NOTHING warms the cockles of my heart like hearing that a tough car was built in a six-by-nine backyard shed by a bunch of mates. In this case I’m talking about a pair of stunning VH Commodores that cleaned up in Tuff Street at Summernats 33, both of which were home-built by a bunch of mates from Victoria.
This article was first published in the February 2020 issue of Street Machine
The build of Kallan Mossenton’s H8LAG VH has spanned an incredible 16 years, inspired by Kallan seeing his first blown and injected car at Summernats. It left him determined to come back one day with something bigger and badder.
He certainly nailed it with his blown and injected small-block Chev-powered Commodore; it makes a monumental 1600hp and is aimed squarely at the seven-second zone over the quarter-mile.
The none-more-black Big & Ugly hat and monstrous 10/71 blower are fairly large hints as to this Commodore’s prodigious power capabilities
The build started with a grandpa-spec VH that’d had a rear-end hit. Kallan replaced the rear quarters and fitted a nitrous 308 that made about 600hp. This evolved into an 8/71-blown 308 combination that eventually tore the main caps out of the bottom end, despite a main stud girdle, Cleveland studs and a bunch of other upgrades.
Nine blocks later, he moved on to his current combination, a Little M Chevy block weighing in at 388ci with a Manley rotating assembly, RaceTec custom pistons, conventional Brodix heads and a camshaft and tune-up supplied by Robert Ambrose.
Kallan works as an engine builder at Frankston Engine Centre in Victoria, and his boss, Dave Butcher, gave him free rein of all the machines and everything he needed to build his motor, which he is currently buzzing to 8500rpm and an estimated 1600hp.
“I’ve always been a blower guy,” says Kallan. “I couldn’t drive anything else.”
The top end on his small-block has all the goods with a high-helix, retro 10/71 supercharger, set up at 30 per cent overdrive and pumping 36psi of boost. It’s topped with an Enderle Big & Ugly injector hat, nitro K-style barrel valve and a 110 belt-driven fuel pump. There is a 17-litre fuel tank built into the nose of the car, and for events like Summernats, Kallan has an additional 30-litre cell in the rear.
Kallan and his mates built the four-link rear end with a fabricated nine-inch, Strange nodular centre and double-adjustable coil-over shocks. The 28x11.5in slicks are squeezed inside a set of mini-tubs, and twin ’chutes hanging off the rear are indicative of how quick Kallan wants this car to go.
At the moment the car is running a serious TH350, but Kallan will be replacing this with a Powerglide with Coan internals in the immediate future.
“One of the biggest challenges has been building the entire car at home, and I couldn’t have done it without my mates Rick Webb, Owen Housden, James Kemp, and Adam and Dave Butcher,” Kallan says. “The other major challenge has been trying to do it with a house full of kids.”
Winners are grinners! Kallan celebrates his Best Comp Tuff win in Tuff Street at Summernats 33
I reckon the car is tough as nails, and the Summernats judges agreed, awarding it Best Comp Tuff in Tuff Street.
“I’m so happy with it; it’s my dream car, built exactly as I wanted it to be. We even cut the engine bay and reworked it to be totally symmetrical.”
Kallan’s buddy James Kemp joined him at Summernats 33 with his own stunning VH, which has just had a major birthday. Packing a Vortech-equipped, injected Holden 304, the car won gongs for Engineering Excellence – Street Tuff and Best Street Tuff in Tuff Street.
“I’ve had the car since I was 17 years old – so 15 years now – and I’ve built it twice,” says James. “The new build has a more serious engine, as I wanted to make 350rwkW [470hp] and be able to run a 10-second pass.”
The current engine is a stock-stroke 304 with H-beam rods and flat-top pistons, Pavtek main stud girdle, cast VN heads and a Camtech solid-roller cam with Crane tie-bar lifters.
“I went with a reverse-rotation Vortech V2 supercharger, as it looked neater,” James says. “This meant that we had to make custom brackets and pulleys, and at the moment that blower is maxed out at 10psi of boost. We ran the car at Heathcote and it went 10.6, and on the rollers it cranked out 370rwkW [496hp], so I’m pretty happy all ’round.”
The Vortech-blown Holden 304 has seen James’s VH pump out nigh-on 500hp at the wheels – and it’s run a 10.6sec quarter to boot!
A Haltech ECU controls all engine functions and feeds 1100cc injectors in a high-rise Torque Power manifold, with twin Bosch 044 pumps drawing E85 from a rear-mounted fuel cell. The stock coil was ditched for an ICE unit with a 16V booster upgrade.
The motor runs Cometic gaskets and ARP studs throughout, and is backed by a TH350 trans and beefed-up BorgWarner rear end.
“I’m really happy with how the car has turned out,” James says. “I’m going to try some different suspension to help track times, and I have a new motor with a four-bolt bottom end that I will change into the car in the near future. I’m currently out of supercharger, so I’d like to upgrade the impeller in the blower to squeeze a bit more out of it.”
James Kemp was stoked to pick up two awards in Tuff Street at Summernats 33: Engineering Excellence – Street Tuff and Best Street Tuff. TIDYVH indeed!
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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