Turbo V6-powered VB Commodore cracks the eight-second zone

Josh Grant’s Drag Challenge-proven VB Commodore proves Ecotec V6s are no joke

Photographers: Michelle Porobic

Update, 30 April 2023

Our favourite lil V6 has cracked the 8-second zone, with Josh Grant’s VB Commodore running a pair of 8.9-second passes at Holden Nationals last weekend. And Josh reckons it has more in it.

“We’ve got another 200hp to throw at it,” says Josh. “After we ran the eights, the convertor started to get noisy. I’m not mad, it is as old as the hills and only specced for 600hp. So we didn’t get the chance to turn it up or use the nitrous.”

Josh resides in Tasmania, so we may have a bit of wait to see the next step in the car’s progress, but we’ll be waiting patientlly! Read below for the specs of this cool build:

Update, 4 Oct 2022

At Drag Challenge Weekend 2022, Josh and his turbo Ecotec-powered VB took a massive step forward in the timeslips, running a best of 9.0-seconds over the HPR Quarter Mile and 5.79-seconds at 121mph over the eighth.

He also took out the Quickest Holden-Powered trophy and finished seventh in Speed Pro Six Cylinder.

Aside from a shift to methanol fuel at the track, the VB remains a surprisingly basic combination, using the factory Ecotec block and crank, ported cast iron heads and a Holset turbo fitted with a 71mm billet wheel. The ECU of choice is a MS3Pro.

Since DCW, Josh and fellow Tassie DC veteran Chris Palfreyman have given the VB a tune up on the dyno, seeing 907hp at the hubs before fuel pump and injector limitations stopped play. Regardless, that is an extra 200hp that should see the VB comfortably into the eight-second zone.

Josh and his wife recently welcomed a baby girl into the world, so the VB won’t be making Drag Challenge this year, but we’ll bring you up to date when the car heads to the mainland for more testing.

The story to here:

Josh Grant brought his Morpheus Purple VB SL back to the Turbosmart Outlaw Blown class for Drag Challenge 2018, looking to run in the nines and finish the week on a high in a car he’s owned since he was 14 years old.

His first-series Commodore runs a stock-bottom-end 3.8-litre Ecotec V6, with a Holset HX55 providing boost, and a custom water-to-air intercooler keeping a lid on intake air temps. The motor actually started life as a factory supercharged L67 donk, but Josh wasn’t interested in using the positive displacement pump, preferring the 20psi worth of fun the large Holset snail provides.

Engine management has changed in 2018 to an MS3Pro ECU, while E85 is the boost juice of choice, although he does have a flex-fuel system so the purple VB can run ordinary pump fuel if required. “I have been running it on straight E85, as I don’t want to dilute the ethanol content by adding petrol on road legs,” Josh says.

“This is our third year, so we have our schedule down pat now. We get in and get some runs done before it gets too hot, then we can kick back and watch some racing. Or get on the road and make some time. It drives like a stock Commodore on the road, even with the ZZP Stage Five 230/224 cam and 1650cc injectors.”

Behind the 3.8 is an Allfast 3800rpm converter, two-speed Powerglide, and a BorgWarner diff running 31-spline axles and a 3.45 centre out of a VL Commodore.

Josh managed a 9.82@134mph on the quarter-mile at Swan Hill on Day Four, showing the speed the combo has. “After Drag Challenge this year I’m going to build another motor for it, and that will be more serious,” he says.


Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown

Engine: Holden 3.8L V6
Turbo: Holset HX55
Transmission: Powerglide
Converter: Allfast 3800rpm
Diff: BorgWarner, 3.45:1 gears
Power: 907hp at the hubs
PB: 9.0-seconds