PETA Psaras is as passionate and hands-on as any street machiner I’ve met during my 30 years in the sport. Peta is a Commodore girl through and through; her previous rides include a VR, VX SS and HSV Avalanche – all of which were modified. And like those cars, her 617wrhp L98-powered VE SS-V wagon is plenty tough.
This article was first published in Street Machine Commodores magazine, 2018
Nathan Jones from HOK, Basser from 2SUS and Peta put a lot of hours into getting the custom HOK colour right. They’re justifiably proud of their creation and have named it Texas T. A nice touch is the contrasting HOK Galaxy Grey and HOK Imitation Gold stripe that runs from one headlight all the way around to the other. It even goes inside the doors and tailgate without any bumps; it’s under the clear and smooth as a baby’s bum
Originally purchased as workhorse for Peta’s high-end show car detailing business, it wasn’t long before the VE got the Psaras treatment. In its blue-over-silver guise, AGIT8 was a two-time Summernats Top Wagon (Street Class) and MotorEx gold medal winner.
Without the help of the giggle gas, AGIT8 gets down the quarter in the low 12s – as it sits now, with the big wheels and all the audio gear. To cope with the extra weight, a set of heavy-duty coil-overs were required, making the car a low-riding yet effortless tarmac terror
Not happy to rest on her laurels, Peta, along with husband Matt, began hatching rebuild plans in the run-up to Meguiar’s MotorEx Melbourne 2014. “I wanted to take it up a notch – a full-tilt rebuild to turn it into something completely different,” Peta says. “We packed up from MotorEx, drove through the night from Melbourne, and arrived home at 7:30am Monday. On Tuesday we took her for a drive and by that Friday she was completely stripped and in primer!”
The rear guards had to be pumped to accommodate the meaty 285/30R22 Pirelli boots wrapped around 22x10.5 Foose Legend SS rollers. “They’re pretty special,” says Peta of the rims. “I haven’t seen another set in Australia”
The race was on to get the car done in time for Summernats 28. Paint maestro Basser from 2SUS Custom Resprays wielded the spray gun; however, Peta did much of the laborious prep work. To meet the crushing five-month deadline, Peta spent a solid month at 2SUS doing lots and lots of sanding.
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“Between the 25 fibreglass panels, speaker frames, interior pieces, plus a heap of body prep, I did so much sanding it’s a wonder I still have any skin left on my fingers!” Peta laughs. “I itched for a week after all the fibreglass work. Every single shitty job, I did all of them – including sanding the door jambs twice as a result of some mismatched paint. I did loads of buffing – I even learnt to pinstripe, as this left Basser more time on the body.”
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That eye-popping colour makes AGIT8 look a million dollars, but this very throaty, 617rwhp (plus nitrous) 6.0L L98 also means it goes like stink. The custom coil covers look pretty trick as well
The stunning colour is a one-off House Of Kolor hue. “We named it Texas T,” says Peta, “and used we 22 litres of the stuff!” Nathan Jones from HOK worked with Peta and Basser to derive the colour, with the fussy trio doing 12 spray-outs before settling on the final shade.
While much of the Peta-prepared engine bay is finished in Texas T, a host of pieces, along with the entire underside and detailed driveline (again by Peta), are painted in contrasting HOK Galaxy Grey. This includes the 22-inch Foose Legend SS wheels. Apart from the wagon’s basic structure, they’re about the only carry-over feature from the previous build.
Getting the bite to match the ferocious bark was left to Sam’s Performance. “Sam and his boys are the best,” says Peta. “They build reliable cars people can enjoy day in, day out. They’re also the nicest people you could ever deal with; this is the third car they’ve worked on for us.”
They’ve added a host of ‘go-much-faster’ pieces to the L98 6.0-litre, such as high-compression Wiseco pistons, CNC-ported heads, a FAST 102 intake and a super-aggressive roller from Comp Cams.
“It’s the same cam Sam uses in his big 427ci strokers,” Matt says. “I commented that I thought it might be too big. Sam said: ‘Trust me, it’ll be a torque monster. And if you don’t like it I’ll swap it out, no charge.’ We both love it!”
With the NO2 bottle in the off position, the L98 is good for 617hp at the treads. Engines of this ilk tend to be a bit of a pain when matched to a stick-shift – a Tremec T56 in this case – but that’s not the case here. “Thanks to Sam’s tuning and the double-plate Mantic clutch, I swear it’s like I’m back driving a standard car!” Peta says.
The insane interior is a collaboration between Peta, Matt and Eastside Kustoms. Everywhere you look there are custom fibreglass and carbonfibre panels. And no Commodore interior was ever offered in this colour palette; anything not painted Texas T is either swathed in luxury Pumice leather, Savannah Micro suede, or painted a matching colour – there’s even matching Porsche Pumice carpet on the floor! At night, the illuminated speaker rings, along with the LED downlights in the huge, one-piece fibreglass hoodlining, give AGIT8 an eerie glow.
And that’s just the tip of AGIT8’s highlights reel. There’s also the custom bodykit, Walkinshaw carbonfibre bonnet, custom coil-over suspension, Whiteline suspension package with adjustable sway-bars, four-piston brake calipers, VCM gauge mount, Auto Meter gauges and an HSV Ripshift – it’s the full package.
These are just four of AGIT8’s 17 screens. Peta sat at her kitchen table and disassembled every screen, sanding, priming and painting their frames before painstakingly reassembling them
“Unveiling the car at Summernats was a surreal rollercoaster,” Matt says. “We kept the build a secret; it was big surprise to a lot of people. We pushed to the limit to make it – including the last five days straight with no sleep. When the covers come off, all the emotions came out; it was hard to enjoy the moment. And equally hard to believe we actually did it!”
“So glad we did,” Peta adds. “It’s more than just the car; it’s all the people we’ve met along the way. Many of them are close friends – some we class as family now!”
All up, Peta, Matt and AGIT8 have been to every state except WA and collected over 150 trophies along the way – including Summernats Top Wagon (Street Elite) six years running.
“She’s an old girl now,” Peta says. “Yet, after three years on the circuit, I’m still amazed when people comment they’ve never seen her before.”
To accommodate the 10lb bottle for the 100hp Nitrous Express system, AGIT8 was converted into a four-seater. Now the wagon’s done a few years on the show circuit, Peta is looking forward to dialling up the giggle gas and hitting the ‘go baby go’ button in the centre console
Peta admits she doesn’t use it for work anymore, however AGIT8 has racked up 44,000km – an impressive feat few street machines of this calibre can lay claim to. “We’ve even been pulled up by the cops a few times,” she says. “They’ve never touched the car. And that’s how it’s done!”
CASTING an eye over AGIT8 leaves you in little doubt that Peta loves her audio. As jam-packed with audio gear as her wagon is, it’s not a doof-doof car; it was built with sound quality in mind – and has the Sound-Off trophies to prove it, including an unbeaten overall high score at Summernats.
The insane system includes a total of 17 screens, six 12in subwoofers, four sets of splits up front, two sets of coaxials in the rear doors and another four coaxials in the rear tailgate. All the speakers are by Polk, as are the seven amplifiers pumping out a total of 2100W RMS. Heading this colossal arrangement is an Alpine X008AU DVD/tuner. A Viper alarm with a host of remote functions, including window roll-up and nitrous purge, protects it all.
PETA & MATT PSARAS
2008 VE SS-V WAGON
Paint: HOK Texas T
Brand: Holden 6.0L L98
Induction: VCM cold-air
Intake: FAST 102, Nick Williams 105mm throttlebody
ECU: Sam’s Performance tuned
Heads: PRC CNC-ported
Camshaft: Comp Cams 239/255; 112-degree LSA
Pistons:11.3:1 Wiseco forged
Crank: Balanced Holden
Fuel system: Billet rails and braided line
Headers: 17/8in 4-into-1
Exhaust: Twin 3in with high-flow cats, HPC-coated
Nitrous: Nitrous Express 100hp wet shot
Preferred Fuel: BP Ultimate
Gearbox: Tremec T56 six-speed
Clutch: Mantic twin-plate Cerametallic
Diff: 4.11:1 gears
Suspension: Heavy-duty coil-overs (f & r)
Brakes: DBA XS slotted rotors with four-piston calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder: Billet reservoir
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Foose Legend SS; 22x9 (f), 22x10.5 (r)
Rubber: Pirelli P Zero; 245/35R22 (f), 285/30R22 (r)
Mantic Clutch; 2SUS Custom Resprays; House Of Kolor; Eastside Kustoms; Reliance Brakes; Autoglym Australia; Polk Audio; Connected Audio Visual; our close mates; all our Instagram followers – catch AGIT8 @built2agit8