When you have owned a car a while, you sometimes get an itch to start changing things up or making the odd improvement here and there just to make things fresher – it helps to keep the passion alive. Sometimes a situation can tip your hand into making a change though, and for Paul Smith, the rebuild of his already immaculate VK Commodore was the reaction to a little engine failure.
If you are a WA modified car fan you might already know the car from the plates ALCO-VK. Up until last year, the car was sporting a metallic blue paint scheme along with black Hypnotic wheels and a stout 304-cube mill. It was after one fateful Motorvation that the car became destined for better things. “I screwed together a 355 Holden motor especially for the event and after the weekend it wasn’t too happy after being beaten up on for the three days. Realising the motor had to come out again, I decided that I wanted to change the appearance of the car and to go a different way with the donk again,” explained Paul.
Searching for a new paint colour was a high priority. “Every week I would go to my mate’s shop with a new idea or a new colour in my head. I would then take some colour chips home to mull over the decision. I really wanted to go for a bright gunmetal grey but a new VK popped up over East in that colour so I gave the idea a miss. Then I remembered seeing a Renault in my travels which was a really impressive yellow. It packed a heap of impact in the sun so I decided that was the winner,” says Paul. The exact colour is called Liquid Yellow and it was the boys at In Touch Panel & Paint that are responsible for the application.
Before the paint went on though, the body was given some extra love with a new reverse cowl scoop fitted, aerial hole and wipers deleted, the bay was smoothed and the whole body was blocked back to get the panels razor sharp. “With the bright yellow being the main colour I decided to go heavy with the black accents. Anything that was polished or chromed was removed and painted satin black. I knew I wanted to extend the same theme into the bay, so a heap of stuff was painted black in there and in the boot I redid the braided lines with new black fittings,” explains Paul.
When it came to wheeling the car, the rims had to be black too: “Originally I was going to go for FR20s but they have been done to death so I needed something different and equally as cool. Looking at the Simmons website I noticed a new design out, so I called Cronic Customs and they told me I would be one of the first to have the FRC wheel here in WA. I had Adam order me a set of 20×8.5s” As soon Paul dropped the wheels on the car he knew he had made the right choice. “The concave style of the wheel looks awesome. To add some extra impact I had James England, aka Proshine, come and do the yellow walls.”
One thing that had to be considered when it came to the new paint colour was the need for it to match the current grey interior. “The trim in the car was fairly new and I was happy with that so there was no need to change that at all. The grey works with the yellow really well too. People have even asked if I had redone the interior,” laughed Paul. The factory seats have been trimmed in grey leather and contrast well against the recently painted roll cage. The carbon fibre Autometer gauges are the icing on the cake.
So, with the car looking the part it was time to get cracking on that new 355. A new block was sourced and treated to some heavy duty refinements. “One thing I went for straight away was 4-bolt mains. That is where the old motor failed. Thankfully, the old rotating assembly was good to go, as were the VN heads. I spent another 15 hours or so on the port work of those, so I think that is around 60 hours all up on those heads,” says Paul.
Surprisingly, Paul has opted for a smaller cam to add some drivability to the combo and the recent inclusion of Di Filippo 4-into-1 headers has given more power at the top end. Sitting loud and proud in the immaculate bay is the COME Racing tunnel ram that wears twin 750cfm carbies which are fed a healthy diet of methanol – hence the ALCO plates. “The car has made 500hp on the dyno in N/A form and I still have the nitrous to go. The tank in the bay is specifically for the nitrous system. There is an inbuilt pump in there and I will be running 110-octane in there alone. Once I have some track time I can start playing with fuel ratios to see what works best. Last season I ran a 10.2 with the old motor so it would be nice to see the car drop into the nines which would be pretty cool for a little Holden motor,” said Paul.
It is always a brave move to start changing a killer car around, but this time, well, Paul nailed it and made his pride and joy even better. Bravo mate, bravo.