Posts Tagged ‘commodore’

Feature Car: Paul Knowles’ Holden VK Commodore


19 Dec

I photographed Paul Knowles’ Holden VK Commodore years ago for Street Commodores when it was blue-over-silver and powered by a hot Holden V8. Several years later and the car has been fully rebuilt thanks to a horror smash.

Now resplendent in full white paint with contrasting black Simmons FR rims, the car looks totally on-trend. The old cream interior has been replaced with an all-black leather and suede affair to match the Simmons and the Warspeed 403ci L98-based stroker. Where most opt for a blower or turbos these days, Paul Knowles’ Holden VK Commodore is all motor, but looks the business with that tunnel ram poking through the bonnet, topped by a pair of 750cfm Holley carbs.

Out back, a braced, sheet-metal 9in houses 35-spline axles and 4.11:1 gears which should cope with any punishment Paul dishes out onto those poor FR20s and Pirelli P-Zero tyres. The car was featured in the November 2019 issue of Street Machine.

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Paul Knowles' Holden VK Commodore
Paul Knowles' Holden VK Commodore
Paul Knowles' Holden VK Commodore

Feature Car: Peter Robson’s Holden VE Ute ‘UDLO5E’


13 Aug

Late-model Commodores haven’t come in for the same level of customisation as most older models… well, with exceptions. Like Peter Robson’s crazy VE Commodore ute for example.
With a big turbo on its 403ci stroker, suicide doors, custom trim, smooth engine bay and 24x12in billets under its tubbed arse… this is one very custom late-model Commodore and it was featured in the August 2019 issue of Street Machine.

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Peter Robson's Holden VE Ute 'UDLO5E'
Peter Robson's Holden VE Ute 'UDLO5E'
Peter Robson's Holden VE Ute 'UDLO5E'

Feature Car: Peta Psaras’ Holden VE SS-V Wagon


05 Dec

Not so long ago, cars loaded with fancy interior trim and in-car entertainment hardware like this were almost always under-powered and slow. Peta Psaras wasn’t having any of that with her Holden VE SS-V wagon. Nope, hers makes 617hp at the wheels thanks to a stout combo from Sam’s Performance and that last piece of the puzzle is part of the reason why the car made it into the return issue of Street Machine Commodores!

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Peta Psaras' Holden VE SS-V Wagon

Peta Psaras' Holden VE SS-V Wagon

Peta Psaras' Holden VE SS-V Wagon

Feature Car: Luke Bailey’s Wide Body Holden VE Commodore Ute


28 Nov

Now for something a little different! So good to see the late model stuff getting the full kustom treatment. In this case Luke Bailey’s Holden VE Commodore ute doesn’t just come with fancy interior trim and car audio gear, but it’s also slammed into the ground on airbags. On top of that, the guards and bodykit has been pumped to accommodate those massive 22×9.5in Simmons rims! Oh, yeah, then there’s the Vortech-blown Alloytec V6 up front. Sweet! The shoot was featured in the return issue of Street Machine Commodores, which is still on sale now.

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Luke Bailey's Wide Body Holden VE Commodore Ute

Luke Bailey's Wide Body Holden VE Commodore Ute

Luke Bailey's Wide Body Holden VE Commodore Ute

Feature Car: Ben Hiles’ 622rwhp Holden VE Calais V


21 Nov

Most of my photo shoots take place away from home. Typically in areas like Sydney or further afield. So it was nice, not only to shoot a vehicle within an hour from my house, but also to get a close look at Ben Hiles’ sleeper VE Calais V. I shot it for the latest issue of Street Machine’s LSX Tuner magazine. With a rebuilt, forged 6L LS under the bonnet, fettled further thanks to a Magnusson MP2300 blower, this grandpa-coloured VE makes 622rwhp! I bet this thing surprises some folks at the traffic lights.

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Ben Hiles' 622rwhp Holden VE Calais V

Ben Hiles' 622rwhp Holden VE Calais V

Ben Hiles' 622rwhp Holden VE Calais V

Feature Cars: Ray and Tony Elia’s Holden VK Commodores


12 Nov

About the only thing better than one tough, tubbed HDT-style VK Commodore is two and between brothers Ray and Tony Elia, that’s exactly what I got to photograph a few months ago for the return issue of Street Machine Commodores! Ray’s white machine is blown, while Tony’s Blue Meanie replica BT1 boasts a wicked Injection Perfection trumpet setup.

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Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Feature Car: Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin’s twin-turbo, 5-second, 4000hp 526ci Holden VB Commodore


10 Oct

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

I had the pleasure of photographing Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin’s insane twin-turbo, 5-second, 4000hp 526ci Holden VB Commodore for the September issue of Street Machine. This car, currently credited as being Australia’s fastest and quickest Commodore and Jet has also shipped the car to the USA to compete in the No Mercy 9 1/8th mile event where he finished in the Top 8 against some of the fastest cars in the world.

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Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

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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Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

Adam Wheeler's Holden VL Calais

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

THE FINISHER: Josh Watson’s 438rwhp RB30 Holden VL Commodore


27 Mar

Joshua Watson's Holden VL Commodore

THE FINISHER

Previously featured in issue 184, Josh Watson’s VL BT1 is back and looking better than ever
Story and pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Perhaps besides the VH SL/E, no other Commodore style has become as iconic as the ‘colour-over-silver’ VL. Whether it takes the form of the Calais or BT1, you’re more likely to see a VL dressed in a factory-style outfit than in any other guise. Obviously, the Holden design department got it right back in the early 1980s when they would have been sketching out the then-upcoming model.

Joshua Watson's Holden VL CommodoreFor Joshua Watson, things are no different. He loves the look of his 1986 VL BT1 (and yes, he assures us it’s an ex-cop sedan). Better still, it was made the same year he was born.

For those with keen eyes, this isn’t the first time Josh’s VL has appeared in the pages of Street Commodores. Appearing back in issue 184, the ex-cop VL looked similar to how it does today, but it was far from finished, as far as Josh was concerned. “I wanted to finish the trim,” he says. “The dash was all trimmed and I bought the necessary Autometer gauges. I also ditched the manual for a built auto’ as I was never really happy with how the car drive as a manual.”

Josh also had Maatouks Racing install one of their cam’ and spring packages and Josh went on to run a string of quick ETs on the factory bottom end, culminating in an 11.3sec on 98RON. Not satisfied, he then upgraded his fuel system and re-tuned the combo on E85, running a 10.7sec @ 130mph before being booted for not having a cage.Joshua Watson's Holden VL Commodore

“The car went on the backburner after that with the birth of my son,” Josh says. “I eventually got motivated and got the car up to specs with a roll cage, harness and had an alloy belly pan fitted. The car was tech-ready and ready to race after almost two years.”

On its first pass, Josh says the factory bottom end cried enough, spinning a few bearings. “I had already planned to pull the engine out for a freshen up before Summernats,” he says. “I spent the next week stripping the car down and before I knew it, all that was left was the seats and door trims.”

With the car in its undies, some major works were undertaken, with the original turbo BW diff’ housing narrowed and the engine given to Maatouks for a new forged combo. While this was going on, Josh and his mates got to work smoothing the engine bay. “All the holes were welded up by my good mate Daniel and my missus high-filled it at home.”

Joshua Watson's Holden VL CommodoreFrom here the car went to Pedal 2 Metal for a new rear end and then to Beejays Paint and Panel to a fresh coat of paint in the bay. Luckily for Josh, Maatouks were done with his engine shortly after he got the shell back in the garage and he and his mates got to work reassembling everything in time for Summernats. “If anything, it all happened ahead of schedule,” Josh says. “All this happened between July and December. It made it to the Nats and was selected to go in the street cruise.”

Josh is understandably proud of his VL and the work he and his mates have done on it. “Working long hours to afford it and then coming home to work on it at night was hard at times,” he says. “I enjoyed fitting everything up at the end and seeing it come together how I pictured it. It made all the late nights worth it. The most enjoyable thing is that everything possible was done at home by myself, mates and the missus.”

“I’m hanging to drive it on big boost and E85 again. I’ll probably need some new tyres!”

Future plans for the car revolve around getting it to more of a street car persona once Josh has had his fill of drag racing. “I’ll get some larger diameter rims for it, like billets or Weld RT-S,” he says. “Then I’ll remove the cage and enjoy it. I look forward to cruising it with my family as my son grows up.”Street Commodores - Issue 242

Owner: Josh Watson
Model: 1986 VL SL BT1
Bodywork: Calais side skirts
Colour: Absinth yellow, MX grey bars
Block: RB30ET
Engine Mods: Maatouks Racing forged bottom end (specs undisclosed), Maatouks Racing ported head and Maatouks-spec’ cam’, Maatouks Racing modified factory intake, XF Falcon throttle, Garrett GT35/40 1.06 ceramic coated rear housing, K&N pod filter, Holley Dominator 12-1800 fuel pump (E85), 1600cc Bosch Indy Blue injectors, Aeromotive A1000 FPR, 80L fuel cell, 3L catch can, boot-mounted radiator overflow, Earls radiator hoses, alloy radiator, 600x300mm alloy intercooler, fabricated alloy belly pan, Microtech ECU
Power: 438rwhp (326rwkW) @ 21psi, 10.7sec @ 130mph
Exhaust: Stainless turbo manifold, 3in ceramic coated dump pipe, 3in mild steel system, straight-through muffler
Gearbox: Jatco, RCI trans blanket, 3800rpm TCE stall, manualised valve body, transbrake, B&M shifter
Diff: Narrowed BW VL turbo, 3.45:1 final drive, Romac full-spool, single-piece tail shaft, 31-spline axles, half-inch ARP wheel studs, modified tubes/coil-over brackets and tube arm mounts
Brakes: PBR twin-piston front calipers, factory rear disc, Bendix pads, braided brake lines
Suspension: Coil-overs front and rear, chromoly adjustable tubular arms, chassis brace
Wheels/Tyres: Powder coated 15in Weld Pro Star rims (4in front, 8in rear), ET Streets rear tyres
Interior: Tan leather trim, trimmed dash and console, B&M shifter, front race buckets, Autometer instrument cluster, Autometer ancillary gauges, Victor race wheel, RCI racing harnesses, ANDRA-spec’ bolt-in half cage, Microtech hand controller
Stereo: Sony head unit, Sony speakers
Build period: Ongoing
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: Maatouks Racing, Pro Street Metal Craft, Pedal 2 Metal Fabrications, Beejays Paint and Panel, Brightline, Earls Fittings, my mates Daniel, Gus, Josh, Shaun and Pete for the time and effort over the years; “My beautiful fiancé Sammi and son Benjamin all your help, understanding and patience throughout the process”