VC Commodore Hillclimber Project - Our Shed

By: Dave Morley, Photography by: Dave Morley

Presented by

holden commodore dash holden commodore dash

Project Hillclmber: Morley's sweating the details


Holden VC Commodore Project

Looking back, I’ve now got plenty of hours sunk into this boat anchor. I reckon there was at least a week’s work (at my pace) on the suspension re-hash including boxing the rear lower arms, and I spent plenty of time stripping the interior and getting rid of the sound-deadening crap. The motor consumed a few hours fitting the exhaust, manifold and carby and trying to get the tune somewhere near right (it’s still not perfect). Oh, and there’s more to come in that department when my new engine gets its new cylinder head fitted and replaces the stocko dunger filling the engine bay right now.

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One tow-hook, Patent pending

That said, I’m finally getting a sense that it’s all starting to come together. The cage has made it look like a proper race-car and with that on board, I could finally fit the lovely suede Momo I’ve been saving for such a project. The fixed-back SAAS race-seat has made it in, too, fixed to the original mounting points via a non-adjustable adaptor frame. So, yeah, it now looks like it means business. Could all be a mirage, but for now, it’s looking encouraging.

So now it’s down to the nitty-gritty stuff; the sort of little additions and changes that need to be made to get the thing up to the standard that will earn it a CAMS Improved Production log-book. But even if the modifications aren’t huge in themselves, there are so many of them I almost don’t know where to begin. So, in the end, I just began.

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Battery cut-out now lives outside

First job: get a system rigged up to disconnect the battery from outside the car. In a hurry. Let’s just say you’re having a nap in what’s left of your race-car after getting a corner wrong and barrelling into the tyre wall. The first on the scene will hopefully be a bloke or blokette (I’m seriously not fussy if it ever comes to this) in overalls with a fire extinguisher. But even if the car isn’t going up in flames, it’s always wise to cut the battery. Of course, my kill switch is inside the car, while my rescuers aren’t, so having a lever on the outside of the car that cuts the battery connection is just smart.

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Sometimes simple is best

I grabbed a universal choke cable from the parts shop, drilled a hole in the scuttle for it to mount just in front of the windscreen and then rigged it to pull the kill-switch into the off position. I could have bought the little saddles that locate the cable to the trans tunnel and I could have bought the little cable lock that fastens to the cable inner and creates the actual pull on the kill-switch, but I didn’t. Instead, I made them myself. Very satisfying and could have saved me many cents.

Now, any race-car needs tow-hooks. On the Commo, I reckon the standard rear one will work fine. Maybe CAMS will insist I extend it with a short section of strap, I dunno. But for the front, I wanted something a bit more substantial than bolting an exhaust clamp into the front bumper (as I did in my HQ-racing days). So I grabbed a length of flat steel and drilled it to mount on a pair of existing fasteners that hold the front undertray to the main part of the front frame. I even welded a little lip to the strip of steel that now hooks over the back of the lower rad-support panel for extra strength (it spreads the load a bit more)and then resorted to a muffler clamp to make the actual hook bit. Some habits really do die hard.

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Tow-hook is fitted

It now exits the front of the car off-centre and at a bit of a funny angle, but the angle thing was so that I didn’t have to drill extra holes anywhere. And who cares, I’ll never need to use it. But if I do…

There are, ooh, a thousand other bits and bobs to attend to. Wheels and tyres just for starters. And then there are comp-spec brake pads, lock-wiring everything, a tail-shaft loop, decals, gauges and the list goes on and on. Watch this space.


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