Blown Holden 355-powered KE Corolla wagon

It looks like a giant toy and goes like a race car

Photographers: Tony Rabbitte

While Scott Briant’s KE Corolla looks like a cross between a Hot Wheels model and a show car, rest assured that this is a real, working weapon of mass tyre destruction. Not only has it cleaned up a mountain of trophies in the show arena but when it comes to smoking tyres and hanging it out sideways, it’ll make your jaw drop.

First published in the September 2009 issue of Street Machine

Scott is no stranger to brutally powerful cars. His last was a Datsun 1200 ute with a 13B turbo rotary that was cranked off its head. Many a passenger in that car at Sandown returned to the pits wide-eyed and shaking. He’s had plenty of hot four-pots and dropped V6s into a couple of Geminis, but the KE is his first-ever V8.

“It doesn’t matter what you do to a car; if it doesn’t have a V8, people will never take any notice,” the Victorian mechanic says.

“I like to build something different; a car that most people think can’t look any good no matter what you do to it.”

Every inch of the car has been massaged and fitted with the best bits. Up front is a blown 355ci Holden stroker built by Jason at Burko Transmissions in Victoria.

Goodies in the Holden VT block include a COME steel crank, Carillo conrods, SRP pistons and heavily-massaged VN heads matched to a Wade roller cam and Manley valves and springs. The intake is a Max Wedge item, with a Teflon-coated 6/71 Fisher supercharger and a pair of 750 Holley blower carbs.

As Scott uses the car for a lot of drifting and high-rev abuse, the engine is fitted with a High Energy oil pan and a huge alloy radiator that’s blown on by a set of Porsche thermo fans. A billet Diecrest Engineering electric water pump keeps a lid on engine temperatures, and the combo is also fitted with a Bocam 18mm blower ’cooler.

The headers were fabricated at home and are matched to dual three-inch pipes and Magnaflow mufflers.

The blown motor hasn’t been dynoed but in aspirated trim it made 500hp. Given there’s about 10lb of boost, it’d be safe to assume this combo is putting out around 700hp. Imagine the power-to-weight ratio in this little rocket!

A fully manualised Trimatic transmission with a TCE 4000rpm stall converter handles some heavy driver-instigated punishment, pushing the power back to a BorgWarner Commodore diff with 4.11:1 gears, full spool and 31-spline axles.

As the car was built predominately for drifting, the wheel locks on the steering box have been removed. There’s also a big-arse set of Brembo discs fitted to the front, while Commodore drums with a hydraulic handbrake take care of the rear.

“The body was pretty good when I started on the car,” Scott recalls. “It had the usual carpark dents and a little rust here and there. My buddy Joe Tupek straightened it out for me and Andrew Lang applied the Forrid Green Glasurit paint.”

The 20×10 rear rims are wrapped in 305/25 Pirelli P Zero tyres and look massive wedged inside the mini-tubbed quarters. With 18x7s on the front, the package gives the car a wickedly cartoonish appeal.
More subtle body changes include the removal of wipers, door locks, mirrors, fuel filler and guard indicators.

Inside, the car’s set up with a racing theme. The grey trim contrasts the chrome door trims, four-point rollcage, race seats and polished fuel cell. The attention to detail gives a fresh look and is easy on the eye.

“I didn’t have a lot of issues setting the car up. I did most of the fit-out myself and the tradesmen I used were very good.

“Incredibly, I’ve owned 21 Corollas — I just like them. This one was advertised in a crappy car yard in Dandenong for $900 but I paid just $300 for it!”

You’d think 21 of any model would be hard on a relationship but apparently not: “Luckily for me, my partner loves the car and all the car events too.”


Colour:Glasurit Forrid Green
Brand:Holden 355ci
Induction:Max Wedge intake with 6/71 supercharger
Carbs:Dual 750 Holley blower carbs
Crank:COME steel stroker
Sump:High Energy
Cam:Wade roller
Headers:Custom made
Cooling:Alloy race radiator
Exhaust:Dual three-inch with Magnaflow mufflers
Gearbox:Trimatic, manualised, shift-kitted
Converter:TCE 4000rpm
Diff:BorgWarner, 4.11:1 gears, full spool, shortened
Brakes:Brembo rotors, Sumitomo calipers (f), Commodore drums with hydraulic handbrake (r)
Rims:Intro, 18×7 (f), 20×10 (r)
Rubber:Pirelli, 215/35/18 (f) 305/25/20 (r)

Burko Transmissions; Andrew Lang; Hoops; Charlie Battisti & Co; Joe Tupek; Allrace; Brett & the boys at Cranky’s; Nunawading Chrome Plating; Swartzie; Stylyn; Gorne & Dollar Dog; Richard, VPW; Rob, Bocam; my wife, Emily.