VL CALAIS - HATE BAIT - IF YOU’RE A FORD LOVER, STEER WELL CLEAR OF THIS CALAIS
The #Holden-Commodore-VL #Holden-Commodore #1986 #Holden-Commodore-VL-Calais #Holden
We’ve seen many a provocative plate here at St Comms, but surely this has to take the cake. If you’re #Blue-Oval
fan, this is your kryptonite. It’s got the balls to back up the big talk as well, currently putting out well over 500hp at the back bum with a measly 8psi running through that blown LS3.
(31) is clearly a Holden fan, and there are fewmodels as iconic as the humble VL. It’s hard to believe this 1986 #Holden-VL-Calais
was made all those years ago. No doubt many of you have equally impressive memories of all kinds of mischief created in something just like this, but we can also assure you you’ve never seen a VL quite like Adam’s either.
The biggest draw is that literal tower of an engine. It rises from between the strut towers like a supercharged Eye of Sauron, polished trumpets announcing its performance intent wherever it goes… and go it does.
IT’S AN ATTENTION-SEEKING COLOUR FOR AN ATTENTION-SEEKING CAR
How’s that for a tower of power? The blower’s running only 8psi, but it still makes for 520rwhp. Creamy and plush – Just the way we like it.
You can look at a paintjob like this and know straight away it’s a 2SUS jobbie.
The blocks been completely worked from top to bottom, including all the relevant testing and blueprinting for the internals to follow. The head’s received a port and polish and can now flow 1000hp. But the block and head are only half of the monstrosity. Making up the rest is a The Blower Shop supercharger and #BG-Engines
inlet manifold for the kind of whine only something giving birth could come out with. Holed up, smoothed and cleaned of all wiring, there are few engine bays more beautiful.
The other eye-clincher is the paintwork. You can look at a bold metallic colour like this and almost instantly know it’s the work of the team down at 2SUS Custom Resprays. The Sydney boys have built up a real rep for this kind of immaculate work, the custom teal here popping under our studio lights and the sun outside. It’s an attention seeking colour for an attention-seeking car – if those plates hadn’t already given it away.
Inside it’s a classic VL interior with Walky seating front-side and a full retrim in cream leather by Sewtime Interiors. This is not the kind of living room you want your kids crawling over, even though Adam’s do love the car. There are the relevant Auto Meter gauges and a shifter that should give some clue as to the built auto that runs underneath making for butt-puckering launches courtesy of the 4000rpm Dominator.
King Springs are matched to Koni shockers below. The popular VE HSV calipers by AP Racing are used all ’round and mated to dinner plate-sized rotors both front and back. It’s pretty funny to think the rotor diameter now isn’t far off the stock wheels’ total circumference, but that’s no concern thanks to the new rollers.
The 20in ShowWheels V Rods are big, billet and proud. Just like the rest of the car, you can’t help but stop and stare, getting lost in that immense dish at the back. Minitubs by Elite Fabrication make it work, with Elite tackling basically all fabrication throughout.
VLs built to this standard don’t land on our desk every day, nor ones with such a tongue-in-cheek approach to stirring the Ford-vs-Holden pot. As for what the Blue Oval boys think, Adam doesn’t know. For some reason they’re always stick in his rear-view.
Thanks: “My partner Ashlee and kids Brayden and Braxten, the 2SUS boys Bas and Fuf for the paint on the car, Mick from Sewtime for the trim, Nath at Elite Fabrication for all the fab and everything else on the car, and all the boys, Roser, Tony, Adam S, Dwayne, Stooge (Hubibi) for all their efforts on the car.”
ENGINE: 376 LS3 eight-cylinder
ENGINE HARDWARE: Block machined, balanced, chemically cleaned, blueprinted and bored with crack-testing, #Comp-Cams
retainers and springs, ported and polished head, Kings mains and rod bearings, Callies rods, Howard custom grind camshaft (hydraulic), Comp Cams lifters, Trend pushrods, Rollmaster timing chain, #ARP
stud kit, Mellings oil pump, PWR custom radiator, custom oil pan, #MSD
leads, LS1 harness and computer, #BG-Engines
billet inlet manifold, TBS blower (8psi), 70lb injectors, 1 7/8in into 2in headers, 3.5in custom twin layout exhaust system with Hooker muffl ers, battery relocated.
DRIVETRAIN: Turbo 400 gearbox, Dominator stall convertor (4000rpm), 9in shortened and braced diff (full spool, 4:11)
BRAKES/SUSPENSION: King springs and Koni shocks, 365mm rotors front with VE HSV AP Racing calipers, 330mm rotors rear with VE HSV AP Racing calipers, Bendix brake pads, custom billet brake brackets to suit car.
WHEELS/TYRES: 20x8.5in front and 20x10in rear Show Wheels V Rod wheels, 225/30 front and 285/35 rear tyres.
BODYWORK: Custom teal respray, minitubs.
INTERIOR: Full custom re-trim in leather including seats, dash, console and door trims, #Momo
steering wheel, VL Walkinshaw seats front, modified standard rear seat, custom headlining, #Auto-Meter
The focus of the car scene seems to go in cycles. For a few years the priority will be on the quality of the finished product with car owners and workshops doing their best to build something properly, rather than just build it to finish it. Before long though, the pendulum inevitably swings back to quantity, where having more of something is more important than how well the job has been done.
This theory could once best be witnessed in the to-ing and fro-ing of the show car scene where the importance judges place on quantity when picking which of two points-identical cars should win out. Since the demise of shows like Autosalon where the focus was almost solely on the ‘how much’ of something a vehicle had, the show scene has improved and very nearly standardised in many of the biggest shows around the country. That’s a good thing and despite the subjective nature of the act of judging it’s probably as good and as fair as it’s ever going to get.
There is a better example though. Horsepower. Ask yourself whether you’d rather the best quality possible engine build imaginable or the one that made the most power. There’s no correct answer but it’s an interesting thing to think about, especially when you ask enough people and find that it’s far from roughly split down the middle as you might imagine. Plenty of people want the most horsepower possible for the amount of coin outlaid while others want things done properly and will sacrifice outright grunt for that all important longevity and reliability, but from my listening and reading, we seem to be in the age of quality right now.
For a given budget, let’s say $10,000 including parts and labour, what would you build and how hard would you lean on it when it came to tuning? You can buy stroker kits for #Holden-V8
s for well under $1000 if you look but would you be happy with the end result? Would you feel better about making 350hp instead of 400hp if you knew it would last five times as long? A lot of this comes down to personal preference but when you have magazines, manufacturers, You- Tube and Facebook constantly telling you how much power one engine is making over another you could be forgiven for letting the focus shift away from how good it is and onto how much it makes. We’re guilty of it every issue with the numbers in each car feature telling you what the cars make, either at the engine or the wheels.
It’s our job to show you quality cars and give you some insight into how they came together from start to finish, not just tell you a number that may or may not have come from a happy dyno or even the owner’s imagination. With the overwhelming number of people telling us they’d rather their engine was built right than made the most power, it seems our focus might need to shift as well.