MR. CLEAN: Craig Darcey’s 400rwhp LS2-Powered Holden VK Commodore

12 Apr

Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore

MR. CLEAN

You’d never guess by looking at this spotless, LS2-powered VK that its owner is a total burnout addict!
Story and pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Craig Darcey's Holden VK CommodoreBelieve it or not, Craig Darcey originally built this immaculate VK sedan with the sole intent of ripping massive skids. Sure, there are some pretty sweet burnout cars getting about on the professional burnout scene these days from the likes of Phil Kerjean and Stephen Loader’s original VE sedan to name a couple. But you’d be forgiven for not believing us when we say that despite the flawless deep blue metallic paint and straight-as panel work, 41-year-old Craig still destroys a set of 20s every other cruise.

No wimping out with cheap steelies and cheese-cutters here.

Craig originally bought the car four years ago and got to work on rebuilding the 1985-spec’ Calais, however somewhere along the road to tyre-frying stardom, he changed his mind and decided he’d prefer a smart, tidy cruiser that could still turn the tyres, but get more regular use. This wasn’t too long before Summernats 2014 and he had his work cut out for him to make it to Canberra with a finished car.Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore

“I got it finished two weeks out from the Summernats and dropped it off at a mate’s shop,” he says. “While parked out the front, an old guy reversed into it in the car park and caved in the rear end. I had to replace the quarter panel and repaint car again, all before Summernats.”

As if the mad rush to get cars ready for the annual horsepower festival wasn’t already enough to fray nerves and test relationships, Craig somehow got the repairs done in time for Summernats and the repairs look flawless, even up close. Indeed, the entire car is spotless – easily earning its number plates TIDYAS.

Coated in a luscious custom PPG metallic blue, the Calais retains much of what makes the Calais a perennial favourite, although some subtle details help it stand out, even if you need to stare at the car a while to see them – like the detail work Craig put into masking up the tail lights for paint before coating them in clear. This level of attention to detail is what makes his VK so nice. Pop the bonnet and you’ll see another reason.

Craig Darcey's Holden VK CommodoreLurking under the bonnet is a smooth bay with a very neat LS2 conversion that boasts some judicious mods to the top end and ancillaries. It’s making just under 400rwhp and thanks to some head work and a lumpy hydraulic cam’, it sounds like it means business – especially at full noise as it destroys another set of 20in tyres. Better yet, Craig colour-matched parts of the block and heads and with the matching Meziere electric water pump, it all looks seamless and cohesive.

Like most cars built to enjoy the odd skid, it’s backed by an auto – in this case a manualised 4L60E – and out back there’s a 9in with short 3.9:1 gears and a full spool. If you couldn’t tell by the lovely backspacing on those 20×8.5in Showwheels rims, the diff’ housing has been narrowed, too.

Inside is a similar story, with cloth-covered Scheel seats and fresh coverings on everything else. Look closer and you’ll have a hard time missing that sweet sheet metal dash fascia with cool digital instruments. Much nicer than the factory VK dash.Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore

Incredibly, Craig says this VK has been his first performance build. Yet, the results are those of a far more experienced hand. Rightly, he reckons he wouldn’t do anything differently if he had his time over again – except perhaps to keep the car parked safe inside to try and avoid the damage geriatric drivers can inflict!

“Down the track, I’d maybe like to fit a blower under the bonnet,” he adds. “I think it’s a perfect and comfortable street car and I loved being able to work on it with my mates at Elite Fabrication along the way.”

Owner: Craig Darcey
Model: 1985 VK Calais
Bodywork: Factory
Colour: Custom PPG blue metallic
Block: LS2
Engine Mods: Ported heads (flow 600hp), Comp Cams valve springs, titanium retainers, Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam’ (0.620in lift, 110° LSA), Comp lifters, Rollmaster timing chain, Melling oil pump, Meziere electric water pump, PWR alloy radiator, Maradynz thermo fans, Edelbrock Victor Jr intake manifold, 1000cfm throttle, K&N air filter, LS1 harness, Bosch 044 fuel pump, custom fuel cell
Power: 398rwhp (296rwkW)
Exhaust: Ceramic coated tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), mild steel twin system, Hooker mufflers
Gearbox: 4L60E, Dominator stall, manualised valve body
Diff: 9in, 3.9:1 final drive, full-spool
Brakes: PBR twin-piston upgrade (fr), VK rear disc
Suspension: King springs, Bilstein shocks and struts
Wheels/Tyres: 20×8.5in Showwheels rims
Interior: VL Group A SS Scheel seats, velour roof lining, digital gauges, polished sheet metal instrument fascia, B&M shifter, Calibre steering wheel
Stereo: JVC head unit
Build period: Ongoing
Cost: $40,000
Contacts: Elite Fabrications, RVO Transmission, Sydney Motor Trim, Adam Hodge, Gerard and Raelene Hodgskin from Indy 800 Kart Track for letting us do the photo shoot there, Moore Automotive, my partner Melissa and my two kids Aimee and Brandon for putting up with me while the car was being built

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