Sunday, 26 April 2015

Calais Turbo..

1987 VL Holden Calais Turbo.
A model that has consistently had a huge following in Australia, for its light chassis and strong Nissan-sourced drivetrain.
The 1986-1988 (VL chassis) Holden Commodore was the mainstream large sedan, produced by what is likely Australia's most-loved manufacturer. In the late 80's, these would have been everything from family commuters, to taxi's, to police cars.. with over 150,000 produced - definitely no small amount for <3years of production in a market this small. These would have been everywhere.
The VL Holden Commodore(/Calais) was available in both sedan and wagon, in a range of trim levels (SL, Executive, Berlina, Calais..), and powered by either a 3litre naturally aspirated six, turbo six, or 5litre V8.
The car above is a top-tier Calais Turbo, with the Turbo option (which included other, stronger components) being ~$2000/7.5% on top of the regular Calais, with the 5litre V8 version sitting in-between.

I've always had one helluva soft spot for these, after years of dealing with its (poorer, but arguably better) cousin - the R31 Skyline. Its a Holden, RB-powered, has tons of potential, sounds great, and is just bloody iconic.
I can still remember going to car shows 10-15years ago, and seeing fast, restored examples.. cars with tons of engine work, and neat standard bodies (albeit with custom paint or trim).. a style of modifying that stood apart at the time, and as such has been so timeless. Actually always seemed close in style to the rotor community in Australia..

Now.. getting back to the immaculate 1987 Calais Turbo at hand..
I took these pics at the Dandenong Valley Holden Car Show a fortnight ago; where even among hundreds (likely..) of spotless cars, this stood out. Seriously.. that engine bay..

The Nissan-sourced RB30ET - a single cam, three litre version of the same straight sixes that powered Skylines and GT-R's for more than the decade following..

Now breathing with a little more enthusiasm than it once did; with an aftermarket ex. manifold, Garrett GTX42R, large front mount, and forward-facing plenum, replacing the original low-mount, non-intercooled T3.

Following the standard VL formula of perfect body/interior, built motor, and venetians - a large set of Simmons FR's. Proper 3-piece versions of an equally iconic wheel.

For incredibly convenient comparison, there is currently an original red-over-silver Calais Turbo for sale.. in my state.. for a price I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough to pay.
I try to resist browsing locally for this reason - I already have too many cars I like too much.. argh.. if only I had the space..

1987 again, original Calais, original turbo, Maranello Red over silver.. with supposed original paint to boot..

These are the original Calais-specific alloy wheels, which are still very popular to keep on these cars. These have a machined finish from the factory, but people usually choose to fully polish when restoring..

Beautifully original in here. That crossover pipe is the same one seen on non-intercooled RB's in Japan..

The only thing not original seems to be the manual swap (this particular car was built as an auto), although the Turbo's were originally offered in both manual and auto.

Calais-specific tails and garnish.. and the classic turbo badge..

I have no doubt I'll own one eventually.. as these have sat in my mind as 'the next project/restoration' for quite some time.
I just hope by the time I get to it, I'm not left to buying a rusty SL shell as a base...

Done. Love these.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Another 60-series: A perfect FJ62.

A perfect example of a late 60-Series 'Cruiser, currently sitting at the top of the (relatively crowded) Japanese 60-series market.

..but rightly so; with a claimed <50,000km, and no obvious modifications.. its just about as good as it gets.

For a few specifics; its a 1988 FJ62 Toyota Landcruiser - a top-of-the-line, high-roof, VX model; powered by a petrol six (being an FJ62).
1988 was the second last year of a 9year production run, and the first year of the (injected, 3FE) FJ62 model.

Split-tailgate on the VX, instead of the classic barn doors...

I love this year, model, and spec. Quad headlights, tons of chrome, privacy tint, sunroof, and those impressively thorough decals.
This definitely feels contrary to popular opinion on these, where it seems common practice to back-date and strip-down every 60-series to replicate the utilitarian look of an early base-model version. I'll admit it does look great, but I think these late VX models are too cool just as they are.. 

Spotless 30year-old carpets and cloth.
Being a top-spec model, its no surprise to see the Auto Transmission, three rows, power windows & sunroof.

Toyota's 3FE - a fuel-injected, 4litre, petrol straight-6; the final iteration of Toyota's 'F' engines, introduced decades before.
De-stroked from the 4.2litres of its predecessor (the 2F, not surprisingly), the now-square 4litre produced 116kw and 303nm of toque - both up on the previous 4.2litre unit, albeit dubiously (shorter stroke with the increased torque developed higher, raising power numbers..)..
Power is sent through a 4spd Auto, and to the ground via leaf-sprung solid-axles front (with manual locking hubs) and rear.

The ultimate in luxo, 2-tonne, vintage off-road wagons.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Hiro V1-R


As promised in this post here back in January; the Hiro V1-R in detail..
SSR Hiro V1-R
15x6 +40
1/1992 (late!)

Three-piece, cast face, true directional/asymmetrical design, and SSR's electron cap setup.
An update to the earlier Hiro V-1 wheel, made for Hiro Engineering by SpeedStar (SSR). 

To repeat what I wrote in the previous post:
Trying to figure what the exact difference (and why) for the V1-R from the V1 isn't initially obvious. Going by later SSR naming structure; it would make sense that the 'R' stood for 'reverse' (full reverse compared to the regular reverse in this case).. but then it was used as a regular reverse in 16" form.. which kind of throws that out the window! The V1-R has a 1" larger face than the V-1; so while it is mounted as a full-reverse in the 15", it is a reverse as 16" (the older V-1 does 14" and 15" the same way).
Regardless of this; other than having a 1" larger face (and to me, not as pretty as a result), the V1-R also has a raised section on the front edge of every blade, running all the way to the outer edge of the face. This is, more often than not, polished to stand-out against the face colour.
This particular wheel has sat somewhere unused for the last 20-odd years, likely as a spare that was never needed. Great for me though, because its always fascinating to see these things completely original - these assembly pics would be an absolute throwback to 1992..

Short collar screwed on..

..which unlike the earlier SSR's, sits under the plate. If you look in the above Hiro V-1 link; you'll see the early collar sandwhiches the plate down to the face, with a step on the collar stopping assembly the other way around. This was revised-away later in the 80's..

Perfect fit..

Such a high offset means the cap comes back off for the rear pics..
..and done.

I still prefer the original V-1 for its 1" smaller face, no raised edges on the face blades, asymmetrical plate decals, and so on; but the V1-R is still an impressively unique design, with all the usual fantastic detailing. I can't help but love it.