Dimi’s VL Calais recently celebrated a birthday, featuring a 388-cube LS built by Westend Performance, with a Dart LS Next block, Higgins LS3 port six-bolt heads and a pair of Precision 7675s turbos.
Tuning the Haltec Elite 2500 ECU is Kon Michaloudakis of Wollongong Automotive Services.
The VL pump runs E85, with a set of 275 radials.
At the Midnight Mayhem test at Sydney Dragway at the weekend, Demi set a new PB of 7.80-seconds at 168mph.
Then in racing, VL reached the semifinals of the Pro Street Villains class and ran a string of 7.4s with a best of 7.430-seconds at 185mph.
“I have a big shout out to Con,” says Demi. “He’s been instrumental in helping the car go faster.”
This article on Demetri’s VL Calais originally appeared in the 2015 issue of Street Machine LSX Tuner
I sold my previous VL on Sunday and was already regretting it that night,” Dimitri Stamits, or Demi, calls his colleagues. “I cruised through car sales, Gumtree and eBay on Monday. And by Wednesday night I was picking up a new shell in Melbourne.”
Dummy earned VMENTL at Sydney’s May Powerplay event, where he spent most of his time laying strips on the front.
And just like that, this smart VL came to call Calais Queanbeyan home. From the start, Demi wanted to leave the body clean and focus on building a mega-tough drivetrain. This meant that he would follow only one path.
While the cowl scoop isn’t exactly subtle, the champagne gold and calis front doesn’t exactly scream 700hp neck snapper. Such a soft color definitely highlights the excellent VL’s design qualities, giving the car a classy feel.
“I wanted to do top gear skids in power cruise, so the Turbo LS was an easy choice,” he says. “I set out to make a clean and tasteful street car with plenty of reliable grunt on tap, and I think I’ve achieved that.”
Many punters miss the 10-inch depth on Weld RT rear hoops at first glance due to their black color. Fat Mickey Thompson ET Streets are covered in smoke most of the time, anyway
He certainly delivered that goal between the posts. The Scheel PPG looks crisp in White Gold, and the cabin by Top End Interiors retains a factory feel while the VN-era Scheel HSV SV88 seats and upgrades to the stock cards in the form of new trim. is proud of
Instead of flashing it all, the Demi had the engine bay feature pieces powder-coated black. Hard-wearing, good with thermal loads and with an OE-like finish, it’s practical and stylish
You’d hardly believe Demi took this car from trailer rat to skid machine in just six months of hours of work. The body was fine but still endured a full treatment by Ryan Martin and Steve Shepherd, with a cowl scoop added to the bonnet and a bit of canker cut from the boot. Demi himself cleaned and resprayed the inner wheel wells before turning his attention to the important stuff.
These 80mm BorgWarner turbochargers are considered cheap and crude, but there’s no denying the horsepower. They have become the top choice for punters on a budget wanting to make different turning power on LS engines.
The real news under the well-endowed bonnet is a boost-fed LS3, deep-breathing Gen IV 6.2-litre motor mated to an 80mm BorgWarner turbocharger and high-rise Holley intake manifold. Sam Finch from Westend Performance is the man responsible for putting it all together. Inside the aluminum block, Sam stuck with the stock crank but added 10:1 Wiseco pistons lubricated by a Mellings HP oil pump and a set of Callies conrods. Morel tie-bar lifters replaced weak factory units with Lunati pushrods and Feria valves and double springs.
Demi’s last VL was a “leg monster” with a snail-fed RB six-powered beast. The factory turbo badge gold on the VMENTL’s rump is another indication of the caliber’s capability.
Opting to run E85, Dimi supersized the fuel system. Eight new Delphi 1400cc injectors sit in the manifold and are fed by a MagnaFuel 750 proton pump fed by a boot-mounted seal.
The rest of the combo guarantees that Dimi won’t have any problems with reliability or bad manners during summer trips to nearby Canberra. An alloy radiator and 3000cfm worth of thermo fans ensure temperatures are kept down, while a full-length four-inch exhaust handles waste gases without obnoxious noise.
Dimi played the KISS theme and kept it simple on the inside to great effect. That cowl scoop became the perfect place to hide a trio of Autometer gauges from the constabulary’s eyes.
Dale Heller from Castle Hill Exhaust & Performance tuned the VL via a reflashed factory LS1 ECU, which Dimi rebuilt to match the initial shell. Without leaning on the car, they saw 700hp at 14psi, which they believe will do now.
Although it was only intended to be a power skid pig, Demi completed the entry. Restored in period style, the front seats are rare pieces made by Shell for the VN-era HSV SV88 Special Edition.
Dimi went for a TCE 3600 converter before a two-speed Powerglide for the transmission. The setup might not be the best for a brutal 60 feet, but it works better on the road. A custom single-piece tailshaft rounds out the Torque Borg Warner diff with a mini-spool, 31-spline axle and street-friendly 3.45:1 gears for comfortable freeway revs when out on the cruise.
MOMO’s famous race steering wheel is perfect for a fresh 80s interior without the retro kitsch. The benefit of using the Calais as a base is the full complement of gauges and warning lights from the factory!
The suspension itself is simplicity itself, with Padders coilovers and Nulathen bushings, while a VT Commodore front brake helps slow it all down. They sit beautifully behind stiff 17x4in Weld AlumaStar fronts and 15x10in Weld RT rears, giving the Calais true Pro Street attitude.
“The car was built in hours and six months by someone with no real mechanical background,” says Demi. “I did all the fabrication and assembly of the car myself, and everything went very smoothly. There were only minor bugs and hiccups, which can be expected from a ground-up build in such a short amount of time.
The Stealth Pro Ratchet Shifter is a major giveaway that this ’80s icon is packing 21st-century heat. But how cool are the factory VL instrument and shifter graphics?
“It’s only been a few weeks since the car was finished and I’ve been catching up on some sleep and family life. The VL was built for the street and that’s where I intend to use it, but a trip to Heathcote is definitely on the cards. is on
Dimi isn’t resting on its laurels, either, with a more serious drag-only VL build. Talk about a complete set collection!
Holden VL Calais
Type: GM LS3 Gen IV
Turbo: 80mm Borg Warner
Piston: Wiseco 10:1
Injector: Delphi 1400cc
Emissions: Four-inch Turboback
Converter: 3600rpm TCE
Difference: Borg Warner, 31-spline axle, 3.45 ratio
Tail Shaft: Custom one piece, 1350 ounces
brake: VT Commodore (f), Standard VL (r)
password: Weld Aloma Star 17×4 (f), Weld RT 15×10 (r)
Rubber: Falken 225/35SR20 (f), Toyo Proxes R888 285/35ZR20 (r)