Posts Tagged ‘“light painting”’

HOME-GROWN HERO: Adrian Coulter’s 380rwhp 6/71-blown LJ Holden Torana


18 Jun

Adrian Coulter's LJ Torana

HOME-GROWN HERO

Adrian Coulter’s 6/71-blown LJ Holden Torana is a true home-built masterpiece that almost cost him everything
Story and Pics by Ben Hosking

The stories behind some performance cars almost write themselves and those vehicles are usually home-built. You just can’t create the same texture, depth and interest with a cheque-book build that’s simply spent months in and out of workshops. Sure, put two cars next to one another and they might look the same; but you can be sure the journey the home-built car took to get to the finish line will be a whole lot more interesting than the workshop car.

Adrian Coulter's LJ Holden Torana33-year-old Novocastrian Adrian Coulter has spent the last nine years building this incredible Viper Blue LJ coupe (this is actually its second build) and except for that glowing blue suit, he’s completed everything himself in the shed at home. “The car won awards for Best Paint and Best Interior at the 1998 and 2000 Toranafest events,” says Adrian, a qualified panel beater AND mechanic. “After that I took the car home and stripped it back down to a bare shell. It took nine years to get from there to here.”

It’s hard to believe that a Torana this straight and highly detailed could have once started out as such a wreck – just as it did in 1995 when Adrian first bought it. “It was in primer when I bought it,” says Adrian. “I was told it just needed rubbing back and painting, but when I got it home and went to open the passenger door, it fell off!”

Things went from bad to worse once Adrian started rubbing the panels down, finding all manner of damage. Eventually, the casualty list included two sill panels, the rear beaver panel, two floor pans, the front valance and plenty of other poorly repaired dents and damage. “It took 15 months just in bodywork,” explains Adrian. “It was a never ending story, but worth the effort in the end.”

Fast forward to the second build and Adrian pulled out all the stops, creating an LJ with more attention to detail than most big dollar builds can muster. From tip to stern there isn’t a square millimetre of this car that hasn’t been massaged or tricked out in some way.

Up front, the engine started life as a 1990 304ci injected 5L, no doubt powering a VN Commodore or some description. Adrian rebuilt it himself using the factory crank with A9L rods and simple ACL Race Series pistons, rings and bearings. The rotating assembly does enjoy some additional support in the form of ARP mains studs and a girdle which is a good thing considering he’s forcing eight pounds of boost down its throat.

Unbelievably, Adrian was the first guy to ever lay eyes on that shiny GMC 6/71 supercharger. “Starting the motor with the blower on it was definitely one of my favourite moments in the build,” says Adrian, smiling with the thought. “I was the first person to open the crate with the 1959 blower in it. It still had the metal packing straps around the box and everything.”

It was a doubly exciting moment considering it was Adrian’s first blown engine – one that also features ported cast heads and a sturdy valvetrain using plenty of Crow parts. While the car hasn’t been on a dyno, Adrian reckons the twin-carbed beast is making around 380hp at the treads with plenty of fuel left in the mix to make sure nothing breaks – except tyres.Adrian Coulter's LJ Holden Torana

This is all backed by a worked T400 using a B&M 2800rpm stall and stage-2 kit before twisting torque through a 3in thick-wall tail shaft and on to a 9in that Adrian narrowed and braced; filling it with VL turbo 28-spline axles, 3.5:1 gearings and a mini spool. He also tubbed the rear end to the chassis rails, relocating the shock mounts and boxing the control arms.

In fact, the suspension at both ends is pretty custom, including a Hadfield Chassis kit, strengthened upper and lower front control arms and a full set of Nolathane bushings. With an LJ V8 steering conversion, King springs and Monroe shocks, the car handles like a dream and very unlike a car of its vintage. “Setting the diff’ angles and geometry was probably one of the hardest parts of the build,” says Adrian. “Well that and saving the money to build the car without losing my wife.”

In all, the car took three bank loans, all Adrian’s spare cash and almost his marriage to complete – but he didn’t give up and neither did his missus. “I have to thank my wife for her patience and support,” says Adrian. “She’s been amazing.”

Adrian has no other plans for the LJ other than to drive and get some enjoyment out of his hard work. Indeed, in order to fly under the radar as much as possible and not end up defected off the road; Adrian is contemplating a life without the blower – something he planned for when building the engine. If you look closely you’ll see a custom plate between the carbs and the blower which allows Adrian to remove the pump and simply refit the carbs to the blower manifold for quick and easy swaps. Although he has considered selling it all.

“I’d consider selling it for the right price,” says Adrian. “I don’t really want to, but it’s time to start thinking about the family.”

What a legend.

Owner: Adrian Coulter
Colour: Dodge Viper blue
Bodywork: GTR flutes, rear wheel arches stretched, rolled guards
Engine Type: 1990 304ci V8
Engine Mods: Modified oil galleries, ARP head and mains studs, stud girdle, A9L rods, ACL Race Series pistons (8.5:1-comp’), ACL rings and bearings, ported cast heads (flow around 550hp), stainless valves, K-Line valve guides, Chev’ LT1 valve springs, Crow retainers, alloy catch can, Crow hydraulic cam’ (112˚ LSA), Crow lifters and pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1 roller rockers, double-row timing chain, JP high-pressure low-volume oil pump, High Energy sump, alloy oil cooler, 2x 10in thermo fans, 4-core Statesman radiator, 65A alternator, billet engine pulleys, 2x 600cfm vac-sec Holley carbs, GMC 6/71 supercharger (8psi), K&N air filters, Mallory distributor, Bosch coil, Holley fuel pump and adjustable regulator, 60L RCI fuel cell, custom alternator bracket, custom carb’ mounting plate
Power: Approx. 380rwhp (283rwkW)
Exhaust: Heat wrapped custom tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel system
Gearbox: T400, custom oil coolers, B&M 2800rpm stall, stage-2 shift kit
Diff: Smoothed and detailed 9in, VL turbo axles, 3.5:1 final drive, mini-spool, 3in thick-wall tail shaft
Brakes: HQ front discs, HQ rear drums, Falcon master cylinder, VH44 booster (mounted under dash), new custom brake lines
Suspension: Strengthened upper and lower front control arms, new ball joints, King front springs, Monroe shocks, boxed and shortened rear control arms, custom rear shock mounts, custom diff’ bracing, LJ V8 steering conversion, Nolathane bushings, Rod Hadfield chassis kit, Commodore trans’ tunnel, custom rear top shock mounts
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Weld Draglite rims (6in front, 10in rear)
Other mods: Mini tubs to rails, battery relocated, custom boot enclosure
Interior: Custom black velour trim, Monza front buckets, Monza harnesses, 12in silver Momo tiller, custom roof lining, black carpets, B&M Quicksilver shifter, aircraft switches, restored factory gauges, rebuilt column, HR blinker arm, stamped alloy glove box insert, modified hand brake, ancillary gauges, 4-point alloy cage
Stereo: JVC CD player, Kicker power amps, Sony 6x9in speakers, MTX rear 6in splits, 2x 12in Sony subs
Build Period: (2nd build) 9 years
Cost: $55,000
Thanks: Bow’s Mufflers – Broadmeadow, “My wife for her patience and support throughout the build; my parents for all their help. Also my mates Ben, Big Dan and Dave for all their help. Without them the car would still be in the shed unfinished and gathering dust.”

THE HEIRLOOM: Andrew Panda’s 1967 Ford Mustang


17 May

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

THE HEIRLOOM

What does a father do when he has four sons? Why, build each of them an incredible four-wheeled inheritance, naturally!
Words and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangIf you look past the potential problems associated with having four sons – like supremely busy weekend mornings taking them to sporting events, violent four-way sibling scuffles, squabbles over inheritance and the very real threat of no one ever putting the toilet seat down – there is at least one potential upside for the four-son-owning car enthusiast: being able to share your hobby with them. 43-year-old Sydneysider Andrew Panda even figured out a way to avoid the potential perils of post-mortem will wars. He’s decided to build each of them a car.

What you’re seeing printed on these pages is muscle car number two, with number one being a neatly restored ’64 and a half Mustang convertible that Andrew completed several years ago. He’s enjoyed plenty of miles in the convertible and wasn’t even thinking about building another car until good friend of his made a fateful late night ‘phone call from California.

“It all started over a couple of beers with my mate that runs his own shop, Big Al’s Mustangs & Musclecars,” Andrew says. “I told him of my interest in buying a 1967 Fastback. Unbeknownst to me, Al had travelled to the USA on a holiday and was keeping an eye out for me.”Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

It just so happened that while driving through the California desert Al came across a ’67 under someone’s carport. “The owner said the car had belonged to his father who has passed away,” Andrew says. “It had been sitting there for the last seven years, which was evident by the amount of sand on the car.”

While the owner declined any offers at the time for sentimental reasons, a few months later, Andrew received a call saying the owner was ready to sell. Negotiations were made and the car was shipped home.

Once the car arrived on Aussie shores, even close inspection revealed that the Mustang carried no more than a single two inch rust hole in the floor pan from where the air-con had been dripping for decades past. An excellent start to the project.

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangBut what next for the fastback? With a relatively traditional restoration already under his belt, Andrew decided something wilder was in order this time around and inspiration was found in the work of the Ring Brothers. Indeed, around $20,000 in parts were ordered from the company during the course of the build, even if they had a hard time believing the would-be customer to begin with.

“They wouldn’t take my money to start with,” Andrew says, still amused by the memory today. “It wasn’t long after the economy went south, so I can understand their hesitation at making and shipping so much stuff on the strength of someone offering a credit card number. I had to get the bank involved to show I was serious.”

Taking inspiration and plagiarising are two very different things and Andrew’s Mustang is covered in bespoke features that you’ll find nowhere else. The bodywork was completed by renowned Australian body man Justin Hills of Hills & Co. in Taree, NSW – a shop famous for turning out impeccable kustoms.Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

“Hills & Co. had the car for around 12 months,” Andrew says. “They were excellent to deal with and their work on the Mustang is amazing.”

Custom touches include the unique centre rib in the side vents that has been so well executed that plenty of people have to ask if it was original. Then there’s the shaved drop rails and handles, modified bumpers and custom side skirts fabricated from steel. Both the bonnet and boot are carbon fibre and feature flawless finished surfaced on top and bottom.

Once all the many body mods were complete, the car was lathered in a custom metallic green Glasurit finish that pays a little homage to Bullit, while remaining totally custom as well as being understated and classy. By avoiding current paint trends, Andrew’s modern/classic vibe should still look fresh years down the road.

“The hardest part of the build was probably the bodywork and getting the concept off the paper and into the fabricating,” Andrew says. “Choosing the colour with family members was tricky too, as everyone had definite views on what colour it should be.”

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangOne area that didn’t come under so much discussion was the powertrain, where Andrew set his mind on a stroked Windsor. Built by Aaron Wiles, the 408ci small-block runs a tough forged bottom end, topped by ported alloy heads and a beefy 950cfm Holley Ultra HP carb’. With a solid cam’ spinning down the middle, Andrew estimates the combo is making around 600hp, which is plenty enough to spin those 285/40/18 hoops under the butt.

“One of the things that still crosses my mind now it’s finished is whether I should have tubbed the car,” Andrew says. “Should I have sacrificed the rear seat for wider wheels?”

Even without a tub job, Andrew has been able to fit a set of 18x9in forged KWC rims on the rear with a ton of backspacing, giving the look of a car with more room under there. In fact, the car boasts a purposefully low stance all round thanks to the RRS Macpherson strut setup at the front and the RRS 3-link Watts assembly under the rear. Hiding behind the KWC wheels is a matching RRS disc brake setup with twin-piston calipers and 13in rotors on front and 12.5in rotors out back.

Hills &Co’s phenomenal metalwork continues in the cabin, where it was decided to rip out the factory dash in favour of a shallower-profile, hand-formed steel unit. From this came the desire to fabricate a custom centre console, complete with space for the Pioneer DVD touch screen. A pair of Recaro buckets sit up front, with grey leather covering them, the rear bench and the custom door trims – all competed by Trik Trim on the NSW mid-north coast. While Autometer gauges fill what’s left of the original fascia, Andrew picked an aftermarket steering wheel that he felt was reminiscent of one from the new-generation Mustangs.

Not content with a quick car that looked pretty, Andrew went all the way and installed a full stereo system into the 47-year-old coupe. Starting with the Pioneer source unit, Focal splits provide sonic nirvana front and rear, with the front speakers neatly and almost invisibly housed behind custom kick panels. A Focal 11in subwoofer provides the low end from a custom enclosure behind the rear seat, ported into the cabin through the parcel tray. Like the rest of the car, the stereo install is pretty understated and designed for class, not the latest trends.Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

“Sharing the car and enjoyment with my four boys is all I have planned for it now,” Andrew says. “I love taking it out for a cruise and the occasional car show. Just before the photo shoot I was pulled over by the cops with my son in the car. I wondered what I’d done wrong, but it turned out they just wanted to have a look!”

So what of the other two cars for the other two sons? Andrew says his wife is keen on a Corvette next time around. Car number four is still far too far away. If this Mustang is anything to go by, you can bet the ‘Vette will be one killer shark.

Owner: Andrew Panda
Vehicle: 1967 Mustang Fastback
Paint: Custom Glasurit green metallic
Styling: Shaved drip rails, shaved door handles, modified quarter vents, fabricated steel side skirts, custom front and rear skirts, carbon fibre bonnet and boot lid, modified plenum chamber, billet trim details
Engine: 408ci Windsor stroker
Engine Mods: Scat crank, Scat H-beam rods, forged Probe pistons (11:1-comp’), head and mains studs, ported alloy heads, mains girdle, Camtech solid cam’ (0.570in lift, 109° LSA), Camtech pushrods, Yella Terra rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, Melling oil pump, Aussie Desert Cooler radiator, Billet Specialties pulleys, 950cfm Holley Ultra HP carb’, MSD pro Billet distributor, MSD coil, Holley electric fuel pump and regulator, Ring Bros billet bonnet hinges
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Custom ceramic coated 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in system
Gearbox: Ford AOD, 3500rpm stall
Diff: 9in, 3.89:1 final drive, Truetrac
Suspension: (f) RRS McPherson strut-type, RRS struts, (r) RRS 3-link Watts, RRS shocks and springs
Brakes: (f) 330mm rotors (13in), RRS Phase 3 calipers, 315mm rotors (12.5in), RRS Phase 2 calipers
Wheels/Tyres: 18in Showwheels KWC 013 forged (8in front, 9in rear)
Interior: Recaro front seats, dark grey leather trim, custom metal dash pad, Autometer gauges, dark grey carpets and roof lining, modified instrument fascia, billet pedals, custom centre console, Vintage Air system, B&M Quicksilver shifter, electric windows, custom door trims
Tunes: Pioneer stereo head unit, Focal power amps, Focal speakers and sub, custom subwoofer enclosure (ported through parcel tray), custom kick panels
Build Time: 2 years
Bucks: Undisclosed
Who’s Responsible: Hills & Co. Customs, RRS, Trik Trim, Ring Bros, Aaron Wiles (engine builder)

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

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”

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


04 Apr

Nick Sassine's Holden VK Commodore

LIFER

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
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

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”

FULL HOUSE: George Aspite’s 403ci Audio-Heavy Holden VY SS Ute


04 Apr

George Aspite's Holden VY SS Commodore

FULL HOUSE

George Aspite’s 403ci, audio-heavy VY SS boasts everything you could want in a late-model ute
Story and pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Cast your mind back about 10 years. Car magazines like this one had regular features dedicated to vehicles boasting stupendous amounts of car audio gear jammed into every nook and cranny. So popular was car audio at the time that even overtly tough, blown monsters carried their weight in speakers most of the time and Street Commodores magazine even ran a regular audio tech feature for good measure.

George Aspite's Holden VY SS CommodoreHowever, over the ensuring years the car audio craze started to give way to a more stripped down aesthetic where body kits, stereo and ‘bling’ took a back seat to more horsepower. While this was probably a reaction to the sheer excesses seen back then, with plenty of car guys claiming to have never liked the car audio craze, we reckon it’s something that has been sadly lacking. So it’s nice to see the occasional Commodore carrying its share of stereo hardware, like George Aspite’s VY SS pictured here.

George started building the ute some four years ago and like most projects; it began as a stocker – in this case a VY SS. It once served as George’s work ute as he worked on abrasive blasting quotes for customers. But these days the ute is more of a weekend warrior than long-haul survivor.

There’s a good reason for that, too. Well, numerous good reasons. Perhaps the best is the flawless Quicksilver exterior, George stripped the original paint work himself in the garage at home – no doubt giving his family heart palpitations at the sight of a perfectly neat SS being torn down to its undies. It all ended well, though, with the ute now wearing a super smooth coat of paint, as well as an SSX-style front bar, VZ HSV guard flutes and a custom bonnet from Savage Fibreglass.George Aspite's Holden VY SS Commodore

It’s what lurks under the surface that probably makes the SS all the more special for most of us. George’s VY is a balanced mix of muscle and music, boasting a 403ci cast iron LSx up front and a similar power level out back in the tray.

The engine was built by Feneck Race Engines and features Manley rotating parts, Howards Racing cam’, FAST intake, Holley 90mm throttle, AFR alloy heads and all the good stuff that makes a modern V8 so potent. This is backed by a T56 with a Textralia clutch.

Out back and in the cabin, George has assembled what must surely be the majority of a Rockford Fosgate product catalogue. While the combo starts with a Clarion double-DIN source unit, the rest of Rockford gear and includes two pairs of 6.5in splits and two shallow-mount subs in the cabin before spilling out into the tray where a custom install houses no less than four pairs of speakers and another two sub woofers. Oh, and a pair of 7in monitors! On top of that, there’s an extensive lighting system using LED down lights and LED strips to highlight it all.

George Aspite's Holden VY SS CommodoreWe’re not done with the interior just yet. Inside, there’s nary a piece left untouched, with a two-tone grey leather re-trim immediately improving on the factory SS fare. The leather covers the factory door trims, steering wheel and centre console lid, as well as the rear bulkhead – but also the trick VE GTS buckets. All the dash and door plastics have been custom painted, too, using the cool marbleised effect. Adding to the appeal (and the sonic footprint) is the speaker enclosures covering the quarter windows. These also feature custom LED lights.

George reckons the install – performed by Luke Clifton – has cost him around $8000 “ish”. This includes the custom lighting in the tonneau lid and interior, extra battery in the tray, custom fibreglass enclosures behind the seats, reversing camera and remote switching in the cabin that controls the cacophony out back. Pretty good value for money if you ask us!

As nice as the current combination is, George isn’t done yet. “There’s a possible upgrade to the tray still to come,” he says. “As for the engine, I want to fit a Magnusson supercharger.”

Alright!

Owner: George Aspite
Model: 2003 VY SS ute
Bodywork: SSX front bar, VZ guard vents, custom Savage Fibreglass bonnet, rear bumper in-fill panel
Colour: Quicksilver
Block: Cast iron 6L
Engine Mods: 6.6L (403ci) stroker, DuSpeed OTR, 90mm Holley throttle, FAST LSX R intake, Manley crank, rods and pistons, AFR alloy heads, Howards Racing cam’, Edelbrock dress covers
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Pacemaker headers (1-7/8in primaries), high-flow cats, twin 3in system
Gearbox: T56, Textralia Z-Grip clutch
Diff: Factory
Brakes: AP Racing 4-piston calipers, slotted rotors
Suspension: OZ Racing coil-overs front and rear
Wheels/Tyres: 20in MC Racing rims (8.5in front, 9.5in rear)
Interior: Leather trimmed steering wheel, custom painted plastics, VE GTS seats, Depo gauges, custom trimmed rear bulkhead and centre console lid, custom door trims
Stereo: Clarion VX-401 double-DIN source unit, Rockford Fosgate T1652-S splits front and rear, 2x Rockford Fosgate P3 shallow subs (inside), 2x Rockford Fosgate P2 subs (in tray), 4x Rockford Fosgate T1692 6x9in speakers (tray), 2x Rockford Fosgate T165 coaxials (tray), 2x Rockford Fosgate T165S splits (tray), 2x Rockford Fosgate T800 4-channel power amp’, Rockford Fosgate T1000 mono-block power amp’, second battery in tray, blue LED lighting, custom fibreglass sub enclosures behind seats, Hertz power amps, custom tray install, custom C-pillar speaker pods, reversing camera
Build period: 4 years so far
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: Feneck’s Race Engines, Savage Fibreglass, Luke Clifton

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”

BETTER THAN EVER: Steve Spirovski’s 799rwhp RB30 Holden VL Commodore


27 Mar

Steve Spirovski's Holden VL Calais Turbo

BETTER THAN EVER

It’s been almost a decade since we last featured Steve Spirovski’s gorgeous VL turbo. After an unfortunate incident at Powercruise, it’s now back and…
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

We love it when we get to revisit past feature cars that have gone on to even greater things than when we first saw them – if for no other reason than to give newer readers a little glimpse into the glorious history of the Commodore scene while also featuring something fresh, new and awesome. So, when we heard that Steve Spirovski had rebuilt his VL turbo from the ground up, we got our arses down to the Canberra area as fast as we could.

Steve Spirovski's Holden VL Calais TurboOriginally featured in issue 125 of Street Commodores, his Calais clone was eye-wateringly yellow – a pretty trendy thing to do at the time, and also something people late 20s and early 30s are likely to do to a car. Fast forward to today and Steve is a 42-year-old husband and father. Bright yellow cars aren’t generally something people this age drive, let alone lust after (exotics are perhaps an exception!).

“I’ve owned this car for 25 years. It was my first car,” Steve says. Given this remarkable fact, it must have been a terrible shock when his good friend put the car into a wall at Powercruise. “We’re still really good friends,” he says. “Ben and his brother Toby Dobel repaired the car to what it is today. Ben welded up holes, fit a roll cage and fabricated a parachute bracket. He paid to fix the whole car.”

Fixing the car was no small task. We’re not talking about a small tap here. Both the front and rear ends were pretty much caved in and required a whole new front end and a new rear quarter. “It took 16 months to rebuild it,” Steve says. “It didn’t feel like such a bad experience once the car was back together and in primer. But otherwise it made me sick to look at it.”Steve Spirovski's Holden VL Calais Turbo

Steve didn’t simply fix the damage and repaint it, though. No, he took the opportunity to give the car a mechanical freshen, too. When we last saw the car, it was making around 700hp at the crank with a GT35/40 mixing PULP and a little methanol. During the latest rebuild, Steve swapped to a T51R turbo, E85 and an Autronic ECU (among other things). Adam Allen got the combo on the dyno where it made 799rwhp on 32psi. “Without Adam, this wouldn’t have been possible,” Steve says. “I put the car back together myself, with help from my mate Demitri Stamatis to get the engine and gearbox back in.”

Also overhauled was the interior, where the previously mentioned 6-point cage was expertly woven into the cabin, as close to the pillars as possible for an almost stealth look. Amongst all that is a classy charcoal leather trim using Scheel seats up front and Calais gear out back. Steve ditched the Autometer instrument cluster in favour of factory gauges (which still work with the 57L fuel cell via a custom sender unit) and the B&M shifter sits so clean you’d think it had been put there by Holden themselves.

Steve Spirovski's Holden VL Calais TurboOverall, while the crash was a shitty situation for all concerned (imagine how bad you’d feel rubbing the nose of your mate’s car into a wall); incredibly good things have come of it. Steve’s VL has never looked, or run better. It’s now in a style and colour that isn’t likely to date like the old yellow colour scheme and his pride and joy is all fresh and ready to fight another 25 years.

“I got this car when it was only a year old,” he concludes. “So, it was in really good condition when I got it. I love its clean appearance and it’s just a nice cruiser that I can take to the drags and have fun in.”

Amen!

 

Owner: Steve Spirovski
Model: 1988 VL
Bodywork: Calais parts
Colour: PPG Silver slate over Asteroid silver
Block: RB30ET
Engine Mods: CP Pistons (8.5:1-comp’), ARP head and mains studs, REV rods, ported head, Manley valves, double valve springs, G Tech hydraulic cam’, High Energy oil pan, PWR alloy radiator, Nissan oil pump, factory rockers, Romac harmonic balancer, under-driven water pump pulley, 90mm Plazmaman throttle, SPAL thermo fan, JPC intake manifold and plenum, 4in tapered K&N air filter, HKS T51R turbo (32psi), M&W spark amp’, Autronic ECU, alloy catch can, Aeroflow radiator overflow tank, SX FPR, 2x Bosch 044 fuel pumps (E85), 2L surge tank, 57L fuel cell, 1600cc injectors, custom fuel sender, custom fuel rail, Bosch 909 lift pump
Power: 799rwhp (595rwkW)
Exhaust: 4in dump pipe, 4in single system, single truck muffler
Gearbox: Jatco 4-speed auto’, 4000rpm Dominello stall, ‘stage-3’ kit, custom billet valve body, two-piece tail shaft
Diff: Borg Warner, 3.45:1 final drive, full-spool, 31-spline axles
Brakes: VT twin-piston front calipers and 296mm rotors, VT booster and master cylinder
Suspension: XYZ front coil-overs, QA1 rear coil-overs, Pedders panhard, mini tubs, manual steering rack, MacDonald Brothers 4-link kit
Wheels/Tyres: 19in Simmons FR (8in front, 10in rear)
Interior: Momo Monte Carlo steering wheel, Scheel front seats, Calais rear bench, charcoal leather trim, black super plush carpets, velour roof lining, Stuart Warner ancillary gauges, 6-point roll cage w/taxi bar, B&M Pro Ratchet
Stereo: Factory head unit, Alpine V12 2-channel power amp’, Fusion front speakers, Alpine rear speakers
Build time: 16 months (latest build)
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: “Johnson Performance Centre (JPC), Allen Engineering, Fyshwick Exhaust Centre, BMS, Diff Doctor, MacDonald Brothers, Duffy Panel and Paint, Top End Interiors, Canberra Hydro Graphics, Ben and Toby Dobel, my wife and kids for being so patient”

THE TRIBUTE: Shane Potts’ Holden VN Calais


26 Mar

THE TRIBUTE

No stranger to V8-powered VN Commodores, Shane Potts’ pristine twin-throttle Calais carries a deeper sense of sentimentality
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Shane Potts is a self-confessed V8 Commodore nut – in particular he loves VNs. This white 1990 Calais is at least the third V8-powered VN he’s owned, with the family shed still containing his pride and joy red Calais (see breakout). These two co-exist with Shane’s partner’s SV99 and the shed has previously played host to a white VN SS, VK Berlina and two VB sedans.

But this Calais in particular holds a special place for Shane. He was rebuilding the car as his father was battling terminal illness. “I was trying to get it finished before he passed away, so he could see it finished,” Shane says. “He’d often come down to the garage and just and sit and watch me working on it.

“We did get to give him a fitting ‘V8 send-off’ at his funeral, though. Five of the family’s V8s (including Shane’s brother’s VK Berlina, his wife’s SV99, his sister-in-law’s VY SS, his best friend’s blown VN Calais and this white Calais) escorting the funeral procession.”

Sadly, Shane didn’t quite get the Calais finished in time, but that connection makes this a special build for him. And we reckon it’s a special car. Using primarily GMH parts, the VN is like some kind of special edition that Holden could have released back in the day, complete with hi-po’ V8, six-speed, big brakes (for the time) and all the luxury the company had to throw at you.

Amazingly the four year rebuild started with a wreck of a car that Shane bought practically sight-unseen. “After searching for a white VN Calais on Carsales.com.au, I found this one in Melbourne – some 1200kms away,” he says. “I booked a flight on the Friday night, my wife dropped me off at the airport on Saturday afternoon and landed in Melbourne at 8pm.

“I looked at the car in the dark, exchanged keys for money then drove the car the 1200kms back home. I was at home by 9am the next morning. A big weekend!”

Shane says the VN was “very rough” when he got it. “But I didn’t care – it was a VN!” he says.

Today, ‘rough’ is certainly not a word you could use for this Calais. Perhaps words like pristine, immaculate and better-than-new would better suit. With its smooth, fresh two-pack white-over-silver Calais paint scheme, sunroof and SV3800 grille, the old girl looks clean from any angle and riding on those FR19s in matching silver, the car looks as classic and iconic as you could get. If it weren’t for the hole in the bonnet, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the story ended there.

Pop that bonnet though and you’re greeted with a super clean 355ci Holden stroker making 376rwhp through a T56 and Borg Warner rear end with 3.73:1 gears. Shane has done much of the work himself, being a mechanic by trade. This included wiring up the Haltech ECU and partially hiding the wiring for a cleaner look.

Inside, the Calais trim was given a thorough going over, with fresh carpets installed and a different rear bench sourced from another car. It all looks just about factory fresh, save for the manual stick with a VX gear knob showing six gears – a RIP Shifter hiding beneath. The cabin boasts other GMH parts, like the VY SS pedals and VP GTS steering wheel. A Pioneer head unit feeds two pairs of Sony speakers mounted into the factory locations and a shift light hides up against the A-pillar on the dash. It’s almost like some kind of wonderful HSV-Improved model from 1990.

Clearly of the mindset that a car is never finished, Shane has more plans for the white Calais. During our photo shoot he mentioned that a mate had his eyes on buying the long motor, with Shane eyeing off one of Torque Power’s Little Paw combos. Combined with a blower and this Calais will be a truly different beast – however he reckons this won’t be for a while yet.

Owner: Shane Potts
Model: 1990 VN Calais
Bodywork: Sunroof, SV3800 grille, hole in bonnet
Colour: 2-pack white over Asteroid silver
Block: VN 5L
Engine Mods: Mains girdle, Harrop 3.48in crank (355ci), ACL Race Series 10cc dish pistons (10:1-comp’), A9L rods w/ARP bolts, ACL rings, ARP head and mains studs, Camtech valve springs and retainers, Camtech hydraulic roller cam (0.579in lift, 230° duration, 110° LSA), Crane pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1-ratio Platinum roller rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, modified JP oil pump, VX thermo fans, PWR alloy radiator, 80A alternator, VN Group A SS twin-throttle intake setup, supercharged V6 injectors, modified Group A SS air box, Crane Hi-6 spark amp’, Crane LS92 coil, Haltec E6-GMX ECU, V6 in-tank pump, Bosch 044 external pump, 65L tank
Power: 376rwhp (280rwkW)
Exhaust: Pacemaker tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), twin 2.5in stainless exhaust into single 4in, stainless mufflers, 2x standard cats
Gearbox: T56, RIP Shifter, single-plate clutch
Diff: BW, 3.73:1 final drive, LSD, heavy duty unis
Brakes: VN Group A SS front rotors and calipers, stock rear discs, TRW pads, braided front brake lines
Suspension: King springs, Monroe front struts, Pedders rear shocks, Pedders 27mm front swaybar, Whiteline adjustable panhard
Wheels/Tyres: 19in Simmons FR rims (8in front, 9.5in rear), Nankang NS2 tyres
Interior: VP GTS steering wheel, VN Calais velour trim, new grey carpets, shift light, VY SS pedals, VX HSV gear knob
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Sony speakers in front and back
Build time: 4 years
Cost: $30,000
Contacts: Diff Technics, Altopac, G-Force, “My wife Kristy, my mum and dad and brother Ricky, mates Matt Feeney, Dave Page, Mark Lambert. Car is dedicated to my dad, Greg”