1000hp 1988 Holden VL Commodore BT1

Huss Ayache's VL Turbo is a former police chaser reincarnated as a nine-second missile

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

AT EIGHTEEN years old, Huss Ayache cut his teeth on this VL Commodore BT1 turbo – and with a want for big power came a steep learning curve on how to get it. Now, another 18 years later, he has developed the know-how and gathered the right people around him to build this ex-police chaser into a hardcore (yet classy) potential-eight-second weapon.

First published in the January 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Chris Thorogood

With over 1000hp on tap, this VL has only just touched on what it can do. “We didn’t expect to run a nine on its first trip out; we just went to the track to set up suspension,” Huss says. “The car ran a 9.0@155mph on low boost with 31psi – we couldn’t believe it! That mile-per-hour should be an 8.7 or quicker, and it’s tuned to 50psi.”

That’s a far cry from the factory 150kW example that Huss secured almost two decades ago – back when the sleek VL Commodores were easy to come by and didn’t require a massive bank loan to acquire a decent example. “I wanted a yellow BT1 and couldn’t find one; they were asking around $12,000-$13,000 for banged-up ones,” Huss says. “Then this one came up not far from me for $7600.” It was sporting a fairly fresh lick of white paint, so purchasing it was a no-brainer for Huss.

As you can imagine, a fresh-faced teenager with the keys to a turbo car saw shit get fairly lively, and fast. “When I first got the BT1, my mate and I turned the boost right up. Within a month, I’d hurt the motor,” Huss admits. “We then rebuilt the RB30 in my parents’ driveway – my mate’s a mechanic.”

Quick to learn from his mistake, Huss had the VL professionally tuned to a decent 190kW (254hp) the second time around, which sufficed for a couple of years. Next, a few more mods, including an updated ECU, saw the Commodore hit up to 300kW (402hp). Eventually Huss compiled a proven and consistent a nine-second quarter-pounder – before selling off the RB30 and ’box thanks to an offer too good to refuse.

“I decided to sell it and do something different; I thought about a V8 twin turbo or a turbo twin-cam RB26/30,” Huss says.

Obviously, he chose the latter. And, as happens with the majority of builds featured in Street Machine, the project soon took on a life of its own. “The build was taking too long and I was getting bored; I started getting ideas,” he laughs. Those ideas included an upgrade to that fearsome GTX45 Garrett spooly and the heavy-breathing Hypertune Series 2 intake.

Danny Bresciani from Initial D Racing is the bloke responsible for the stout force-fed Nissan six bolted between the towers. In preparation for big numbers at the track, Danny has specced some appropriately tough kit – we’re talking CP-Carrillo slugs and rods, custom-ground cams and Supertech valves. A FuelTech FT550 ECU controls the Hypertune 102mm throttlebody and those thirsty 2200cc Bosch injectors, fed a diet of E85 thanks to a pair of MagnaFuel 625 pumps.

Evacuating the multitude of spent gases is a 6boost Pro Mod-style turbo manifold with a whopping four-inch custom exhaust from the turbo through to the rear bumper. All up, the hard-hitting combo is good for 820kW (1100hp) at the treads.

Backing up the monster is a seriously stout driveline, from the Reid-cased Powerglide packed with billet gears and transbrake to the TCE 5500rpm stall and shortened Strange nine-inch filled with an Eaton Truetrac, 3.5s and 35-spline Altra 9 axles.

All of the bouncy and stopping parts have been equally bolstered to cop the abuse. McDonald Brothers shipped out double-adjustable front coil-overs, while the rear runs AFCO Big Gun X double-adjustable coil-overs mated to King Springs. Trusty Wilwood discs do the anchor work when the ’chute isn’t hung out.

Under all four corners sit sinister drag-spec Weld alloys: tall and thin 17x4in fronts, with short and fat 15×8.5in beadlocked rears wrapped in 255s filling out the untubbed guards.

While the BT1 was already sporting Scheel seats, upping the ante to an eight-second weapon left Huss with little option but to ditch them. “Con at CKT Custom Trim suggested removing the Scheels altogether rather than swapping seats each time I raced, as that would wreck them.” So, Huss had Con swathe Kirkey race seats and a VL rear in Group A material teamed with grey velour. The wrapped rollcage, along with the retention of most of the original 1988 interior parts and fitment, offers a factory, race-ready appearance. That said, there’s certainly no sense that this the cockpit of a potential eight-second street car.

“My goal is to race it in full street set-up,” Huss declares. “I drove the VL to Calder and home with the nine-second pass, and I plan to do that again when I run an eight.”


Paint: Custom white and grey mix

Brand: Nissan RB26/30 3.0L
Turbo: Garrett GTX45
Wastegate: Turbosmart 60mm
Intake: Hypertune Series 2 manifold, Hypertune 102mm throttlebody
Fuel system: Bosch 2200cc injectors
ECU: FuelTech FT550, two-step
Head: RB26
Camshafts: Custom-ground
Conrods & pistons: CP-Carrillo
Crank: RB30
Oil pump: Nitto, ASR sump
Fuel system: MagnaFuel 625 pumps, E85
Cooling: Shaun’s Custom Alloy radiator, Spal fan, PWR intercooler
Exhaust: 6boost Pro Mod-style extractors, 4in exhaust turbo-back
Ignition: R35 coils

Trans: Reid case, Powerglide, transbrake
Converter: TCE 5500rpm
Tailshaft: GJ Drivelines Race Series, 2000hp-rated
Diff: 9in Strange housing, Strange nodular iron centre, Eaton Truetrac, 3.50:1 gears, 35-spline Altra 9 axles

Front: McDonald Brothers springs, Viking double-adjustable coil-overs
Rear: AFCO Big Gun X double-adjustable coil-overs, King Springs
Brakes: Wilwood; six-piston calipers (f), four-piston calipers (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood 1in

Rims: Weld V-Series 17×4 (f), Weld Vitesse 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber: M/T Sportsman S/R 26/6.00 (f), M/T ET Street R 255/60 (r)

My family; my brother Khaled; my wife Stefanie; Danny Bresciani at Initial D Racing; Andrew and Con at Preston Automatics & Differentials; Jamie at Full Flight Engineering; Con at CKT Custom Trim; Nathaniel at FuelTech; Arthur at Tuners Edge; John at Race Parts Melbourne; Jesse at Victorian Towing Services; Antonio at Autobarn Epping; Dave Minutolo for the wiring; McDonald Brothers