LUKE MILLER 1987 HOLDEN VL COMMODORE
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.