Everybody has a theory, but no matter how you look at it, there are only two certain ways to produce more horsepower from any engine – either you cube it or you compress it. Preferably both, but that’s an entirely different story.
Choose! Blow or bore. Boost or stroke. Psi or cid.
First published in the January 2002 issue of Street Machine
This isn’t a decision taken lightly. We’re not talking about some minor Holden vs Ford allegiance or some other piddly thing like democracy versus communism. Either you’re high tech or no tech, and that’s the basic grassroots difference here.
Street machining is changing from within and sheer cubes doesn’t cut it on the street anymore with young guns such as Aaron Brincat going modern, high tech and high quality. What makes up a top driver today isn’t necessarily the same box of bits that made a top driver even a few years ago, in so much that some guys aren’t pushing displacement anymore to develop power.
If it ain’t a V8 it ain’t nothing…well, you can kiss that idea goodbye because this virgin white ute ain’t a V8 but it goes hard as hell with a blown V6. Not that he’s settled for less, or that Aaron didn’t have the cash for a V8. Are you kidding? Building a strong V6 takes just as much dosh, maybe more.
Well, high tech may not be the right way to describe bolting a centrifugal-type supercharger onto
a pushrod 3.8-litre V6. Both are as old as granddad, and the Buick V6 wasn’t the most advanced V6
when it first arrived in Australia under the bonnet of the VN Commodore. Then and now, it is a rough
donk at high revs, but then Holden gave it gutloads of grunt when, with the VS Statesman/Caprice/
Calais, it added the Rootes-type blower producing a claimed 165kW (flywheel) and V8-equalling 370Nm. Not bad, but not as much as Aaron’s getting from his version of essentially the same combination.
It is a meticulous installation, and the question we forgot to ask Aaron is why he didn’t do it
easy and bolt in the factory blown V6? There are obvious advantages to doing it that way and there
are disadvantages. Basically, Aaron’s done it better and 209kW at the rear wheels is hard proof. She’s
not standard, long way from it. “Now, if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably do a V8 or a twin
turbocharged V6,” he said after admitting that the tuning work of the factory EFI system has lightened his pockets of a few thousand dollars. “It is right now after the last tuning session on the dyno,” he says.
The engine, other than the supercharger and HM extractors, is standard. The difficulty was tuning
GM’s Mem-cal ECU to control the set of 30-pound Ford Motorsport fuel injectors. The blower is pushing nine psi through a large air-to-air intercooler mounted before the aluminium radiator. By keeping the V6 standard with its high 9.4:1 comp, there was no choice but to add the intercooler to drop intake air-temp and reduce or dismiss any detonation problems. He can crank in more boost, if he wants.
Although, in the end the belt-driven blower isn’t as boost-adjustable as a turbo, it does make
impressive torque from the get-go without lag. After a play with higher stall torque converters,
Aaron’s returned from a 2200rpm stall back to the standard at around 1600rpm and more often
than not it wins the fights at the lights. AJR Automatics made sure the TH700 four-speed
selfshifter was decisive on up changes and a helluva lot tougher with a stage Il shift kit and a
set of new clutches and servos.
That’s about three metres of polished aluminium, hand-fabricated ducting under the
bonnet. Yes, a V8 would have been easier, but that’s not the point, at least not when he started.
Don’t forget, the ute’s a work truck, clocking around 300 kays a week. It is hard to pick but
the VR started as a no-fruit ute with column shift and a three-bum bench seat. Now, inside
there’s enough chrome to make you think you’re seeing Jesus. Turn on the interior light and the
ute doubles as a disco with an on-board sound system punching through two 12-inch Rockford
Fosgate rear speakers and a front set of Pioneers. Two 2x40WRMS Rockford Fosgate amps take
play from a Pioneer CD head unit.
“When people see it they think I’m either an idiot or they like it,” he said. It certainly is different, and very Australian. The three extra gauges tell boost pressure, oil pressure and water temperature.
Every Aussie knows the ute was invented here, but bet ya didn’t know that chrome-plated plastic is also an Aussie invention. Aaron handles the stuff for a quid.
Good to see he’s still got time to drop the ute to the weeds with a five-inch dump at the rear and a three-inch dump at the front. The wheels are a real tough touch; 18×8 inches with Toyo 235/40 series treads. As strange as it sounds, the wheels are Work VS-SD, three-piece aluminium and made in Japan. By the time he’d converted Aussie pesos into yen, Aaron found himself with about $2000 sitting at each corner.
The final touch is the air-brushed Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s It on the tailgate. “I talked with Blake about a few ideas then | just gave the tailgate to him and he did the job in a few days. I didn’t have to take the ute off the road.” And now that the ute is done, Dr Hoon is looking for another patient. Open wide, this won’t hurt a bit.
1994 COMMODORE UTE
Colour: Alaskan White
|MAKIN’ IT MOVE
|3.8-litre V6, supercharged
|5.0-litre throttle body
|TH 700, Stage II shift kit, Corvette servos
|Fr Koni, Rr Pedders
|DBA cross drilled
|IN THE PLEASURE DOME OF CHROME
|Pioneer & Rockford Fosgate
|Work VS-SD 18×8
|Toyo Provis TS-1 235/40