Posts Tagged ‘rb30’

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

27 Mar

Joshua Watson's Holden VL Commodore


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

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


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

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.”



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”

Daniel Petersen’s Holden VL Calais Turbo

10 May

My photo shoot on Daniel Petersen’s slick 700rwhp RB30DET-powered Holden VL Calais was featured on the front cover of the last issue of Street Commodores magazine (issue 263) which was on sale last month. Check out that interior!


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.

Daniel Petersen's Holden VL Calais Turbo

Daniel Petersen's Holden VL Calais Turbo     Daniel Petersen's Holden VL Calais Turbo