I’VE always wanted a Pro Street car,” says Mickey Prodanovic, owner of this super-sano VK. “I grew up reading Performance Street Car and I just loved anything that had a big engine, tubs and a rollcage. And living down in Wollongong, there were tough cars everywhere.
This article on Mickey’s VK Commodore was first published in the October 2012 issue of Street Machine
“It probably started with my dad, actually. He had a Bathurst HT Monaro in the late 70s and early 80s. It was tough-as, had a tunnel ram and munched up gearboxes until he put a ’Glide in it. He’s out of it now. He hasn’t even had a ride in the VK — he says he’s too old for it! He’s got his new SS and he’s happy with that.”
While Dad may have left the street machine scene behind, Mickey’s lucky enough to have a great bunch of mates to provide inspiration and help swing spanners.
“I’ve been mates with Silvio Muscat (check out his Tonner in SM, Mar ’01), and Peter Kotsopoulos for years. I watched Peter built the red HQ Monaro that was in the Top 10 at Summernats this year. They’re really good guys to know!”
Mickey’s had plenty of tough cars in his resume, including a VC Valiant that got totalled by a fellow motorist, but when it came time to build something really special he went for a VK.
“Peter Brock was always my favourite racer,” he explains. “And I’ve always loved all of the old HDT cars.”
The Commodore itself came from another mate, Yugi Aksic, who bought the car and stripped it to a bare shell before passing it on to Mickey.
A big part of the VK’s appeal is the stance. “It could go a bit lower,” Mickey says, “but then you run into trouble with the cops”
“All it had on it was four doors and the boot!” Mickey says. “No guards, no bonnet, no glass and not a scrap of wiring. Yugi helped me out with a few parts but I had to track everything else down.”
Yugi runs his own panel shop and got the nod to handle the panel and paint, including smoothing the shock towers in the engine bay.
“He did an outstanding job,” Mickey says of the Formula Blue paint job. “It couldn’t have turned out any better.”
Kevin Johnstone helped Mickey panel the boot, as well as building the fuel tank mount and battery box and doing a ton of polishing and other jobs. The colour of the ’cage gives you an indication why it’s so hard to spot in the cabin
But yet another mate — drag racer Joe Condello — had the biggest influence on the VK.
“Joe guided me through the build. I’ve learnt so much in his shed. He built the engine, tubbed the car and set up the four-link. Pretty much everything I know about cars now, I owe to him.”
The engine Joe built up for the VK is pretty staunch for a street motor. While only displacing a modest 355ci, it packs a monster 260-264 roller cam, with flat-top pistons and well-worked VN Group A heads. Topped by a single-plane Harrop manifold and a 750 Holley, the engine was tuned by Ned Sassine of Hercules Race Engines fame and makes an honest 600hp.
The engine bay is a delight — the smoothed firewall and shock towers are highlights. Other goodies that make all the difference are Lowe Fabrications master cylinder mount and cap, engine mounts and plenum cover, as well as a Bullet Performance alternator bracket and timing cover
Having learnt from his old man about the cost of destroying multiple gearboxes, Mickey went for a bulletproof driveline consisting of a transbraked Powerglide, a big 5700rpm converter to take advantage of the cam, and a shortened and braced nine-inch filled with Mark Williams internals.
Inside, Mickey stuck mostly with VK Group A goodies, including genuine HDT Scheel pews. The Pro Street theme is still there, though, with Auto Meter gauges, a Hurst Quarter Stick and a beautifully unobtrusive six-point chrome-moly ’cage by Modified Street Blown king Joe Gauci.
The whole build took nine years from go to whoa and Mickey has one more mate to thank — Goran Nikolic, for his help piecing the puzzle back together.
HDT seats, tiller and other goodies are hard to beat. The dash has been beautifully restored and additions have been cleverly integrated, including Auto Meters, shifter and ’cage. The sweet trim job was handled by Cane Tomeski
“He spent a lot of time in my shed, helping me get it all sorted out. My cousin Bobby was really good too. He’s got a really tough VK of his own and whenever I’d get frustrated with how long it was all taking, he’d throw me the keys to help me stay motivated.”
While Mickey built it to drive, the reaction the VK’s earned on the show circuit has been impressive, with a Top 60 Elite spot at Summernats 25 and Top Street Car at the Wollongong Hot Car Titles.
“It’s been a blow out,” Mickey says. “I think it surprised my parents. When I started building the car, Dad made me promise that he’d never see it in an impound yard. He thought I was just going to street race and get into trouble, but that isn’t what it is about.
“I will drag race it — at the track, when my bank account recovers!
“I drive it a couple of times a week. I’ve taken it up to Sydney, to Harry’s Café, but I’ll take it out to cruise anytime, just because I can. I love it!”
1985 VK COMMODORE
Paint: PPG Formula Blue
Engine: Holden 355
Inlet: Harrop single plane
Carb: Holley 750cfm HP Ultra
Heads: VN Group A cast iron
Pistons: Ross flat-tops
Crank: Harrop stroker
Rods: Scat H-beam
Cam: Camtech Roller 260-264 @ 50
Ignition: Crane HI-6R Ignition, MSD
Exhaust: Gonzo Tri-Y 17/8in extractors, twin 3in Gonzo system
Transmission: Powerglide, transbraked
Converter: TCE 5700rpm
Diff: 9in, MW centre and 35-spline axles
Brakes: VT twin-piston (f), VL Turbo (r)
Shocks: 90/10 (f), Strange (r)
Springs: King Springs (f), Strange (r)
Rear end: Four-link
Rims: Weld Alumastars, 15×3½ (f), Weld RT Series 15×10 (r)
Tyres: 26×7½ MT (f), 28×12½ MT (r)
Goran Nikolic for everything; Joe Condello; Yugi Aksic, YES Smash Repairs; Joe Gauci, ProFab; Enzo Mendicino, wiring; Ned Sassine; Sam, Westend Performance, machining; Kevin Johnstone, polishing and fabrication; Peter, Brake Smart; Steve’s Speed Shop & Revolution Racegear; Cane Tomeski, interior; Chubby; Marcus, Bullet Cylinder Heads; GRQ Warilla; Steve Bosilkouski; Mikey Boz and Stevie I; Colin and Kevin Johnston; Victor, Snowy; Butcha; Rick Sofro; Charlie Borg; Peter Kotsopolous; Silvio Muscat; and Jason Krstevski; Mum, Dad, Bobby and anyone else involved with the build!