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Mild Mannered Monster








A 474kW at the wheels Holden Monaro that doesn't bite!


Words by Michael Knowing, Pix by Julian Edgar


With 474kW at the wheels (yes, you read it right!) it's fair to call this Holden Monaro a monster. But that implies something that's simply not true. This isn't a monster that'll stamp through your garden and torment your pets - nope, this monster is as well behaved as they come. A monster on a leash.

Owned by Salem Hoblos of Melbourne, this 2002 Holden Monaro defines the modern age of V8 performance. Not only is its 474kW ATW output bloody well incredible, you'll also find that it drives sweetly and the motor is largely stock inside. Who said you had to get dirty to get down?!

Salem didn't set off on this project with a specific dyno figure or quarter mile in his sights. "It started off with an exhaust, bigger brakes and suspension and it kept on going from there," he says.


These initial mods came not long after the 2002 purchase of the car (a CV8 Monaro optioned with sunroof, leather and all the fruit). Salem made the most of what was available off-the-shelf and enlisted G-Tech Performance to install the Premium brake package from HSV. These were a nice bolt-on affair. The suspension, too, came in for a serving with Bilstein dampers, Noltec bushes and Eibach springs (which bring the ride height down about 2½-inches). Nineteen-inch VX GTS rims have also been whacked on for improved handling and looks.

The factory 225kW output is decent, but the restrictive OE exhaust has gotta be ditched if you want to make big grunt. Initially, Salem's Monaro was fitted with Di Filippo 1¾-inch primary extractors feeding into a twin 2.5-inch mandrel system. Power and torque were then optimised using a UniChip interceptor in conjunction with the factory ECU. Just the extractors, exhaust and UniChip hoisted power from 170kW ATW to 230kW ATW - a very tidy 35 percent gain.

Salem's next move is a fairly common one for enthusiastic LS1 owners - a new camshaft.


DynoMotive came to the party with "a pretty mild" custom cam grind that, when fitted together with a 80mm BBK throttle body, netted 279kW at the treads. Following this, the alloy heads were hauled off for porting, polishing and fitment of larger valves. Salem tells us the heads are now capable of flowing air for 630hp (naturally aspirated). These mods gave only another 6kW at the wheels, but Salem explains, "the head work got the engine breathing right ready for the next step - forced induction..."


A CAPA (Centrifugal Air Pumps Australia) Vortech T-trim blower kit was bolted to the easy-breathing LS1 and Dynomotive fitted their own custom 4-core air-to-air intercooler. "The core is several inches thick - it's as big as would possibly fit," says Salem. The intercooler piping is custom mandrel and includes a pair of Bosch blow-off valves.

Fitment of the blower and intercooler was then followed by some revision of the existing cam profile and exhaust system - there was no need for quite an aggressive cam (the blower takes care of power production) and the exhaust system needed upgrading simply to cope with the massive gas flow. DynoMotive swapped aftermarket cam #1 for a slightly more conservative profile and switched to 2-inch primary De Filoppo extractors (fatter than previously) and a twin 3-inch system. Consider the cross-sectional area of a twin 3-inch exhaust and you can understand why there's no need to drop the pipes for visits to the drags. (And, yes, we're getting close to telling you its best time!)


The fuel system also needed some serious upgrading at this stage so you'll now find a pair of Bosch Motorsport pumps drinking from a surge tank, while the engine end of things is taken care of by a replacement fuel pressure regulator and bigger injectors. Ignition remains stock. And, interestingly, the whole fuel and ignition shebang is still taken care of by the UniChip.

Note that the majority of the engine - including the factory 10.0:1 compression ratio - remains unaltered. Thanks to the breathing preparations and the blower, Salem's Monaro has cranked out a maximum of 474kW at the rear wheels running a very mild 9 psi boost and with Shell Optimax in the tank. You want an awesomely powerful streeter that you can fill up at the corner petrol station? Well, there you go!


About this time, Salem had to replace the clutch with a massively upgraded unit. A '1000hp' drop-in clutch was purchased from CAPA and there have been absolutely no driveline issues - despite more than 20,000km of supercharged "driving like a maniac". The only other changes are a short shifter for the 6-speed 'box and a shorter 3.9:1 LSD - great for neck-snapping response!

Salem obviously doesn't believe in making special preparations for quarter mile attacks (what's the point when you change it all back afterwards?) so he has run the car at Calder Park complete with its full exhaust and 245/35 19 Hancook street tyres. Slicks? Nah, they're for 'trailer sailers'... As you might imagine, the big Munro took a while to hook up but it powered down the blacktop to record an 11.8-second ET at a strong 129 mph.


And this level of performance doesn't come with any interior comfort sacrifices. Salem already started off with the factory leather trim and power sunroof, so there's not a lot else that's required. A 'bugger the weight' sound system has been installed comprising a pair of JL sub-woofers, Kicker amps, MB Quart splits and a Kenwood DVD head unit. "I didn't want to cram it with gauges because I wanted it to look like a stocker," explains Salem. We've gotta say, though, there's little doubt that this car is anything but stock when it rumbles past!


Few words can describe a car with as much grunt as this Monaro. Salem says its simply "awesome" and that sums it up pretty well. But those monster power and torque characteristics are combined with daily manners that are quite remarkable. "I drove it to the SummerNats this year and it was very smooth, it never missed a beat, and it gave better than standard fuel economy," says Salem. "It's all spot-on - it's fantastic."

And that's the happy end to this story. Or is it?


It seems Salem can't get enough of a good thing and is now putting together a stompin' 427ci (7.0-litre) supercharged donk that should reach his target - try about 800hp at the wheels! We'll see if that one can be taught good manners
 

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:bubbrub All I can say is WOW
 

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May I quote you on that?
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Sheeeeeeeeeit.
 

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Seems like a nice setup :) I'd like to see what a goat would run with close to those mods. He's loosing at least a full second running regular street tires!
 
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