Brodie Ward’s blown 403-cube VL Commodore

After sending countless Nissan six-pots to the scrap heap, Brodie Ward wised up and built his dream blown and injected VL Commodore

Photographers: Charlie Sant

I spent about five minutes on the phone with Brodie Ward before deciding he’s a lunatic. Not the kind that stands on milk crates and waves pamphlets at the train station, but our kind of lunatic: not only does he call this mechanically injected, 8/71-blown homage to horsepower a streeter, but he unapologetically intends to cruise it everywhere!

First published in the March 2024 issue of Street Machine

Though it’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly Brodie’s defiant streak comes from, one thing’s for sure – working on some of the nation’s wildest builds as a fabricator for ProFlo Performance has certainly shaped his tastes. “I’m not really a diehard Commodore guy,” he says. “I had a turbo LS-powered Corolla event car, but I wanted something to have fun on in the streets. It had to be turbocharged, and I decided that something older would be cooler.”

He promptly found a red VL Commodore with a stout turbocharged RB30 combo, and wasted no time relentlessly beating on it! “I reckon I broke around six diffs, 10 gearboxes and a few engines,” Brodie laughs, as fond memories of high-speed tip-ins and bald tyres come flooding back. “The RB was fun for a while, but as replacement parts became more expensive, it was pretty apparent that an LS would better suit my driving style.”

The first stop was a comparatively tame L98 6.0-litre engine that had its EFI swapped out for a single-plane manifold and carby set-up, and after countless tyre belts had signed the rear quarters with thick, black lines, Brodie also sought to freshen up the paint. “I was originally just going to touch up the paint, but by the time we repaired the quarter panels and cut out some rust, we’d be painting the whole car anyway, so I settled on the beige,” he says. It’s a modified version of a factory VL colour dubbed Mink.

Slung low over a set of Weld wheels, it was in this guise that the VL received its first dose of internet notoriety (including some impressive Skid Row action at Summernats 34), but it wasn’t long before Brodie’s insatiable desire to tinker got the best of him and he had the car in pieces again, selling the diff and wheels to prep the VL for tubs and a ’cage.

“I’d been piecing together this 400-cube LS for another car I was building,” Brodie says. “The engine was ready, but I didn’t want it sitting around for years, so I quickly got the VL back together with the new combo.”

The cast-iron, 403-cube stroker base is a gem of its own (Mill of the Month, SM, Jan ’24), but it’s the Shaun’s Custom Alloy manifold, billet BDS 8/71 huffer and PFP injector hat that really get our pulse racing! Brodie was adamant that the car would run a true mechanical fuel injection set-up, rather than an EFI arrangement made to look like its analogue counterpart. “The mechanical set-ups just make more power, and the way they deliver power is totally different,” he enthuses. “It’s addictive!” All up, the LS makes somewhere north of 1000hp.

The Turbo 400 holed up in the trans tunnel has copped all the fruit, and the BorgWarner M78 diff almost looks lacking by comparison. “I could have built a big nine-inch, and it might get one someday, but provided I don’t put radials on this and try to launch it, the BorgWarner is up to the task and cost me a third of the price,” Brodie explains.

He sourced a set of 19-inch Intro Rally wheels to help get the car rolling, and he admits that it took a few tweaks before he fell in love with them. “When I bought them, they were 10 inches wide on the rear, and black,” he says. “They looked terrible. I narrowed them to suit the rear end and colour-coded them to match the bumpers, and now I couldn’t see it being any other way.”

If you can rip your eyes away from the giant blower, you’ll see an incredibly refined custom interior that really smartens up the car without clumsily overpowering the subtlety of the Mink paint. “I was insistent on the Group A material on the inserts of the seats, but other than that, I trusted Bec [of Trims by Bec] to do her thing,” Brodie says. “Keeping light grey trim clean has proved to be a mission, though!”

While Brodie’s wild driving style forced him into the VL’s first rebuild, and he’s done very little to change his heavy right foot since then, he insists he’s now doing his best to keep the car presentable. “The car still cops it, and it loves it,” he laughs. “I’m done with it for now, though. I wouldn’t mind trying to race it, and if I get the bug I’ll toughen up the rear end and throw a ‘cage in it.”


Paint:Modified GM-H Mink
Brand:403ci GM LQ9
Induction:Shaun’s Custom Alloy manifold, BDS 8/71 supercharger, PFP injector hat
ECU:FuelTech FT550
Heads:Rectangular-port GM
Pistons:JE forged
Camshaft:Comp hydraulic-roller
Oil pump:Melling
Fuel system:Waterman belt-driven billet & MagnaFuel QuickStar 300 pumps
Cooling:Alloy radiator, twin Spal 12in fans
Exhaust:1¾in stainless steel extractors, twin 3in exhaust
Ignition:LS coils
Gearbox:TH400, reverse-pattern, transbraked
Diff:BorgWarner housing, 3.7:1 gears, full spool, 31-spline billet axles, CPC billet hat
Front:BC Racing Gold coil-overs
Rear:Lowered springs
Brakes:Wilwood 320mm discs and Wilwood calipers (f), standard (r)
Master cylinder:VT Commodore
Rims:Intro Rally; 19×7 (f), 19×8.5 (r)
Rubber:Hifly; 225/40R19 (f), 235/40R19 (r)

ProFlo Performance; Ontrak Auto Electrical; Blake at Kustom Panel ’n’ Paint; Trims By Bec; Charlie Sant; my dad and all the boys that helped out.