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    A supercharged #LS1 has created a monster of an E36. Whilst many E36 owners might dream of M3 straight-six or M5 V8 conversions, Ian Sutton has gone down a whole different route by fitting a supercharged LS1 V8… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Gary Hawkins.

    Engine options on the E36 from the factory were fairly plentiful – from the 102bhp 1.6-litre M40 to the 321bhp 3.2-litre S50 M3 Evo powerplant, BMW had it pretty well covered. But for some people – especially once you start talking modified car owners – too much is never enough, and we’re seeing E46 M3 straight-six, E39 M5 V8 and even some E60 M5 V10 conversions taking place more and more often. But while Bavarian horsepower is all well and good, why not think out of the box?

    The General Motors LS-series of engines, or #Crate-V8 s as they’re often known, are a common choice for those wanting a simple, effective and proven way of reliable horsepower. There’s simply no denying it – there’s no replacement for displacement – and these engines are being seen fitted to all manner of cars, from Corvettes to Camaros, trucks to 4x4s, and (most importantly in this story) even the Holden Monaro, otherwise sold as the Vauxhall Monaro and Pontiac GTO. Far from the small block Chevrolet V8 many people seem to mix it up with, most LS engines have an all-aluminium construction, fuel injection, and are generally a far more modern proposal than you might think. And considering their displacement, they’re pretty compact units too.

    Rewind just over five years, and you’d find BMW technician Ian Sutton thinking just the same – why doesn’t someone put the well-proven LS engine into an E36? He had the first part of the recipe, an E36 328i Sport, already, which he’d bought when he finished his apprenticeship at Coventry BMW and used for a couple of years before the Yank engine idea came up. Ian is also lucky enough to have a good friend who specialises in breaking the aforementioned Holden/Vauxhall Monaro, so you can see where the inspiration came from.

    Ian’s engine of choice was the 5.7-litre LS1 from early Monaros, his in fact coming from the US-spec Pontiac GTO. And once it was in his hands it was time to get to work.

    Not wanting to risk damaging his 328i in the process, he bought another one from work to use as a test shell for all the fabrication that would be involved. It was separated from its engine and the bay removed of all its clutter. Ian makes it sound so simple, but the next step was to hoist the GM V8 into the position he wanted it to sit and then fabricate mounts on the E36’s crossmember to suit – albeit after a bit of sump alteration to get it to fit behind the crossmember. At the same time it seemed the perfect opportunity to baffle it to avoid oil starvation during hard cornering. With the sump being off at that time, Ian decided to replace the standard con rod bolts with ARP items for added strength and durability.

    With that done and the engine positioning perfected, the gearbox mounts could be fabricated, and stage one of the build was complete. Of course, the engine and gearbox weren’t hooked up to anything other than each other, but at least they were positioned in the car.

    A full M3 Evo rear axle was to be used, so as with any engine transplant of this kind, a custom propshaft had to be manufactured first. Custom gear linkage was also created so that the gearstick could remain in the original position in the cockpit while governing the Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox from the Pontiac. Not content with leaving it standard though, Ian fitted a lightweight Spec aluminium flywheel, LS7 clutch, XRP braided clutch line and a GMM Ripshifter for faster revving and shifting.

    Around the same time, Ian’s Monarobreaking friend was over in Australia and had got talking to Scotty at Capa Superchargers, which is well known Down Under for offering forced induction for many different cars, including the Holden Monaro. It didn’t take long for Ian to be convinced, and before he knew it, the Vortech-based ’charger kit was sitting on his doorstep.

    Adding a whole new dimension to the build, it was soon discovered that the supercharger simply wasn’t going to fit the E36’s relatively narrow engine bay – not with the standard supercharger bracket anyway. With the help of good friend Gary, and with Ian having been part-trained as an engineer before becoming a mechanic, a plan was made, and the pair got straight on with measuring up the engine and bay (a painstaking process in itself, making sure all the pulleys lined up absolutely perfectly), then designing thier own bracketry for a variety of the components and having a local engineer construct it from billet aluminium. To keep the whole lot cool, Ian had Allisport fabricate the radiator, intercooler and oil cooler to his specifications, which all sit just behind the front bumper.

    The exhaust was yet another challenge, as not only did it need to take the gases from the V8 as efficiently as possible, it was a pretty tight squeeze between the E36’s chassis legs, too. The only solution was to go custom, and Wye Valley Garage – where the project spent much of its time – was able to help. A fully TIG-welded stainless steel exhaust system from the manifolds to the tailpipes is the result of their hard work, and we have to say it looks absolutely perfect, and the silencers are repackable too. Finishing off the installation itself is an almost headache-inducingly well planned combination of parts. From the custom power steering fluid tank (with a #BMW cap mind you), to the E46 M3 header tank, OEM (but not necessarily 328i, in case you start thinking this is the easy bit) hoses that can be found all around the engine bay, to the XRP aeroquip fuel and oil lines used throughout, it doesn’t lack in attention to detail. Such was Ian’s quest to make it all look as factory as possible, he’s even used OEM BMW hose clips rather than Jubilees! When the time came to move the engine, gearbox, supercharger, exhaust, crossmember and gearbox mounts over to his prized E36 – he wasn’t going to do it by halves either.

    They say a picture tells a thousand words, but let me tell you, even a thousand pictures couldn’t tell the story of just how immaculate this E36 is; Ian has rebuilt it bolt-for-bolt, using new components throughout, and powdercoating every part he could. You name it, it’s been uprated, replaced, or painted. The M3 Evo rear subframe and axle, M3 Evo front wishbones and hubs and brakes all-round, all new bushes, balljoints, links, Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, Eibach anti-roll bars… the list goes on. And it’s not just the underside that’s better than new, the bodywork is too, thanks to a bare metal respray. It really is astonishing, and it perhaps is only justified by seeing it in the metal.

    Fuelling and management was dealt with surprisingly simply – being an engine so popular for transplants, especially over the Pond, management solutions are very well catered for. First, the ECU was sent over to Capa to be unlocked, having all of its security limitations taken off and being given a base map on HP Tuners software. To match the airflow that the supercharger was bringing to the table, a Walbro fuel pump rated to 255 litres per hour pushes the fuel through a Fuel Lab filter and adjustable fuel pressure regulator, before being flung into the engine by 42lb injectors. It’s certainly a promising sounding combination.

    Rolling stock duties are put to #BBS LM replicas – Ian had originally wanted black centres with a polished lip, but there were differences between the 8.5”- and 9.5”-wide variants, so he went for all black rims with a subtle red line around the edges, and measuring 19” in diameter. The rest of the styling is a very much OEM affair, with a combination of M3 GT components, AC Schnitzer mirrors and subtle rebadging; the front and rear roundels having been swapped for carbon items, while the side rub strip badges – which Ian had custom-made by a local signwriter – now read supercharged.

    One of the final steps was the interior, which Ian wanted kept as stock as possible. Again, nothing but the best would do, so perfect black leather and as little clue as possible as to what engine lies beneath. M3 gauges are cleverly hooked up to work with the new engine, made possible by the HP Tuners software, and to keep a really close eye on what’s going on underneath the bonnet, Ian’s installed a trio of Autometer gauges in the centre console, monitoring oil pressure, fuel pressure and boost. Not only are they installed neatly, but Ian took a long time researching to find a range of gauges that matched the factory orange lighting so as not to look out of place – his attention to detail really is mind-blowing.

    The car made it’s debut at Santa Pod last year with great success, and on the strip it managed a 12.7 quarter-mile at 110mph – impressive, especially considering it was on a base map, and Ian was taking it easy. Of course he was keen to have it fully mapped to see what it could do, though, and John Sleath Racing was put in charge of the mapping, and the results were mightily impressive. A peak of 530.4bhp is only half the story – 550lb ft of torque is the kind of figure hardly any tuned BMW engine can boast, and especially not delivered in the same effortless way as the ’charged LS1, making it the ideal road car.

    While the engine may not be a traditional choice for an E36, Ian’s more than proved it’s a good one. With power and torque in abundance, as well as an incredible V8 soundtrack, an overall feel of OEM quality (and then some!) and increased driveability and performance, he’s really shown that it doesn’t have to be a BMW engine to feel original. So the purists may hate it, but there’s no denying that it’s incredible. If for some reason BMW had made its own LS1- powered E36, I can’t help but think it would struggle to beat the perfection that Ian has struck upon. Thinking out of the box? Pah, he’s blown it to bits.

    DATA FILE #Vortech / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328Ci / #BMW-328Ci-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-E36-V8 / #BMW-E36-LS1 / #BMW-E36-GM-LS1 / #GM / #BMW / #Tremec /

    ENGINE: 5.7-litre #V8 #GM-LS1 / , #Vortech-V2 supercharger, #ARP con rod bolts, custom #ZF-PAS pump and mounting bracket, custom billet aluminium supercharger bracket and auto tensioner, custom baffled oil pan, #Earls-Performance oil thermostat, #Allisport custom front mount oil cooler, radiator, PAS tank with #BMW cap, front mount intercooler and pipework and oil catch tank, E46 M3 header tank, #Vortech-Maxiflow blow-off valve, 42lb injectors, #Walbro 255l/h fuel pump, #Fuel-Lab fuel filter and adjustable fuel pressure regulator, #XRP-Aeroquip fuel and oil lines, custom front cross member and engine mounts, custom fully TIG-welded exhaust including manifolds and repackable silencers, custom engine wiring harness, GM ECU with 2bar map and fully remappable HP Tuners software

    TRANSMISSION: #Tremec-T56 six-speed gearbox, custom gearbox mounts, Spec lightweight aluminium flywheel, LS7 clutch, custom propshaft, #XRP clutch lines and remote bleeder, #GMM-Ripshifter with custom gear lever, full E36 M3 Evo rear axle

    CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) #BBS-LM replicas shod in 225/40 and 265/30 Falken FK452s respectively. Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, #Eibach anti-roll bars, M3 Evo front wishbones and hubs, AC Schnitzer carbon front strut brace, custom lower strut brace, Z3 M quick steering rack; full nut and bolt rebuild including all new bushes, balljoints and links with all new components powdercoated. E36 M3 Evo brakes all-round (315mm discs front, 312mm discs rear) with Performance Friction pads all-round and XRP braided lines

    EXTERIOR: Full bare metal respray in original Arctic silver, face-lift nose cone, M3 Evo front splitter, M3 GT corner splitters and M3 bumper mesh, M3 GT two-piece rear spoiler, AC Schnitzer mirrors, carbon fibre front and rear roundels, supercharged badges in rubstrips

    INTERIOR: OEM full black leather interior, #AC-Schnitzer short shift gear knob, E36 M3 clocks with oil temperature gauge, #Autometer boost, fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges, Alpine CDA 105 RI head unit

    THANKS: for the exhaust, fabrication, workspace and storage (01989 565001), for LS spares and conversions, Allisport (01452 751187), Scotty at Capa Superchargers (006 1885 823499), John Sleath Racing for the mapping (07976 751742), Nic J Racing (07970 192715), Gaz, Slim and Zip, Sytner BMW Birmingham Parts Department

    Ian and the friends that have helped him make it look easy – modifying and baffling the sump and fabricating engine mounts, the exhaust and the supercharger bracket as well as many other parts. There’s also the tuning itself to consider, with the lightened flywheel and other uprated transmission components,
    the supercharger and intercooler, and of course all the pipework and hoses, which all look OEM. A dimple had to be made in the inner wing to fit the ’charger too.

    Combine that with practically rebuilding the entire car with everything renewed and powdercoated, and you can see what makes the car quite so amazing.

    Other than the noise, the average passenger wouldn’t know the difference.
    Unshakeable power – 5.7 supercharged American litres worth of it in fact – oof!
    There’s simply no denying it – there’s no replacement for displacement.
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    AMERICAN HUSTLE / #BMW / #2015 /
    What may look like a nicely-modded but unassuming E30 hides a potent 5.7-litre #V8 secret…

    This E30 may be low and exceedingly sexy, but it’s what’s lurking under the bonnet that will blow your socks off… Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Patrick Lauder

    You’re probably looking at this E30 and thinking that it looks good because, let’s be honest, it does. The colour is nice, it suits the E30 shape and, yes, it’s on air, but what isn’t these days right? Air is cool, you might be thinking, and it’s clean and subtly done – just a really nicely modded E30 that anyone would be happy to own. And then you spot that bonnet-up engine shot: ‘Cor… Corvette? Whaa…?’

    Now maybe you’re confused and have a disapproving look on your face. Suddenly you’re probably feeling some conflicting emotions because maybe you’re just not down with Yank motors in German cars. We can understand that – engine swaps are cool, everyone loves an engine swap when it comes from within the BMW family, but venture outside that circle of safety and, well, things get a bit fuzzy around the edges. But here at #Drive-My we’re definitely down with this sort of engine swappery. Owner Rich Hardesty-DeMenge is a brave man for stuffing that vast ’Vette V8 into his E30 (affectionately called Evette) not only because it’s a massive undertaking both in terms of sheer effort and finances, but also because brave is the man who sullies the classic purity of the E30. We admire his commitment to worshipping at the V8 altar.

    Usefully, the 26 year-old is in “the engineering field”, so he’s a bit handy with his hands, and that means he was wellsuited to tackling this crazy swap with a little help from his brother, Brendon. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, because when a man decides he wants to put an American V8 in his E30, you want to get to know that man a bit better…

    “I’ve liked BMWs since I was a child playing with model cars, before I was even dreaming of what kind of car I would eventually drive,” says Rich. “I have always found BMWs to be one of the best looking cars on the road, and I really enjoy the feeling I get when driving mine. When I was 19 I wanted a BMW and ended up buying a 2005 325i, though I figured out later I should have done more research into exactly what kind of BMW I wanted as it turned out to be a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) model so I was stuck doing only suspension and visual modifications.”

    He did attempt to get more power out of it, but it didn’t exactly go to plan: “I got screwed out of a $7000 deal on a supercharger kit that a company sold me, guaranteeing it could tune the M56 SULEV to run the kit. Of course when all was said and paid for I installed the kit, but the company couldn’t tune the computer after all, at least not without having the car. As I was in California and the company was in Florida, I took the kit off, tried to return it. It wouldn’t accept it, so I ended up selling the kit for around a $3000 loss and started hunting for an E30 instead.

    “My plan was to build a turbo M20 from the start. Power was all I cared about at the time. I actually bought a spare M20 and started building it before I had even found the car,” and seeing as Rich had modified every car he’d previously owned, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. “I bought the E30 in Milpitas, CA, maybe 20 minutes away from the dealership that originally sold it. It had a cracked head, the brakes were shot, it was an automatic, had no interior, and the person I bought it from had begun parting it out. It was in pretty sad shape, but the body was rust-free and straight, and that was all I cared about. It ended up with a built M20 stroker with a Holset HX35 turbo running 18psi that I put together myself before deciding on the engine swap…”

    As a side note, while it may say Corvette on the rocker covers, the 5.7-litre (5665cc and about 346Ci if you want to keep things American) all-alloy LS1 V8 that fills the E30’s engine bay to brimming point was actually extracted from a 2002 Camaro Z28. This engine was used in the C5 Corvette, albeit in a slightly higher state of tune (350hp plays 305-325 depending on flavour of Camaro), though according to everyone and their Chevy-driving dog those figures are conservative to protect the Corvette’s status and in actual fact all the engines made about the same power at around the 350hp mark. Considering most people carrying out V8 swaps on E30s opt for the 4.0-litre M60, with its 286hp and 295lb ft of torque and find that more than enough thank you very much, an additional 40hp on paper and 50lb ft make for a silly fast car that gets to enjoy the massive spread of torque that comes with a huge capacity engine. Naturally, that wasn’t enough for Rich, so he added a few go-faster bits under the bonnet including a Texas Speed 228r cam, LS6 intake, having the head ported and polished and upgrading the valvetrain. These engines respond well to bolt-ons so we’d be guessing it’s got to be knocking on the door of 400hp now, which is just a bit silly really.

    “The biggest issues my brother and I ran into was fabrication,” explains Rich. “as we did the entire swap on a set of jack stands over three years ago. There were no ‘swap kits’ available back then that allow you to simply drop the drivetrain in like there are today. We had to make our own motor, trans, hydroboost and second differential mount, along with fabricating the entire exhaust by hand, which is a dual 2.5” system that goes into a single 4” oval exhaust that runs back to a Magnaflow muffler.”

    Considering that an LS-swap is still not exactly easy now, the fact that Rich and his brother did all this by themselves when things were even harder is very impressive. Of course all that go would be no good if Rich’s E30 couldn’t put it down effectively so the chassis has been thoroughly overhauled. Purists among you may question why he opted for air-ride over coilovers with such a serious engine lurking under the bonnet because, you know, bags don’t handle (#sarcasm). “I ran Ground Control coilovers for a while,” he says “but I knew I eventually wanted to put air-ride on the car. Having a bagged ride had been a dream since elementary school, and the days of reading Mini Truckin’ and Truckin’ magazine. So I did just that, I bought a DIY kit that required a fair bit of customisation, and my brother helped me fabricate everything. Overall, I have to say I really like the way it handles and rides with bags, even over coilovers,” so deal with that, bag haters.

    Beyond that there’s the practicality that comes part and parcel of an air-ride setup plus the fact that, aired out with BBS RSs tucked up inside its arches, this E30 looks just plain badass.

    “Wheels were a really tough choice,” muses Rich, “but I have always liked the mesh style with a polished lip, and the BBS RSs fit the bill quite nicely, I originally had a 16” set on Evette, which were stolen, so I ordered the current set that you see on the car and, as luck would have it, I found and managed to get back the stolen set of 16s within a couple days of receiving the new 17” set, leaving me with an extra set of RSs for my other E30.”

    The final touch is a set of uprated brakes, because you can’t be driving around in an E30 with almost 400hp on the standard setup. Tucked away behind those BBSs you’ll find a set of Wilwoods front and back running 310mm discs all-round with six-pot front calipers and four-pots at the rear, delivering just as much stop as the engine does go.

    Styling-wise things have been left pretty much standard and in our opinion this was most definitely the right thing to do because the E30 is such a perfect piece of design it would seem wrong to mess with it. “I find E30s to be a genuinely good looking car from factory minus a good drop and nice set of wheels, so I decided to keep it stock, although I did install a rear valence from a late model to help balance the car out,” Rich tells us.

    The interior, too, has been left untouched, but why start messing around in there when you’ve got Sport seats and an M Tech I wheel? “I ended up finding a well-used but good condition full black interior after I bought the car,” he says, “which I cleaned up and installed. I do have a full red interior I would like to install, but it needs to be reupholstered first.” The only item that is alien is that baseball-sized gear knob attached to the six-speed Tremec T56 gearbox beneath.

    While Evette might look finished to you and I, Rich has more plans in the pipeline, and they’re not just a new bumper or set of wheels… “I’m going to end up throwing a large single turbo on the passenger side of the engine bay at around 8psi,” he says casually and nonchalantly, like a man describing what he plans to order for lunch. “Plus the new interior eventually and another paint job – this car will never really be done,” which is of course how pretty much most of us feel about our project cars. For now, though, Rich and his brother have built something a little bit special, a seriously good-looking E30 with the sort of intoxicating power and thunderous soundtrack that will make you want to put a V8 in everything, and we certainly wouldn’t blame you for that…


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 2002 5.7-litre #LS1-V8 / #GM-LS1 / #GM / #LS1 , #TSP-228r cam, ported and polished heads, LS6 intake, #Tremec-T56 / #Tremec six-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS 9x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #BBS-RS wheels with 205/35 (front) and 215/35 (rear) tyres, custom #DIY #Air-Lift Performance air suspension, #Wilwood #BBK with 310mm discs (front and rear) and six-pot calipers (front) and four-pot calipers (rear).

    EXTERIOR Late model rear valence welded on, iS side skirts.

    INTERIOR Black leather Sport seats, #M-Tech I steering wheel.

    “Overall, I have to say I like the way it handles and rides with bags, even over coilovers”

    “I’ve always found BMWs to be one of the best looking cars on the road, and I enjoy the feeling I get when driving mine”
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    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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