Supercharged 2000 Holden VX SS Commodore – flashback

Most people chop the car up, build their engine, then do the paint last. Jason Rose ain't most people

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

THE way many state governments have their rego laws set up, you can imagine plenty of young blokes saying ‘screw it’ and doing something else. Anything other than building a tough streeter within the regs.

This article was first published in the June 2010 issue of Street Machine

Victoria’s Jason Rose hasn’t let the bastards get him down — he does care what the rules say but he also knows what he likes. The 23-year-old isn’t even off his green P-plates but he’s got this awesome blown Chevy-powered VX SS to have some fun with.

It’s not to use on the street any more, he admits. Besides Victoria’s power-to-weight laws, most officers would frown on that sky-high blower ’n’ carby combo, while those 18.5in-wide Mickey Thompsons are just asking for trouble. And a brush with the boys in blue convinced him to keep his new ride off the street.

“I got pulled over by the police a few weeks back, and they just gave me a fine for power-to-weight ratio. I was pretty lucky — he was an alright copper.”

Rather than call a tow truck, the cop let Jason drive it home. So now he goes to local burnout comps to turn the wick up.

He bought the Phantom Mica VX SS as a pure stocker about two and a half years ago with some help from his dad, and Jason’s plenty thankful for the help his old man has given him with the car.

The SS was nice but nothing special. “It was just full standard black, standard wheels everything. I had it for a year, then I supercharged it and put a cam in it.”

The blower was one of Harrop’s fine Roots-style huffers, and with some boost on board the late-model alloy Chevy cranked out a healthy 340rwkW — that’s around 455hp at the treads in old money. A decent amount of grunt either way.

At the same time, Jason added a set of Intro Torino 20in billets, some HSV brakes and had Artistic Panels work a little magic with some Passion Red paint and tribal graphics. It stayed that way for another six months or so.

He was happy enough with the performance — “It went pretty hard, the Harrop was good, it had a good noise to it too” — but it attracted too much attention and he started to worry about getting defected.

“You couldn’t drive it on the road — I’d have got a canary. Plus I wanted to do burnouts, so I went and saw Taverna about getting some tubs in the back of it.”

With just five burnout comps under his belt, Jason’s had a win at Murray Bridge, but reckons he’s learning more each time. Looks like he might be one to watch in the future

Taverna is Johnny Jr at Taverna Bros Engineering, and he’s fitted more than a few rollcages and tubs to Victorian streeters. The idea was to add enlarged wheel tubs, a solid rear axle on a ladder-bar, and a mild steel half ’cage. What rolled out of the Campbellfield, Melbourne, workshop was that and a whole lot more. John had previously worked on Jason’s brother’s VS burnout ute, so Jason wanted similar treatment for the VX sedan.

But even in Johnny’s line of work, it’s not something you see every day.

“No-one brings a VX Holden painted like that through the door. But it drove in with the billet wheels, Harrop supercharger, the lot. And we took the whole lot out and kept the shell,” he laughs. “Jason came in for a tub job but while it was there he was talking about wanting a motor like most of us have in our burnout cars.”

“We were going to put an old-school blower on the old Gen III,” Jason says, “but we rang up everywhere and we couldn’t find a manifold to fit.” Se he went with 406 cubes of blown Chevy small-block instead

Wanting to do something really radical, Jason took the plunge. “I sold the old engine,” he says, “and we started building a brand new one.”

The 10-grand Jason got for the supercharged Gen III was a good deposit on a new donk from Mick Collett at M&M Race Engines. Mick filled a fresh Dart block with an Eagle crank and rod kit to bring it to 406 cubes. Filling the bores are JE blower pistons while a custom mechanical roller cam controls airflow through the AFR heads. Top it off with a Blower Shop 6/71 and a pair of Pro Systems-prepped 900cfm Holleys and you’ve got yourself a mountain of horsepower.

How much? “No idea,” Jason says, “but I’m happy with it. It goes pretty hard.”

With the massive mods under the rear, the factory tank won’t fit so there’s a 65-litre fuel cell in the boot instead. A Magna Flow pump feeds the juice up front

Naturally they needed a super-strong driveline. Johnny sourced an A-grade Turbo 400 and a TCE 4200 converter to transfer the power to a custom one-piece tailshaft. Out back there’s a nine-inch with 31-spline Moser axles and a host of Strange goodies to shuffle the grunt to those 18.5in Mickey Ts.

But none of this gear simply bolts in; Johnny and his team handled the melding of old and new like the pros they are. Check out the engine bay — there’s not a skerrick of wiring or electronic gadgetry to be seen. The guys filled every hole in the engine bay and chassis — it’s probably the neatest late-model Commodore engine bay around. Resprayed in Passion Red to match the top side of the car, and with a fresh green pinstripe laid along the existing graphics, the blown behemoth was ready for its Summernats debut.

But there would be no vinyl-clad ladies and black drop-cloths; Jason wanted to debut this monster on the burnout pad with his first shot at a real burnout comp.

There’s a four-point mild steel ’cage to protect the occupants but the interior is mostly stock — for the moment: “I’ve got an HSV interior to go in it but I’ve got to get it fitted”

“I’m a young bloke, so I thought I’d go and do a few burnouts.”

Talk about diving in the deep end. “Summernats was my first big comp,” he says.

If we lived in a Hollywood movie, we’d be talking about how Jason battled through for an epic win. But even without the fairytale ending, he still had a blast at his first Summernats: “It’s dynamite — best event, I reckon. It was grouse.”

Since then he’s lived the highs and lows of burnout comps, with a win at the Murray Bridge Autofest, and then getting intimate with the wall at Corowa.
“I gave it a love-tap,” he laughs. “We needed a new tail-light and the bumper bar had to be pulled back out.”

After his next smokefest foray, Jason plans to hit the dragstrip and see how the SS goes with 406 cubic inches of blown Chevy leading the way.

“I reckon it’ll probably run a nine or a 10,” he says. “We’ll boost it right up and put the timing right up on it. I’m hoping for a nine.”

But he doesn’t sound too concerned; it’s the burnout bug that’s really gnawing at him. “I’m going to keep doing burnouts and keep trying to win.”


Colour: PPG Deltron, Panther Mica, Passion Red

Engine: Chev 406
Block: Dart Little-M
Carbs: Pro Systems 900cfm blower spec x2
Supercharger: The Blower Shop 6/71
Intake: Blower Shop
Heads: AFR 227cc
Pistons: JE Blower
Crank: Eagle
Rods: Eagle H-beam
Cam: Custom solid roller
Ignition: MSD 6AL, crank trigger
Exhaust: Custom headers, twin three-inch system, Berkley mufflers

Transmission: Turbo 400, full manual
Converter: TCE 4200
Diff: Nine-inch, Strange nodular iron, Strange full spool, 31-spline Moser axles

Brakes: HSV disc (f), stock (r)
Springs: Super Low (f), Koni coil-over (r)
Shocks: Pedders (f), Koni (r)
Suspension: Stock (f) ladder bar (r)
Bushes: Pedders polyurethane

Rims: Intro Torino, 20×8 (f), 20×15 (r)
Rubber: 225/35/20 (f), MT 18.5×29 (r)

Seats: VX SS (f&r)
Gauges: Standard, plus Auto Meter
’Cage: Four-point steel
Stereo: And DVD player
Shifter: B&M Quicksilver

Darren, Lorenzo & Tenille, Artistic Panels; Katie, John & Rob, Taverna Bros Engineering; Mick, M&M Race Engines; Chris, Spowser CST Plumbing; Dad (Roy Boy)