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Brock-inspired Holden VK Commodores: 1985 BT1 & 1984 Calais

By John Dennis | Photos: Ben Hosking, 09 Aug 2019 Features

Brock-inspired Holden VK Commodores: 1985 BT1 & 1984 Calais

The only thing more bad-arse than one tough VK is two. Brothers Raymond and Tony Elia have quite the pair, and they're not afraid to show them off

THE dual-Brock showcase you see before you all began with Raymond Elia’s dream of owning a tough VK, which he realised round nine years ago. The car, now known as KNGHDT, has been through three builds and it could be in for a fourth if Raymond’s plans come to fruition.

This article was first published in Street Machine Commodore magazine, 2018

Holden VK“The first build had different interior trim, and the motor was just a carby-fed Holden 355ci,” Raymond explains. “The second build was when I put the bone leather trim in and installed the blower set-up. The latest build is when I had all the sheet metal done by Lowe Fabrications. This is also when I fitted the 22-inch wheels and new brakes.”

Read next: Holden 355-powered HDT-inspired 1984 VK Commodore

Holden VK CalaisRaymond’s car began as a white VK Calais, purchased from one of his brother Tony’s mates. Both brothers are friends with Basser from 2SUS Custom Resprays, so it was only natural that the car was dropped off there, cleaned up and treated to some Alpine White paint and a Group 3 bodykit.

“I always planned to have the car painted white,” Raymond says. “Everybody was doing the Blue Meanie style; I wanted a white one. And when I finished this one, I wanted to build another one. Which is how my brother’s car come about.”

Read next: Turbo LS1-powered VK Commodore Brock replica

Holden VK CalaisRaymond pushed the first build through quickly so he could have the car finished in time for his wedding. But he’d always wanted a blown 355ci Holden VK Commordore, so going supercharged was always a case of when, not if.

“It was fun having a naturally aspirated 355ci V8,” Raymond admits. “You could give it hell and not have to worry about it. After we put the blower on during the second build we didn’t do much to the bottom end; it wasn’t until the third build that we rebuilt the motor.”

Read next: Turbo LSX-powered 1984 Holden VK Calais

Holden VK bootEach time the engine was modified, Raymond’s brother Tony was there to get it done. As it sits now the engine is a Holden VN V8 that’s stroked to 355ci, and features a Blower Shop 6/71 supercharger set-up, twin 750cfm boost-referenced Holley carbs, Scat H-beam rods, Scat crankshaft, a custom-grind camshaft to suit the blower, Lunati lifters and valve springs, and ported and polished VN heads with oversized valves.

A PWR radiator and 18-inch SPAL thermo fan keep things cool, while Pacemaker extractors and a custom three-inch exhaust with twin Hooker mufflers help the car to sound the part.

Holden VK Calais wheelThe gold 22in Simmons FRs certainly stand out. The front wheels measure 22x8 and the rears 22x10. Neatly tucked behind them are Ksport eight-piston calipers with 380mm discs up front, and Ksport six-piston calipers with 330mm discs in the rear. Raymond has extended the gold theme to the MOMO steering wheel

Sending power to the nine-inch diff is a built Trimatic that features a manual valvebody and a 3500rpm TCE stall converter. The diff has been treated to 3.9 gears, Mark Williams axles and a Truetrac diff centre.

Holden VK interiorThe bone leather trim in Raymond’s white VK is really something. It’s completely custom throughout, from the door trims to the pattern on the seats. Other features include a wild stereo, a very cool Auto Meter gauge cluster, a B&M ratchet shifter and a MOMO steering wheel

Completed during what Raymond calls the second build, the leather trim, put together by Sewtime Interiors, is a focal point of the car. Bone-coloured leather is found on just about every surface from pillar to pillar, including on the genuine front Scheel seats. Other interior features include a neat stereo system and a custom rear parcel shelf, Auto Meter gauges, a MOMO Race steering wheel and a B&M ratchet shifter.

Holden VK engine bayThe engine bay has been smoothed and features quite a lot of custom sheet metal, which also continues in the boot. There’s no denying that KNGHDT is one of the neatest and tidiest VKs around. And the gold 22-inch Simmons FRs certainly make a statement.

Holden VK BT1Being a motor mechanic by trade certainly helps when it comes to building and fitting a donk for your own car. The Holden VN V8 in Tony’s car has been stroked to 355ci and breathes through an Injection Perfection eight-throttle trumpet set-up. It sounds the business, too!

Tony’s blue VK came about through his brother wanting to build a second car. “Originally Raymond was just trying to buy some Scheel seats from Melbourne,” Tony says. “He ended up asking the guy if he’d like to sell us the whole car, and he agreed. My brother had the car trucked to Sydney, and when I saw it I asked him if I could have it. We already had a white one; I wanted to build a blue one.”

Read next: LS1-powered 1985 BT1 Police-spec VK Commodore

Holden VK BT1Originally a Victorian BT1 police car, the VK came with virtually nothing inside. “From start to finish we built the blue VK in 11 months,” Tony says. “Once the ball starts rolling I like to keep things moving along, otherwise I get bored. The car came with nothing in it. No dash, no windows, no interior, no engine and no wiring. It was just a bare shell, though the tubs were done in Melbourne by the previous owner.”

Read next: Holden 355-powered VK Calais Group A replica

Holden VK bootTony’s VK was also cleaned up and painted by Basser from 2SUS Custom Resprays. It was given the full Blue Meanie Group A SS treatment.

While the paint and panel was getting done, Tony built himself an engine – easy to do when you’re a qualified motor mechanic. It’s a Holden V8 sourced from a VN Commodore and stroked to 355ci. It features Scat H-beam rods, Scat flat-top pistons, ACL Race Series bearings, Lunati pushrods and valve springs and a Lunati solid-roller camshaft. Hurricane extractors feed into a three-inch exhaust.

Read next: Blown 1985 Holden VK Berlina Blue Meanie tribute

Holden VK wheelLike Raymond’s VK, Tony’s car also wears 22in Simmons FRs. He decided to go with a black theme for the wheels, which extends to the trumpets as well. Thanks to the rear tubs, Tony has managed to squeeze a 335-wide section of rubber under the back

The standout feature of the blue VK’s engine set-up is the Injection Perfection eight-throttle trumpet inlet manifold sticking out the bonnet. “At first I ran a tunnel ram and a carby set-up, but I wanted to change to trumpets and make it injected,” Tony says. “The trumpets sound real good. For what it is, it performs really well.”

Holden VK bonnetTony’s blue VK sends power to the 335-wide rear tyres via a Turbo 700 four-speed gearbox. A one-piece tailshaft and a TCE stall converter complete the driveline.

The interior is based on what you’d find in a genuine Blue Meanie, albeit with a bit of a twist. “I wanted the car to be a four-seater,” Tony says. “We had a rear seat cushion cut out to fit the tubs and had it trimmed up to match the Scheel seats in the front. It has come up perfect. All of the trim work was done by a guy in Alexandria. He did an excellent job.”

Holden VK engine bayTo give the car a distinctive personality, Tony wanted it to have black highlights, which include the 22-inch Simmons rims and the trumpets proudly protruding out of the bonnet.

Both brothers admit that the TYM2GO VK sounds unbelievable with the trumpet set-up, while the KNGHDT VK also has a menacing bellow thanks to its 6/71 blower. Raymond and Tony take the opportunity to drive their cars on the street as much as they can, attending local car meets with family and friends.

Holden VK interiorTony’s VK is more representative of what you would find inside a genuine Group A SS, with genuine Scheel front seats and door trims, though the back seat has been cleverly changed to a two-seat set-up to accommodate the tubbed rear end

Tony says that he doesn’t have any further aspirations with the blue car, and that it’s now time to just enjoy it. Raymond on the other hand is seriously considering having all of the undercarriage done to make his car “full elite”.

Holden VK dashTony and Raymond both agree they’ll never sell either of their VKs. They even share the cars between them. “If I feel like driving the blue one, I just tell Tony I’m taking it for a drive,” Raymond laughs. “He does the same with me. We just share both of them. It’s nice to have the pair.”

Holden VK BT1TONY ELIA
1985 HOLDEN VK COMMODORE BT1

Paint: Formula Blue

ENGINE
Brand: 304ci Holden V8
Induction: Injection Perfection eight-throttle trumpets
ECU: Haltech Elite 2500
Heads: VN 304ci, ported, oversized valves
Camshaft: Lunati solid-roller, Lunati lifters, Lunati pushrods
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: Scat flat-top
Crank: Scat
Oil pump: Mopar high-volume, high-volume sump
Fuel system: High-flow LS1 injectors, Bosch fuel pump
Cooling: PWR radiator, 18in SPAL fan
Exhaust: 3in exhaust, Hurricane extractors, Hooker mufflers
Ignition: ICE

TRANSMISSION
Gearbox: Turbo 700, manual valvebody
Converter: TCE
Diff: VL Turbo, billet gears, Harrop Truetrac, one-piece tailshaft

SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Springs: Ksport coil-overs (f & r)
Shocks: Ksport coil-overs (f & r)
Brakes: VT calipers and RDA discs (f), VL Turbo calipers and RDA discs (r)
Master cylinder: Standard

WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Simmons FR; 22x8 (f), 22x13 (r)
Rubber: 225/30/22 (f), 335/25/22 (r)

THANKS
Special thanks to Basser at 2SUS Custom Resprays; ARA Engine Reconditioning for the machine work; Joe at Hi-Comp Performance Engines & Tuning; Ali and Kass Taleb at Northern Beaches Wheels & Tyre Centre; Guildford Spares; my brother Ray (KNGHDT) for putting ideas in my head; Mum and Dad for letting me take over the garage; last but not least my wife

 

Holden VK Calais

RAYMOND ELIA
1984 HOLDEN VK CALAIS

Paint: Alpine White

ENGINE
Brand: 304ci Holden V8
Induction: The Blower Shop 6/71, twin 750CFM boost-referenced Holley carbs
Heads: VN 304ci, ported and polished, oversize valves
Camshaft: Custom grind, Lunati lifters
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: Scat forged
Crank: Scat
Oil pump: High-volume, high-volume sump
Fuel system: Holley Black
Cooling: PWR radiator, 18in SPAL fan
Exhaust: Pacemaker extractors, 3in custom mandrel-bent system, twin Hooker mufflers
Ignition: ICE

TRANSMISSION
Gearbox: Trimatic, manual valvebody
Converter: TCE 3500rpm
Diff: Ford 9, Truetrac, 3.9:1 gears, Mark Williams axles, custom two-piece tailshaft

SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Springs: Ksport coil-overs (f & r)
Shocks: Ksport coil-overs (f & r)
Brakes: Ksport eight-piston calipers and 380mm discs (f), Ksport six-piston calipers and 330mm discs (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood

WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Simmons FR; 22x8 (f), 22x10 (r)
Rubber: 225/30/22 (f), 265/25/22 (r)

THANKS
Special thanks Basser at 2SUS Custom Resprays; my brother Tony at TYM2GO Racing for all the late nights and hard work; Lowe Fabrications for the late nights; lastly my wife for giving me all the late nights off and for her running around getting all the parts

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