Some jobs bring a lot more personal benefit than others. While you might
think grabbing a handful of pens from the office and smuggling them home is the
ultimate ‘fringe benefit’, there are those people that enjoy real benefits -
like a 310kW ATW business car!
Dean Langdon bought this December ’01 built Holden Commodore SS brand new to
serve primarily as a company car. Like any good company car, the SS was optioned
up with Hyper Yellow paint, matching leather trim and side airbags. The standard
5.7 litre LS1 and 6-speed manual gearbox combo was deemed up to company
Dean has previously owned a Holden Commodore VL V8 and Mazda RX-7, so he
wasn’t a total stranger to a car that can obliterate speed zones in the blink of
an eye. Still, it’s natural that he quickly started wanting more and more.
“After the first drive I was pretty much used to the car,” says Dean.
Five-point-seven litres can get boring...
At that point, Dean hooked up with Mark and the guys from PowerTorque in
Brisbane. For the next 18 months,
Dean experimented with bolt-on mods and found a maximum of 235kW at the wheels –
a tidy gain over the 175-ishkW ATW standard output. This was achieved with a
cold air induction system, SS Inductions throttle body, MAF-less ECU tune,
4>1 headers, a locally-fabricated twin 2½ inch exhaust (with twin 3 inch
tailpipes) and a switch to a 3.91:1 LSD. Dean says this shortened diff ratio
made a real difference – it helped get rid of some sluggishness off the
But an all-round lift in torque was what upper management demanded.
Dean chatted with the team at PowerTorque about bolting on a blower kit but
it was decided that a stroker engine build was the better option.
Rebuilding the engine with performance parts was thought wiser than forcing boost
pressure into a stockie engine with cast pistons.
This was PowerTorque’s first stroker engine build and they opted for the
now-popular Eagle 383ci (6.3 litre) kit. An Eagle crankshaft and Eagle conrods
push a set of Ross forged pistons (which deliver a near-standard compression
ratio) and the aluminium heads were ported to allow maximum horsepower. A mild
Comp camshaft is spun by a heavy-duty double-row timing chain while heavy-duty
springs and titanium retainers look after the new stainless valves. A pair of
HSV valve covers is also fitted.
The existing headers and exhaust system work fine with the stroker engine but
an all-new air intake was required. An ITR over-the-radiator ram-air duct forces
intake air through the mouth of the previously installed SS Inductions throttle.
The intake manifold remains standard – and is probably restricting power by a
Fuelling the 383ci stroker are Holden supercharged V6 injectors (which are
installed into the standard rails) and a high-flow fuel pump. A reprogrammed
factory management system has no problem controlling the new fuel system.
While the big motor was being built, it was the logical time to replace the
original clutch with a heavy-duty single-plate item teamed with an upgrade
pressure plate and lightened flywheel. A short-shift mechanism was also
installed to reduce time wasted between cogs.
In this configuration (tuned specifically for BP Ultimate 98 RON fuel),
Dean’s stroker LS1 has punched out a massive 310kW at the treads on a Dyno
Dynamics chassis dyno. Torque is also massively improved over the entire rev
range – the engine doesn’t need to be revved to get you hurtling along.
At the time of writing, Dean hadn’t taken the car down the quarter mile but
says he plans to borrow a helmet from a mate and give it a run. Unfortunately, a
helmet doesn’t fall under the category of work expenses... Damn. Given the ETs set
by other stroker motors from PowerTorque, Dean says his car should be capable of
running a low 12 second pass on street tyres. Some experimentation with rear
tyre pressure is likely.
Dean isn’t interested in stripping the car to run a quick ET. He’d much
rather keep the leather trim and audio system than drive a noisy ‘tin can’ to
and from appointments. The body remains standard with its striking Hyper Yellow
factory paint. The only change is a set of 18 x 8 AMG Matrix Chrome rims wearing
245/40 Falken rubbers.
Immediately after our photo shoot, the car was again nosed into the
PowerTorque garage for some enhancement to the suspension and brakes.
Seen here is the car at standard ride height. The car now rides a couple of
inches lower thanks to King springs and new dampers. The original brake set-up
has also been replaced with a PBR kit comprising slotted discs (290mm at the
front) and braided lines. In the 5000km of driving since these were installed,
Dean has enjoyed massively improved stopping distances and improved brake feel
together with good pedal pressure.
But it seems Dean’s good times at work are now drawing to an end. Due to a
change in work arrangements, Dean no longer needs the car and is forced to sell.
“It’s a pity because the car’s great – it’s got torque, it goes, it sounds
tough and it’s good for normal driving,” he says.
After putting 110,000km of kilometres behind it (18,000km with the rebuilt
engine) Dean plans to sell the car for around AUD$37,500.
We doubt whether a work separation has ever caused so much pain...
+61 7 3881 2379
Dean would like to thank Mark and the rest of the team at PowerTorque for
their fantastic service, knowledge and for being good blokes!