You might recognise the face and the name – David Rodman. He was the street-machiner who landed a spot on the hugely-popular Lego Masters TV show. Before that notoriety, David was best known for the tough VP Commodore SS he had crafted. Here is the story on that car.
A certain sense of satisfaction must come over an owner when they look at their pride and joy knowing they had a real hands-on experience with their build. If you can teach yourself a new skill set while improving the car then you earn two gold stars instead of one. David is one of those guys who decided to take his own build head-on, and that was the most enjoyable part about it.
“Back in the day, my old man owned a red VN S Pac and I loved that car. I remember thinking I would eventually chase that shape down. The mid-school Commodore was like the ugly duckling in many people’s eyes, but I desperately wanted a black VP Calais. I missed out on one of those, but I found a decent SS in red and began modifying it bit by bit. The build commenced back in 2007. It was just small mods here and there, but even back then, I did as much to the car myself as I could,” explained David.
It was a cooked gearbox that had David tearing the car into a million pieces. Beefing up the driveline was first on the cards. “Originally I was going to do a 355 stroker with a blower, but the idea of an LS powered machine was beginning to take shape. While putting an LS motor into anything is now something of the norm, back then it was a fresh idea. I decided to do it properly and went with the LS3 – that was the latest and greatest at the time. When I started the conversion there wasn’t a lot of knowledge or parts, I had to build a lot of custom items and sort out a lot of issues to get it to run. It was a long process and no walk in the park. The new generation has it easy,” said David.
Before the new donk was due to meet the ’91 model body, David took control of smoothing the bay, clearing all the welds and relocating the battery. “I mounted the PWR radiator low so my custom-made OTR could fit with the FAST manifold. I made a heap of stuff on the engine with art card and then sent it off to be made out of billet,” said David.
Lowe Fabrications supplied some of the other shiny stuff, while the crowning glory is that sweet looking Billet Specialties Tru Trac pulley kit. The subs in the boot got the flick and have been replaced by the fuel system components and a nitrous bottle. “Pacemaker used the car as a test mule to sort out exhaust options. The VP then became the car they based all of their systems off which is pretty cool,” he explained.
Slotted in behind the LS is a seriously modified 4L80E because David didn’t want another reason to build the car for a third time. Out back rests a VX set up with Harrop components. Slotted and ventilated VE discs and those gorgeous Billet Specialties Gran Sport 19-inch wheels can be seen on all corners. Particular attention has been applied to getting the car to handle right with Pedders and Mac items.
David eventually got the black car that he dreamed of – the VP was bathed in a seductive Metallic hue. The red SS striping and body kit just add to the car’s appeal. Inside, he wanted things to look as factory as possible. A complete re-trim included the SS velour materials and some neat upgraded modifications.
“A lot of people don’t really get to see how modified the car is. It is the smallest changes that have made the biggest difference and only serious Commodore guys pick up on that. It doesn’t bother me, I only built it for myself and I am proud of what I have achieved. If I win a trophy here and there then that is just a bonus,” concluded David.
If you want to read about David’s exploits on the TV show Lego Masters, check the Street Machine article here: