Posts Tagged ‘turbo’

Feature Car: Daniel Shannon’s Holden VL Commodore

19 May

Daniel Shannon’s Holden VL Commodore was actually his first car. Purchased at the age of 16, he grew up in a Holden family and messed around with the car throughout his young years. Around a decade ago, Daniel decided to build the car right and this is what results from his hard work: a Walkinshaw-clad, RB26/30 turbo hybrid built by Maatouks that’s capable of some 1000hp and so much more.

My photo shoot on Daniel Shannon’s Holden VL Commodore appeared in the April 2020 issue of Street Machine.


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 Shannon's Holden VL Commodore
Daniel Shannon's Holden VL Commodore
Daniel Shannon's Holden VL 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.


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.

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

Feature Car: Graham Battersby’s Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

21 May

I photographed Graham Battersby’s Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle for VW Magazine Australia and it appeared in the May-July 2018 issue, which is still on shelves nationwide now. Such a cool beastie.

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.

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Graham Battersby's Turbo 1835cc 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

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

07 May

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


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.

John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

John Kerr's 1964 Mercury Comet / Ford Ranchero

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

07 May

Darren Hawkins' LH Holden Torana


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call us if you do, mate!

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

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

18 Apr

Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'


We’ve featured Jason Hill’s green VN sedan before, but the turbo LS2-powered beast never looked like this before
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Jason Hill's Holden VN Commodore '2SKID'Long time readers might remember these number plates from long ago – issue 138 to be exact. They belong to Jason Hill and they’re attached to the same 1989 VN sedan that they were attached to back then. However, a lot has changed since then and we thought it was high time that we brought you all a fresh perspective on the Novacastrian’s tyre-destroying ex-cop second-gen’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW OLD SCHOOL: Steve Labroad’s 700rwhp Turbo LSx VY Commodore

31 Mar

Steve Labroad's Holden VY Tonner


Steve LaBroad’s VY Tonner mixes new-millennium hardware with old-school attitude for a tyre-frying result
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Sadly, the late model Commodore one-tonners never did find themselves modified en masse like the 1970s models did. It’s a damn shame, because when you do see them customised, you realise how damn good they look. Boasting a leaf-sprung rear end, they also make the perfect late-model basis for a performance project… say, for instance, a Powerskid car.

Steve Labroad's Holden VY TonnerNot that that was why Novacastrian Steve LaBroad bought this 2004 VY six years ago. “I bought the car off the original owner,” Steve says, a concreter by trade. “He was worried about those little bits of rubber that stick off new tyres when I took it for a test drive. Little did he know I was going to use it as a work vehicle.”

Steve says he kept the tonner pretty stock for a while, just hauling stuff around to work sites. Although he did put a set of 4-into-1s and side pipes on for some fun. “I soon added a big cam’ and Higgins heads to it,” he says. “With a full Comp Cams valvetrain it made 400hp and surprised plenty of people, with the tray filled with boards and tools!”
With the power bug continuing to bite, before long, Steve had a Harrop blower bolted into the valley and the ultimate version of the first build saw the ute making 480rwhp. However, this prodigious power also meant that it was becoming kind of useless as a work hack and it wasn’t long before the tonner found itself garaged in favour of something more utilitarian.

“I built a purpose-made 408ci LSX stroker with another set of ported heads and a T1000 turbo kit that I bought off a bloke in Sydney. So the VY came off the road and it was all transplanted in. Once tuned, it made 696rwhp.”

Steve Labroad's Holden VY TonnerThese days the ute is only built for one thing: Powerskids… and practising Powerskids. That means Steve had to seriously beef up the rear end, too. While there’s some serious metal in the back of the tonners to begin with (Steve says the rear section weighs around 500kg on its own), the diff’ and tail shaft required some work to cope with the punishment dished out by the T51-equipped LSX.

The original diff housing was ditched in favour of a Competition Warehouse sheet metal 9in with a Strange centre and 35-spline axles. With a full-spool and a heavy duty chromoly two-piece tail shaft, it’s unlikely it’s a rear end component that will fail first.

“The first skid driving home with the new turbo set up was definitely one of the highlights of the build for me,” Steve says. “While not as enjoyable, the ute’s first Powerplay was pretty memorable. On the second lap, the thing caught fire after melting a power steering line that was too close!”

While the factory red paint remains, it’s in good condition and the bonnet copped some speed holes one night after a few JD and Cokes to “let some heat out”. The tray on the other hand came to fruition via a well thought out plan and some excellent fabrication work from Dean Beattie.Steve Labroad's Holden VY Tonner

“A tray makes or breaks a tonner,” Steve opines. “Dean had a great plan from the start and had it finished in time for the 2014 Sydney Powercruise.”

Almost a couple of feet were removed from the rear end of the tray length, when compared to a typical tray and with no sides on it, it helps Steve reach his old-meets-new aesthetic goal with the VY – as do the Weld wheels. Despite there being a full five inches difference between the front 20in RTS rims and the 15x10in rear Alumastars, the tonner looks perfect, tough and somehow old-school.

“You know what? I don’t think I’d build this car again if I had the chance to do it over,” Steve says. “This thing hated every part of being modified unlike any car I’ve ever had. From the suspension to the little things like the fuel tank setup – everything was more difficult than it should have been.”

Despite this, the tonner represents the longest relationship he’s had with a car so far and he’s now at the point where he wants to sell up and move on to something new. “I like the build and then get bored after.” If you think you might like to see yourself behind the wheel of a machine like this, give us a bell and we’ll put you in touch.

Owner: Steve LaBroad
Model: 2004 VY Tonner
Bodywork: Factory, custom tray, vents in bonnet
Colour: Red, carbon vinyl on roof
Block: LSX
Engine Mods: (408ci), ported cast heads, stud girdle, Comp Cams pushrods, ARP head and mains studs, Garrett T51 turbo (18psi), modified ASE turbo kit, Turbosmart BOV, Tial wastegate, screamer pipe, alloy power steering reservoir, alloy catch can, alloy strut tops, billet fuel rails, 80mm BBK throttle, custom fuel lines, 3.5L surge tank, 2x Bosch 044 pumps, 500hp Carter lift pump
Power: 700rwhp (522rwkW) @ 18psi
Exhaust: 4in turbo-back mild steel exhaust, straight through muffler
Gearbox: T56, DCS twin-plate clutch
Diff: Competition Warehouse sheet metal 9in, Strange centre, 3.5:1 final drive, full-spool, 35-spline Strange axles, 1350-series 3in two-piece tail shaft, high-impact unis, billet yoke
Brakes: Harrop 4-piston front brakes, Wilwood 4-piston rear brakes, Green Stuff front pads, Wilwood rear pads
Suspension: Pedders front shocks and springs, Pedders rear shocks, reset rear leaf springs
Wheels/Tyres: 20x8in Weld RTS front rims, 15x10in Weld Alumastar rear rims, M/T Sportsman rear tyres
Interior: HSV dash, carbon fascia, tweed cloth pillars and roof lining, black leather seats, tweed seat bases, eBoost 2
Stereo: Pioneer head unit and speakers
Build period: Ongoing
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: ADZ Towing, Pryce Engines, Dean Beattie, Gibson Driveshafts, Stitched Up Custom Trim, Tanilba Tyre Service, “Jack Daniels… lol”

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”

Feature Car: Adel Khallouf’s LS3-Powered Nissan S14 200SX Silvia

31 Jan

Featured in issue 6 of Street Machine’s LSX Tuner special edition, Adel Khallouf’s awesome turbocharged LS3-powered Nissan S14 200SX Silvia blew my brain. It’s tough as nails and on top of the Garrett GTX4508R turbo, the 750rwhp beast also features a cage, fuel cell, Plazmaman billet intake and much more.


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.

Adel Khallouf's LS3-Powered Nissan S14 200SX Silvia

Adel Khallouf's LS3-Powered Nissan S14 200SX Silvia

Adel Khallouf's LS3-Powered Nissan S14 200SX Silvia