800hp Holden VL Commodore SL turbo sleeper

Is Ron Haddad's 800hp VL turbo the ultimate factory-look sleeper?

Photographers: Ben Hosking

CUTTING a walking lap of Roni Haddad’s VL Turbo SL, there’s nary a hint of the 800hp it has on tap. And that’s exactly how Roni intended it. After receiving a few too many defects for his old car, a searing yellow VL with obvious horsepower cues, this time ’round he’s opted for the peak of subtlety.

First published in the June 2021 issue of Street Machine

Only the keen-eyed will spot the Mickey T-shod rear wheels, and, when the bonnet is popped, the RB30 barely hints at being fettled. But while it gives the illusion of being fairly harmless, Roni’s engine is spitting out some serious power thanks to the know-how of the number crunchers at Maatouks Racing – best known for their crazy-fast VL Turbos and GT-Rs.

Roni and company have done a great job of keeping much of the factory fitment throughout the engine bay. Even the factory VL Turbo inlet manifold has been retained, just tweaked to suit the larger Hypertune throttlebody. But just because you can’t see mods, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. A sizeable Garrett GTX3584RS snail is tucked low behind the front bumper, assisted by a Turbosmart 38mm wastegate off an AVO Turbo exhaust manifold and finished with a four-inch dump pipe.

And Maatouks went to town, flowing the RB30 head then filling it with custom 1mm-oversize valves and double valve springs. There’s a custom-ground bumpstick, while further down, forged Nitto slugs and rods swing off a machined factory crank. Maatouks modified the sump to swallow 8.5 litres of the black stuff with a custom pick-up, gates and a Nitto oil pump.

Tuned on E85, the RB30 is fed via 1600cc injectors from a pair of Bosch 044 pumps. Cooling comes courtesy of a new factory radiator and the ever-trusty clutch fan, while the turbo is chilled by a no-name intercooler that cheekily underhangs the front bumper.

Further down the line, a transbraked Al’s Race Glides-built C4 coupled with a TCE 5000rpm stall converter passes the punishment through a single-piece tailshaft to the toughened VL BorgWarner diff packed with 3.70:1 gears, Truetrac and 31-spline axles.

Other than that, she’s all pretty much factory-spec, with relatively stock suspension and an untubbed rear.

The bright red cherry on top is the crispy-fresh Maranello hue, laid down by Queen Street Customs after they took care of getting the SL straight and tidy.

The build has been around seven years in the making. Roni’s had the VL since 2014, albeit with a brief change of ownership not long after.

“About six years ago, I sold the VL and went to Vegas with the money,” Roni admits. “A few months later, the owner called to see if I wanted to buy it back. So my mate Nathan and I went and seen the car and it was exactly how I sold it. I borrowed the money off Nathan and bought the VL – I’d be kicking myself now if I hadn’t!”

Now Roni is keen to prove the VL’s mettle out on the track – when he can. “I haven’t raced this set-up yet,” he says. “I’ll bump it to 28psi and I’m hoping for mid-nines. Work is a bit crazy at the moment, so I’m just waiting for the right time.

“I’m happy with the set-up for street duties. I take the VL out every weekend and it’s without the headaches – it looks standard, and it has an exhaust silencer on a switch, which quietens the car down.”


Paint: Maranello red

Brand: Nissan RB30
Induction: Factory VLT inlet manifold, Hypertune throttlebody, 1600cc injectors
ECU: Haltech Elite
Turbo: Garrett GTX3584RS, AVO Turbo exhaust manifold
Head: Worked
Camshaft: Custom-grind
Conrods: Nitto
Pistons: Nitto
Crank: Machined factory
Oil pump: Nitto
Sump: Modified 8.5L
Fuel system: Bosch 044 pumps, E85
Cooling: No-name intercooler, new VL radiator
Exhaust: 3.5in single-system, 4in dump
Ignition: R35 coils
Power: 640rwhp

Trans: Al’s Race Glides C4
Converter: TCE 5000rpm
Tailshaft: Single-piece
Diff: VL BorgWarner, Truetrac, 3.70:1 gears; 31-spline axles

Springs & shocks: Pedders (f & r)
Brakes: VT discs (f), VL discs (r)
Master cylinder: Factory 1in

Rims: Factory; 15×6 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber: Lassa Impetus 205/65R15 (f), Mickey Thompson Street R 255/60R15 (r)

My wife for not nagging me to sell it; Maatouks Racing for their constant support; Queen Street Customs for their amazing paintjob and repairs; Jeremy from Brightline Stainless for his custom catch-can set-up and other sneaky modifications; my mate JJ for always pushing me to make more power and keep up with him; my mate Nathan for lending me the money to buy the VL back

Got a car that looks mild, but goes wild? Send pics, car details and contact details to: Sleepers, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166. Or email: [email protected].