Posts Tagged ‘vk’

Feature Car: Paul Knowles’ Holden VK Commodore

19 Dec

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

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

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


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.

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

MR. CLEAN: Craig Darcey’s 400rwhp LS2-Powered Holden VK Commodore

12 Apr

Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore


You’d never guess by looking at this spotless, LS2-powered VK that its owner is a total burnout addict!
Story and pics by

Craig Darcey's Holden VK CommodoreBelieve it or not, Craig Darcey originally built this immaculate VK sedan with the sole intent of ripping massive skids. Sure, there are some pretty sweet burnout cars getting about on the professional burnout scene these days from the likes of Phil Kerjean and Stephen Loader’s original VE sedan to name a couple. But you’d be forgiven for not believing us when we say that despite the flawless deep blue metallic paint and straight-as panel work, 41-year-old Craig still destroys a set of 20s every other cruise.

No wimping out with cheap steelies and cheese-cutters here.

Craig originally bought the car four years ago and got to work on rebuilding the 1985-spec’ Calais, however somewhere along the road to tyre-frying stardom, he changed his mind and decided he’d prefer a smart, tidy cruiser that could still turn the tyres, but get more regular use. This wasn’t too long before Summernats 2014 and he had his work cut out for him to make it to Canberra with a finished car.Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore

“I got it finished two weeks out from the Summernats and dropped it off at a mate’s shop,” he says. “While parked out the front, an old guy reversed into it in the car park and caved in the rear end. I had to replace the quarter panel and repaint car again, all before Summernats.”

As if the mad rush to get cars ready for the annual horsepower festival wasn’t already enough to fray nerves and test relationships, Craig somehow got the repairs done in time for Summernats and the repairs look flawless, even up close. Indeed, the entire car is spotless – easily earning its number plates TIDYAS.

Coated in a luscious custom PPG metallic blue, the Calais retains much of what makes the Calais a perennial favourite, although some subtle details help it stand out, even if you need to stare at the car a while to see them – like the detail work Craig put into masking up the tail lights for paint before coating them in clear. This level of attention to detail is what makes his VK so nice. Pop the bonnet and you’ll see another reason.

Craig Darcey's Holden VK CommodoreLurking under the bonnet is a smooth bay with a very neat LS2 conversion that boasts some judicious mods to the top end and ancillaries. It’s making just under 400rwhp and thanks to some head work and a lumpy hydraulic cam’, it sounds like it means business – especially at full noise as it destroys another set of 20in tyres. Better yet, Craig colour-matched parts of the block and heads and with the matching Meziere electric water pump, it all looks seamless and cohesive.

Like most cars built to enjoy the odd skid, it’s backed by an auto – in this case a manualised 4L60E – and out back there’s a 9in with short 3.9:1 gears and a full spool. If you couldn’t tell by the lovely backspacing on those 20×8.5in Showwheels rims, the diff’ housing has been narrowed, too.

Inside is a similar story, with cloth-covered Scheel seats and fresh coverings on everything else. Look closer and you’ll have a hard time missing that sweet sheet metal dash fascia with cool digital instruments. Much nicer than the factory VK dash.Craig Darcey's Holden VK Commodore

Incredibly, Craig says this VK has been his first performance build. Yet, the results are those of a far more experienced hand. Rightly, he reckons he wouldn’t do anything differently if he had his time over again – except perhaps to keep the car parked safe inside to try and avoid the damage geriatric drivers can inflict!

“Down the track, I’d maybe like to fit a blower under the bonnet,” he adds. “I think it’s a perfect and comfortable street car and I loved being able to work on it with my mates at Elite Fabrication along the way.”

Owner: Craig Darcey
Model: 1985 VK Calais
Bodywork: Factory
Colour: Custom PPG blue metallic
Block: LS2
Engine Mods: Ported heads (flow 600hp), Comp Cams valve springs, titanium retainers, Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam’ (0.620in lift, 110° LSA), Comp lifters, Rollmaster timing chain, Melling oil pump, Meziere electric water pump, PWR alloy radiator, Maradynz thermo fans, Edelbrock Victor Jr intake manifold, 1000cfm throttle, K&N air filter, LS1 harness, Bosch 044 fuel pump, custom fuel cell
Power: 398rwhp (296rwkW)
Exhaust: Ceramic coated tri-Y headers (1-3/4in primaries), mild steel twin system, Hooker mufflers
Gearbox: 4L60E, Dominator stall, manualised valve body
Diff: 9in, 3.9:1 final drive, full-spool
Brakes: PBR twin-piston upgrade (fr), VK rear disc
Suspension: King springs, Bilstein shocks and struts
Wheels/Tyres: 20×8.5in Showwheels rims
Interior: VL Group A SS Scheel seats, velour roof lining, digital gauges, polished sheet metal instrument fascia, B&M shifter, Calibre steering wheel
Stereo: JVC head unit
Build period: Ongoing
Cost: $40,000
Contacts: Elite Fabrications, RVO Transmission, Sydney Motor Trim, Adam Hodge, Gerard and Raelene Hodgskin from Indy 800 Kart Track for letting us do the photo shoot there, Moore Automotive, my partner Melissa and my two kids Aimee and Brandon for putting up with me while the car was being built

Feature Car: Lewis Younis’ Turbo LS-Powered Holden VK Commodore

11 Apr

Lewis Younis’ HDT-styled VK Holden Commodore might look pretty much like most others you see getting around car shows these days, the combination of its stance and the 500rwhp turbocharged LS conversion under the bonnet helps set it apart from the pack. Street Machine thought so too, featuring it in its March 2018 issue.


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.

Lewis Younis' Turbo LS-Powered Holden VK Commodore

Lewis Younis' Turbo LS-Powered Holden VK Commodore

Lewis Younis' Turbo LS-Powered Holden VK Commodore

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

04 Apr

Nick Sassine's Holden VK Commodore


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

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”

FROM MINT TO MAGIC: Chris Irvin’s Holden 550hp 355ci VK

26 Mar


No amount of stern words from the car’s original owner were going to stop Chris Irvin from building his dream car
Story and Pics by

While we’re sure some people are just born old, it seems as though most of us forget what it was like to be young (and power hungry) as we begin to age. Music becomes too loud, speed becomes scary and you realise you don’t recognise any of the actors in the latest films.

Chris Irvin's Holden 550hp 355ci VK Clearly the previous owner of this pristine VK sedan was feeling some serious age when it came time to hand over the keys to new owner, 26-year-old Chris Irvin. “I found it as an original six-cylinder, 2nd owner car with log books and original paperwork,” he says. “I paid a deposit and returned to pick it up when the owner asked what I had planned for the car.”

It’s at about this time that the conversation took an amusing turn. “I told him I was going to take it home, strip it and cut the ass end out of it,” Chris continues. “He told me that if I’d told him that before he wouldn’t have sold it to me. In his own words, he said ‘You young people always wreck cars like this’.”

Surely looking at the car today, it would be a hard task for the old guy to argue that Chris has done anything but a superb job of creating something that, in his words, is “like factory, but better”. Sitting resplendent in an expertly applied DIY 2-pack white with the obligatory HDT grille and a few other subtle refinements, the VK is better than brand new and not in any danger of looking dated in six months time due to picking the latest trendy colours or interior design. We reckon the old guy should be pretty happy with the work done – work almost entirely completed by Chris and his family at home.

I didn’t have a hoist in the shed at the time that I wanted to clean up the undercarriage,” Chris says – a mechanic by trade. “So, my brother Mick and I jacked the car up as high as we could get it, got under it with two wire wheels and stripped it. There was dust everywhere.Chris Irvin's Holden 550hp 355ci VK

“We made a quick plastic sheet paint booth in the shed and Mick spent two days painting it. A week later the new hoist went in!”

Being a mechanic clearly has its advantages when building a car. So does having a father-in-law that restores and builds cars in his spare time and boasts a killer, fully equipped shed of his own (where we photographed the VK). Chris and Joe bolted together the stout 355ci VN stroker together. Plenty of work went into the project, including de-burring the block, cross-drilling the crank for better oil flow, balancing the rotating assembly and porting the cast heads to flow an impressive 580hp.

Once everything was bolted together, Chris coated everything in a fetching black, which looks menacing as well as looking super clean in the smoothed and freshly painted engine bay. This blacked-out theme continues on the outside where the window trims and tail lights are also black. With Plastidip in hand, Chris even turned his attention to the rims of those 19in Showwheels KWC 001 rims – the effect is understated and totally tough.

Chris Irvin's Holden 550hp 355ci VK At 10in wide, you can bet the rear end of this VK is anything but stock and true to his word, Chris did indeed “cut the ass end” out of the car, widening the factory tubs to the rails and replacing the old Salisbury with a narrowed Borg Warner running 3.9:1 gears and a full-spool. Just to be on the safe side, there are also 31-spline billet axles.

The black and white theme ends at the door and stepping inside Chris’ VK is akin to walking into a modern art museum. The factory cloth and vinyl trim is in incredible condition, with the roof lining and carpets replaced, but so much remaining from the Elizabeth assembly plant in 1984. Only a few deviations can be found, including the Autometer cluster, period correct HDT tiller and neatly integrated B&M shifter. The rear bench had to be modified a little to accommodate the larger tubs, too.

“The VK’s first big drive was meant to be a cruise to Wollongong,” Chris says. “But when I pulled out onto Picton Road, the car backfired, blew a flame out of the carb’ and shut off.Chris Irvin's Holden 550hp 355ci VK

“We worked out it was a dead coil, so the missus’ old man drove out with another one, wired it up and we turned around to head for home – only I got pulled into an RBT unit and defected. I was going to propose to Danni that day if I’d made it to the ‘Gong. Shit day, but it seems funnier now.”

Chris is ultimately happy with how the car has turned out and says there isn’t much he’d want to do differently if he had his time again – except maybe a blower (“That would look pretty good”, he says).

Well, we wouldn’t argue!

Owner: Chris Irvin
Model: 1984 VK
Bodywork: HDT grille, smoothed body seams, smoothed sills and fuel filler door, deleted exhaust cut out
Colour: White
Block: VN 5L
Engine Mods: De-burred block, Scat 355ci stroker crank, SRP forged pistons (11.8:1 comp’), ARP head and mains studs, Hastings rings, King bearings, ported cast heads (flowed to 580hp), double valve springs, Crane retainers, dash-10 breather lines, alloy catch cans, Camtech solid roller cam’ (0.640in lift, 108° LSA), Camtech pushrods, Yella Terra 1.65:1 roller rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, blueprinted JP oil pump, High Energy sump, CSR electric water pump, SPAL 16in thermo fan, PWR radiator, 120A alternator, billet Gilmer belt drive, 750cfm Holley UltraHP carb’, match-ported Harrop single-plane intake manifold, MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD HVC coil, MSD 6AL spark amp’, Holley Blue fuel pump, Holley FPR, Aeroflow fuel filters, 57L fuel cell, braided fuel lines, K&N air filter
Power: Approx 550hp (410kW)
Exhaust: Liverpool Exhaust tri-Y headers, twin 3in mild steel system, Hurricane mufflers
Gearbox: T350, 4500rpm Dominator stall, TCI manual valve body
Diff: Narrowed Borg Warner, 3.9:1 final drive, full-spool, 31-spline billet axles, Hardy Spicer unis, 2-piece tail shaft
Brakes: VT twin-piston front brakes, VN rear discs, Bendix pads, braided brake lines, hard lines replaced by stainless
Suspension: XYZ front coil-overs, VN V8 front sway bar, XYZ adjustable rear shocks, custom rear springs, narrowed panhard bar, boxed rear control arms, smoothed and painted undercarriage, VL manual steering rack, VN cross member, factory rear tubs widened to rails
Wheels/Tyres: 19in Showwheels KWC001 rims (8in front, 10in rear), 275 Achilles rear tyres
Interior: Momo HDT steering wheel, factory trim (rear bench modded for tubs), Autometer gauges, Rare Spares seat belts
Stereo: Clarion head unit, Rockford Fosgate rear 6x9in speakers
Build period: 10 months
Cost: Undisclosed
Contacts: MX Auto Electrical, Liverpool Exhaust, Ricky’s Driveshafts, KCDR Drivetrains, Sydney Suspension, “Mum, dad, Mick, my fiancée Danni, Joe, Justin Borg, Nick Schembri, Luke, Dennis, Matt Refalo, Dave Vasallo”

Feature Car: Anthony Dooley’s 1985 Holden VK Commodore

15 Feb

My photo shoot on Anthony Dooley’s blown, 408ci VK Holden Commodore appeared in issue 6 of Street Magazine magazine’s LSX Tuner special, which is still on sale now. This was the second time I’ve been lucky enough to shoot this car, with the first appearing about a year ago in another title. It now features new wheels


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.

Anthony Dooley's 1985 Holden VK Commodore

Anthony Dooley's 1985 Holden VK Commodore

Anthony Dooley's 1985 Holden VK Commodore


Feature Car: Danny Board’s Holden VK Tonner

03 Oct

One of the machines I got to photograph on my 1000km round-trip of Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst earlier this year was Danny Board’s awesome, blown LS-powered Holden VK phantom Tonner for Street Machine. I realise most people think ‘Commodore tonner’ and want to vomit, but Danny really pulled off a great-looking design with this one thanks to a strong tray design and the right stance. It was featured in the August 2017 issue.


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.

Danny Board's Holden VK 'Tonner'

Danny Board's Holden VK 'Tonner'     Danny Board's Holden VK 'Tonner'

Feature Car: Paul Knowles’ Holden VK Commodore

29 Sep

I shot Paul Knowles’ gorgeous deep-dish VK Commodore down in Canberra back in 2016 for Street Commodores and it appeared in issue 266, which was on sale a couple of months ago. It’s a classic combo, with a stroker Holden V8, Simmons wheels and colour-over-silver Calais-style paintwork. You can’t go wrong with that!


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.

Paul Knowles' Holden VK Commodore

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

Feature Car: Anthony Fava’s HDT VK Group C Replica

26 Jul

My photo shoot on Anthony Fava’s wide-body HDT VK Group C replica was featured in issue 265 of Street Commodores, which graced newsstands a few months back. Sorry for the delay! 🙂 Enjoy some free wallpapers.


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.

Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica

Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica     Anthony Fava's HDT VK Group C Replica

Anthony Dooley’s Holden VK Commodore

20 Feb

My photo shoot on Anthony Dooley’s tough, blown VK Commodore made it on to the front cover of the latest issue of Street Commodores, which is on sale now! The HDT clone makes 800hp from its 8/71, 408ci LS-based powerplant.


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.

Anthony Dooley's Holden VK Commodore

Anthony Dooley's Holden VK Commodore     Anthony Dooley's Holden VK Commodore

Street Commodores - Issue 261