This article on Dean’s VR ute was originally published in the September 2002 issue of Street Machine magazine
There’s no sweeter music than the howl of a super-tough engine cruising on by, especially when it’s accompanied by the high-pitched whistle of eight towering trumpets gulping down cubic metres of atmosphere. Ahhhh, this is the stuff street-machine dreams are made of.
While some street machiners ballyhoo about the masculinity of a whining Roots supercharger, the really tough guys wear injection – of the mechanical kind. And that’s exactly what’s bolted atop this dyno-proven 500-horsepower 308 Holden. And it doesn’t finish there. Sitting underneath the bonnet-bursting Enderle system is a pair of heavily-worked Yella Terra Dash-5 aluminium heads. These high-flowing units are kitted out with Crane double valve springs, titanium retainers and Yella Terra roller rockers.
Dictating the valve action is a Peter Jackson gear drive, Crane roller cam along with Crane lifters and pushrods. Fire-lighting duties are taken care of by a stock distributor working with an MSD crank trigger and MSD Blaster coil. Connecting the forged 13:1 Ross pistons to the stock 308 crankshaft is a set of super-tough Torana L34 rods. Forming the foundation of this breathtaking mill is a 30-over, four-bolt block with splayed steel mains caps. It’s all top-shelf gear and more than enough to have any hard-core revhead dribbling from the corner of their mouth.
This in-your-face mill is a big departure from the car’s original and mundane EFI 5.0-litre donk. Dean has nothing but praise for Paul at Barclay Engineering who screwed the combo together before slotting it into the filled and smoothed engine bay. Other engine-bay niceties include the HPC-coated extractors (firing out through a Jack Beedham exhaust system) and custom aluminium surge tank which feeds the crank-driven Kinsler injection pump. As you can imagine, getting an engine like this properly sorted is a tricky business and Al Ferrier gets a big thanks for his help in this area.
Having such a storming mill creates problems elsewhere, like how to stop it from turning the tranny into a messy pool of oil and shrapnel. To avoid this, HRT 69 relies on a beefed-up and manualised two-speed Powerglide connected to a B&M MegaShifter for cog-selection.
Body makeover and mods emphasise the long, low lines
Wanting show as well as go, Dean hooked up with John at Affordable Bodyworks for a full body makeover. These days the car wears a combo of Spies Hecker Wild Silver, with a Blue Sapphire Pearl nose job and flame treatment. Have a close look at the flames and you’ll notice they’re carried over onto the bullet rear-vision mirrors – nice touch, eh?
Body mods include extending the bonnet down over the headlights to give it that mean shark-like appearance, recessing the side maker lights for a cleaner appearance, deleting the door handles and extending the rear wheel arches down by 50mm so they no longer interrupt the full-length body crease. Affordable also carried out the mountain of work that went into the engine bay to bring it up to show-stopping standard.
Finely honed Holden 308 plus Kinsler/Enderle mechanical injection adds up to party time
Totally transforming the look of the VR is one of Fabtech’s VX ClubSport-style front bars and a Maloo-style rear bar. Fabtech were kind enough to modify its rear bar to suit the extended rear quarters.
With axed door handles, entry is via remote solenoids installed by Nick at Custom AutoLec who also completely rewired the car from front to back – check out the engine bay; there’s not a wire in sight!
As for inside, you’d have to have eye strain from watching too many Kylie Minogue videos not to notice that screaming blue-and-cream all-leather interior. ASR Motorsport worked the sewing machine and carried over the exterior’s flamed theme onto the door trims.
Rounding out the interior is a sweet-sounding audio system by Crazy Matt Vines. There’s MB Quart splits in the doors and JL subs behind the seats, powered by a grunty Rockford Fosgate Punch 4040 amp mounted between the reshaped front buckets. Supplying the tunes is an Alpine CD/tuner, which can be operated via the remote control mounted in the rare Momo/Alpine leather-bound steering wheel.
As for getting the HRT69 riding nice and low, Dean went to the fellas at Burning Customs. “They are the people to see if you want it bagged, dropped, chopped or bouncin’,” he says.
The VR ute/Dean Woods love affair started innocently enough. It was a straight, all-black jigger that looked tough and sexy as hell. Dean proclaimed, “I’m not going to do anything to this car ‘cause it’s perfect!” But his wife and friends knew him better and were having a good chuckle to themselves as he uttered those immortal words.
Fate played a hand in his about-turn. After a few minor mods and some show success the car needed a full respray after a lowlife keyed every panel back to bare metal. Another rebuild was needed after the shop that was fitting a new water pump managed to write off the front end somehow. With Summernats 14 just on the horizon, Dean decided to go all out – new paint, engine and interior.
Unfortunately its Summernats 14 debut ended in disaster. After reaching Canberra and clearing scrutineering, a fire erupted, badly damaging both the bonnet and engine bay. Everyone, including good friend Al Bundy, pitched in to try to restore the car to judging standards, but the damage was too severe and HRT69 took no further part in festivities that year.
Rather than let the incident get them down, it was used as motivation to return bigger, better and stronger at Summernats 15 where the ute managed to score a spot in the Top 60.
Beefing up Dean’s thank you list are all his mates who put in a tremendous amount of work and pushed him to make sure everything was right. HRT69 would have never reached this level without their support and encouragement. Not to mention their invaluable help at shows and input and in particular their assistance in helping him spend his every last dollar. Last but far from least is Dean’s understanding wife who, he reckons, loves the car more than he does.
As for that distinctive HRT69 number plate, Dean states that he’s always been a huge HRT (Holden Racing Team) fan. And 69? Well, that just stands for party time!
1994 HOLDEN VR COMMODORE UTE
Featured: September 2002
Colour: Spies Hecker Blue Sapphire Pearl & Wild Silver
Type: 308 Holden, splayed four-bolt block
Pistons: Ross forged, 13:1
Heads: Yella Terra Dash-5
Induction: Kinsler/Enderle mechanical injection
Gearbox: 2-speed Powerglide
Diff: 3.9:1 BorgWarner
Wheels: ANZ 18×9 (f & r)
Tyres: 245/40 (f & r)