Here at AutoSpeed we’ve seen our fair share of modified Holdens. But Adrian Vitanzi’s ’02 SS Commodore is amongst the crème de la crème when it comes to attention to detail and presentation.
Oh, and it also happens to pack a supercharged knockout blow!
Adrian is a true musclecar fan who has previously had the pleasure of owning a pair of Chev Corvettes, a XA GT Ford Falcon, Dick Johnson XE Falcon Turbo and Holden VL Walkinshaw Group A. So when he purchased this 225kW 6-speed Commodore SS brand new in 2002, the bog-stock LS1 failed to provide an earth-moving experience. Inevitable, really.
“It was a good all-rounder in standard form - very nice. But it was some way off the performance I was used to,” says Adrian.
The first engine mod to befall the SS was a no-brainer – an upgrade exhaust. Initially, Adrian went for a pair of Pacemaker 4>1 extractors leading into a custom twin 2¼ inch system. This gave a definite performance improvement, but it also became apparent that something much more serious was needed to deliver the sort of speed Adrian was accustomed to.
And here enters Brisbane Tuning and Turbo Centre.
Adrian had a good talk with John Whittaker (owner of Brisbane Tuning and Turbo Centre) and it was agreed that a Vortech supercharger was the best solution. A CAPA (Centrifugal Air Pumps Australia) Vortech V2 kit was purchased and installed along with the optional air-to-air intercooler set-up. Brisbane Tuning and Turbo Centre also tweaked the supercharger kit by installing a big diameter flexible inlet pipe to the compressor, a larger air filter, revised pre-compressor water injection system and a Gilmer belt drive system. A ported throttle body and twin 2½ inch exhaust were also bolted on to enhance breathing.
The engine management side of things has been altered using a MAF-less LS1 Edit tune performed by Brisbane Tuning and Turbo Centre. A swirl pot, Bosch Motorsport pump, CAPA-supplied ‘booster’ pump, ‘100hp’ injectors, rising rate regulator and half inch braided fuel lines ensure the LS1 never starves of premium fuel. This photo shows a pair of pressure switches that are connected to the inlet manifold – one switch triggers the booster fuel pump while the other triggers the water injection system.
With its untouched internals, Adrian’s supercharged LS1 has produced a very creditable 422hp (315kW) at the wheels on just 7 psi boost. Adrian explains that it’s a priority that the car remains reliable – and, so far, it has travelled 40,000 supercharged kilometres without a hiccup.
The driveline is basically stock Holden fare except for a short-shift mechanism and a 3.9:1 HSV LSD – the shorter gearing providing a noticeable improvement in flexibility and useable performance. An ultra high performance clutch (costing AUD$2000) was also installed prior to fitment of the blower kit. Adrian tells us his chosen 265/35 18 Falken street tyres provide good traction on the road, but when he recently took the car to the drags they gave considerable wheel spin. As a result, his best time was 12.4 seconds at 110 mph - Adrian says the car should do a 12.2 second pass on sticky tyres.
And the handling and braking departments have both been upgraded. The big Commodore now carries serious speed through corners thanks to 2 inch lowered King springs teamed with Koni adjustable dampers. Brakes are big 4-pot units, the same as fitted to high-end HSVs.
Looking at our photos, you’ve probably noticed the immaculate presentation of Adrian ’s SS. Well, this isn’t something that’s happened by chance...
Adrian avoids driving the car in the wet, evades shopping centres like the plague and typically reserves the car for weekend use only. The panels are lovingly polished and waxed every 6 months to keep it looking tip-top.
Adrian is a true-blue Holden Supercar fan and, of course, this enthusiasm can be seen on his SS.
Motorsport oriented 18 x 8 inch OZ Racing wheels fill the guards and you’ll find a Supercar-look front bumper and carbon fibre rear wing (complete with gurney flap). But the real drawcard is the boot lid. Adrian laid down AUD$3500 (plus painting) for a Paul Morris race-spec boot lid which features extensive underside bracing to distribute downforce. You may also notice the clear lens Monaro taillights and VT HSV Clubsport rear bar, which adds to the Supercar look. Oh, and the 00 HSV number plates (on a V8 Supercar background) are a carryover from Adrian ’s Walkinshaw.
And does Adrian see himself updating to a new VZ Holden or, shock horror, moving across to a Ford?
“With about 560 horsepower [418kW] at the flywheel I think the car has everything you need for the street,” says Adrian .
“I won’t be selling it any time soon and I don’t think there’s much left to be done - but maybe it has some more power left in it...”