Feature Car: John Kerr’s 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

07 May

This isn’t the first time John Kerr’s 1964 Mercury Comet creations have graced the pages of this website. You may remember his Caliente coupe and matching supercharged truck PICTURED HERE and featured in Man and Machine magazine. Street Machine recently published my photo shoot on his latest build, which is a phantom of sorts – a mach up of a 1964 Ford Ranchero and a ’64 Mercury Comet. Better still, pop the hood and you’ll find a stealth twin-turbo setup bolted to the 331ci stroker Windsor that John screwed together himself.

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John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

EXTREME ELEANOR: 666hp, 427ci and Gassed Ford 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback

07 May

Wasyl's 'Eleanor'-Inspired Fastback Mustang

EXTREME ELEANOR

What do you get when one man sets out to build the best Mustang in the country? This one, obviously…
Words and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Wasyl's 'Eleanor'-Inspired Fastback MustangIt’s not often you hear of someone jumping into the world of modified cars at the very deepest of deep ends. We’re talking zero to sixty in an instant here. Two years ago, Wasyl decided he wanted to build a Mustang, and while his initial intention wasn’t to build ‘the best’ of anything, for anyone who got to see this 1967 Fastback up close at the 2013 MotorEx can attest, that’s certainly what happened. Incredibly, it’s his first custom car.

Built over a short two-year period between Melbourne and Wasyl’s home town of Sydney, this lucky Mustang has been the subject of more than 9000 hours of intensive labour and incredible detail. From its flawlessly smooth fibreglass nose to its bespoke steel rear valance, nary a square centimetre was left untouched in the process of turning the donor car into what it is today.

“It was actually a very clean car to start with,” Wasyl says. “But we ended up tearing it right down to its core anyway. Every panel is new, including the rear quarters.”

Besides meaning that the car would have brand new, baby-arse smooth panels once finished, getting physical access to the innards of the car made it easier when it was decided early on to make those razor-sharp side vents functional, acting as ducting for the rear brakes. Up front, it also made it easier to create the gorgeous symmetry the engine bay displays today, with super smooth panels surrounding the 427ci, nitrous-fed monster bolted to the custom chassis rails.Wasyl's 'Eleanor'-Inspired Fastback Mustang

Wasyl says the big-cube powerhouse started as a Ford Racing crate motor, purchased on advice he was given that suggested it would make things easier – and cheaper. However, by the time the car was complete the only thing left of the original crate engine was the block!

With the 427 now far more stout than before thanks to parts from the Scat and ARP catalogues, it was decided to add some nitrous (you can’t have a Mustang inspired by Eleanor without gas, can you?). Wasyl says he can’t wait to activate the nitrous switch on the dash and feel the push in the back from the 200hp direct-port system plumbed into the Edelbrock Super Victor manifold.

This combo is backed by a bullet-proof drive train consisting of a Tremec T56 Magnum 6-speed ‘box and braced sheet metal 9in held in place by a 4-link rear and reinforced mounting points all ’round. One thing this car will never have any trouble with is structural integrity. Both the chassis and floor pans boast additional stiffening and the engine bay hides up to three layers of steel, particularly around the strut towers. While Wasyl and his builder Goren was at it, the rear end was minitubbed to the rails to accommodate those massive 18x13in billet rims and 335-wide Pirellis.

Wasyl's 'Eleanor'-Inspired Fastback MustangInside, that same Shelby GT500/Eleanor hybrid style continues, and Wasyl is keen to point out that this was never meant to be a straight Eleanor clone. “Direction on this project changed a million times,” he says. “Small items of the build were constantly changing, but the core design stayed the same.”

The interior is a good example, where things started as a classic restomod re-trim only to bloom into a full-blown if not subtle reinterpretation of the original cars. From first glances, it would be easy to assume this was just an out-of-the-box job using repro parts. Look closer and you’ll realise that there is a lot more going on, with some parts modified and recovered up to three times to get the right look and feel. Those leather-clad seats are heated and the carbon inserts are custom.

A comparatively brief two-year build may seem short for such an extensive project, but when you’ve got someone working on the car up to seven days a week totalling some 9000 man hours, it makes more sense. Yet, Wasyl still says that waiting was probably the hardest part of the build. “Managing a construction company interstate doesn’t leave much time to play with toys like this one,” he says. “But where there’s a passion there’s a way. Having people working on it full time, managing it after a day’s work, giving my direction/vision partly to de-stress from the construction industry and its challenges was the norm for two years.”Wasyl's 'Eleanor'-Inspired Fastback Mustang

“People say it’s not the destination but the journey. This was definitely not the bloody case here. I’m really happy it is finished.”

If that was the hardest part of the project, he knows immediately what the best part of the build was. “Showing it to my family for the first time at MotorEx 2013, for sure,” he says. “We finished it at midnight the night before, literally loading it onto the trailer at Andy’s and waking up in the morning in disbelief that it was actually finished. The highlight was definitely seeing my sons smile when they saw their names on the NOS bottles.”

Show life isn’t over for the ’67 just yet, with Wasyl planning a few more shows before letting the car settle into life as a family cruiser. A quick look underneath the car will show you that this was planned all along – everything from the firewall back coated in a generous layer of stone guard.

What then? Be prepared to see a ’50 mercury sled in matt black with hot rod pin striping hitting car shows around the country within the next handful of years!

Owner: Wasyl
Model: 1967 Ford Mustang
Colour: PPG Pepper Grey
Bodywork: Custom GT500 Shelby/Eleanor mix, custom grille, custom steel rear wing/valance, functional steel side vents, functional side exit exhaust,
Block: 427ci Ford Racing Crate Engine
Engine Mods: Scat steel crank, Scat H-beam 6in rods, Mahle pistons (10.7:1-comp’), Sealed Power rings, ARP head and mains studs, Clevite bearings, CNC-ported alloy heads, stainless valves, Comp Cams springs and retainers, Comp solid roller cam’, Melling oil pump, custom alloy sump, Ford Motorsport water pump, Aussie Desert Cooler alloy radiator, March billet pulleys, 950cfm Holley carb’, Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, 200hp direct-port NOS nitrous system, Ford Motorsport air cleaner, MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD coil and spark amp’, MagnaFuel electric fuel pump and regulator, custom 120L fuel tank, stainless braided fuel lines, hidden wiring and fluid bottles, billet hinges, billet strut braces and caps
Power: 666fwhp (489kW), 570lb/ft (772Nm)
Exhaust: Custom ceramic coated 4-into-1 headers, twin 2-3/4in stainless exhaust (true side exit), custom ceramic coated mufflers
Gearbox: Tremec T56 Magnum 6-speed, single-plate hydraulic clutch
Diff: Sheet metal braced 9in, LSD
Brakes: 430mm front rotors, 380mm rear rotors, 6-piston AP Racing calipers, AP Racing pads, electric vacuum booster, manual booster relocated
Suspension: Front and rear TCP coil-overs, 4-link rear, reinforced mounting points, reinforced shock towers, reinforced floor pans, TCP steering rack, minitubbed to rails
Wheels/Tyres: 18in custom offset billet rims (8in front, 13in rear), custom spinner centres, Pirelli P-Zero tyres (335/30 rear)
Interior: Black leather trim, black carpets, Nardi steering wheel, suede dash, carbon fibre trim inserts, nitrous switch, Autometer gauges, roll cage, heated front seats
Stereo: Custom flip-down double-DIN Alpine head unit mechanism, Alpine power amps, Alpine 6in front and rear splits, 2x Alpine 12in subs, custom wiring
Build Period: Two years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Special thanks to Goren Ilioski, Ronny, Andy from Andy’s Restorations and most of all to my wife and sons for their support and endless love, Form 700, Blueprint Race Engines, Clockwork Wiring, S.Rich Polishing

EUREKA! Darren Hawkins’ 619rwhp 1JZ-Powered Holden LH Torana

07 May

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana

EUREKA!

Darren Hawkins stumbled upon a gold mine when he found this showroom LH Torana
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden ToranaOK, so Holden built just over 70,000 LH Toranas between 1974 and 1975. It’s probably fair to assume that a decent proportion were driven into the ground as regular passenger cars over their lifetimes, only to end up on the scrap heap. Another percentage were probably involved in accidents or stolen and destroyed while the remainder probably now find themselves restored and locked away in museums or cruising the EPIC grounds in Canberra each January, modified to the hilt and running big power plants.

How then does one go about finding such a rare gem as Darren Hawkins’ 1975 LH? Surely it’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time and a good dose of persistence in one’s search for the ultimate project base. For 44-year-old Novocastrian Darren, the discovery came by way of a guy selling what for car fanatics would amount to a family heirloom.

“The bloke I was dealing with told me the car had belonged to his grandfather who had owned it since new,” Darren says. “I ended up swapping him my Hilux mini truck and cash. The car was dead stock except for the Simmons.”Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana

Take a lingering look over the car: that orange paint is factory – yes, factory – as is the all-black vinyl behind the four doors. This thing is M-I-N-T.

But with a history of owning V8 Toranas – including a nitrous-fed 308ci LC and a 355ci stroked LX hatch – you would have been excused for guessing that Darren’s first port of call would have been to fit something similar between the rails of the LH. You’d have been wrong, though.

Perhaps even surprising Darren himself, what ended up in the Torana’s engine bay was a Toyota 1JZ. Now, before the ‘Jap’ haters start terrorising the forums or sending us hate mail, take a moment to consider how potent these straight-six engines can be. Darren’s makes a whopping 619rwhp with just a mild rebuild, 25psi and a decent fuel system. In fact, he’s spent a mere $8000 getting to this point, including a Microtech ECU and hand controller!

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana“Getting the thing to fit was probably the hardest part of the build,” Darren says. “A mate of mine is a boilermaker and I had him fabricate a new sump to clear the cross member as well as a pair of engine mounts.”

The combo is backed up by a matching Supra 5-speed ‘box running a dual-plate clutch and onto a 9in with 3.9:1 gearing. A Hoppers Stoppers twin-piston front end brake conversion helps pull up the ponies, hidden partially by a glorious set of gunmetal Simmons FR17s. Will these rims EVER seem dated?

“When we dynoed the car and it made the 619hp figure, the trip home was pretty out there,” Darren says, without even breaking a grin. But even though he’s more than a little enamoured with the chest-compressing qualities of a high-powered turbo setup, he’s still dreaming of a V8.

“I would like to put a blown and injected small-block into it,” he says. “If I do, I’ll tub the rear and fit bigger rubber as well.”

Call us if you do, mate!

Owner: Darren Hawkins
Colour: Orange
Bodywork: Bonnet scoop
Engine Type: Toyota 1JZ 2.5L
Engine Mods: ARP 2000-series rod bolts, Arias coated pistons (9.2:1-comp’), Arias rings, King bearings, Crower valve springs and retainers, custom plenum, Garrett GT35R turbo (25psi), Microtech LTX12 ECU, Holley Blue lift pump, 2x Bosch 044 pumps, Aeromotive FPR, 2L surge tank, 55L fuel cell (E85), half-inch fuel lines, alloy radiator, alloy front-mount intercooler, alloy ‘cooler piping, stainless intake pipe, K&N filter, adjustable timing gears, external ‘gate, Turbosmart BOV, twin thermo fans
Power: 619rwhp (461rwkW)
Exhaust: Custom 4in stainless exhaust, 4in dump pipe, Magnaflow mufflers and cat
Gearbox: R154 Supra manual, dual-plate clutch, Holden tonner tail shaft
Diff: 9in, 3.9:1 final drive, LSD
Brakes: 3300mm twin-piston Hoppers Stoppers front conversion, drum rear
Suspension: Pedders shocks and springs
Wheels/Tyres: Simmons FR17 rims (7in front, 8in rear)
Other mods: Relocated battery
Interior: GTS steering wheel, Turbosmart eBoost2, Autometer gauges, Microtech controller, turbo timer
Stereo: N/A
Build Period: 2 years so far
Cost: $15,000
Thanks: Kel Sweeney Engines, Coating King, Newcastle Mufflers, JZ Race Prep, Ansen’s Tyre & Auto, “My mate Andrew for all his help”

Feature Car: Adam Wheeler’s Holden VL Calais

01 May

In a world where the norm’ is to ditch whatever is already in the engine bay in favour of an LS-based power plant, Adam Wheeler’s twin-throttle, Holden V8-powered VL Holden Calais is a breath of old-school air. Beautifully finished from tip to tail, the 340rwhp sedan was featured in the April issue of Street Machine.

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As always, we’ve got a series of FREE desktop wallpaper images for you to enjoy. Simply CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails below to visit our Flickr page where all the goodies lay in wait for your visit.

Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

DEMON DAILY: Diane Abed’s 590rwhp Supercharged VE SS-V Commodore Wagon

30 Apr

Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

DEMON DAILY

Once known as ‘the electric car’, Diane Abed’s VE SSV wagon won’t be mistaken for some quiet, smug mobile ever again
Story and by hoskingindustries.com.au

Diane Abed's Holden VE CommodoreDiane Abed is a died-in-the-wool Commodore fan. She’s previously owned a VK Berlina, V8 VR Exec and her last daily was a VY SS wagon – which is still taking up residence in the family shed now. “I bought the VY SS specifically to cart around my two Huskies,” Diane says. “I decided it was time to upgrade and when I came across this VE wagon, I fell in love.”

The 2011-model VE was as stock as a rock when Diane found it, and it “was a pleasure to drive”, she says. Only problem was that the car was too quiet. “I would always have a laugh as I could never tell when the car was on, so I nicknamed it ‘the electric car’!”

This disturbing problem saw Diane driving the wagon down to the guys at Streamline Automotive, in search of a louder exhaust. Only, she drove away with far, far more. “I went there to discuss changing the exhaust system,” she says. “By the time I walked out, the entire car was getting a makeover!”Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

That makeover not only consisted of the fitment of a Harrop HTV2300 blower kit and fuel system upgrade, but coil-overs and bigger brakes, too. Up front, there’s the blower, which is helping the SSV make a prodigious 590rwhp for daily duties, aided by a ZL1 fuel pump and Harrop OTR CAI. This is backed by the factory 6-speed manual that now enjoys an Extreme single-plate clutch, feeding power to the factory LSD-equipped rear end.

One of the first things we noticed about Diane’s daily was the slammed, purposeful stance over those 20in SSW rims. This is accomplished with Harrop by KW Street Comfort coil-overs at all four corners, sweetly swallowing up those 20x10in rear rims and sticky 275-wide Nitto Invo hoops. If that weren’t enough, a full complement of Harrop Ultimate-series brakes fill up the spaces behind each rim and do an excellent job of stopping the big, black, blown beast.

Diane Abed's Holden VE CommodoreAs impressive as this all is for a daily that regularly sees two very hairy Huskies cruising in the back luggage compartment, it’s not all the VE has going for it. “I wanted to change its appearance a bit and decided to go with airbrushing,” Diane says. “I’ve never been girly, so pink fairies weren’t really my thing, so I went with skulls.

“My previous wagon had ‘DIE’ plates on it (my nickname), but most people took that to mean death, so I decided I may as well roll with it!”

Alison Art was called upon to lather numerous surfaces in the engine bay and interior with airbrush art, depicting ghoulish skulls and ominous lightning themes. Diane was so enamoured with the results that she’s now planning to commission Alison Art to cover the entire car in a similar theme sometime in 2015. “Once you start, you can’t stop,” she says.Diane Abed's Holden VE Commodore

“I had a smile that lasted a week once I finally got my car back from Streamline,” Diane says. “At first I didn’t realise it was my car making the noise, as I never expected it to sound so good.”

If there was one thing Diane says she would have changed if she had her time over again, it would have been to build a stroker motor for it at the same time as getting the blower fitted. So strong is this thought that she’s actually planning to go that route in 2015 – with the aim of making over 700hp, still remaining a dedicated daily driver! “I love the power,” she says. “That and the reactions the car gets when I start it. Jaws drop.”

Owner: Diane Abed
Model: 2011 VE SS-V
Bodywork: Factory, Walkinshaw bonnet scoop, HDT carbon fibre grille
Colour: Phantom
Block: L77 6L V8
Engine Mods: Streamline hydraulic roller cam’, tie bar lifters, Harrop OTR CAI, Harrop HTV2300 supercharger kit, Harrop ZL1 fuel pump
Power: 590rwhp (440rwkW)
Exhaust: Ceramic coated Hurricane headers (1-7/8in primaries), twin 3in mild steel exhaust, Hurricane mufflers and cats
Gearbox: 6-speed manual, Extreme single-plate clutch
Diff: Factory, 3.45:1 final drive, LSD
Brakes: Harrop Ultimate brake kit (381mm front, 356mm rear), Harrop braided stainless lines
Suspension: Harrop by KW Street Comfort coil-overs (front and rear)
Wheels/Tyres: 20in SSW MSPEC rims (8.5in front, 10in rear), Nitto Invo tyres (275 rear)
Interior: Factory SS leather, custom airbrushing
Stereo: Factory IQ system
Build period: 1 year
Cost: $78,000 (inc. car)
Contacts: Streamline Automotive, Craig Abell Smash Repairs, Alison Arts, “Scott Brydson for his helpful words, mum, I love you and I hope you’re proud – RIP”

FITTING TRIBUTE: Kim Smith’s Supercharged V6 VY Holden Commodore

30 Apr

Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore

FITTING TRIBUTE

A smiling, welcoming fixture on the East Coast show scene for years, Kim Smith encountered tragedy in 2011 with the loss of her son, Matt. After nearly walking away from the scene, Kim’s VY ute, ‘Wildfire’, has returned better than ever as an automotive tribute
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Kim Smith's Holden VY CommodoreIf you live on the East Coast and have been to a few shows in your time, chances are you’ve seen this Red Hot 2003 VY ute in the flesh. If you’ve been really lucky, you’ve seen its owner, Kim Smith. People like Kim are what the Commodore scene is all about. We’ve known the Hunter Valley resident since she and her ute started popping up at car shows around a decade ago – instantly memorable for her perpetual smile, genuine, positive attitude and warm hugs.

Over the years her VY continued to develop and improve – a fact reinforced by multitude of trophies she took home with her from every event she drove the ute to. Indeed, four Top 60 trophies at Summernats are among her most prized. This isn’t even ‘Wildfire’s first feature shoot for Street Commodores.

That seemingly endless optimism was rocked in late 2011 when her son, Matt, was killed in a car accident a mere two kilometres from home on a foggy stretch of road – a collision with a truck. “Matt was lost in the fog, following the white line to see, blinded by the one street light there he didn’t see the lights of the oncoming truck until it was too late,” Kim says. “His accident was ruled age, inexperience and severe prevailing weather conditions”.Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore

“I came so close to walking away – more than most people realise. On the day he was killed I threw out trophies and anything that reminded me of my life with cars. Thankfully [my husband] Ken retrieved them. But how could I be a Mum who lost a son to the roads AND be an avid car enthusiast?”

After some time to grieve and reflect, it was the very same car scene that helped convince Kim to continue on with the ute. “I cannot – ever – thank them enough for the love, support and encouragement that they have provided to me and that they continue to show to me,” she says. “I can honestly say that I feel like I have a family of thousands that stand with our family on the really tough days.”

Those tough days might visit a little less often now, three years on, however Kim has been able to focus some of her energy into creating a fitting tribute to Matt, through the ute. “When I decided to keep going I struggled to find a way to build that loss and also a sense of celebration for Matt’s life into the ute,” Kim says. “I wanted to stay with the theme (fire) and was very lucky to meet a young lady called Mel Carroll at a car show. I wanted flame that swept from the front of the ute to the back and for that flame to sweep through an image of Matt playing his beloved guitar. She absolutely nailed it. The flames do just that, with no panel left untouched, sweeping though Matt and up into a heart of flame on the hard lid.”

Kim Smith's Holden VY CommodoreWildfire is full of fond memories for Kim. The ute represented her first new car purchase and it was love at first drive – “smitten”, she says. “Owning it unlocked the heritage of modification and car preparation that my father gifted to me. He was a mechanic that modified just about anything he touched (speedboats/lawnmowers/cars/bikes…) and was a proud race competitor in Speedway. I didn’t know it at the time or really appreciate it, but my Dad gave me that genetic connection to do what I have done. I miss him so much because he would have loved to see Wildfire gather four Summernats trophies.”

There are also tons of happy memories for Kim involving Matt, who she says was like a “mini me”, always helping out with show prep and going to the events. These days, Kim volunteers her time at a local road safety initiative called Drive 4 Survival, telling hers and Matt’s story. “Drive 4 Survival gives country kids four nights of road safety education and a first aid course, all for a subsidised cost of $20,” she says. “Matt and I participated in April 2011 – we lost him that August. I share Matt’s loss with them, and show them pictures of what remained of his beloved VT wagon. I also remind them that it’s ok to enjoy cars and modify them, but there is always an appropriate time and place.”Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore

Luckily for all of us, Kim didn’t turn her back on Wildfire permanently and we still get to see her and the VY at shows on a regular basis. Her smile may not always be as wide and carefree as it once was, but her passion for the ute will never diminish – reinforced by its newfound connection to Matt.

Next time you see her at a show, repay the love she’s given the scene and give her a hug. Tell her Hosking Industries sent you.

Owner: Kim Smith
Model: 2003 VY ute
Bodywork: EL GT Falcon bonnet scoop, hard tonneau, modified VU rear skirt, rear in-fill panel, LED under-car lighting, painted undercarriage, SS front bar
Colour: Red Hot w/murals, Dupont clear coat
Block: Ecotec
Engine Mods: Raptor stage-2 Pro-Street supercharger (11psi), custom PWR intercooler, ceramic coated intake manifold, reversed plenum, 36lb/hr injectors, IPR sheet metal rocker covers, suede-covered radiator shroud and custom under-bonnet cover for shows
Power: 172.2rwkW (231rwhp) before intercooler
Exhaust: Ceramic coated Pacemaker headers, hi-flow cat’, 2.5in Redback exhaust
Gearbox: Extreme clutch
Diff: LSD
Brakes: 330mm slotted front rotors, 315mm slotted rear rotors, detailed calipers
Suspension: Kings Springs Super Super Low (Front), Super Low (Rear)
Wheels/Tyres: 20in HSV Pentagon (copies), 225/35/ZR20 tyres
Interior: Custom painted plastics, red suede and leather inserts, custom sill covers, suede shifter boot, flame-embossed pillar covers and roof lining, red LED lighting, digital gauges in console, full custom tray install, underside of tonneau trimmed
Stereo: (Cabin) Pioneer AVH-P3250 double-DIN source unit, Pioneer 220w speakers in doors w/tweeters in dash, Clarion SRV303 subwoofer behind driver’s seat, Rockford Fosgate P400 power amp’, power point for charging batteries behind passenger seat. (Tray) 2x pair Rockford Fosgate T1652-S splits, 2x P3-series 12in D412 subs, 2x P300-1 sub amps, RF Punch EQ, 2x batteries under install
Build period: Ongoing
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: Ken, Mark and Matt. Without them, none of this matters. My Dad Bob; my friends, Nesse, Danny, Mitch, Lee, Dave, Adrian and Sarah, Bec. Tim Staier at Raptor Superchargers, Stitched Up Custom Trim, Mel Carroll Airbrushing, Kel Whittaker Smash Repairs and Streamline Automotive for looking after my R8 Maloo, especially Mark, Pat and Kane… My many, many car scene friends

FUTURE PROOF: Andrew Drain’s 418ci LS3-Powered VH Commodore

18 Apr

Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

FUTURE PROOF

Andrew Drain dragged his VH sedan kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The results are incredible
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreThere’s retrotech and then there’s Andrew Drain’s 1982 VH sedan, known as MRVH. No, not ‘mervuhh’. Mister Vee Aitch, to you, thank you very much. Bought five years ago, this lucky VH was purchased to replace the horrid, twisted hulk Andrew was already trying to salvage.

Coming from a large family, Andrew inherited a damaged V8 VH from one of his older brothers who wrecked the car in an accident. But the deeper he dug into the shell in his attempt to rescue it from the metal recylcer, the worse things got. Finally, he had to admit defeat and find a new shell.

“I inherit a lot from my older brothers,” the 26-year-old plant mechanic explains. “A lot of the body parts and the body kit have been handed down from two of my older brothers.”

The new donor car was already running an injected 5L and boasted a number of ‘improvements’, including a disastrous VS Statesman dash conversion that was largely held in with fencing wire. If he hadn’t been planning it anyway, a full tear down was the only way to put things right.Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

During our photo shoot, Andrew explained that he is one half of identical twins – his brother an engineer and largely book smart. Andrew on the other hand tries to tell us he’s “just a mechanic”. Take a decent look at the work he’s completed on this VH and you soon realise that he’s as humble as he is talented with the tools.

Dressed in a thick coat of HSV’s Cherry Black, the VH wears a SS Group A body kit, consisting bonnet scoop, front and rear aprons and side skirts. He’s also added SL/E bumper extensions, tail lights and chrome trims. It’s a classy and timeless look that doesn’t follow the latest trends and will mean that Andrew won’t feel the need to repaint the car again in 12 months.

Pop the bonnet and you’ll start to see where the last four years have gone. Between the smooth engine bay and the hidden wiring, the LS3 nestled within gleams like a diamond. Things didn’t start off so easily though. “I bought a crate motor for the car, but before I’d even driven 300kms, the thing lunched itself,” Andrew says. Even more worryingly, the shop that sold him the GM crate motor wouldn’t live up to their warranty – something that’s still going through arbitration.

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreNo to be deterred, Andrew tore the motor down himself and rebuilt it. Putting a positive note on a bad situation, the LS3 now boasts 418 cubes thanks to a COME crank and rods, Diamond pistons and Higgins ported heads. Power is untested as Andrew runs the combo in, but it’s got all the goodies, including a 0.595in-lift cam’, FAST manifold and modified VCM OTR cold-air intake. Backed by a tough T56 Magnum ‘box and Borg Warner rear end with 3.9:1 gears, the little VH should positively scream once the final tune is locked in.

While the late-model power train and driveline (completed by Harrop True Trac, billet axles and alloy diff’ cover) are clever enough, it’s inside where Andrew’s thought processes have really come into their own – aided by Todd at Eastside Kustom Trim. While tinkering with ideas, Andrew happened to casually hold a VY dash pad inside the stripped out VH, only to find at it was an almost perfect fit. Enthusiastic about the potential, he turned to Eastside to do the heavy lifting, going so far as to include the VY centre console as well. It’s so seamless that you’d forget you weren’t actually sitting in a VY. Completing the transformation are custom door trims with moulds to produce a neat transition into the ends of the dash, as well as custom speaker pods, Coulsen front seats and a very lumpy rear bench, modified to suit.

Eastside covered everything in black leather, including the dash. The roof lining is matching suede and the silver accents highlight the clever integration of Autometer gauges into the instrument fascia as well as an eBay binnacle and the original HVAC control holes.Andrew Drain's Holden VH Commodore

From here the little details continue to widen your grin. Andrew got the factory electric window switches working, as well as a central locking and keyless entry system. When the car is immobilised, two of the central LEDs in the instrument fascia blink. When the car is running, those same LEDs operate as indicator lights. The hole for the original trip computer now houses a digital tacho and to the right of that, the little speaker grille now hides the microphone for the integrated Bluetooth system.

Andrew has also converted all the VH’s lighting to LED, save for the headlight globes, of course. All the interior lighting, the tail lights and the parkers are now LEDs, tying in well with the car’s future-proof theme.

Andrew Drain's Holden VH CommodoreIf that weren’t enough, there’s a tidy stereo system in here too. It starts with the double-DIN Alpine DVD player in the dash. This feeds signals to two hidden power amps, in turn powering two pairs of 6in Fusion coaxials and a 10in Fusion sub, the latter of which is housed in a custom parcel tray along with one pair of the coaxials. Pop the boot lid and you’ll find there’s still a ton of space for some overnight bags or the shopping, but underneath the false floor you’ll find Andrew has worked out a way to include a space-saver spare, jumper leads and a couple extra tools, just in case.

It’s a good thing there’s some extra room in there, because Andrew has every intention of driving the wheels off of the VH. “It was always going to be a street car,” he says. “I love how smooth it drives. How smooth the power comes on.”

He’s not quite done yet, though. Once the full tune is completed, Andrew says he wants to replace the 19×8.5in VE SS Redline rims with a set of 20in billets to match his steering wheel and the hoses for the heater and A/C will go back in, too (the controls for which are already mounted behind the Hurst shifter in preparation). What more could anyone possibly want? Welcome to the future.

Owner: Andrew Drain
Model: 1982 VH
Bodywork: SL/E bumper extensions, SL/E tail lights, LED head light and tail light illumination, smoothed door handles, SS Group A body kit, VL mirrors, SL/E chrome trims
Colour: Cherry black
Block: LS3
Engine Mods: COME crank and rods (418ci), Diamond pistons and rings, ARP head and mains studs, King bearings, Higgins’ ported heads, Lunati double valve springs and retainers, Bullet hydraulic roller cam’ (0.595in lift), Lunati tie-bar lifters, Edelbrock water pump, modified sump, B&M oil cooler, custom Adrad radiator, Billet Specialties serpentine pulley kit, FAST 102 intake manifold, modified VCM OTR CAI, hidden wiring, custom fuse boxes and ECU mounts, modified wiring harness, 2x 600hp Walbro pumps, FAST fuel rails, Elite Engineering catch can, SX FPR, 4L surge tank, Brown David 100L drop tank, braided fuel lines, smoothed bay
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Ceramic coated CAE headers, 3in twin-into-single system, Magnaflow mufflers
Gearbox: T56 Magnum 6-speed, Ace 11in billet flywheel, single-plate clutch
Diff: Narrowed Borg Warner, 3.9:1 final drive, custom one-piece tail shaft, Harrop True Trac, billet axles, alloy diff’ cover
Brakes: 330mm front and rear rotors, PBR twin-piston front calipers, Bendix pads, upgraded booster, braided brake lines
Suspension: K-Sport adjustable coil-overs front and rear, Whiteline strut brace, Whiteline adjustable panhard, adjustable K-Mac front sway bar, custom power steering reservoir and fluid lines
Wheels/Tyres: VE SS Redline 19×8.5in wheels
Interior: VY dash conversion (leather covered), VY centre console, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Coulsen front seats, custom rear bench w/Coulsen headrests, black leather trim, custom door trims, custom suede roof lining, Autometer gauges, central locking, keyless entry, electric windows, boot and fuel door poppers, new seat belts, HSV pedals, black carpets, Hurst shifter, custom sill covers, custom dash fascia, custom rear parcel tray
Stereo: Alpine in-dash DVD source unit, Vibe mono block amp’, Vibe 4-channel power amp’, Fusion 6in coaxials front and rear, 10in Fusion sub’, custom sub enclosure, headrest-mounted screens, custom boot install
Cost: “Over $80,000”
Build period: 4 years
Contacts: Eastside Kustom Trim, Seaside Smash Repairs, Pryce Engines, A1 Exhausts – Thornton, Mal Wood, Gibson Driveshaft Services, Diff Trans, Bowers Suspension, Streamline Automotive, “My girlfriend Kate; Dave Hoffman; my family and friends, Evan, Phillip, Henno, Dave, Chris, Hooley and Mick”

THREE TIME’S A CHARM: Jason Hill’s 600rwhp Turbo LS2-Powered VN Commodore

18 Apr

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'

THREE TIME’S A CHARM

We’ve featured Jason Hill’s green VN sedan before, but the turbo LS2-powered beast never looked like this before
Story and by hoskingindustries.com.au

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'Long time readers might remember these number plates from long ago – issue 138 to be exact. They belong to Jason Hill and they’re attached to the same 1989 VN sedan that they were attached to back then. However, a lot has changed since then and we thought it was high time that we brought you all a fresh perspective on the Novacastrian’s tyre-destroying ex-cop second-gen’.

Jason has had the car for around eight years and as anyone who’s owned the same car that long, you’d know things tend to evolve over that kind of timeline. When we last saw the car, it was more suited to cruising and burnouts than what Jason has set the car up for these days – which is straight line havoc.

“This is the third rebuild,” Jason says. “I have the best group of mates. They all came together to build this car for the third time.” And most of those mates all came out to help on the photo shoot, too, with about 10 bodies there to hang out, assist, watch and shoot the shit while the VN enjoyed its moment in the sun… we mean, rain.Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'

The day of our photo shoot fell right in the middle of the storm season the East Coast of NSW experienced in late November, early December 2014. Between the hell fire happening in the skies and the raucous cacophony emanating from the 5in pipe exiting the VN’s front passenger guard, it really felt like Hell was coming to breakfast.

Perhaps it was an apt occasion for the shoot, considering what Jason’s VN has become since issue 138. Today, the car is powered by a 600rwhp turbocharged LS2 from a VZ HSV. But that’s 600hp on a run-in tune. No one is quite sure yet what the engine will make once the boost is ramped up from the 10psi it’s on now.

Inside, it’s pretty stock, save for Lunati cam’, valve springs, pushrods and lifters. All the good stuff is happening on the outside of the engine, with a 105mm throttle shoving vast amounts of air into a single-plane Edelbrock manifold. On the other side is a pair of custom turbo manifolds that connect an 80mm B/W turbo to the mix, with fuel fed from an Aeroflow pump on a strict diet of E85 and a set of ID2200 injectors.

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'This is all backed by a US-sourced Powerglide with a 3000rpm stall, mating to a spooled Borg Warner rear end running 4.11:1 gears – however, Jason tells us a sheet metal 9in is on the way. Probably a good thing considering the punishment he intends dishing out to the driveline in the near future (if the parachute didn’t give things away, just a little).

An extensive, colour-matched roll cage weaves through the cabin of the VN, connecting everything together, firming up what is structurally a pretty flimsy monocoque design. Within the cage you’ll find a bare-bones cabin boasting OBX race seats and RCI harnesses, with a neat sheet metal dash wrapped in carbon vinyl, matching the fuel cell out back. The rear seat is gone, both to save weight and to make room for the mini tubs that house the 28×10.5in slicks. Mounted under the dash are all the relocated fuses, relays and the Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU that runs everything.

After some engine trouble (factory oiling issues), Jason and the guys at Bassett Racing had to rebuild the original LS2 and fabricate a custom 10L sump to try and ensure failure wasn’t something that happens twice. As such, no times have been run yet. Needless to say, it’s got the hardware for a nine and we can’t wait to see what it does. The evolution theory in practice!

Owner: Jason Hill
Model: 1989 VN BT1
Bodywork: SV5000 kit, alloy wing, fibreglass bonnet and boot lid
Colour: Custom Dupont green
Block: VZ HSV LS2
Engine Mods: File back piston rings, Lunati camshaft, Lunati pushrods, tie-bar lifters, Lunati dual valve springs, sheet metal rocker covers, custom 10L sump, Meziere oil pump, Aeroflow fuel pump (E85), ID2200 injectors, Edelbrock single-plane intake manifold, Borg Warner 80mm turbo, custom PWR radiator, Aeroflow oil cooler, Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU, engine plates, 66mm Precision wastegate, Turbosmart BOV, braided fuel and oil lines, alloy catch can w/B&M breather, 105mm throttle
Power: 599rwhp (446rwkW) @ 10psi
Exhaust: Custom turbo manifolds, 5in exhaust
Gearbox: Powerglide, 3000rpm stall, trans’ brake
Diff: Narrowed Borg Warner, full-spool, 4.11:1 final drive, 28-spline axles
Brakes: VT twin-piston front brakes, factory rear, Bendix pads
Suspension: 90/10 front shocks, QAX1 rear coil-overs, modified adjustable rear panhard, mini tubs
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Centerline billet rims (3.5in front, 10in rear), 28×10.5in slicks
Interior: OBX front race seats, sheet metal dash w/carbon wrap, black carpets, custom door trims, RCI harnesses, cage, ‘chute handle, B&M Pro Ratchet, deleted rear bench, Drift steering wheel
Stereo: N/A
Build period: 8 years (ongoing)
Cost: “Nearly a house”
Contacts: Bassett Racing, Off Tap Custom Resprays, Neals Glides USA, Mr. Stitches, Mallaby Sheetmetal, “Thank you to the boys, my son Ryder, Zac, Dylan, Jesse, Huber, Damo, Tony and my dad”

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

BUILT TO SKID: Warren Fleck’s VR Commodore Burnout Monster

12 Apr

Warren Fleck's Holden VR Commodore Ute

BUILT TO SKID

This sparkling VR ute has transformed from V6-powered first car to tyre-mashing LS-powered killer over 14 years and a lot of beers
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Warren Fleck's Holden VR Commodore UteThis is 31-year-old Sydneysider Warren Fleck’s first car. Bought 14 years ago, it was what you might expect for a first car: pre-Ecotec V6, slush box, open-centre diff’ and nothing much to report home about. However, it wasn’t long before Warren got busy making it something brawnier – bolting on a Vortech blower. “I blew the motor up,” Warren says, succinctly, adding that “I had just started seeing my now-wife Shannan and I was showing off a bit… massive fail!”.

From here he performed a 5L V8 conversion, later swapping the ‘bunch ‘o’ bananas’ for a twin throttle manifold and a 100-shot of nitrous – finally converting to a carby setup. Still not satisfied with the level of performance, Warren got talking to fellow western sydney local Matt Sims about building a 333ci stroker motor, but Matt set Warren straight and pointed him in the direction of an LS conversion.

“He suggested it as a cheaper, easier alternative,” Warren says. “It was out with the 5L and in with the LS.”Warren Fleck's Holden VR Commodore Ute

Warren says the LS engine swap was one of the most enjoyable parts of the build process, watching it all come together on the weekends as he and his mates bolted it together. “My mate Matt Sultana did all the fab’ work,” he says. Indeed, most of the work on the VR has been done by Warren and his mates, with Warren handling plenty of the tasks himself – even some of the paintwork.

“Lots of hours went into sanding, bogging and sanding the Aero kit to get it as straight as possible,” he says. “If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t fit the kit. As a purpose-built burnout car, I don’t think fibreglass is going to hold up too well.”

Inside, the ute is a little more utilitarian than the two-tone, flaming Alpine white/HOK kandy blue combo you’ll find dripping over the exterior. But considering the amount of thick, noxious smoke and rubber chunks this machine will see into the future, a largely black trim is the best idea. Still, it does boast a pair of grippy Recaro seats, B&M shifter and Autometer gauges amongst its sea of black carpet, painted finishes and roof lining. Pop the glove box and you’ll find the MSD ignition controller, too. Despite the heavy work the ute has to do, the fact that Warren took the time to hide the fuses and wiring is certainly commendable.

Warren Fleck's Holden VR Commodore UteSadly Warren didn’t have the final tune dialled in on the day of the shoot, hence the lack of driving or skid shots here. However, you can bet we’ll bring you some photos of the ute in action as soon as we can. “I took it to Summernats in January and had a blast cruising around with my wife and two kids riding shotgun,” he says.

14 years into Warren and his VR’s relationship, the future looks bright and he still has plans for more development down the track. “I would love to go blown with it,” he says. “Maybe a 6/71 with a mechanical injection hat on top!” Let the tyre destruction begin!

Owner: Warren Fleck
Model: 1994 VR Commodore
Bodywork: VR Aero kit
Colour: Alpine white / HOK Cobalt kandy blue
Block: 2001 LS1
Engine Mods: Lunati double valve springs, decked heads, 2x K&N breathers, Lunati hydraulic roller cam’ (0.651in lift), Rollmaster double-row timing chain, Davies Craig thermo fan, alloy radiator, Quick Fuel 750cfm carb’, Edelbrock Super Victor single-plane manifold, MSD spark amp’ and ignition controller, hidden coil packs, hidden wiring, Barry Grant 220 fuel pump, Holley FPR, Aeroflow fuel filter, custom stainless fuel cell, dash-8 braided fuel lines
Power: Untested (final tune not yet done)
Exhaust: Custom 4-into-1 headers, 3in system dumped at door length, no mufflers
Gearbox: T400, B&M 3500rpm stall, manualised valve body
Diff: 3.91:1 final drive, mini spool, narrowed housing
Brakes: Stock front, deleted rear
Suspension: King springs, Monroe shocks and struts, VL manual steering rack, mini tubs
Wheels/Tyres: 20in DTM rims (8.5in front, 10in rear)
Interior: Recaro seats, black carpets and roof lining, painted lower dash, trimmed instrument fascia and centre console, B&M shifter, rocker switches, Autotecnica steering wheel, Autometer gauges
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Pioneer speakers
Build time: Ongoing
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: White Magic, Lowe Fabrications, Azzfab, “My wife Shannan for keeping me and my mates fed while working on the car, mum and dad for letting me leave the car in their shed, Matthew Sultana, Matt Pisani, Dave Pendlebury, Troy Bates, Nathan Magri, Jason Sutton, Matt Sims, Johnny”