Exec Envy

A white V6 Holden Commodore isn't usually much of a thrill ride. But add a blower kit, Grange front brakes, body and interior revamp and things certainly start lookin' up!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

A white V6 auto VR Commodore Exec isn't exactly a rarity or a vehicle that sends hi-po nuts into frenzy. Put 2? years of constant development into it, however, and there's no reason why the humble Exec can't be as good as a gotta-get-one gotta-have-one HSV model.

Darren Scharferburg picked up this white Holden VR Commodore in 1999, and decided the first area that needed attention was the aesthetics. Darren wanted something that made his Commodore stand proud over Mr and Mrs Jones's family truckster. Accordingly, the front-end got toughened up with an ASV Group A-style bumper, plus there are GS Motorbodies side skirts and a sexy Talon rear wing. Oh, and keen Holden fans will also pick that the rear bumper has been modified to accommodate the high-flow exhaust.

Of course, a body such as this would've been a total waste of time if teamed with the stockie 15-inch hubcaps click-clicking round and round in the wheel arches. There were no reservations about ripping them off and sliding on 18 x 8 Lenso rims, clad in 235/40 18 Falken GRBs. Full colour coding, dark tint and a lack of badges everywhere (but the boot lid) complete that oh-so clean look.

Holden gave the standard Commodore a heap of gutter-jumping ground clearance, but Darren much preferred the look of a road-hugging stance. As such, the wheel arches are now home to "very low" King springs and Koni adjustable shocks. An adjustable rear panhard rod helps to sort out rear-end geometry, while a Whiteline front strut brace prevents any of the front-end flapping around under hard cornering. Darren says the ride is pretty good, but that low stance means you really have to watch out for speed humps, spoon drains, high-rise snails etcetera...

Despite the Commodore's Executive name, there's not one self-respecting executive on this planet who'd ooze over a plain stock interior. Darren certainly fixed that situation, however. The whiteness of the bodywork is now carried over inside the cabin, with white leather inserts in the door trims and the centre of Recaro front pews. More white splashes were applied to the speaker pods, window winders, steering column, cluster surround and centre console. It might seem a bit extroverted but this white and black interior colour scheme is very attractive and, yes, eye catching. Darren's mate Steve can be thanked for the d?cor work.

A modern streeter wouldn't be complete without a top-line steering wheel and at least one standout aftermarket gauge. Darren has decked his Commodore out with a Momo tiller, Autometer monster tacho with shift light and a tricky pedal set made from chequerplate aluminium. Groovin' beats come from a Pioneer CD/tuner head unit wired to a Rockford Fosgate amp and rear shelf 6 x 9s.

And now we come to the mechanical work that ensures Darren can leave a mark (or two) at the traffic lights.

First came the exhaust system. Darren enlisted Charlie of Conrod Motorsport to strip off the factory cast iron headers and put in place PaceMaker 3>2>1 units. After the collector there's now a twin 2?-inch mandrel system with a two standard cat converters and two straight-through Lukey mufflers. Not surprisingly, however, Darren was chasing a lot more power than a mere exhaust change could deliver. So - instead of hauling the 3.8-litre bent six out of the engine bay for a hi-po build - he opted for the bolt-on appeal of a Powerdyne Stage 2 centrifugal blower kit.

Charlie was again the man behind the fitment of the aftermarket goodies of the kit, which included a Bosch blow-off valve, pod filter (on the end of a convoluted flexible pipe), a new rising rate fuel pressure regulator and pump, re-mapped chip and - of course - the blower hardware itself. Darren gets by running 9-psi boost with the supplied water injection kit and always filling the fuel tank with 98-octane PULP - no intercooling is used.

After noting mixtures were a tad lean, Charlie then proceeded to install his CMS recalibrated airflow meter (on the pressurised side of the blower) and a set of larger 30lb injectors. Problem solved.

In its current trim, this is a package that's good for 190kW at the back wheels - and that's a genuine no-bull figure too, because we were there when the run was performed. Torque is still being put through the standard 4-speed automatic transmission and original diff and - so far - there have been no woes. So far...

With the fitment of the blower, Darren thought it'd be wise to install a couple more gauges to keep tabs on things - there's now an Autometer boost and fuel pressure gauge mounted in chrome cups on the bonnet.

With the availability of around double the factory power, Darren also recognised the reduced personal longevity of all who stepped aboard. The standard Holden brakes certainly weren't up to the job. This problem was solved with Charlie fitting 330mm Holden Grange front discs and calipers (which bolted on with the genuine Grange caliper bracket). A VT Commodore master cylinder was then installed to deliver appropriate front-to-rear brake distribution.

Enough focus on the whoa, how well does this white Exec V6 go?

Not too shabby at all. With a pair of "15-inch shitties" bolted under the rear, Darren has bolted off the line at Eastern Creek to record a best time of 13.8 seconds. No intercooler, no high-stall, no funny fuels, no interior stripping.

Pretty good for a white V6 auto Commodore. Quick, where's a HSV?

Contacts:

Conrod Motorsport
+61 2 9756 1880

GS Motor Bodies
+61 2 9546 4135

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