Young Gun’s LS-swapped VS Commodore ute

We caught up with Jack Mill and his LS-swapped VS ute at Street Machine Summernats 34

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Jack Mill and his VS ute showed just how little money you have to spend to have a ripping time at Street Machine Summernats 34. He smashed tyres all weekend long in the LS-swapped machine, which he built at home just weeks out from the event.

First published in the June 2022 issue of Street Machine

What’s the story with the LS swap?

It’s a cammed LS1 I found cheap for $500, and we swapped it in just three weeks before Summernats. The car is a factory 5.0-litre, and that’s what it had in it before, but I figured for this year we had to give it a bit of an upgrade. The transmission is a built 4L60 – the most expensive part of the car! – and at the ’Nats it was just a standard-ratio welded diff.

Did you do all the work yourself?

I’m a mechanic and auto elec, so doing the swap was really easy for me. It’s got a full tub job in the back that I did as well, and my brother is a panel beater, so he smoothed the engine bay for me and gave the ute a respray.

Because we had stuff-all time to get the swap done, we ended up getting the car running on the trailer on the way down here from Parkes.

How long have you had it?

I’ve had it for about two years. It’s a 1998 model that was an original 5.0-litre/five-speed manual car. We got it for $2500 with a stuffed rear quarter, so we got one from another car in Dubbo and stitched it onto this car, which is pretty easy on these things.

How was the ’Nats for you this year? The belt slap suggests you had a pretty good time!

We certainly did. The ute ran flawlessly all weekend. It killed 11 sets of tyres down Skid Row and never got over 130 degrees, even though we did sit it there for quite a while waiting for them to go pop! So it didn’t take long to get belt slap all over my brother’s fresh paintjob!

So you’ve had this at Summernats before?

Yep! I had it at the Summernats before last with the 5.0-litre as an entrant, but I’ve been coming to Summernats for a lot longer than that. It’s a family tradition for us; we build cars for the event every year and bring them along – it’s in our blood, really.

This year my brother had his tubbed CV8 Monaro there as well, so it was a good time.

Do you use the ute for much else?

It’s not street-registered anymore, but I’ll get it rego’d again one day with the LS swap. I did Bathurst Autofest with it, which was my first time on the pad. We broke the diff straight away, went into town and got a $100 stick welder and fixed it in the car park.

We didn’t bother with a welding mask, as it was more expensive than the welder! But other than that, the ute was flawless there as well.

Planning to do any other events this year?

I entered the Wagga Burnout Party 2.0 on Anzac Day long weekend, but I don’t have anything else planned yet except the next Summernats. I’ve already entered for it, and I’m going to hit the pad this time in the Burnout hampionship, which I’m really keen for.

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].