JAY Bloss has a rough history with Holden Geminis. Around 10 years ago he and wife Carlie built a TF Gemini show car that was scheduled to debut at Summernats 19. The bright pink baby was finished three weeks early and featured a crazy flame interior and a Toyota turbo four-pot under the bonnet. But it wasn’t meant to be.
On the way to Summernats, just three weeks after the car was finished, it came off its trailer and was damaged so badly it was unsalvageable, good only for the scrap-metal yard.
Jay always said he’d get another Gemini one day, but a fling with fast street cars, not to mention a fairly nuts nitrous-injected, Clevo-powered Sigma burnout beast, meant it would be almost a decade before another Gem wound up in the driveway.
Jay says the Gemini makes a fun and challenging burnout beast
“I’ve been into burnouts for around 10 years now and really only competed in small cars,” Jay says. “It’s the whole big engine in a little car philosophy. They’re a lot more aggressive to drive too, and provide more of a thrill and a challenge, I reckon. You’re always fighting to keep control of the car.”
It was the burnout scene that eventually led Jay to finding the Gemini he has now, though it wasn’t yet the GEMWAR beast you see here. “We were up at the Ultimate Burnout Challenge when my wife Carlie came and told me she’d just bought me another Gemini,” Jay recalls. “It ended up being Phil Youlten’s old yellow burnout car that did pretty well back in the early 2000s.
“I did a few burnout comps with the car, even though it was a bit ratty, then eventually decided to pull it all apart and do a full build on it. Originally it was going to be a drag car, but at the time Calder was shut and drag racing in Victoria was looking pretty average, so I decided to build another burnout car.”
The body was stripped bare and then completely worked over by Jake Dougherty. In addition to a lot of panel smoothing, Jake added a set of tubs in the rear – which meant ditching the back seats – and a full six-point rollcage.
Jay didn't want anything too crazy when it came to the colour, but it had to look special
The car was then painted in a custom-blend PPG Morpheus Purple by Leigh Black at L&C Kustoms in Hoppers Crossing. The thing looks great out in the sun, where you can really see the subtle sparkles in the finish. Jay has already taken the car to a couple of show ’n’ shine events, where it has picked up quite a bit of silverware.
Jay’s LS1 donk is crowned by a monster BDS blower with a huge 63-tooth pulley on the front to keep the boost low and power at a manageable 750hp
Then there was the task of fitting the engine. GEMWAR takes the big engine/ small car philosophy to a whole new level. It’s an LS1 block fitted with a massive BDS 6/71 supercharger that makes so much boost, it needs a giant 63-tooth pulley on the front to calm things down. “It still makes plenty of power, around 750hp, but I wanted to keep it driveable with lower boost,” Jay says.
The engine barely fits into the baby Gemini shell – the front bar and even the slats in the grille have been cut to fit the radiator in
The engine itself drinks straight methanol via a modified Enderle Bird Catcher hat that’s been set up for EFI. There’s eight factory 28lb LS1 injectors hidden in the hat and another eight 1000cc units down in the manifold, all run by a factory LS1 PCM tuned by Mark and the team at Sass Automotive in Hoppers Crossing.
They also built the donk, upgrading the 5.7-litre with a Callies crank and conrods and SRP pistons. A custom-grind camshaft lifts PAC Racing valves in ported 241 heads. At its current boost level the engine isn’t too stressed, but the boys are already talking about a 402ci LQ9 combo that should see over 1000hp.
The steering gear runs millimetres from the driver's-side exhaust system
“It all only just fitted; we had to push the engine right back in the bay to fit the supercharger pulley and the radiator,” Jay says. “It still sits outside the shell and the front bar has been cut out, but it still looks like a Gemini.
“We raised the floor, put a big tunnel in the car and pushed the front brakes and steering two inches further apart to give us more clearance in the engine bay. It wouldn’t have fit otherwise!” He’s not kidding – you couldn’t fit much more than a bee’s dick between the driver’s-side exhaust and the steering gear.
The motor is hooked up to a two-speed ’Glide running into a nine-inch diff. The rear suspension has been upgraded with QA1 springs and shocks and a ladder bar for extra stiffness. The front brakes were also brought up to VT Commodore spec, and she rides on fat Intro Vista rims with a clean and mean stance – no slammed-to-the-floor business here.
The interior matches that subtly aggressive exterior, with a pair of JAZ racing seats with four-point harnesses wrapped in black leather. That sparkly purple paint scheme is carried through to the dashboard, ’cage, doors and transmission tunnel, and really pops next to the black trim. A cool Auto Technica wheel, B&M Pro Magnum shifter and a bunch of Auto Meter dash gauges round out the utilitarian cockpit.
There's no frills inside - a B&M Pro Magnum (above) shifts gears, while a bunch of Auto Meter dash gauges (below) give Jay all the info he needs while he's burning tyres
The car is still pretty new to the burnout scene, debuting at the Ultimate Burnout Challenge Avalon, before heading north to Sydney for Brashernats earlier this year. The Gem’s short wheelbase helped the car pull off some pretty spectacular loops and Jay had a blast revving up the crowd.
“The crowd is a big motivator when you’re doing burnouts, especially at events like Brashernats where there’s a strong turnout,” he enthuses. “When the crowd is really into it and everyone’s cheering you on, you end up doing stuff that you wouldn’t normally do and pushing the boundaries even further.
The rear seats have been replaced by a set of tubs, while the fuel lines run through the car rather than underneath, which is safer as they can't be hit by debris
“The Gemini makes a fun and challenging burnout beast. Because of the short wheelbase it’s tricky to keep in a straight line, but it’s very aggressive on tip-in and turns around really easily.
“The thing I like most about burnouts though is the camaraderie. Everyone helps each other out, it’s just a great bunch of people and it’s like we’re a big family.”
Now that GEMWAR is running and ripping skids with the best of them, Jay wants to pay back his wife Carlie with a street car of her own.
“The next project is a ’65 Mustang streeter for the wife – she got me the Gem and put up with all the late nights working on the car, and now I’m living the dream thanks to her!”