LUKE MILLER 1987 HOLDEN VL COM­MODORE

NZV8 - - DAILY -

Hi, Luke. That’s a pretty tough-look­ing VL you’ve got — ob­vi­ously there’s a bit of work un­der the bon­net? Thanks. Yeah, it’s noth­ing too crazy, just a 355ci Holden stro­ker mo­tor. The old 304 ran a cam lobe when I was teach­ing the mis­sus how to do skids in it, so we pulled the cam out and one thing led to an­other.

That’s how it usu­ally goes. I bought a new Scat stro­ker crank, Ea­gle H-beam rods, and some 383 pistons, and the en­gine was put to­gether by Tony and Anthony Marsh at Marsh Mo­tor­sport. I was go­ing to put the in­jec­tion back on but was talked out of it. It’s now got a port-matched Edel­brock RPM Air-Gap in­take, Hol­ley 650 Dou­ble Pumper, Pace­maker head­ers, and MSD 6AL ig­ni­tion.

It’s pretty cool that you chose to stick with Holden power. You never wanted to go down the LS route? Some of my mates tell me [that] I could have made more power for half the price with an LS, and they’re right, but I just love the GMH V8 — it’s got a re­ally cool sound with the fir­ing order, and it’s some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent th­ese days. When I brought it into Marsh Mo­tor­sport, it was men­tioned that it had been a while since they’d worked on one! If I’d gone LS, it’d be just an­other LS-swapped Com­modore. No dis­re­spect to any­one run­ning an LS, but it’s not for me.

Has the rest of the driv­e­train been beefed up to suit? Yeah, it has. I was ac­tu­ally driv­ing it to Mike Reid and Bron­son Dunne for the cert, and had to be there by 8am, and the trans gave up on the way! It’s got a kit­ted TH350 now, and the diff is a 10bolt LSD out of a VR Com­modore.

Sounds like a re­li­able pack­age now. It has been so far. I don’t drive it too hard with the mis­sus and kids in the car, but I’m look­ing for­ward to tak­ing it out on work’s poker run later this year and hav­ing a go down Mere­mere this sum­mer.

So, it’s still pretty fresh? Oh yeah, it’s only got around 200km on it. We ran the cam in and bed­ded the rings in on a rollingroad dyno, but I’m still go­ing easy on it. I have a plan to make some ponies once I’m happy with how the rest of the car is set up and [when] the mo­tor has a few kilo­me­tres on it.

Did you tidy the rest of the car up while you were do­ing the en­gine? It looks re­ally tidy. Cheers. It was mainly just the en­gine bay. I had built an SBC [small block Chev]–pow­ered HQ sedan be­fore this that some­one of­fered me way too much money for, so I had to ac­cept that. For my next car, I wanted some­thing that some­one had al­ready spent the money and done all the work on — some­thing I could just get in and drive. I’d grown up with VLs — my dad had a VK-and-a-half; one un­cle had a VK, the other had a VC; my grandpa had a VL; every­one had one — and this one made sense when it popped up for sale. It was al­ready cert’d for the 304, and the body was in good nick.

Have you owned it for long? I bought in Jan­uary last year, and it was only a few months later that the mo­tor shit it­self. I’ve ac­tu­ally given it a re­ally good clean for the pho­tos; I was clean­ing it up un­til 9pm the night be­fore.

Awe­some! Do the fam­ily love it as much as you do? Yeah, it’s awe­some just go­ing out for a week­end cruise when the weather’s good. I don’t re­ally like driv­ing it in the wet, be­cause early Com­modores aren’t known for their rust­proof­ing! This one’s good, though — I just love driv­ing it.

It’s a very neat car, Luke. Thank you for tak­ing the time to show her off to us.

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