Posts Tagged ‘vy’

FITTING TRIBUTE: Kim Smith’s Supercharged V6 VY Holden Commodore

30 Apr

Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore


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
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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

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”

Feature Car: KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore SS

11 Sep

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in the Russo Performance workshop some months ago, committing three of their recent Commodores to ones and zeros for Street Machine magazine’s LSX Tuner special issue. This one, a VZ Holden Commodore SS, makes over 1050hp at the treads thanks to a massive 88mm BW turbo.


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.

KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore

KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore     KNG57L VZ Holden Commodore

Feature Car: Kim Smith’s Holden VY Commodore Ute

22 Dec

Kim Smith’s Holden VY Commodore ute, also known as ‘Wildfire’, has been a regular fixture on the East Coast car scene for about a decade. It has already been featured in a number of magazines, including Street Commodores, but after the tragic death of her son Matt a few years ago, Kim took some small solace in the ute, giving it a make over and incorporating a tribute to Matt via some excellent new murals along the flanks. In issue 232 of Street Commodores, Kim’s ute makes a return and you can read the entire story there, on-sale now!


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.

Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore

Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore     Kim Smith's Holden VY Commodore

Feature Car: Brett Ogden’s Holden VY SS Wagon

08 Mar

Issue 221 of Street Commodores just hit newsstands and includes our photo shoot and feature story on Brett Ogden’s Holden VY SS Commodore station wagon. The SS runs a mildly rebuilt LS1 from Winmalee Car Care, but is assisted by a ProCharger that helps the wagon run 10.4sec ETs at the strip. Be sure to pick up issue 221 at your newsagent now.

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.

Brett Ogden's Holden VY SS Commodore Wagon

Brett Ogden's Holden VY SS Commodore Wagon     Brett Ogden's Holden VY SS Commodore Wagon