Jay Duca’s quad-rotor VL Commodore

Japanese steeze meets Aussie iconography in Jay Duca's genre-hopping VL

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Ashleigh Wilson

Purists, look away now. The concept of a sacred cow is foreign to Adelaide maniac Jay Duca, so he had no qualms with cutting up this factory 5.0-powered VL Berlina to achieve his vision of what a VL should be.

First published in the April 2024 issue of Street Machine

“I wanted to do one in my style, and I’m all about being super-low, on small Japanese wheels,” he says. “I don’t have a problem with people who jack these things up on 20-inch Simmons, but it’s just not my style.”

The VL is by no means Jay’s first wild concoction. A drifter at heart, he’s been building cars like this for decades. In 2020 he started documenting these escapades on his Low Standards YouTube Channel, kicking off with a 10A rotary-swapped VN Commodore. This VL is one of Jay’s eleventh-hour Street Machine Summernats builds, starting just five weeks out from ’Nats 36.

“I had the engine already and I wanted to put it in something, so I asked my mate Tow King to find me a VL,” he says. “He ended up dropping off two of the things for free!” If the price isn’t a giveaway, the Berlina was by no means a minter when it came to Jay, with a rough body and crap paint.

The chook-cooker in question is the Noonan Hemi of the rotary world: an all-billet 26B four-rotor, built by Pulse Performance Race Engineering (PPRE) in New Zealand. “It’s basically the same spec as all of Mad Mike’s motors,” Jay explains. “It’s definitely one of my dream motors. The whole reason we built the VL was so I could hear it run sooner!”

To get the body closer to the ground, Jay cut out all the suspension and shaved down the chassis rails significantly. The rear end copped a big overhaul, with Jay ditching the live-axle Borgy diff for a complete Nissan S13 IRS diff and cradle. “I swapped the front to S13 gear as well,” he says. “Commodore suspension is garbage, and I’m going to drift this thing, so I wanted it to stop and steer.” Shockworks coil-overs sit under all four corners help to keep it planted.

The gearbox is a Holinger RD6 sequential manual, because Jay plans to give the VL some proper hell on the sideways scene. A Haltech R5 controls the mill, liaising with a CAN Keypad and four wideband and EGT sensors.

Getting the car engine-swapped, fabricated and turned from a crusty, multi-coloured shell to a BT1-yellow hottie in just over a month was no small task. “We had guys doing 12-to-15-hour days the week before [Summernats] to get this thing ready, and I can’t thank ’em enough for that,” Jay says. Good mate Nick Baker laid down the paint just days before Jay made the trip to Canberra.

With a basic run-in tune plugged into the VL, Jay spent his weekend at the ’Nats fat-lapping with fans. “It was loved and hated, but it was awesome; [the reception] was far better than we expected,” Jay laughs. “Some people did try and tell me that I should’ve done this or that – but as if I care!”

With more time on his hands post-’Nats, Jay is sorting the four-rotor’s tune, which he says should get it to 500hp at a screaming 11,000rpm! He’ll be doing some local drifting in the car to get his eye in, and then it’ll be heading across the ditch to the rotary capital of world, New Zealand. “We’re doing MotorEx and World Time Attack Challenge, and then it gets shipped over to NZ in September so we can do a bunch of events there,” he says. Jay hints that he’s got a whole host of other wild builds planned for 2024, so watch this space!


Paint:Absinth Yellow
Brand:PPRE 26B rotary
Induction:PPRE ITBs
VCU:Haltech Nexus R5
Fuel:PULP 98 two-stroke mix
Cooling:Nick Baker custom-core radiator
Exhaust:Custom headers, 3.5in system
Gearbox:Holinger RD6 sequential
Clutch:OS Giken twin-plate
Diff:Nissan R200
Front:Nissan S13, Shockworks coil-overs
Rear:Nissan S13 IRS, Shockworks coil-overs
Brakes:Nissan S13 (f & r)
Rims:Dunlop LeMans, 14×9 -15 (f), 14×9.5 -22 (r)
Rubber:Hifly 165/65 R14 (f), Toyo 175/65R14 (r)

Evan; Nick; Anthony Cece; Franko; Joe; Chris; Phill; Brent; Jordan; Theo; Jase; Benny; Ben (Nugz); my wife Seanne; Haltech; Benny’s Custom Works; TOWKING; Adelaide Ceramic Coatings; Shockworks; Raceworks; SM Graphics; RotorBolt; Can Fit Collective; Tunez by Cece.

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