THE PROFESSIONAL / #Holden-Commodore
/ #Holden #Holden-VK #Holden-VK-Calais
With 600rwhp and some of the best engineering in the biz, this ain’t amateur hour, folks. Words: Jason Round. Pics: Scott Paddy.
To become a pro at something, you’ve got to put in the time. Spray-painter Nic Cheah (29) knows this better than anyone given the hours he himself has poured into his #1985 #Holden-Commodore-VK
Calais. Purchased in 2012 and completed in 2015, it’s been a long haul. If you think a build this sails smoothly, think again…
Says Nic, “The first time I got it tuned on a stock 5.7, we bent a rod. The first time I entered it into Motorvation, I fried the twin-plate clutch, decided to ditch the sixspeed and went with a Powerglide. After doing the auto conversion, the converter failed straight away. I was pretty much over it by the end, but my end goals were near, so I didn’t let it stop me. I moved forward. Persistence is the key.”
As for the hardest part of the build in Nic’s opinion, it’s the age - old enemy we all face – time. “It would have to be the time it takes to build your dream car. Even when funds are there at your disposal, building cars takes time and patience. You have to be passionate about your project. I find that will help drive you to the end so you can enjoy it now rather than later.”
If he could do it all again, Nic says he’d probably start with a one-owner car with an unmolested shell and go from there. That’s not to say he hasn’t enjoyed the ride of this build. In fact, there have been many upsides. “The friends/contacts I’ve made through the build and who have helped with the project is definitely what sticks out for me. Without the help, the car would not be what it is today.
“The build took roughly four years and I never took a break from it. It was really go-go-go just so I avoided changing my mind and redoing things again and again - keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak. I stayed true to myself in my goals and how I pictured the finished product, and built it for myself. It is very easy to lose direction and let things go stale, but I kept my goals in arms reach. My most memorable moments would have to be fi ring it up for the first time, taking it for a spin and, of course, doing my first skid in it. You could not wipe the smile off my face. It was priceless.”
Right now 14psi is pretty low in the boost game, so plans for the near future are to change some of the top end, get in a bigger turbo, bigger fuel system and crank it to 20psi-plus. Having already taken out Best Undercarriage and Runner NITTY-GRITTY Up Best Sedan at Motorvation 28 2014, not to mention hitting the Top 10, more appearances are planned. From the interior to the respray to the tubs, the work throughout the car is really A grade. This is a VK of the highest order and one that’s loved by Commodore fans whenever it goes. Nic’s pretty proud of the effort he’s put in. The only thing left to do now is to sit back in that Devonish seat and do away with tyres.
Thanks: “Grgich Performance, Leighton Panel and Paint, the boys - In no particular order Mills, Benno, Mitch, Mooz, Lance. Proshine, Trim Car, WA Performance, Promptow, Clear View Windscreens, Final Drive, SCM Race Engines, Paul at City Discount Tyres Myaree.”
TECHNICAL DATA NITTY-GRITTY
(LQ9 iron block, LS1 heads) eight-cylinder
PERFORMANCE: 500-600rwhp, 1200ft.lb, [email protected]
ENGINE HARWARE: Block machined, bored, decked, chemically cleaned, blueprinted, balanced and crack-tested, TCI pressure plate, standard crankshaft 24-tooth reluctor, #Manley
pistons, steel rings, mains stud kit, Clevite mains and rod bearings, 241 standard #LS1
heads, Lunati dual-valvespring kit, #Noonan-Racing
valve covers, Comp Cams camshaft, Morel lifters, Trend 7.400 pushrods, #ARP
stud kit, doublerow timing chain, Mellings oil pump, Meziere electric water pump, #PWR
cooling fan and radiator, standard LS6 inlet manifold, 87mm throttlebody, #Garrett-GT42
turbocharger at 14psi, LS3 coils, LS1 computer, twin #Bosch-044
fuel pumps, Turbosmart fuel-pressure regulator, Aeromotive filter/s, stainless -8 fuel lines (E85), stainless #Grgich-Performance
T4 turbo manifolds and custom 4in into 3.5in single exhaust system with #Magana
DRIVETRAIN: Sportsman BTE Powerglide, 1.80 straight cut gears, Allfast billet stall convertor (3800rpm), sheet-metal 9in diff (3.25).
SUSPENSION/BRAKES: Front coil-overs by #Velocity-Auto,
single adjustable coilovers, Macdonalds Bro four-link upper and lower tube arms, tubs by Grgich Performance, 296mm slotted and drilled rotors front and 286mm slotted and drilled rotors rear, VT calipers front and back, #QFM
BODYWORK: Standard #GM
bodykit, burgundy over silver Standox 2K respray.
INTERIOR: Custom leather and velour re-trim, Group A HDT remake steering wheel, VS Devonish seats front with Scheel headrests, VK Calais rear seat with Scheel headrests, beige velour headlining, Auto Meter gauges, custom dash, Pioneer head unit.
“You have to be passionate about your project”
“Persistence is the key”