Piloting a blown, 1000hp VL Commodore, Matt Addinsall took out third place in the Elite class at the recent LOO5EFEST burnouts in Stawell in western Victoria. We caught up with Matt to get the lowdown on his journey in the sport so far.
How long have you owned the VL?
It’s my first car, which I’ve owned for nearly 13 years. I used to drive it on my L-plates, and it was painted in Holden Tiger Mica with an RB30 and five-speed manual. I paid $2500 for it, and it even came with a roadworthy certificate!
When did you decide to transform it into something angrier?
At Summernats in 2017, I went for a ride with Russell Harris around the cruise route in his blown VL, LOO5E, and my fiancée Maria said to me: “You should do that with your VL.” She convinced me to change the car, which meant I didn’t have to get permission from her! At that stage, it already had an aspo LS1 with a cam in it, but nothing too special. I decided to build from that, so I tubbed the car myself and bought the blower and injector hat and so on. Originally it was being built as a drag racing and Powercruise car, but in 2018 we took the car to the Portland Powernats, and that first tip-in at that comp is where my fascination for burnouts really started.
What was the set-up back then?
It was a blown 5.7-litre alloy-block LS1 built by someone else, and it didn’t run very well. I ended up taking it to Brett Niddrie of BNR Engines to set up the fuel system and do a base tune. After that, I spoke with him about the engine, and he was happy to have a look at it. He pulled it down to find what was wrong, and then I gave him the go-ahead to get the engine running how it should.
Was it happy motoring after that?
Unfortunately, no. At the last Ultimate Burnout Challenge at Winton, I did two good qualifying skids and then went out in the final, and the car just wasn’t happy. I should have known better and pulled the pin, but I kept going. Right at the point where I thought to myself I really should stop, it backfired and blew the blower off the engine. Luckily the engine itself wasn’t hurt, but not long after, I dropped a valve and damaged the block. We decided it wasn’t worth repairing an alloy block, and Brett had a 5.3-litre cast-iron LS block sitting there, so we went down that path. It was good for a little while.
A little while?
As I was getting more confident on the pad and throwing the car in harder, I was starting to get some oiling issues. At the Avalon 5K competition in 2018, I ended up grenading the whole engine because of it. Brett helped me source another 5.3 that we then built from scratch to be a bulletproof combo. A big part of that was a dry sump to fix the oiling issue, taking inspiration from the tank set-up in Tim Brown’s CEMBLO VK. The rest of the driveline has been faultless from the beginning – a Powerglide and nine-inch four-link rear.
Early this year you skidded at Street Machine Summernats for the first time – how was that?
It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done with the car. There was something about the atmosphere with all the people cheering, and coming down the run-in road with all that concrete looking at you is such a daunting thing. It’s a real adrenaline rush.
Is there anyone you want to thank?
My fiancée Maria; Brett Niddrie at BNR Engines; Gambier Kustom Autos; SKD Cartel; Hec’s Screens & Service; Grampians Tyres; G&C Forestry; Peter Pollock Fabrication; all my mates that have helped with the car along the way.