This Holden is no ordinary car, it's some kind of Monsta.
This article was originally published in the July 2011 issue of Street Machine.
When Jamil Moukachar handed over the cash for this VR Senator back in 1997, it was a very different beast. Just two years old, the car was one of HSV’s premium offerings and had been owned since new by an older gentleman who’d kept it in pristine original condition. Packing leather seats, climate control and an impressive HSV-fettled 185i five-litre, the car was as new — beautifully refined, well-appointed and fast for its time.
These days, the car is still unmistakably an HSV. The genuine body kit remains in place, as does the factory anthracite grey paint and the well-furnished leather cabin.
There are, however, some notable additions. Like a hulking great set of tubs, four-link, McDonald Bros rear clip and a set of 20x15 Showwheels billet rollers replacing the car’s original IRS rear end and 17x8 wheels, for example.
And then there’s the engine, which necessitates all that hardcore hardware. The basic ingredients are an alloy-headed 363ci Holden V8, a heavily customised MoTeC EFI inlet manifold and a Vortech V7 supercharger. That delivers a prodigious 493kW at the wheels. That’s 660hp at the treads in the old money, a figure made all the more impressive by the fact that it was achieved on pump fuel and a relatively conservative 12.5psi of boost. With a fuel pump upgrade, a 17.5hp [psi?] pulley and a bellyful of C16, Jamil is quietly confident of even better numbers.
Monster 20x15 Showwheels billets and a custom 6in bonnet scoop were the appropriate finishing touches on the Senator, giving it an even bigger dose of attitude
“I’ve always loved the Aussie V8, and that’s why I chose to stick with the Holden powerplant and not the Chev alternative,” he says. “I drove the car in its stock form for a while, modifying it with gauges, a cam and head package, exhaust, bigger fuel pump, 19-inch wheels and a Pioneer audio system.”
That made for a nice streetable cruiser but left Jamil yearning for more grunt. After shopping around, he tracked down a VT roller block, a Group A twin-throttle manifold and a Vortech V7 blower, before subsequently pensioning off the revered Group A intake in favour of a MoTeC eight-throttlebody unit and setting himself a new goal of 1000hp.
With all the go-fast bits for his monster mill bought and ready, circumstances led Jamil overseas and the project was shelved for a time — or so he thought.
The factory leather-wrapped Devonish seats and other luxo 90s HSV fare contrasts beautifully with the race ’cage, harnesses, gauges and shifter
“On my return, I found to my amazement that my brother William and best friend Venice had finished the car,” Jamil says.
If only all builds were that easy! But unfortunately it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, because the keyway in the crank had broken — the first in a series of bones of contention with the engine builder.
“I realised that the engine wasn't right, so after much research I took it to Moe Engines in Moe, Victoria. Brian worked his magic, resulting in a lazy 800hp on the engine dyno, with the torque figure not far behind — all on pump fuel and low boost. He suggested that we keep this power level for now, get the car running and have some fun down the quarter-mile.”
MONSTA’s monster motor has the numbers to match its hardcore looks. Metres of braided hose, acres of custom alloy and that polished Gilmer-driven Vortech blower all scream horsepower
And the car was indeed fun to drive. It didn’t take long behind the wheel for Jamil to realise that with 800hp under his right foot, something had to be done to make traction a little easier to find.
“For a little Holden V8 it’s very scary to drive. Before the tubs, if you stomped it in third then no matter what speed you were going, it’d just go sideways all over the road,” Jamil grins. “So Venice and I put MONSTA on a truck and drove it for 10 hours from SA to Melbourne to be tubbed and caged by McDonald Brothers Racing, with 15x12 Weld Magnums.”
Making things a little trickier, he specified that the car had to retain its rear seat.
The tail end of the ’cage, a big alloy fuel cell and a fire extinguisher live here. The SX fuel pump pictured is old technology and holding the car back; an upgrade is next on Jamil’s to-do list
The beast was habitually destroying transmissions until George at Transtec assembled a bulletproof Turbo 400. Fully manualised, with a reverse-pattern valvebody, transbrake and 4000rpm COAN converter, it hasn’t skipped a beat. With that sorted, and a little bit of arm-twisting from Venice, Jamil decided it was time to venture out to Calder Park.
“It ran a lazy 10.5 straight off the trailer and the tune needs work, so there’s a nine-second pass to come, fingers crossed!”
As for street duties, well that’s something Jamil would one day like MONSTA to be able to do.
“South Australia is the Nazi state and for that reason I don’t drive it much. I take it to the drags and car shows and now that it’s running sweet, I do drive it occasionally on weekend permits. I will get it engineered though.”
Got dish? Massive Intro rollers look simply brilliant on the late-model Commo, and fill the McDonald Brothers Racing tubs and rear clip
While MONSTA is perhaps Jamil’s favourite toy, it’s got plenty of company in his shed, where it sits alongside a blown big-block Camaro and an HK Monaro — both in the build.
“The Camaro is a full resto, a black-on-black custom Pro Streeter with 18.5 wide rear tyres that’ll end up fully engineered. That’s been about seven years in the making but I’ve just come across the HK. I’ve always wanted one, so I’m tubbing that too, with huge 21in-wide tyres, and I’ve bought a big-cube Shafiroff crate motor for it that’s made 830hp on pump fuel,” he says casually. Looks like we’ll be seeing more of Jamil Moukachar in our pages then.