Braydon Crockett’s VL Walkinshaw tribute

Wowsers who claim young folk are lazy have certainly not met enthusiastic and robust Braydon Crockett

Photographers: Simon Davidson, Braydon Crockett

NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD Braydon Crockett overcame the massive pain and physical constraints of a broken back to turn his hand to every aspect of the build of this killer airbagged, Walky-clad, turbo-powered VL Commodore.

When did you get the VL?

I spent all my savings buying it only a couple months after I turned 17 years old. I had been searching Facebook for a daily when I saw this orange VL for sale, and I knew instantly that I had to have it. It had half a Walkinshaw kit and the paint was rough, with a black and yellow engine bay. It had been a rushed job from whoever built the car, but I just used it as a daily driver for almost a year and had a lot of fun.

You’ve clearly done a fair bit of work on it since then.

Yes, the car has had a complete ground-up rebuild. All the work was done at home by myself and with help from friends and family. The only time the VL left our shed or my uncle Nathan’s was to go to Ultra Fab, where I was a sheet-metal apprentice. I just wanted a clean engine bay, so my boss Tom and I spent a big weekend fabbing. Then the project snowballed, as I figured that I may as well repaint the whole car and buy the rest of the bodykit. I did all the panelwork and bare-metal respray myself while completing a Certificate II in Automotive Body Repair Technology. And as I love to stand out and be unique, I thought: What stands out more than a bright orange VL Walkinshaw?

What’s she running?

An RB30 with a GT35 turbo, which I built at home in just a week, with my good mate Wombat showing me what to do. You name it, we either refurbished it or replaced it. Behind the RB30 is an MX7 gearbox and nine-inch diff with a VN brake upgrade. I wasn’t after high power, just something reliable that’ll spin the wheels if need be. For now, I am happy with a sensible tune with not too much power; I am still on my green P-plates, after all!

How did you break your back?

In November 2019 I was mucking around on the beach doing front flips and I landed wrong, causing a major compression fracture in my back. This meant that I was in a back brace for three months, so I couldn’t bend, twist or drive a car; plus I couldn’t lift over 5kg for 12 months. I resigned from my apprenticeship due to it being too labour-intensive; now I design business websites. By June 2020 I could play around in the shed again, so my dad, family and friends helped me lift things, and I got a bit creative using ratchet straps, jacks and whatever else to move parts without hurting my back. I couldn’t have done this build without my dad Jason, my uncle Nathan, Wombat and everyone else who helped out; I really appreciate their work.

How did you go at Summernats Slam?

The feedback at Summernats Slam was amazing. Some people didn’t believe the car was mine because I’m so young, which made me feel even happier. Since I was a little kid it has been a dream of mine to have a car featured in Street Machine, and doing the shoot at Summernats Slam gave me a high I’ll never forget. It just made all the effort, blood, sweat and tears worth it in the end.

Aged around 21 or younger and have a neat ride? Send some pics and info to: Young Guns, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12,
Oakleigh, Vic 3166 or email us at: [email protected]