YOU may remember Brendyn Wardell, the bloke responsible for the stunning blown and injected, Walky-kitted VL 2ANGRY, which met an untimely demise when it was rear-ended and written off while on debut at Summernats 26.
In what was a small source of consolation for Brendyn, we were fortunate enough to capture the car for posterity with a photo shoot the day before the accident, and when we last spoke with him (SM, March 2013) he swore he’d be back bigger and better than ever with a new car at Summernats 27. It was a tall order, but he seemed like a fairly determined bloke, so we didn’t dare question his ability to pull it off.
True to his word, when Summernats 27 rolled around, so did Brendyn. In less than 12 months he’d managed to build this oh-so-clean VL Calais; packing all of 2ANGRY’s vital organs and bearing the plates ANGRYR. Hell hath no fury like a street machiner scorned, eh?
No stranger to adversity, this isn’t the first time Brendyn has been forced to start from scratch. His prized VK STR8AZ (SM, July ’03) was callously knocked off many years ago, so he’s adept at picking himself up, dusting himself off and going again.
The blown 355 cube motor, Turbo 400 transmission and shortened 31-spline rear end survived the crash and were shoved in Brendyn’s new VL project
“I try and put a positive spin on everything,” Brendyn says. “It’s a miracle my two mates got out of 2ANGRY’s backseat just minutes before it was hit, and I look at that as the highlight because it could’ve ended really badly. The fact is, I would have been bored this year if I didn’t have a project to work on. I’m not a quitter.”
Looking at photos of the crash, you’d think there’d be very little in the way of salvageable parts. The VL was rear-ended by well over two tonnes’ worth of SUV, trailer and cargo at more than 70km/h and shunted into the car in front, resulting in serious damage at both ends. Suffice to say, it didn’t look pretty.
But Brendyn was insured with Shannons and able to keep the wreck. When he hauled the crumpled Commodore back to his workshop on the NSW Central Coast to survey the damage, he realised the blown 355-cube Holden mill, toughened Turbo 400, shortened 31-spline rear end and massive K-Sport anchors had survived unscathed.
“Because the car got hit up high, the impact travelled straight through the boot and into the crumple zones in the quarters and roof,” Brendyn says. “Pretty much everything except the body was fine. Even the Showwheels billets balanced up beautifully – I just had to cut the rear off the car to get them out! I then had them re-powder coated, but only because the fire retardant sprayed on it after the accident stained the finish!”
The only damaged parts up front were the alternator pulley and the radiator – even the oil coolers survived! The diff housing was tweaked ever so slightly, so it was easily repaired, and the tailshaft ended up with a notchy rear uni and was replaced and rebalanced. The fuel pumps ran dry and burnt out so they had to be replaced, and two door trims ended up lost in transit – so all four were re-done, along with the headlining. The rear coilovers and the wiring also needed to be replaced – all up, it was a pretty favourable outcome!
Brendyn wasted little time in sourcing a genuine Calais shell as the basis for the new project, and had a suitable roller heading north on a truck from Adelaide within two days of arriving home from Summernats.
“I knew straight away I had to build another car, but I didn’t want to build another Walkinshaw,” he says. “I wasn’t out to replace the other car, but I wanted to build something that said, ‘I’m not down and out’. A Calais is the complete opposite to a Walky, with no bodykit whatsoever, and the body I found had no rust, and only needed four or five repairs to get it spot on.”
He got stuck into the project right away, and within three months the Calais had the running gear installed and operational. Fundamentally, the engine is exactly as it was in 2ANGRY – a Holden block with ported VN heads, Scat crank, Eagle rods, forged pistons and a .580in-lift solid camshaft, topped with a Max Wedge blower manifold, Hampton 6/71 pump and an Enderle hat. But a few key changes to its set-up have made a lot of real world differences.
The car now runs a Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU and is fitted with an E/Flex sensor, meaning it’s been tuned to run on 98 octane pump juice, E85, or any combination thereof. A late VT Commodore distributor now accommodates sequential injection, and a new set of DiFilippo four-into-one headers with EGT sensors in each primary allows cylinders to be tuned individually.
There’s also an ECU-triggered water/methanol injection set-up with its own reservoir and pump, and four nozzles in the hat. In the old car, Brendyn had issues with overheating, but he reckons these days, the harder he drives it, the cooler it runs! On a conservative tune with 24 degrees timing and 10psi of boost, the blown Holden stomped out a mammoth 501rwhp on the iDyno Performance rollers.
Brendyn also has a reverse-cowl bonnet that covers the blower so ANGRYR is fully street-legal
“It’s so reliable for a blown car and it drives really smoothly. It’s quiet, it’s very streetable, completely legal and easy to drive, but you put your foot into it and it goes like a race car,” Brendyn says.
And before you start penning your hate mail, yes, the car is legal, certified and registered. Brendyn has a reverse-cowl bonnet that covers the blower, which he throws on for street duties, and the car passed the 92dB noise test and five-gas exhaust analysis required to obtain an engineer’s certificate with consummate ease. Does it get driven? Hell yeah it does.
“My wife Nat and I have been out cruising every second weekend, doing things we never got the chance to do with the old car,” Brendyn says. “I’ve done 700km in ANGRYR already, and 2ANGRY had 84km on the clock when it was smashed – most of that was done on a dyno. But 2ANGRY was the organ donor for this new project, so in a way it lives on!”