So I was fan-girling hard when I learned that Chloe Begley has been a stubborn supporter of her VL Calais for the past 15 years, sticking with her beloved wagon through thick and thin.
This article was first published in the September 2020 issue of Street Machine
How did your VL Calais journey begin?
Mum owned an HDT VL Turbo; I had the specs memorised off by heart when I was in primary school. From then on, I always loved VL Turbos. When I got my L-plates I bought the wagon for $5000 – it was my very first car and first love.
So, she’s genuine?
Yep, one of only 50 VL Calais wagons with an RB30ET that were built. If people know their stuff about VLs, they look at what I’ve done and gasp. But I’m not getting rid of it, so why not add a TH400 and change the engine bay to suit what I’ve always wanted? It’s my car; I’ve always wanted it to look this way.
What mods have you done over the years?
I always wanted a nice, clean and straight street car with a tidy engine bay; I went with a baby GT3082 turbo to keep it a cruiser. It was my daily, but it was getting weathered from being outside, so when I was 18 years old, it had a quick bog and paint. In my early 20s I added the high-mount set-up and would fill the car with girls and we’d race the boys. Recently the body and paint were redone; there was a fair bit of rust. And I went back to running VL Calais rims, as they look right.
It’s a healthy engine, then?
Yep, my built RB30 has put out 424rwhp on a safe tune, as the old TH400 set-up was mounted on the piss. Now that has been rectified with a new custom Paul Rogers-built TH400, plus a single-piece tailshaft, so it can soon go back on the dyno with my tuner, Ben D’Annello.
Any future plans?
I’ve cried over this car more than I have over boys, but I’m determined to get it sorted and drive the crap out of it. There’s a small list of things to do that will get the Calais driveable and reliable, and then it can be tuned. After that, I just want to cruise it. Also, I’m keen to take the Calais down the quarter, as I was 19 years old the last time I raced; it ran a 14.7-second pass.
And your dad is a big player in Team Calais?
Dad and I have done most of the work on it. You could even say it’s half Dad’s car, but he refuses to drive it and is happy just hanging out the passenger window; he’s one of my best mates. Dad still has his first car, too – an EH Special sedan. Currently he’s adding a 383ci Chev to it, though I tell him that I’ll still beat him in a drag race. We need to make that happen!
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