629hp Holden-powered VK Brock tribute

This 629hp, Holden-powered Blue Meanie tribute is Mark Spiteri’s dream street beast


If you look back at peak 80s Holden muscle, HDT’s VK SS Group A – popularly known as the Blue Meanie – is bloody hard to top. Mark Spiteri certainly agrees, which is why his own VK weapon offers a blend of HDT originality, huge levels of howling Holden grunt, and a dash of modern luxury.

First published in Street Machine’s 2022 Yearbook

“Growing up in the 80s and 90s when VK and VL Commodores ruled the streets and race tracks was a big influence for me,” Mark says. “I knew if I was ever to build a car it’d have to be a VK Commodore.”

When the time finally did come for Mark to create his dream machine, he managed to source a basic VK sedan as an unfinished project from well-known Sydney street machiner Stephen Sherry. “There’d been plenty of Group A replicas done before, but I had a vision to make this different,” he says. “I didn’t just want to build a replica but one of the greatest tributes going around.”

Stephen had already started converting the Berlina to an HDT special, but to do it Mark’s way, the whole project needed to start again. First, the car was sent to Michael Sciberras from Street Cred Differentials & Fabrication, who mini-tubbed the car, fixed up the rust and fabricated the four-linked nine-inch rear end.

While that was going on, Mark set about finding someone to build a donk, and his vision was pretty clear. “I never even considered doing an LS,” he laughs. “These things were Holden V8s, so that’s the only engine I wanted for this car.” He was put onto Damian and Mick from BG Engines, who came to the table with one seriously stout iron lion.

The basic Holden mill was stroked to 350 cubes with a steel crank, I-beam rods and SRP pistons. Rounding out the bottom end is a solid-roller cam specced by BG Engines, and the long motor was completed with a pair of Yella Terra cylinder heads.

Mark wasn’t interested in injection and wanted the air cleaners to poke out of the bonnet just enough to hint at the grunt he had available, so the induction system comprises a BG Engines custom billet tunnel ram topped by a pair of APD 650cfm carburettors wearing Aeroflow air filters. Drinking PULP 98, the combo made a healthy 629hp at 7400rpm, and 502lb-ft of torque.

All that power is being sent rearwards through a TKO 600 five-speed manual, so it makes for a pretty lairy machine to drive on the street. “Damian warned me it’d be like driving on wet grass with that much power through a manual, and he’s not wrong!” Mark says. “But I always wanted a manual. The real ones were all manual; it makes it way more fun on the street, and drag racing doesn’t really interest me.”

The rest of the build was completed by Michael and Matt Ellard from Image Conversions. The boys finished off the bodywork, gave the VK its lick of Formula Blue and pieced it all together for Mark.

“When Mark come to see us about finishing his project, we knew he had high expectations for the VK,” says Michael. “Every Commodore has uneven door gaps and plastics that never fit properly, so we spent a long time modifying panels and gaps to correct those issues.”

Even with Mark’s brief of keeping the car as close to HDT spec as possible, the Image Conversions team still got to flex their customisation muscles with the supremely smoothed engine bay and sheet metal work in the boot.

To keep said bay looking nice and neat, they took on the arduous task of hiding both the air conditioning compressor and Astra power steering pump under the right front guard. “You look in the engine bay and you’d have no idea it has that stuff because it looks so basic,” Mark says.

An important aspect of the build for the Image Conversions crew was the continual consultation with an engineer throughout the process to ensure all the modifications were legal. “We spent six months making the vehicle street-legal, taking all kinds of measures to make that happen,” says Michael. “We made a cover for the air filters, and the AP Racing brakes ensured it had the stopping power it needed.”

The car was completed for its unveiling at the 2021 Hot Rod & Custom Auto Expo, where it scored some silverware for Best Sedan. “The build process took around five years all up, but I couldn’t be any happier with the results,” Mark enthuses. “It’s everything I dreamed of and more, and I can’t thank the people enough who were involved along the way.”

Since the VK’s debut, Mark has taken it for the odd cruise, but he’s waiting until after Street Machine Summernats 35 before he really starts using it. “The aim is to get into the Top 60 there, and then once I’ve done that, I’ll look to use it a bit more and not be as precious,” he laughs. “We had it at MotorEx this year and that was really special, so I can’t wait to get it to the ’Nats.”


Paint:Formula Blue
Brand:350ci Holden V8
Induction:BG billet tunnel ram
Carbs:APD billet 650cfm
Heads:Yella Terra
Camshaft:Custom-grind solid-roller
Crank:Steel 3.48in
Oil pump:High-volume
Cooling:PWR fans
Exhaust:Dual 3in
Gearbox:Tremec TKO 600
Clutch:Mal Wood
Diff:9in, Truetrac, 35-spline axles, 4.11:1 gears
Front:XYZ coil-overs
Brakes:HSV AP Racing discs and six-piston calipers (f), HSV AP Racing discs and four-piston calipers (r)
Master cylinder:VT Commodore
Rims:HDT Aero; 19×8 (f), 19×10 (r)
Rubber:Pirelli P Zero; 235/35R19 (f), 285/30R19 (r)

Matt, Mick, Paul, Burnsy and Frank at Image Conversions; Damian and Mick at BG Engines; Bill at Hy-Tone Motor Trimming; Chubby at Lowe Fabrications; Mick Sciberras at Street Cred; Auto West Paint Supplies; Toast Graphics; Unigroup Engineering; PWR Advanced Cooling Technology; my wife Michelle and sons Josh and Liam; good mates Dave, Steve, Glen, Shaun and Rod.