In Our Garage: Ray Bates' 1989 VN Commodore

Ray loves to take his "street machine" - a VN Commodore - to car shows and helps inspire others with ideas for their own cars.

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Q. Tell us about your car:

A. My car is a Holden Commodore 1989 VN that I've had for approximately two years now.

It took a year to do a ground-up rebuild.

Basically, you take everything out of the car, you take all the paint off and you take every part out of the car, rebuild every part, make it look like new, refit it all and repaint the car.

You could probably say it took about three months of good solid work in hours, over 12 months.

Q. What was the condition of the car when you purchased it?

A. The paint was fantastic when I first bought it. It was originally white, and the paint was really glossy.

I didn't have to actually take it back to bare metal.

It basically got scuffed down, there was two very small dents in the left-hand passenger's door, which is only repaired under it and basically was all masked up and sprayed.

The hood lining was sagged, so I had to have a brand-new hood line put in.

The interior was in mint condition and the carpets were still original.

I didn't have to touch the dashboard.

It's got all modern instrumentation put in there as well, which is all customised.

I put an aftermarket steering wheel on it just to make it look more modern and more sporty.

Q. What work have you done to the engine?

A. The engine used to be a 304.

A mate of mine decided that we might build it and stroke it, so we put a 355 stroker kit into it, with a 750 double pumper Holley.

It has behind the motor a turbo 700 stage-two shift kit and a three-grand stally [stall convertor].

Then behind that is a three-inch tail shaft that we got, and a nine-inch Ford diff.

The exhaust comes through some extractors which go into two and a half, then into three inch and then into the four inch at the rear, all stainless steel.

I originally didn't have a hole in the bonnet but just to get a little bit more attention, I cut a hole in the fibreglass scoop and put a higher air clean on there.

It just attracts people to look at the car and go, wow, look at that thing.

Q. What does the car sound like?

A. It's actually a very loud car, I must admit.

It's because it goes through a stainless steel system and a set of extractors, it runs through 10-inch mufflers and they tend to resonate and put a real nice deep throat noise to the car, and it's very, very noisy.

It's actually quite pleasant on the road, especially at a certain rev, but when you're down low in the revs, it does get a little bit of a drone inside the cabin.

Me and my partner, we often go to the car shows together and she loves doing the cruises.

Sometimes she gets a bit of an earache because of the sound of the motor going up and down the roads, but she loves it.

That's why it's a muscle car and a street machine because you just need that grunt, you know, that noisy grunt.

To me, a street machine is something that has muscle and sound, and it looks good and it sounds loud.

Q. What do you love about your VN Holden and taking it to car shows?

A. It's simplicity and the true body lines.

It's so straight and shiny and everything just matches.

It's not overdone, it's not underdone, and it just gives that wow factor.

When I go to car shows, the thing I love about that is the people you get to talk to and the comments.

And the inspiration that some of the people get.

The last one I went to was Hervey Bay and I got top ten out of 550 cars, so I was very happy with that.

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