500rwkW, turbo 5.0-litre VT Senator

This rare VT Senator shows you don’t need an LS to go big in the boosted V8 game

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

WE all associate the VT-generation of Holden’s Commodore platform as the beginning of the LS era, the LS1 debuting in the Series II VT V8 cars from 1999.

However, the VT was launched in 1997. That means there was a brief overlap period of the new-body Commodore running the old school Aussie-built, Holden 5.0 V8. Daniel Lake’s 1998 HSV VT II Senator Signature 10th Anniversary Edition is one of those, now thumping 500rwkW out of the original engine.

“I’ve had it for years now, and it’s always been the 5.0, right back to when it had 360kw,” says Daniel. “I’ve always preferred the sound of the five litre to an LS, and this shows you don’t necessarily miss out on extra power either.”

To make that power, the original HSV block is stroked to 355 cubes with a COME crank, Scat rods and CP pistons. Induction is from a Star Performance manifold, the engine was put together by Speed Works in Ringwood. It sucks up to 24psi from the GT42 turbo to make that 500rwkW, and to date has run a PB of 10.4@139mph.

“It has a Turbo 400 but is still IRS, just with upgraded axles and diff centre, so there is a limit to how far you can go with the independent rear,” says Daniel. “But my goal is to get it in the nines.”

If the VT GTS wheels look a bit funny, that’s because they’re actually 20inch replicas, needed to fit the meaty Harrop disc brakes. “A guy had a few sets custom made, and I begged him for some – I just had to have them!” says Daniel.

Inside is a HSV deluxe interior with Coulson front chairs, and Daniel has done his best over years to make the ultimate Senator. “The goal was always to build the best Senator using HSV parts, while still keeping it original enough being a rare 10th Anniversary Edition,” he says. It’s a style many refer to these days as OEM plus.