SERIOUSLY quick late-model cars are few and far between. Because of all the built-in comfort and safety features, they’re a hefty starting point for a performance build; it takes a lot of grunt and chassis modification to get them running eight-second and quicker quarter-mile times.
The guys at Melbourne’s C&A Auto Fashion do loads of late-model LS-powered Commodores, and John Hondrakis’s VE Commodore, G8PSI, is one of their most extreme customer builds. The original 6.0-litre has been ditched in favour of a built 427ci LSX block, which Con and the guys at C&A have boosted with a big Garrett GTX55 turbo. On 20psi boost, the car comfortably put down over 1000rwhp on the chassis dyno.
Backing up the turbo LS donk is a three-speed TH400 gearbox with a transbrake, which sends drive to the treads via a Pro9 nine-inch diff. The car is still regularly street-driven and most of the factory interior remains intact despite the six-point rollcage inside. John even uses it to take the kids to school on the odd occasion.
Last Friday was John’s first night out at the track since a throttlebody issue hindered progress at his previous outing. This time, with everything sorted, he was there to run a number and crack into the eights for the first time.
Calder Park was jam-packed on the evening, so John only got two passes in, but it was enough to get that eight-second timeslip. First pass saw the car gently roll off the line then come on boost hard at the 60ft marker, going through the traps for a 9.7@160mph. For the second pass – still launching soft off the transbrake– the car came on boost earlier, and John sent her through for an 8.96@164mph, making it one of the quickest street VEs in the country.
There’s still plenty more time to pull from the 60ft, and John is looking forward to running deeper into the eights next time.