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ELITE-LEVEL TURBO LS1-POWERED 2005 HOLDEN VZ UTE - YOUWAIT

By Iain Kelly | Photos: Mitch Hemming, 14 Aug 2017 Features

holden vz ute 1896

Wade Wagstaff’s stunning, elite-level 755rwhp Holden VZ ute is built to thrash in style

After getting booted from the strip for running a 10, the project car snowball knocked Wade Wagstaff for six, but it gave us this 755rwhp Holden VZ monster

This article on Wade's Holden VZ ute was originally published in issue #3 of Street Machine's LSX Tuner magazine

I HAD a Patrol and swapped it for a mate’s 2003 VY SS ute. Soon after that I found a second-hand turbo kit for sale.” That’s Wade Wagstaff explaining how his ute started down the path to the current set-up that sports a huge Garrett turbo in a smoothed show-ready engine bay at one end, with tubs and drag-ready rear-end at the other.

Holden VZ uteIt’s a wild blend of Elite Hall and Powercruise hardware, rolled together into one awesome street-registered package. Built over a six year period, Wade has poured all the experience he’s gained playing with cars over the years with his dad into the 700rwhp YOUWAIT. But of course he didn’t start out thinking it would reach these lengths.

Video: Daily-driven VZ ute runs nines

Holden VZ ute“I fitted the turbo kit and blew the engine up, so I built the motor and took it to the drags at Willowbank and got kicked out,” explains Wade. “I took it home and built a cage for ANDRA regs, and that’s how the snowball started!”

Jason Cowen at CPE was entrusted to rebuild the 346ci Gen III to handle proper boost, with Mahle slugs, Scat rods and Clevite bearings in the short motor. The stock 241 heads were ported, fitted with PAC dual valve springs and Ferrea valves, operated by a custom grind 242/242 bumpstick.

Holden VZ ute rearWade is hoping to turn the wick up on the new iron motor to push the ETs down, if not the horsepower up. With the current set-up already making over 750hp at the treads the rear-end could prove to be a weak point as it uses the stock pick-up points and bolts-in, unlike a full back-halved set-up

A single 105mm Wilson throttle body allows the charge air to mix with the E85 delivered by 2200cc Bosch injectors and the Weldon 1800hp pump. LS2 coils give the spark, with a PWR radiator and Davies Craig 16inch thermos fan keeping everything cool.

Holden VZ ute bonnetBut you just can’t miss that huge Garrett GTX45 snail sitting on custom steampipe manifolds, pushing compressed air through a front-mounted intercooler. Waste gases are expelled via a twin 3.5-inch exhaust with a BigStuff3 ECU handling the Brainiac management tasks, and it is enough to have turned the Hi Torque Performance dyno rollers to 755hp at the treads.

Holden VZ ute engine bayForced induction LS motors love Powerglides and Wade’s commercial is no different, rocking a stout JW Ultra Glide. Using an SFI case and bellhousing it has been filled with a 10-pack of clutches and a 1.80 gear set, and is fronted by a 4500rpm convertor by The Convertor Shop. A two-piece Hardy Spicer tailshaft connects that super-fat back-end to the auto.

Holden VZ ute engine“I used to run it on Elf E85 out of the drum but I’ve gone back to regular pump United E85 and it has picked up 80hp. Both cars run big horsepower and are solid and reliable on the pump E85 as it is 107RON and a different blend up here," says Wade

While independent rear suspension is great for ride quality and handling Wade knew it needed to go in the bin if he wanted 1000 rear-wheel horsepower to hit the ground in a reliable, predictable manner. “I got the parallel four-link off John Monro from Monro Race Cars who does a full bolt-in type kit for them. I haven’t driven it too much, apart from Powercruise and a 200km street cruise, but on the track it will light both the tyres hard at any speed and goes straight as a die — it is really good!”

Holden VZ uteWade spent good coin on Strange coilovers in the rear, plus a sheet metal nine-inch diff housing filled with all the good Strange Engineering gear, from a tough limited-slip centre to billet axles. The front-end runs Pedders springs and 90/10 shocks, with Wilwood four-pot brakes used at both ends and the master cylinder and booster combo hidden under the dash.

All that tungsten-tough engineering is one thing, but the finish on YOUWAIT is good enough to be under lights and behind ropes. Wade decided to update the look of the ute with a Holden VZ Calais front-end, while the PPG United Grey duco sprayed by Dave Elliot lends a classy touch.

Holden VZ uteThe whole engine bay has had its holes filled and then smoothed to perfection, from firewall to chassis rails, inner guards to the radiator panel, the finely painted and finished bay is topped off with smatterings of polished highlights and black intake pipework.

Inside is just as neat as the exterior of the ute, with the ANDRA tech-approved six-point cage tucked in against the pillars to give maximum space for occupants. A pair of high-end Japanese Bride fixed-back buckets and five-point RCI harnesses hold the occupants, with Wade rowing the TCI Outlaw shifter and staring at the Racepak digital dash for instant feedback on what’s going down under the bonnet.

Holden VZ ute wheelWhile it wears 17x4.5in Weld AlumaStars and 15x10in Weld RTs for the photoshoot, the bead-locked race wheels can be swapped out for a set of silver five-spoke 20in street hoops if Wade wants to rock a more contemporary look

So far the ute ran a best of 10.11 at 138mph before the latest build, but Wade is wanting much more from it. This is partly because he got jack of waiting to drive a tough car halfway through YOUWAIT’s build and bought a tough small block LX Torana sedan.

Holden VZ ute interior“I’d like to retrim the interior once I pick a style I like,” says Wade, who has also mentioned an LC Torana or mid-60s Chevy Nova could be the next machines to get the Full Monty treatment by him

“Dad and I bought the Torana three years ago while the build was dragging on. It had a pump fuel small block but we spun a bearing on the dyno, patched it up, broke it again and then went and did a 434-cube small block,” says Wade. “It makes 748hp at the flywheel and 548hp at the tyres, and has run 9.69 at 139mph then drove an hour home from the track.”

Holden VZ ute dashTo ensure YOUWAIT stays ahead of the Torrie Wade is currently screwing together a stout iron six-litre to replace the original alloy 5.7. “I think this motor has done a lifter, but I’ve been building an LQ9 with Callies Dragon Slayer crank and forged rods, plus forged pistons, which I’ll put my top-end onto.

“It weighs around 4000lb so it’ll struggle to run an 8, I think. I’m pretty sure that I can only run it in Super Sedan, but we’ll see I guess. I’ll never sell the ute as it probably owes me over $100,000. I’d rather open the shed every day, look at it and enjoy it.”

Holden VZ ute shifterWADE WAGSTAFF
2005 COMMODORE VZ UTE

ENGINE
Type: GM 346ci Gen III
Turbocharger: Garrett GTX45
Conrods: Scat
Pistons: Mahle
Injectors: Bosch 2200cc
ECU: BigStuff3

BENEATH
Box: JW Ultra Glide
Converter: 4500rpm The Converter Shop
Diff: 9in Ford, sheet-metal case, Strange centre
Tailshaft: Hardy Spicer custom 2-piece
Brakes: Wilwood 4-piston (f), Wilwood 4-piston (r)

ROLLING STOCK
Rims: AlumaStar 17x4.5 (f), Weld RTS 15x10 (r)
Rubber: M&H 185/55 (f), Mickey Thompson 275/60 (r)