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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    THE CORRUPTOR #1999 #Holden-Commodore-VS / #Holden-VS / #Holden-VS-ute / #Holden / #Holden-Commodore
    Lock up your daughters, KRUPTN’s in town / #Holden

    Plasterer 27-year-old Clint Stevens is a man who has always had a mission. As you can see, it’s an epic one, the kind of stop-start build that reads like a Grisham novel. Says Clint, “I love the shape of the VS ute and I was also inspired by #KRUPTA .” He built the 1999 VS ute to be a tough street car. In his ownership for 15 years, it’s been a long ride, but what matters is the end product. Spoiler: It’s absolutely wicked.

    “I bought the ute as a stock V6 manual in 2005. It had a set of wheels, a nudge bar and a few dents and scratches here and there. I was on my red P-plates back then and my old man wouldn’t let me have a V8, so I settled for this with the dream of one day getting an eight between the rails. I loved the ute KRUPTA and wanted to have something just as tough.”

    After having the ute for a few months, Clint was looking at getting it painted, so he went to his mate Patto’s work and had a chat with his bosses Mick and Matt at #W&G (now #RYLESS Smash Repairs). It was soon booked in with a few new bits and bobs. Clint liked the standard colour, so it was just a matter of getting everything fixed and prep. One day Mick put forward the idea of putting a pearl over the top, with Clint over the moon about how it ended up coming out. The re-trim came next, but nothing “over the top”, as this remained Clint’s daily.

    “My good mate Patto informed me his uncle had a fresh 5L sitting in the shed, so with no hesitation I went around and bought it and put it aside for a rainy day. The V6 copped a bit of a hard time and the clutch finally let go. This was the rainy day I’d been waiting for, so I went on the hunt for a gearbox. I sourced a T700 and in went the 5L.”

    The boys at Goulburn Battery Factory wired a few things up and soon it was cruising better than ever. It was off to Canberra for a Stage II shift kit and minispool. “Broke apprentice wages don’t go far when building a car, so I was keen just to enjoy it.”

    Fast-forward a few years and the hunt for a blower was on. This led to a trip to Sydney for tuning the Haltech, but when Clint learned he couldn’t run his current box with it, he sourced a new gearbox set-up. “A few other potholes and the car was running, but I was not happy with the money that was spent and the workmanship on the car. I put up with it for 12 months before my mate Brad from Brad’s Auto Repairs talked me into a cam change, which turned into getting stroked to 355 while there was no engine in.”

    Clint thought he may as well do the bay while he was at it, so Patto was on the job again with a few late nights in the shed. Life commitments got in the way, but after a year everything was back together again, including many changes inside and a new exhaust courtesy of Chev at Liverpool Exhaust.

    “After talking to a few people I decided to go a 1L surge tank that feeds into twin 044 pumps. My mate Cooky helped make up a tray to mount everything on, while my mate Glen helped out with a few other bits and pieces. After the abortion of a wiring job from the last workshop, I took the ute to Gentech in Canberra for them to sort it out. It made 485hp on its run-in tune.

    “In Goulburn, the cops don’t like anything other than stock, so with it not being engineered there was a lot of night and country road driving. Just when I thought everything was going well, the convertor blew to bits the night before I was taking it to a show.” Unfortunately, metal had gone through the box, which is when the two-speed Powerglide went in. “What a change that made. It was a whole new car to drive.”

    But everything did need to squeeze under the bonnet if it was going to be engineered, so Clint’s made Glen’s dad Gary Bell took a standard VS bonnet and made a reverse cowl for it. Finally, engineered, it’s now out and about doing exactly what those plates preach, and that’s just the way we like it.

    Thanks: “Kylees (W&G Smash Repairs, 0248214521), Brad’s Auto Repairs (0413645072), Steve at United Motor Trimmers (0248211987), Rob at Comp Coat, Cam at Walled Up White Walls (0403285004), Gentech, Joe at Central Coast Performance Transmissions, mates who have helped, Kain for the cheap parts, Brad for work for the engine bay and other bits, Jason Cook for the fuel system and other bits, Payne Trevanron and Matt Cole for bodywork other than W&G, Glen and Garry Bell for everything they have done to get the car to where it is now, my dad, mum and girlfriend Daniell for being understanding with the build, Chris Degan for the cooler the engine work, Jamie Patton pipework.

    TECH DATA NITTY-GRITTY #Holden-Commodore-VS-ute

    ENGINE: #Holden-304 stroked to #Holden-355 eight-cylinder

    PERFORMANCE: 485hp (run in, E85)

    ENGINE HARDWARE: 304 block, #Scat crank and I-beam conrods, #SRP pistons and #Hastings rings, #Camtech camshaft, Crane pushrods and lifters, port and polished cylinder heads, #Gold-Crane 1.65 rockers and stainless valves, Crane valvesprings, #ASR sump, JP high-volume oil pump, 44lb 440cc #Bosch injectors, two #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, PWR intercooler and radiator, #CAPA side-mount supercharger, twin Ford AU themos, Haltech engine management system, Turbosmart boost controller, Hurricane exhaust system, Torquepower intake manifold.

    DRIVETRAIN: Two-speed Powerglide, billet servos, fully manualised, TCE 3500-3800rpm stall convertor, PWR cooler with fan, spool.

    SUSPENSION/BRAKES: King Springs Suplerlows, Pedders shocks, Pedders swaybar rear, VT twin-piston calipers front with slotted rotors, slotted rotors rear.

    WHEELS/TYRES: 20in VE GTS Clubsport wheels, various tyres.

    BODYWORK: Tungsten with blue pearl respray (PPG), VS SS front bar, hard cover infill panel on rear, reverse cowl bonnet 75mm.

    INTERIOR: Bock Scheel seats front and rear, full re-trim in tan leather with custom flames on rooflining, #SplitFire gauges, #B&M Pro Ratchet shifter, #SplitFire gauges, Speco steering wheel, flames on door pods, #HSV symbol behind seats, Alpine head unit, front speakers.

    “In Goulburn, the cops don’t like anything other than stock”

    “I love the shape of the VS ute and I was also inspired by KRUPTA”

    It’s all engineered now, too, thanks to the reverse cowl above.

    Clint’s main advice to himself next time around would be not to do things twice. Coming soon here will be billets and a set of tubs.

    There’s a lot of detail you might miss at first, including the flamed roof-lining.

    “Just when I thought Everything was going well, the convertor blew to bits”
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  •   Ben Hosking reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Ben Hosking created a new group

    Holden Commodore VS

    Holden Commodore VS - 1995 - 2000 Club
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  •   Ben Field reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    JEKYLL HYDE #Holden-Commodore VY SS #Holden-Commodore-VY SS / #Holden-Commodore-VY-SS

    The transformation of Todd Arnold’s VY SS, in his own words, has been “a Jekyll and Hyde scenario” – except less murderous and destructive! Story by Ben Hosking. Pics by Ralf Schubert.

    We get a few comments and suggestions about engine diversity here at Street Commodores. Most of the time you can tell it boils down to the commenter’s loyalty or preferred engine/model than to any real lop-sided coverage on our part. However, one recent criticism we encountered was that there were far too many LS-powered cars lately. “It’s all LS1-2-3 through 6 and if the cars didn’t come with one, they’ve been transplanted”.

    Well, without going back and counting, they’re probably right – but with very good reason: the LS-series of engines is like the injected 5L was when it first hit the scene in the late 1980s with the VN. All of a sudden ‘retrotech’ was born and conversions were happening everywhere. Perhaps the biggest difference this time around is that the LS-series just boasts so much power-making potential and West Australian Todd Arnold’s series-II VY SS is an excellent example of that.

    Todd bought the VY from one of the guys at West Coast Smash Repairs, who’d already repainted the car in its original Phantom mica – so it was sitting pretty and ready to do some cruising. “I originally purchased the SS as a daily after pushing two conrods out the side of the block on my VZ Maloo,” Todd says. “I planned to keep it stock, but that lasted about a week before I removed of the rear spoiler, fi t SL and SSL springs and bolted on some cheap china-chrome 20s. I drove the vehicle like this for a year with no desire to modify it anymore, as I had started building as LS1 for a VK project car I had.”

    Indeed, Todd, clearly pretty handy with the tools, began bolting together a fresh LS1 in his parent’s shed, but before long, he’d found a buyer for the VK shell leaving him with a new engine but nothing to bolt it into. You can guess what happened next.

    “After spending many hours in the shed, and turning my parents’ laundry sink from a beautiful white into more of a dark grey/black hybrid, the engine was complete,” he says. “With a few teething problems sorted by some friends it made 386rwhp, naturally aspirated.”

    “I kept it N/A and I had little to no desire to enter the realm of forced induction. With a 6in filter through the bonnet and a TH350, Sunday coastal cruises were moderately enjoyable.” But, as we hear so many times here at Street Commodores, it wasn’t long before the healthy 380rwhp combo grew a little wearisome and Todd found himself yearning for more – much more. “The initial stages of having a custom turbo kit designed and fabricated proved quite difficult (also mentally draining),” Todd says, “as my desire for the car was to keep the air conditioning and all the luxury features, but that clashed with the custom style manifolds.”

    After months of not having the car to cruise in due to it being in bits and pieces, Todd decided to take the car to the crew at Streetbuilt Racing where they quickly took to the project, ordering an ASE turbo kit and stripping out any unnecessary hardware in preparation. “In total, the turbo setup and fuel system took over 14 months, with certain highs and lows along the way,” he says.

    Let’s take a closer look at the combo and what helps it make 624rwhp on E85 and just 14psi. First off, as we began our story, the home-built LS1 was already making almost 400rwhp without the turbo kit and no serious internal modifications – no extra cubes, no extra compression, no head work.

    In the interests of longevity there are forged H-beam rods and forged pistons and the factory heads are held in place by ARP studs, but the majority of the mumbo comes from external influences – save for a big hydraulic roller cam and upgraded valve train gear.

    The most obvious is the billet 67mm Borg Warner turbo that’s pumping 14psi into the Edelbrock intake setup that features a Super Victor single-plane manifold and 90mm throttle. Fuel wise, there are two Aeromotive A1000 pumps out back drinking E85 from a 95L fuel cell and feeding it into the engine via dash-10 lines and 1000cc injectors. The combo retains the factory ECU and coils. Let’s see you get these kinds of numbers from a Holden 5L with the same amount of work.

    Being a fresh build, track time has been limited. However, Todd has run a best of 10.7sec @ 130mph so far and we reckon it won’t be long before the numbers get smaller. “The first drive was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had,” he says. “It’s a new car, a Jekyll and Hyde scenario.”

    “Off boost it’s comparable to a run-of-the-mill cammed LS1 – rough idle, aggressive note and a slow humming from the firing of all cylinders. The sound is enough to relax most people with oil and passion in their veins, Todd continues. “On boost the torque is evident with butt imprints into the leather seats, and horsepower carrying it through with speed once the tyres gain traction. The sound of the screamer pipe evacuating the wasted gases brings shakes to the knees.”

    Todd isn’t quite finished with the VY just yet. While he says if he had his time again he’d turn his attention toward a “steel bumper US muscle car”, he still plans to fit a bigger turbo and aftermarket heads to the LS1, whilst retaining the factory cubes. “There were moments when I wanted to just sell the car and move on, but the team at Streetbuilt wouldn’t let me and pushed me through till the end.” We’re glad they did!

    TECH DATA NITTY-GRITTY 2004 #Holden Commodore VY SS II

    OWNER: #Todd-Arnold
    MODEL: #2004 #Holden-Commodore-VY-SS-II
    BODYWORK: Reverse-cowl scoop, alloy wing
    COLOUR: Phantom, matte roof
    BLOCK: #GM-LS1
    ENGINE MODS: Prepped block, Manley forged H-beam rods, Mahle forged flat-top pistons and rings (10.8:1 comp’), Clevite bearings, Manley double valve springs, sheet metal rocker covers, dash-10 breather lines, Moroso catch cans, ARP head studs, Thunder Racing-spec’ Comp Cams hydraulic roller (0.610/0.615in lift, 242/248° duration, 110° LSA), Howards tie-bar lifters, Trend chromoly pushrods, Howards 1.7:1 roller rockers, Rollmaster double-row timing chain, #Moroso high-volume oil pump, 4-core VZ alloy radiator, 2- per cent under driven pulleys, Edelbrock Super Victor 4150 intake, 90mm Edelbrock throttle, Borg Warner S400 67mm billet turbo (14psi), 2x A1000 Aeromotive pumps (E85), Aeromotive reg’, 2x 100-micron Aeromotive fuel filters, 10-micron Aeromotive filter, 95L fuel cell, dash-10 fuel lines, 1000cc injectors, 2x 50mm Turbosmart BOVs, Turbosmart wastegate, 4in intercooler, custom intake piping.
    POWER: 624rwhp (465rwkW), 10.7sec @ 130mph
    EXHAUST: ASE turbo manifolds, twin-into-single stainless 3.5in system (turbo back), screamer pipe.
    GEARBOX: T400, 4500rpm All-Fast stall, reverse pattern valve body, trans brake, modified driveshaft.
    DIFF: 3.07:1 final drive, LSD, VT 4-bolt flange
    BRAKES: Factory
    SUSPENSION: King springs, FE2 shocks and struts
    WHEELS/TYRES: 15in Weld rims (4in front, 8in rear), ET Street rear tyres
    INTERIOR: B&M shifter, eBoost 2
    STEREO: Factory
    BUILD PERIOD: 3 years
    COST: $45,000 approx.

    West Coast High Performance, Streetbuilt Racing, FED PSI, Final Drive Engineering, Alfa Motorsport, West Coast Smash Repairs, Unique Detailing, Rollin Industries, Joshua Lopreiato, Mark and Roni Arnold for their ever-continuing support, my wonderful girlfriend Tracy for accepting my passion, all my friends and family associated with the positive progression of the build.

    The combo makes 624rwhp on E85 and just 14psi.

    A 95L fuel cell full of E85 lives in the boot along with the relocated battery.

    “The first drive was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had,” he says. “It’s a new car, a Jekyll and Hyde scenario”

    67mm billet Borg Warner S400 turbo pumps 14psi into the relatively mild LS1.

    Being a nice, clean anthracite leather job, Todd hasn’t rushed to modify the interior of his SS and the only mods you’ll see in here (at least until he gets sent home to put a cage in it) is a B&M shifter and eBoost 2.

    The LS1 has been rebuilt, but retains stock cubes and its original crank, however forged H-beam rods, flat-top pistons and ARP head studs help ensure longevity. Most of the attention has been lavished on the intake and fuel systems where you’ll find two huge Aeromotive A1000 pumps sending E85 to the front end where a 67mm billet #Borg-Warner turbo pumping 14psi into the Edelbrock intake setup for 624rwhp and a 10.7sec ET... so far.
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  • JAILBIRD #1981 #Holden-Commodore-VC / #Holden-Commodore / #Holden

    It’s true. This kind of perfection shouldn’t be legal.

    You might say some cars are asking for it. Well, this VC has been on the local constabulary’s radar for almost a decade now. Queensland’s fi nest haven’t exactly taken a liking to it in the past, but with the car’s latest build that has all changed. It’s not only more powerful overall, but now moderately legal, too.

    Truck driver Lee Jenkinson (36) grabbed the VC in 1998 and wrapped up the most recent build late last year. You’ll notice that a lot remains the same, but in the engine bay and under the car are a range of new toys that would bring a smile to any fan’s face. The turbo LS package is good for 580whp (E85) and nines in street trim, and that, my friends, is very, very quick.

    Says Lee, “After my photoshoot eight years ago my car has undergone a big transformation. I went for a drive in my mate’s VK (OVK253), a 1000hp street-driven VK, and I had to have this set-up with an LS turbo.

    “First the car went to Silky Fab to be full tubbed, with a shortened and braced 9in, 31-spline axles and Strange centre with the 19x13in Simmons. A new moly tailshaft was built to handle 1500hp. I was sick of the rebuilding the old Trimatic, so an unbreakable Turbo 400 was built by Geartorque to handle 2000hp. Hopefully there are no more box dramas.

    “The engine is a stock Holden LS2 with rod bolts studs head gaskets and a small custom grind Comp Cam. It’s run [email protected] at Willowbank rolling 100m due to the wrong diff gear choice. New diff gears should see early nines, maybe with more boost. The car has been tuned by Ben Hunt at Rotary Motorsport. Yes, a rotary tuner, but he’s one of the best tuners in the business. The car is now a pleasure to drive.”

    At the moment the car only revs to 6000rpm, which is nice and safe t s, head studs, big just the way Lee wants it. Built by Jason at CPE Engines, it’s a dream. The 4.5in exhaust now splits to dual 3in with shotguns out the rear. You’d think it would blow eardrums out, but it’s very quiet and manageable. “I can actually take my wife out on cruises now,” laughs Lee. The paint and interior remain the same.

    One thing that always grabs attention are those wheels. Everyone loves a true beaut set of Simmons, and these ones are top of the pile. The rears are 19x13in Simmons FR19 that leave little room in the full tubs. Rubber to squeeze onto them doesn’t come cheap, as you would imagine, but that doesn’t mean Lee is about to go light o g g n the throttle either.
    In all, it’s come together a treat. “I’m so happy with how my car is under the bonnet now. It’s quiet and best of all I get no attention from the QPS. That said, one QPS did say “beautiful car, but the rear wheels may be too wide.” Hmm, you don’t say…

    Thanks: “Ben Hunt at Rotary Motorsport (3205 1133), Silky at Silky Fab (0490 238 209), Jason at CP Engines (0434 079 884), Fez for the trick paint, Kent and Dallas for helping along the way, boys from HiTorque, and a big thanks to my wife Sam for letting me spend all our cash on my pride and job again.”


    ENGINE: #6L-LS2 eight-cylinder.

    PERFORMANCE: 580whp (E85), 9.9 @ 120mph.

    ENGINE HARDWARE: Four-bolt mains, #ARP mains stud kit, Comp Cam custom turbo grind camshaft, #Haltech PS2000 engine management system, CNC Billet Inc manifold, eight 2000cc injectors, #Garrett-GTX47 at 9psi, single 4.5in exhaust system split at the diff into twin 3in, Monster head gaskets, #Plazmaman intercooler, #PWR radiator, custom intake and piping.

    DRIVETRAIN: Turbo 400 three-speed, The Convertor Shop 3200rpm stall convertor, manualised valvebody, full race box, full Strange moly one-piece driveshaft, braced 9in, 31-spline Strange centre (3.25), full spool.

    SUSPENSION: Pedders coil-overs and swaybar front, QA1 coil-overs rear with Pedders swaybar, factory SL/E brakes.

    WHEELS/TYRES: 19x8in front and 19x13in rear #Simmons-FR19 wheels, 245/30 front and 325/25 rear Nitto Invo semi-slicks.

    BODYWORK: Glasurit custom mix in two-pack.

    INTERIOR: Haltech dash, Auto Meter tacho, oil, water and boost gauges, TRS harness, wooden steering wheel, custom console, ratchet shifter.

    You’d think it would blow eardrums out, but it’s very quiet and manageable. “I can actually take my wife out on cruises now ”

    “I went for a drive in my mate’s 1000hp street-driven VK, and I had to have this set-up with an LS turbo”

    Red-on-red is always great in a VC oldschooler like this, but there’s nothing oldschool now about what’s under the hood.

    The Glasurit custom mix remains and still sizzles eyeballs in the sun. How’s this for a fun box?
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  • Jason Round updated the cover photo for Holden Commodore VC
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  • Jason Round updated the picture of the group Holden Commodore VC
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  • Jason Round created a new group

    Holden Commodore VC

    Holden Commodore VC 1980 - 1981
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    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.

    Fencer #Adam-Hodge (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.


    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

    PERFORMANCE: 520rwhp

    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 gauges, #Kenwood DVD player.

    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.
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  • 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.”


    ENGINE: #6L-EFI (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 rods, #SRP 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 flow hotdog.

    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, rear #QA1 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 brake pads.

    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”
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  • Jason Round updated the cover photo for Holden Commodore VK
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