs and Pedders gear, getting just the right height for the big 20in Simmons FR rims filling the VK’s small arches.Street Commodores - Issue 243

“Putting it all together was definitely my favourite part,” he says. “Waiting for the parts sucked, but whenever something came in, I couldn’t wait to fit it. It was my first time building a car and I really enjoyed it. I wait to do more to it.”
The “more to it” Nick alludes to could see the VK reach new heights in automotive aggression, with future plans including a blower and big tubs under the bum. “I’d love to put deep dish 22s on it,” he says.

Owner: Nick Sassine
Model: VK
Bodywork: HDT SS Group A
Colour: Formula blue
Block: 308ci Holden
Engine Mods: Harrop stroker crank (355ci), Scat rods, SRP pistons (11.5:1-comp’), head and mains studs, cast VN heads, MSD coil, high-volume sump, Howards solid cam’, Scorpion rockers, 2x 395cfm Holley carbs, Holley HP125 fuel pump, tunnel ram intake manifold, Holley FPR, custom catch can, braided fuel and oil lines, billet strut top covers, alloy radiator
Power: 450rwhp (335rwkW)
Exhaust: Pacemaker headers, twin 2.5in exhaust (dumped at diff’)
Gearbox: T350, 3500rpm TCE stall, manualised valve body
Diff: Narrowed 9in, 4.11:1 final drive
Brakes: 296mm front rotors, D2 8-piston front calipers, D2 twin-piston rear calipers, DBA pads, VT booster
Suspension: King springs, Pedders shocks, adjustable panhard
Wheels/Tyres: 20in Simmons FR (8.5in front, 9.5in rear)
Interior: Scheel trim, HDT Momo steering wheel, B&M Pro Ratchet
Stereo: Clarion head unit, 2x Kicker power amps, JVC 6in front speakers, 2x 12in subs, custom sub enclosure, rear, 6x9in speakers
Build time: 3 years so far
Cost: Over $55,000
Contacts: Sports Tech, Budget Exhaust – Merrylands, Wholesale Suspension, Savage Customs, Race Brakes, Unique Restorations, Lowe Fabrications, Rare Spares, “My mum for putting up with all the noise on those late nights”

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