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Brendyn Wardell 's blown LQ9-powered 1986 Holden VL Calais

By Iain Kelly | Photos: Ben Hosking, 18 Apr 2020 Features

Brendyn Wardell 's blown LQ9-powered 1986 Holden VL Calais

When life gives you lemons, forget the lemonade - keep building ridiculously tough cars

SLICK paint over an arrow-straight body, fat deep-dish wheels, a blown V8 screaming up front and show-quality trim. Brendyn Wardell has used this recipe on a slew of Commodore builds, and who can blame him when the results are as beaut as some of his greatest hits, including STR8AZ (SM, Jul ’03), 2ANGRY (SM, Mar ’13), ANGRYR (SM, Apr ’14) and now his new VL; 2NGRY2.

This article was first published in the March 2020 issue of Street Machine

Holden VL Calais

You may have noticed a bit of a theme with the number plates on these cars all sporting a fair amount of anger, and wonder how a bloke could possibly be enraged when he owns and builds such killer streeters. Well, it goes all the way back to 2003, when some lowlife flops decided they needed Brendyn’s amazing, groundbreaking blown VK.

Read next: Brendyn's 2ANGRY Walkinshaw VL Commodore

Holden VL Calais side

“All these cars and ‘Angry’ plates link directly back to my VK Commodore, STR8AZ,” Brendyn explains. “I might have never built a VL if the VK didn’t get ripped off after going to the drags one Wednesday night. Back then, we couldn’t get insurance on those sorts of cars as they were just too illegal, so having some thieves take your car tends to stay with you.”

Read next: 1100hp blown Holden VL Calais 

Holden VL Calais rear

A positive bloke at heart, Brendyn bounced back from that disaster with a killer tubbed and blown VL Walkinshaw tribute dubbed 2ANGRY. Originally finished in black like the VK, Brendyn debuted it as a bronze monster at Summernats 26 and blew the minds of punters all over Australia. What happened next is the stuff of legend – or horror movies if you’re a Commodore fan.

Read next: Brendyn's VL Calais - ANGRYR

Holden VL Calais front

On his way back into Summernats, the pristine VL was rear-ended by an SUV at an estimated 70km/h, folding it in half and destroying 2ANGRY before it ever got a chance at the glory it deserved. About now you could forgive Brendyn for thinking he couldn’t win a free kick in a pub fight, but he got back on the horse the next year by re-shelling 2ANGRY’s drivetrain and suspension into a blue VL Calais called ANGRYR, while he planned his next move.

Read next: Twin-turbo LSX-powered Holden VL Calais

Holden VL Calais wheel

“ANGRYR had everything from the smashed car, but this new car is a full fresh build,” says Brendyn. “Right after 2ANGRY was smashed into, I found an original naturally aspirated VL Calais in Port Macquarie for $1000 and picked it up the week after Summernats, and that became this car. My mate Billy Shine and I worked every Wednesday night to finish building the car I never got to enjoy.”

Read next: Nissan GT-R-based HSV VL Walkinshaw replica

Holden VL Calais boot

Those who’ve followed Brendyn’s previous builds may note 2NGRY2 is chock-full of big-inch LS power, rather than the plastic motor that was between the strut towers of 2ANGRY.

Holden VL Calais wheel

“Holden engines aren’t in the same world as the LS,” Brendyn says. “The 308 is an old design, they’re heat-soakers, they have an old oil design, and the cost is too high. I priced a COME 383 and it was cheaper to build this LS – and the LS wasn’t going to have overheating issues.”

Holden VL Calais engine bay

Starting with a late-model, six-litre iron LQ9 block, the boys added a Callies DragonSlayer crank, Callies Ultra H-beam rods and a custom set of forged 9.8:1-comp slugs, pushing the cubes up to 421ci. A 0.697in-lift, blower-spec Comp Cams hydraulic-roller bumpstick and LS7 lifters round out the serious hardware in the bottom end. Up top are a pair of CNC-ported square-port heads filled with PAC springs and stainless valves.

Holden VL Calais engine bay

Of course, most of the attention goes to the Enderle EFI hat perched atop the BDS 8/71 blower and matching manifold, plumbed with 16 ID injectors – eight 1000cc and eight 2000cc – all smashing E85 into the LQ9.

Holden VL Calais interior

“The engine was originally built for the 8/71 to make around 1000hp,” says Brendyn. “We couldn’t get more than 450rwkW [603hp] as it just spun on the rollers when we tried tuning it at Ultimate Performance. I’m a part-owner of the shop and we’re thinking of buying a hub dyno soon, so maybe we’ll see what it can make then.

Holden VL Calais dash

“We’ve got a good computer with the Haltech Elite 2500, plus there are fuel injectors in the hat and manifold. While it is hard to split the fuel load in the tune, as the hats aren’t designed for pump fuel, the guys at Ultimate Performance got it sorted and it drives awesome.”

Holden VL Calais console

BRENDYN WARDELL
1986 HOLDEN VL CALAIS

Paint: Custom grey

ENGINE
Brand: GM LQ9
Capacity: 421ci
Induction: Enderle EFI bug-catcher, BDS manifold
Blower: BDS 8/71
ECU: Haltech Elite 2500
Heads: CNC-ported square-port
Camshaft: Comp Cams hydraulic
Conrods: Callies Ultra H-beam
Pistons: Custom forged 9.8:1
Crank: Callies DragonSlayer
Oil system: Melling high-volume, High Energy sump
Fuel system: Eight ID2000cc injectors and eight ID1000cc injectors; triple Walbro 460L/hr pumps
Cooling: South Coast Radiators, 16in Spal thermo fan
Exhaust: Custom twin 3in
Ignition: MSD coil packs, 10mm leads

TRANSMISSION
Gearbox: TH400, transbraked
Converter: Custom TCE
Diff: Sheet-metal 9in, 35-spline billet axles, nodular iron 9.5in Strange Engineering centre, 3.5:1 gears

SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: K-Sport adjustable coil-overs
Rear: Strange coil-overs, custom four-link
Brakes: K-Sport eight-piston discs (f), K-Sport six-piston discs (r)
Master cylinder: Standard

WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Intro KWC billet; 20x8.5 (f), 20x12 (r)
Rubber: Lionhart; 225/30 (f), 305/30 (r)

THANKS
My wife Natalie; my good mate Billy Shine; Mark at PROcoat for powdercoating and his help; Mick, Josh, Brent, Adam and Marv from Ultimate Performance; JP Fabrications; K-Sport; Craig’s Automatics; Jeff’s Custom Interiors; Hoffy for the paintwork; Danny from KMC Performance; South Coast Radiators; Little Jamie for the buffing; Tumbi Auto Electrics; Coastwide Towing; anyone else I forgot to mention

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