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-   -   Arrons 355 turbo V8 Calais 9.95 @ 139mph (

PROGMH 01-05-10 10:01

Arrons 355 turbo V8 Calais 9.95 @ 139mph

With the flood of VL's and in particular VL turbo's on the scene it's hard to see something that is different. When you find something out of the ordinary it's usually for all of the wrong reasons but not with this particular Calais.
You see, it looks like a nice neat street car with an updated EFI 5.0 litre V8 sitting between the rails, right? Wrong. This is a 355 cube, injected, TURBOCHARGED, 9 second street car - all of this on pump fuel and full exhaust.

The first thing most people say is "thats not turbo'd", and at first glance they'd be forgiven for thinking it. This car is full of surprises and the owner has done everything himself, at home.

Arron's girlfriend originally had this car as her daily driver. While she owned it Arron did a spray job in the driveway to freshen it up a little. Eventually she wanted to update to something a little more late model than the Calais and updated to a VY Calais LS1. This left the VL in Arrons hands as his new toy.
With a friend offering an engine from a written off VN SS a deal was done and the motor made its way back to Arrons. With the purchase of a stroker kit and low comp pistons Arron's hands were forced into choosing forced induction over naturally aspirated.
He assembled the engine and while it was on the engine stand bolted the K-frame, power steering rack and everything else that may be in his way and went about creating the turbo manifolds. This ensured that once dropped in to the car everything fit perfectly.

The turbo is a Borg Warner item that he custom made out of a few turbo's to suit his application. It's hidden under the front guard. Being a little sneaky he decided to put the factory injected airbox in place and run the intercooler piping through that, then through the factory flexy intake pipe and into the throttle body. If you glance your eyes across the engine bay you will see there is no indication that this weapon is turbocharged. Cruising around off boost the car is quiet and you'd swear you're in a standard V8 VL but once the right pedal is mashed all you can hear is the spool up of what could possibly be a jet taking off somewhere in your rear vision mirror.

The next item in line for some abuse is an ebay TH400 3 speed auto. It was decided upon to give it a working over to cope with some extra power that would be on its way so Arron met up with Paul Keas (Keas autos) and Paul was more than happy to give him some tips and advice on how to build himself a tough auto - and this is exactly what he did, all himself. A 3200rpm stall convertor was also purchased off ebay and slotted in to position. These parts have never failed and never been out of the car.
Being as hands on as you've already read so far he also made up his own tail-shaft to suit with a mix and match of Holden and Chevrolet parts to get the length correct.

Attention now turned to the rear end. Knowing that the standard non turbo diff wasn't going to be up to the task he purchased a complete VR ute diff for the axles and LSD. He reconditioned the LSD himself and then on his lathe at home modified the length and resplined the axles to suit. Pretty handy feller isn't he?

With everything in its place it was time to wire the car. You guessed it, Arron wired the new engine to the VL and made all of the gauges work with the new engine it had. The engine still uses the factory Delco ECU but with modified Kalmaker software.

To quote Arron,


I got a base tune off a friend which was close enough to run the cam in and do few street k’s before taking it to the dyno and doing some tuning. At the dyno, we quickly learnt that turbocharged holden V8’s on pump fuel don’t like a lot of timing, 12 degrees is all we could get into it and it realed off 326rwkw on 11psi. Not overly huge, but you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face driving it as if you’d seen the curve you would see why it’s a tyre smashing machine, it makes 90% of its max power value right off the converter at about 3700rpm.
Next it was off to Calder Park to see how quick this thing was on the black stuff. It's first pass reeled off a remarkable 11.0 seconds @ 124mph. As the night went on the times came down with a best effort of 10.82 @ 125mph.
A few months later with 14psi stuffed into it's throat he managed to run 10.6 @ 132mph.

With a previously smaller turbo the need for speed was growing and Arron managed to find a few turbo's on ebay from the one seller. He ended up buying them all and modifying them and creating the turbo you see here in the pictures.
With the new turbo, a new intercooler and updated twin Bosch 044 pumps squirting the juice forward the car went back on the dyno for a tune and made 365rwkw @ 15psi. With some new rubber on the back he headed up to Heathcote and ran 10.38 @ 136mph with some ignition issues.

With a new Mallory CDI ignition replacing the original unit the boost was pushed a little further and the car cracking the magical 400rwkw mark. It was off to Calder again but unfortunately the night ended on the first pass with a uni-joint jumping ship.

Arron was then invited to a private race day at Calder Park by George Haddad. The car ran 10.0 three passes in a row at 138mph before dropping to it's current PB of 9.95 @ 139mph. It was at this stage that the head scruitineer kicked him off the track with orders not to return without a rollcage and parachute.

On the return from our photoshoot Arron decided to give it a little squirt. With three people in the car and it sitting on the Mickey Thompson street-slicks you see in the pictures the car skated right through to top gear where it sat for a good 200 metres, making little fuss with its bulk power. It's definately the fastest car I've been in and I loved every second of it! With the cubes and boost together the car makes bucket loads of torque and doesn't feel as though it suddenly smashes the power to the tyres, rather uses it's low down torque to pull you along. There's nothing like a boosted 8.

Arron must be congratulated on putting this car together almost 100% by himself at home but most of all be congratulated for creating something that he wanted to do. He built it for himself and he tells me it has far surpassed anything he had ever expected out of it.

Car: '87 VL Calais
Owner: Arron
Colour: Unknown mix

Engine: 355ci injected Holden turbocharged V8
Trans: 3200 convertor, TH400 full manual
Diff: 3.45:1 VL / VR LSD
Fuel: PUMP
Power: 400rwkw @ 18psi
Fastest 1/4 mile time: 9.95sec @ 139mph

SIKVLT 01-05-10 10:21

Awesome sleeper well done

beccc 01-05-10 10:27

pwoahhhh, loving it!!! boosted V8 in a vl, WIN! great work :D

ProTig 01-05-10 10:43

Been waiting for this write up to come out, certianly the best so far :-)

Was the 9.95 done on slicks?

zaksvl 01-05-10 10:55

that looks awesome, when a home job turns out like this it makes it so much better.

jase_vlct 01-05-10 11:56

very well done mate great job very neat body too

---------- Post added 01-05-10 at 11:57 ----------

good write up too pro gmh

GMWPN.8 01-05-10 12:01

true definition of sleeper. well done to the owner

Woggster 01-05-10 12:54

One of the biggest sleeper VLs ever. No one would have a clue as to the power it's packing from the outside

vlCALAIS2 01-05-10 13:21

Perfect sleeper 1 of the best home builds I have seen excellent work champ

hotbox 01-05-10 13:30

awesome sleeper

smnsez 01-05-10 13:32

what a sleeper that is awesome

brawlr 01-05-10 15:20

one tuff car!!. very unasuming. good write up too

SilverCal 01-05-10 16:27

Man what a weapon! it looks so neat and clean, and yet it is an ultimate weapon under all that too..awesome! nice write up too :)

SUB30T 01-05-10 17:03

congrats to the owner looking very neat and undercover

RJB-223 01-05-10 18:44

Credit to the owner for all the labour and workmanship, great to see you thinking outside the square and doing something totally different and accomplishing it

Good article and pics too Brett

VLT 88 01-05-10 19:28

this thing is awesome! i was in the car with brett while he took the photo's etc etc and the car is awesome! soo divable yet soo much torque definently one of my favorate

well done Az!

SIroller 01-05-10 20:02

wow, blown away i had no idea this existed before now! another great feature brett and a credit to the owner. that is some inspiring DIY!

88 Chaser 01-05-10 21:48

Hats off to the owner, not only hell tough, but done all on his own, credit to yourself mate, enjoy it.

SLVRBULET 01-05-10 22:01

very nice mate well done!

DVS VL280 01-05-10 23:11

one of the best sleepers going around, true credit to the owner

Pugz90 01-05-10 23:47

very nice car well done mate great work love everything about it

Katsa 02-05-10 09:10

amazing, well done mate!

vp_ss 02-05-10 10:53

one of the best! and a perfect combo to boot

jdcustom 02-05-10 14:25

not bad for a barkyard set up, hey az, and goes better than so called performance shop setups, for bout 20 times less money!!!

raz7 02-05-10 18:20

Mad sleeper! Very well concealed!

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