A self-confessed rotary tragic, Stefan Tomevski’s something of an anomaly in Wollongong, New South Wales’s unofficial VL Commodore capital. So does the striking Nardo Grey-painted VL you see here mean he’s given up the chook-cookers to join his Holden-loving brethren? Yes and no.
First published in the January 2023 issue of Street Machine
“I’m actually building an RX-3 that I’ve owned for a while, but I’ve had a few VLs over the years as well,” Stefan explains. “My dad Cane has operated a motor-trimming business from the family home for 35 years, so we’ve always had a wide variety of cars coming and going from the house – everything from nut-and-bolt restos on Suzuki Mighty Boys to full-chassis drag cars, and everything in between.”
Purchased on the eve of a spate of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the pandemic, Stefan’s VL has had to wait quite a while for its eventual moment in the sun at Street Machine Summernats 34.
“I’d purchased a one-owner VL Berlina from an elderly couple in my area. It had the original sale documents and everything,” Stefan says. “The more I looked at that totally original car though, [the more] I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy it. Luckily, a mate needed to sell his VL Calais replica, which ultimately became the base for this build.”
Stefan got the car home to the family carport just before COVID hit, and it rarely left for the duration of the build, with Stefan and dad Cane handling most of the work themselves.
From the outset, Stefan’s vision for the car centred around a complementary three-colour scheme: Nardo Grey, black and red. It’s such a harmonious combo that it makes us wonder why it hasn’t been done before.
To that end, the initial gameplan involved a quick respray in Nardo Grey, a bright red trim job courtesy of Cane, and the usual VL mods to make this thing a neat street car. But it turns out Cane’s such a dab hand on the sewing machine that Stefan realised he needed to aim higher. “I was originally going to do a factory-style trim in VL Calais Madeira Red material, but I picked up a set of VZ ClubSport seats, and once I saw how good Dad made them look with his trim, I knew I was in trouble!” he laughs.
With Cane and Stefan studiously hand-crafting the custom interior pieces and wrapping every single piece in red vinyl, the rolling shell was stripped down and prepped for paint before being dressed up with an HDT LE bodykit.
“I’d always wanted to do an HDT tribute, and in my opinion, the LE kit is the only way that the VLs look good in a single colour,” Stefan explains.
The VL’s engine bay boasts Nissan’s notorious RB30 3.0-litre six-cylinder. Aside from being impeccably detailed, the mill is no slouch, with over 500rwhp on tap with a relatively tame 22psi of boost. That power to gets to the ground via a KEAS-built Jatco auto and a decent stall. It all adds up to a bucketload of fun for a dedicated street car.
For reliability’s sake, the RB30’s notoriously fragile cam tunnel was reinforced before a custom-ground cam was slotted into the worked head, matched with a forged bottom end. Stefan’s good friend and engine builder Dennis Makko bolted up a Plazmaman plenum on the cold side and a Precision 6466 on the hot side, suspended by an Aussie-made 6boost manifold.
Underneath, the car is incredibly simple. The four-speed auto fronts a shortened BorgWarner rear end, a diff that’s plenty strong enough for this power level. As Stefan was keen to unveil the VL at Summernats, the undercarriage is neatly plumbed with stainless-steel hardlines for the fuel system and a remote-mounted Astra power steering pump, and has been coated in black stoneguard for a presentable yet practical finish.
With the car freshly painted and 500hp of boosted RB waiting to wreak havoc on Wollongong, the Tomevskis set about refitting the trim. VZ Clubby seats take pride of place up front, while a Powertune digital dash in a customised VL dash cluster sits behind a Momo HDT steering wheel.
Neatly integrated into the dash, an iPad controls the car’s wireless speakers and offers modern luxuries like GPS – a gigantic leap forward from the single-DIN head unit and manual air con controls that would have otherwise filled the space.
The quality abounding in the cabin continues into the boot, where extensive panelling hides unsightly necessities like the battery and electric power steering. Taking pride of place on the boot floor is a fuel cell nursing 50 litres of E85; inside is a single Walbro pump, with both its wiring and plumbing done in matching stainless hardlines.
Stefan managed to get the VL buttoned up in time for its Summernats 34 debut – no easy feat given the difficulties imposed by travel restrictions, supply chain disruptions and other pandemic-related delays during the course of the build. It makes him even more proud that most of the work was done at home.
“One of the only times the car left the carport at home was to head to my partner Ally’s house,” Stefan explains. “She comes from a racing family, and they’ve got a great workshop at their house with hoists, which made the suspension and undercarriage work possible. Despite COVID-related travel restrictions, I could still head there and work on the car.”
How did Stefan feel when he could finally show off all his hard work at the ’Nats? “Actually getting the car to Summernats was surreal, to be honest,” he laughs. “But it was worth it. The car displayed amazingly, and everyone’s feedback was so positive.
“It even made the gallery of photos on the Street Machine website, so to now have the car featured in the magazine is the icing on the cake!”
1986 HOLDEN VL COMMODORE
|Induction:||Plazmaman plenum, front-mount intercooler|
|Head:||Ported and polished|
|Fuel system:||Walbro 535 fuel pump, Bosch 1650cc injectors|
|Cooling:||Brass-core VL Turbo radiator, clutch fan|
|Exhaust:||6boost turbo manifold, 3.5in dump pipe, 3in exhaust|
|Ignition:||Bosch coil packs, ICE leads|
|Gearbox:||Manualised Jatco four-speed|
|Converter:||TCE 3200rpm, TCI billet flexplate|
|Diff:||BorgWarner housing, 3.9:1 gears, 28-spline billet axles, Eaton Truetrac|
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES|
|Front:||XYZ coil-overs, Whiteline sway-bar|
|Rear:||XYZ coil-overs, Whiteline swaybar|
|Brakes:||Wilwood discs with four-piston calipers (f & r)|
|Master cylinder:||VZ Commodore|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||Walky Wheels; 20×8.5 (f), 20×9.5 (r)|
|Rubber:||Hankook 225/30R20 (f), Winrun 255/30R20 (r)|
My dad Cane at CT Custom Interiors; Billy VOL30T for the paint; Dennis Makko; Vic for the electrics; Paul at IES Motorsport; Reliance Brakes; Kon at Diff Technics, Kon at Wollongong Automotive Services; GameOn Motorsports; Precision Suspension & Automotive; Nik Poriotis for the fabrication; all my other friends and family who were involved in the build, especially my
partner Ally, who helped immensely