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The Ultimate – 1986 VK Holden Commodore

17 April 2024

We’ve all seen Blue Meanie VKs before, but never like this!

Words: Todd Wylie Photos: Glen McNamara



Kiwis sure do love building the same cars over and over. There’s only so many — insert generic belly button car of your choice here — cars that you can look at before your eyes glaze over. But then comes along the likes of Shane Poulton to turn an old favourite on its head. Shane likes to march to the beat of his own drum, and do things his way, and his VK Blue Meanie tribute is a perfect example of that approach to life. Stuff what anyone else thinks, what it costs, or how long it takes, the man wants what he wants. 


As a child of the 1980s, he grew up watching the likes of Peter Brock throwing the VK Group A Commodores around the race tracks, and from then on he knew he wanted one of his own. He had a lifelong car obsession, actually owning a couple of VKs in his younger years, but he wasn’t in a position to do them justice at the time, and each were sold off before they could get transformed to his liking.

A couple of years ago now, he decided that the time was right to go balls in and build the best Blue Meanie NZ has seen… looking at the finished product, we’d say that goal has been well and truly accomplished. 

Like all good projects, there was a bit of a hunt for the right starting point, but Shane soon had his hands on an ‘86 VK with fairly solid panels, and more importantly, straight plastic bumpers and side trims. Even though the car came with good running gear, it wasn’t of any interest to him, as he had far greater plans than keeping what it came with. In fact, part of the reason why Shane knew the time was right to build the car was that he, like many other performance fans, had worked out the potential of GMs LSA engine. The 6.2-litre supercharged packages are the ultimate of all factory-fitted LS engines.

Available in the Camaro ZL1 and the HSV Gen-F GTS, the motors are rated at 430kW — or 577hp if ponies are your preferred form of measurement — right off the showroom floor. Better still, with a few simple tweaks, they can soon offer a whole bunch more, so after picking one up brand new from Giltrap Holden, he dropped it straight to Jason at Prescott Engines with the instructions not to give it back till it made over 800hp. It’s not often a brand-new engine gets pulled apart, but soon the camshaft was pulled out and a COMP Cams replacement was fitted. The new one has specs that read .624-inch lift, 247/251 duration at .050-inch lift. A Rollmaster two row timing chain was added along with ARP fasteners to make sure it all held together, somewhat important given Shane’s reputation for being hard on his gear. The only other major change required was to up the boost by changing to a smaller blower pulley.


With these mods made, the engine was ready to be dropped into the freshly smoothed and painted engine bay along with everything else to make it run. Although the cooling system may look simple, it took a bit of figuring out, and now consists of the biggest radiator that could be fitted between the chassis rails along with a bunch of AN20 hoses and fittings. Part of the need for this is that the factory water to air intercooler also relies on the cooling capability of the radiator.



Although plenty of work has gone into making the engine bay appear minimalist, there’s a glaring exception that could quite easily have been hidden if desired; the NOS solenoids. Yep, as if a worked LSA wasn’t enough on its own, Shane’s gone a step further by giving it another 150hp care of the big blue bottle… Of course doing so means the fuel system needed to be configured to match, which in this instance means no less than two Holley fuel pumps along with two regulators. Fuel itself is stored in a custom drop tank fitted with a Holley HydraMat system to ensure starvation is never an issue. On the flip side, the brains of the operation is surprisingly simple, a stick— albeit retuned GM ECU. 


The exhaust wasn’t quite as simple, although the Castlemaine Rod Shop conversion headers did make it easier than it could have been. From the 1¾-inch headers, the system feeds into a pair of 3-inch pipes and Flowmaster 40 mufflers with a crossover pipe in the middle. Rather than try to get the pipes over the Ford 9-inch diff he dumped the pipes just in front, that’s lucky as given the car’s low ride height getting the pipes through wasn’t going to be an easy task. The diff itself has been built by The Krysler Shop and not only does it run Strange axles but also a limited slip head as well to ensure both wheels keep on spinning. It was mounted to the Commodore’s stock rear arms but brought a whole lot closer to the body thanks to Bilstein coilovers. Likewise, the stock front struts have been adapted to incorporate Bilstein coilover assemblies. Shane is very complimentary of those who have helped out with the various pieces of fabrication on the car including Genesis Performance and BNR Fabrication who he says worked hand in hand to nail the look he was after. 


Part of that look included running Simmons FR wheels, but rather than the off-the-shelf gold painted variety, he went a whole lot further. The 24-carat gold plating of the centers for the 20×8.5-inch and 20×10-inch rollers was undertaken by Astor Refinishers in Sydney. That effort was well worthwhile though as the wheels are without doubt a defining feature of the car, and understandably the only set like it in NZ. While the 225/35R20 Falken front rubber is in it for the long run, Shane’s got his tyre dealer on speed dial for replacement sets of 255/30R20 rears.




When destroying those tyres, which seems to be a reasonably common occurrence, Shane does so using a Tremec T56 6-speed box. Atop the long suffering box is a VF R8 shifter that works in conjunction with a Mantic twin plate clutch. The VF shifter is very subtle amongst the well-appointed interior. Every Blue Meanie owner wants a factory-looking blue trim, but Shane has taken that a step further by having Super Trim recover a set of Recaro seats in the coveted fabric. The rear seat has been not only recovered but also reshaped to fit around the car’s mini tubs and the custom roll cage that conveniently was in the car when he purchased it. Throughout the car, and most notably in the boot, Rapid Radio have worked their magic to fit a stereo that could be heard over the engine. Although at a glance the dash may appear stock, a closer look reveals a MoTeC digital dash. Not only was fitting it a whole lot easier to use than to try to get the late model motor to talk to old analogue gauges, it looks a shitload cooler too when switched on.


On the other side of the firewall is a Wilwood master cylinder that helps to operate some of the biggest brakes we’ve ever seen fitted to a VK. Up front a set of 6-piston Wilwood calipers clamp 355mm rotors, while on the back, 4-piston items from the same manufacturer work with 320mm rotors. 


The team at Real Rides were called upon to finesse the panel and paint work, and they’ve lived up to their reputation of doing nothing but the best. And that ties into Shane’s whole philosophy for the build, nothing but the best would do. He’s quick to admit that he wanted the car to be Aussie styled, and we’d say he’s well and truly nailed that — in the process he’s raised the bar for not only Blue Meanie replicas but VKs in general. The car has been tuned to produce 850hp at the wheels, and given that it’s not exactly heavy, from all accounts it’s a wild ride, in part due to Shane’s willingness to use as much of the power as possible. So, although the result of the two-year build is indeed another Blue Meanie, it’s more Blue Meanie inspired rather than a replica of the original, as there sure as hell aren’t any others around like this! He wanted the ultimate, and he got it.

This article originally appeared in NZV8 issue 219


Vehicle: 1986 VK Holden Commodore

Engine: 6.2-litre Chev LSA, Aeroflow front hump oil pan, COMP Cams LSR roots blower cam .624-inch lift, 247/251 duration at .050-inch lift, Rollmaster two row timing set, ARP cam bolts, OEM LSA Eaton supercharger, composite solid drive coupler, Mace hub to pulley adaptor, undersized alloy blower pulley, water to air intercooler, Nitrous Oxide Systems 150hp nitrous shot, Holley fuel pumps, Holley HydraMat, Holley fuel pressure regulators, stainless 1¾-inch Castlemaine conversion headers, twin 3-inch mild steel exhaust, Flowmaster 40 mufflers, custom radiator, AN20 fittings, GM Performance ECU

Driveline: Tremec T56 6-speed gearbox, Mantic LS twin plate clutch, Ford 9-inch diff, Strange axles, custom 2-piece driveshaft

Suspension: Bilstein adjustable coilovers, Nolathane bushes

Brakes: Wilwood master cylinder, Wilwood 6-pot front calipers, 355mm front rotors, 4-pot rear rotors, 320mm rear rotors

Wheels/Tyres: Gold plated 20×8.5-inch and 20×10-inch Simmons FR wheels, 225/35R20 and 255/30R20 Falken tyres

Exterior: Custom Blue Pearl paint, Group A body kit 

Interior: Recaro seats, Momo HDT steering wheel, VF R8 shifter, MoTeC dash, custom roll cage

Performance: 850hp at the wheels

Driver: Shane Poulton

Age: 38 

Occupation: Self employed

Previously owned cars: Mazda R100, Mazda RX-3, A9X Torana, GMC pick-up, 1969 Camaro, VL Calais, Maloo, R8 ClubSport, Senator SS, Mercedes C63s, Mercedes E63s Audi, R8, Mercedes G63 

Dream car: Lambo 

Why the VK? I grew up in the Brock era and always wanted one. I’ve built two before but never finished them 

Build time: 2 years 

Length of ownership: 2 years 

Shane thanks: Prescott Engines, Real Rides, Super Trim, Rapid Radio, Genesis Performance, Protune, Glen Suckling, BNR Fabrication, Chasen Cycles, DGD Customs 

King V


Clearly Shane’s just as passionate about his two-wheeled creations as he is his four-wheeled ones. His 2015 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special is a great example of this. Built in a similar style to the VK, the bike also features wheels that have been 24-carat gold plated. Of course, like the VK, the wheels are somewhat larger than what the bike left the factory with, now being 23-inches up front and 18-inches on the rear. That rear tyre comes in at an impressive 300mm wide too. To get the right stance, Shane had Chasen Cycles fit a DGD Customs 6-inch rake kit and McCully’s swingarm. While at it, they also fitted a bunch of other DGD components including handlebars, a smooth rear fender, extended front fender, and seat. On the performance front, it’s got a DGD airbox along with Vance & Hines pipes and a DGD Customs rear pulley. And yep, it’s on air ride too, allowing the bike to handle as it should, but be dropped down for the ultimate look when parked up. With the candy blue paint, gold wheels, and the number plate, there’s no denying it’s a matching pair with the VK. The ultimate car and the ultimate bike to match!