1985 Holden VK Calais - Reader Ride

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

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Troy's VK Calais was meant to be a 333 V8 but the engine got swapped midstream

 

Troy Fava's 1985 Holden VK Calais

I had a VK 333 pack a while ago and ended up selling it and regretting it. The 333 is the factory code referring to a Calais with 308 V8 and Trimatic auto, which was also the basis of the HDT Director. I’ve always had VKs. All the way to back to when you could buy second-hand Brockies at the auctions for $4500.

When I got it back to the shop and checked it out, I thought something is weird here – it’s got a 333 build plate on it, but the engine LL9 code is for an injected six. And that’s what was under the bonnet! Straight off the bat, I’m wondering what I’ve done here.

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I did a lot of research and even got hold of the old owner, who was really helpful. What we’ve worked out is the car was meant to be going down the line as a 333 Pack, and somewhere along the way the engine was changed to the injected six.

What’s really strange is that generally when you buy a new car, the books are filled out on the lot. On the tag, the code says it was built in the eighth month 1984. However the books were filled out – with a V8 engine number! – on August 11. So that suggests it was put together for someone in the company.

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The build plate is actually self-contradictory: it clearly has the 333 code, but with the engine code for the six! You can imagine there were panic stations going on when I first opened the bonnet – had someone swapped the engine? And of course the answer is yes, the factory did! So that probably makes it a one-off.

I’ve decided to sell it, partly because I’m in the process of moving my business, Western Smash Repairs, to Riddells Creek, after 30 years. We’ve always done the older cars on the side, but over the last 12 years that’s changed to where the older stuff is a key part of it.

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Valuation: Circa $30K, depending on type and condition.

 

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