Seven-second, twin-turbo Holden V8-powered VH Commodore

Shane Baker’s VH Commodore rocketed into the Seven-Second Club at Drag Challenge 2023 thanks to good old Holden V8 power

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Chris Thorogood, Noah Thorley

Shane Baker’s inauguration into our Seven-Second Club at Drag Challenge 2023 was a long time coming, as both he and the VH had been knocking on seven’s door since our last five-day marathon back in January/February. And unlike most of the GM V8-powered cars you’ll find at Drag Challenge, the VH joined that club thanks to good old iron lion grunt.

“The car has always used Holden V8s, even as far back as when it was running 11s, long before the turbos,” says Shane. “I just love seeing how far you can push things, so we’ve stuck with the stock Holden block.”

Mr Baker is the owner and operator of Shane’s Bikes, Boats & Performance in Warwick, Queensland. A big part of that business is building bad-arse street-and-strip engines, so it’s no surprise that Shane’s own Holden V8 is a bloody ripper.

“On very low boost on the engine dyno, it made 850hp, and it’d be around 1400hp in race trim”

The base of the package is a VT roller block, sporting a COME steel stroker crank, I-beam rods and JE pistons. Capacity now sits at 352 cubes, with a custom-grind solid-roller stick completing the bottom end. Heads are COME 600 Series items that Shane has treated to a thorough port job, topped with a custom intake manifold.

Exhaust log manifolds feed a pair of G35-1050 turbos, which see upwards of 30psi of boost. “We’ve never bothered to chassis dyno it, but on very low boost on the engine dyno, it made 850hp, and it’d be around 1400hp in race trim,” says Shane.

That power is sent through a Powerglide, a full-floater nine-inch diff and – believe it or not – a pair of 275 tyres squeezed into the factory tubs. “It’s tight, but they just clear,” says Shane. “It’s a 3500lb car; I don’t like cutting them up. I didn’t even want to cut the holes for the [intercooler] pipes, and it’s all still steel.”

Shane has owned and developed the car for the better part of 30 years, building the whole lot himself. “I did the ’cage, painted it Formula Blue way back when – we’ve just slowly kept improving and racing it,” he says.

Drag Challenge 2023 was Shane’s second crack at a DC five-dayer in 12 months, having previously taken on the delayed 2022-’23 event early this year. On both occasions, Shane ran in tandem with his good mate Chris Kaarsberg, who pilots his SUB12 LX Torana. Chris managed to break into the Seven-Second Club at the 2022-’23 event, but Shane’s 8.05-second best saw him just miss out, so he was out for blood this time around.

Day Three of DC ’23 at Heathcote Park Raceway finally saw Shane get his moment, running a 7.96@173mph to snare the coveted red hat that denotes his admission to the Drag Challenge Seven-Second Club, awarded to competitors who run a seven-second ET at DC for the first time and finish the event. “It was a major relief. We’ve been so close for so long, so it was great to finally get one,” he says. 

To cap off the week, the brilliant new surface at South Australia’s Dragway at The Bend on Day Five yielded Shane further seven-second credentials, with a 7.98@171mph and then a PB of 7.92@174mph on his final pass. “It was great to get through the week and for both myself and Chris to run PBs,” he enthuses. “It’s always a great event, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Shane’s efforts saw him score not only the red hat, but also fifth in Haltech Radial Blown, sixth overall and the Quickest Holden-Powered award. Those are pretty bloody impressive results considering the VH’s Holden power and the fact that Shane didn’t use a trailer or even roof rack for the road legs!

Shane Baker
1982 Holden VH Commodore

Class:Haltech Radial Blown
Type:352ci Holden V8
ECU:Holley Terminator X
Heads:COME 600 Series
Camshaft:Custom solid-roller
Crank:COME steel stroker
Converter:Coan Racing
Diff:9in, 3.5:1 gears
DC 2023 PB:7.92@174mph