When it comes to angry streeters, few things are tougher than a ute with fat wheels and a dirty great pump poking through the bonnet. Clint Stevens has built just that with his immaculate 1999 VS ute, KRUPTN, with an 810hp, 6/71-inflated small-block Chev squeezed between the towers and 20x10 Simmons FRs jammed under factory sheet metal in the rear!
This article was first published in Street Machine Commodores, 2018
"When I was younger I admired a VS ute called KRUPTA, and it inspired me to want to build my own tough street car," says the Goulburn local. "I always wanted a V8, but my dad wouldn't let me have one on my P-plates, so I bought this 1999 VS back in 2002 off a car lot in Narellan. It was a standard Ecotec V6 with a nudge bar, dents and scratches all over it, and was fairly rough.
"After a few years I was itching to get myself a five-litre, and my good mate Jamie 'Patto' Patton told me his uncle had a fresh 304 in his shed," Clint continues. "So I went around, checked it out and bought it. The Ecotec copped a hard time back then, and with the clutch letting go a few months later, I decided that was the time the 304 should go in."
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While we love big superchargers busting through bonnets, not everyone shares our view, as Clint is well aware. "Goulburn cops don't like anything other than stock cars, so the ute unfortunately doesn't get to see the road that much these days. It's not that quiet and doesn't really blend in!"
But if a little is good then more will always be better - something Clint realised as the horsepower bug bit him. "After a few years of cruising around I decided I needed a blower, so the five-litre came out for a 355 stroker kit and a side-mount blower set-up," he explains. "Patto smoothed out the bay and I had it painted before the 355 went in, and that kept me happy for a few years, but I decided I wanted to go bigger."
We have all heard the line about power corrupting, and it was absolutely corrupting Clint by this time, as he swapped the centrifugal pump for a Roots unit. Unfortunately, it proved too much for the Holden V8, which decided to relocate to the landfill and left Clint looking for a new combo.
Clint put together a stout rear end based around a Ford 9in diff filled with 35-spline axles and billet end caps, which will take the 800hp worth of hurt he'll be dishing out
Patto had bought a 350 Chev to put in his Torana, but he decided to part ways with the Torry so I swooped in and bought the Chev off him," Clint says. "The motor had to be assembled, so I took it to Sam at Westend Performance and he did all the machining and assembly."
Clint had to make some changes when he switched from a high-pressure injected motor to a carb-fed small-block. A Walbro 460L/hr in-tank pump sends the E85 to an 11L surge tank, which is then pumped to the Holley carburettors by an Aeromotive Eliminator pump. "Brad Hornbrook from Brad's Auto Repairs wired in the MSD ignition system, fine-tuned the combo and also gave his Rocket Industries account a workout with all the Aeroflow fittings," Clint says. "Glen Bell and Michael Lockart then wired the car ready for Summernats 31"
The Chev runs plenty of good gear, built using an 010 block packed with a Scat crank, Venolia alloy rods and Diamond pistons for a snappy 10.5:1 compression ratio, while a custom Camtech bumpstick pushes Howards billet aluminium rockers housed in Brodix alloy heads. The 350 is topped by a Blower Shop 6/71 pump crowned by a pair of Holley 650cfm four-barrel carbs drinking E85. The mill pushes a stout 810hp down to a two-speed Powerglide.
"While the motor was being built I installed a shortened nine-inch diff, and I took two inches off both sides to fit 20x10in Simmons FRs, though the ute is un-tubbed," says Clint. "With the motor being out I thought it was a good time for the paint to have a freshen-up, so Patto at Patton Panelworks fixed a few dents and we sent it to Adam at Travers Paintwerx to lay down the PPG Tungsten and blue pearl again."
Clint chose to leave the bodywork almost as Holden intended, apart from having Patto smooth off the rear number-plate recess. The suspension and brakes are also simple but effective, with Pedders coil-overs at both ends and larger VT two-pot brakes given the nod at the front.
While they were beaut workhorses, VR and VS utes weren't particularly luxurious places to spend time. Clint fixed that with some simple mods: "The trim needed attention, so Steve at United Motor Trimmers redid two Brock Scheel seats in tan leather, as well as a few other bits. I didn't want to go over the top with the trim, just keep it neat and simple
When it came time to swing the 350 into the VS, the boys hit a snag. They discovered that, despite Holden and Chev boys hit a snag. They discovered that, despite Holden and Chev both being departments of General Motors, a blown Gen I Chevy small-block isn't exactly a straight swap for an iron lion. "It wasn't easy fitting the Chev between the rails, as it's very tight under there, and getting the headers to fit was a mission," Clint says. "Instead of using a Tuff Mounts Chev-into-VS kit, I had to use their Chev-into-HQ, which gave everything a bit more space around the steering knuckle. The Chev needed more height and to sit further back in the bay, as the chassis rails are super-close to the exhaust."
Clint also added an ASR conversation sump to fit around the VS K-frame, and an adjustable mini starter motor from Castlemaine Rod Shop, while the power steering was turfed for a manual rack from a VL. The headers are custom-made pieces Clint purchased second-hand from a bloke who also had a Chev-swapped VS ute, while a PWR alloy radiator uses AU thermo fans to keep the combo cool.
KRUPTN was finished just in time for Summernats 31, and Clint says his partner Danielle has gone from tearing her hair out at his chopping and changing, to loving what he has built. He is even planning on handing the ute down to his son Carter once he's old enough, which is why Clint is preparing to tub, respray, trim and turbocharge his VY ClubSport!
1999 HOLDEN VS COMMODORE UTE
Colour: PPG Tungsten
Type: Chevy small-block
Rods: Venolia alloy
Pistons: Diamond 10.5:1
Heads: Brodix alloy
Cam: Camtech custom
Blower: Blower Shop 6/71
Carbs: Dual Holley 650cfm
Fuel system: Walbro 460 lift pump, Aeromotive Eliminator external pump
Ignition system: MSD
'Box: GM two-speed Powerglide
Converter: TCE 3500rpm
Diff: Ford 9in, 35-spline axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Springs: Pedders (f & r)
Shocks: Pedders (f & r)
Brakes: VT twin-piston brakes (f)
WHEELS & TYRES
Wheels: Simmons FR; 20x8.5 (f), 20x10 (r)
Tyres: Bridgestone (f & r)
Jamie Patton at Patton Panelworks; Brad Hornbrook at Brad's Auto Repairs; Adam Travers at Travers Paintwerx; Sam at Westend Performance; Rob at Comp Coat; Joe at Central Coast Performance Transmissions; Steve at United Motor Trimers; Michael Lockart for wiring; Glen and Garry Bell; Kain, Ben and Tom plus all my mates who have helped out; my family Danielle and Carter for putting up with all my late nights in the shed!