COMMERCIAL APPEAL

KRIS AND MARY VELKOVSKI’S SUMMERNATS TOP 60 HT UTE ISN’T JUST A PRETTY FACE – IT RUNS MID-NINES WITH TURBO SMALL-BLOCK POWER

STORY IAIN KELLY

KRIS Velkovski is well known thanks to his nine-second, turbocharged RB30-powered LC Torana, CGMFLY (SM, Feb ’03). Kris was one of the early adopters of turbo EFI performance in classic tinware, and his new twin-turbo small-block HT ute continues this proud tradition of nine-second performance with show-car finish.

“I’ve always wanted an HK-HT-HG ute, and I was on my iPad at 10pm one Thursday night when this car came up on Gumtree,” Kris says. “My wife Mary and I both love utes, so when this one popped up I showed her and she said: ‘Oh that’s nice.’ From that point the deal was on!”

Knowing that clean Kingwoods stay for sale about as long as an ice cream in the outback sun, Kris wasted no time in sealing the deal.

“I rang the owner first thing Friday, put a deposit on it and then went to Adelaide at 4:30am Saturday, bought it, and drove straight back to Melbourne,” he says. “It came as a complete factory-restored car with a 186 and three-on-the-tree, with brand new Antique Gold trim.”

Many punters would be happy with a sweet original beach cruiser like that, but Kris had a high-performance itch to scratch.

“After cruising the ute stock for a couple of years I needed a fast car again, as CGMFLY has been off the road since 2011,” he says. “I needed something to race and enjoy, but it snowballed to be like a show car!

“I actually bought this car so Mary could come to car shows with me, as she would only agree to come if she had her own car. She chose the ‘easy’ stuff like the colours of the seats and carpets, whereas I had free reign in terms of the engine.”

Kris was always going to rock forced induction, and the HT runs a 350ci small-block Chev inflated by a pair of bush-bearing Garrett GTW3582 snails.

“I went for a turbo small-block Chev was because I wanted something different,” Kris says. “Everything we’d done was always RB sixes. I built the Chev for CGMFLY and had it on the stand in the garage for ages. I was initially going to put the RB in the ute, and the Chev in the Torana but the LC was already engineered with the RB in it and I realised the V8 more as it is a bigger car.

I BOUGHT THIS CAR SO MARY COULD COME TO CAR SHOWS WITH ME, AS SHE WOULD ONLY AGREE TO COME IF SHE HAD HER OWN CAR

IT MADE 657HP ON A VERY SOFT TUNE. I RECKON WE COULD MAKE AN EXTRA 400HP, BUT WE HAVE TO WATCH THAT CAST LT1 CRANKSHAFT. IF IT IS GOING TO GO, IT’LL TAKE A LOT OF OTHER PARTS WITH IT

The 350 runs CP pistons and Scat rods, with what Kris calls a “baby hydraulic-roller” cam, while the heads are Dart Iron Eagle units, topped with an Edelbrock intake manifold and a Wilson 94mm throttlebody. While the turbos are reportedly good for 900hp each, Kris hasn’t turned them up due to the stock LT1 Corvette crank sitting in the bottom of the 350 Chev.

“It made 657hp on a very soft tune,” Kris says. “I reckon we could make an extra 400hp, but we have to watch that cast LT1 crankshaft. If it is going to go, it’ll take a lot of other parts with it.”

As it stands, the ute has run a 9.6@140mph on regular pump fuel, which any normal person would be more than happy with. But 1TUFGM packs so much outstanding fit and finish you wouldn’t believe it took Kris and his brother Rob less than a year to take a stock HT and turn it into this wild commercial.

“All the mods to the car just seemed to snowball! We built the ute in eight months, all after-hours,” says Kris proudly. “I sent it out for the rollcage, and as soon as it was back it was on, as I had everything sitting there ready to go. I had been collecting parts for years.

ORIGINAL SIN

IF YOU don’t know the legend of CGMFLY (left), track down a copy of the February 2003 issue of SM (or check it out on whichcar.com.au/ streetmachine), as Kris’s ’71 LC GTR was light years ahead of the turbo street car scene.

“I’ve had that car since was 16,” Kris says. “Rob bought it for me as my first car. Twenty years ago it ran 9.50, which was way ahead of the times, and it went 9.21@150mph in 2005, but it wasn’t really built for that.

“The paint was getting tired, so I decided to give it a freshen-up in 2011, but then it snowballed into mini-tubs and stretched guards, then it was on a rotisserie, colour-change, all new fasteners, new trim, new front-end, a full-floater nine-inch...”

Fans of turbo-six power will be pleased to know that Kris doesn’t have plans to swap the car to a bent-eight just yet.

“I have the running gear freshened up on the stand, but I’m thinking of putting that in another car I’ve got and selling it. I’m thinking of building a bigger, 12001300hp single-cam RB combo to go deeper into the eights.

“We’re pushing like crazy to get the Torana to Summernats 33 next year, as I’m hoping to get it into the Top 20. I have to finish it as it’s killing me! This car will never be for sale.”

“I set a deadline for myself; I wanted to get it ready to show Melbourne in 2018,” Kris continues. “Rob and I worked day and night on this car for months and we literally put the finishing touches on it the day before MotorEx kicked off. Our next task was to compete in Street Machine Drag Challenge, but the car ran into converter issues on Day One so we weren’t able to compete.

“We then decided to focus on getting the car to Summernats 32, with the aim of getting into the Top 60 Elite Hall. Since I started attending

Summernats 23 years ago I’d always had a dream to get in the Top 60, and I was ecstatic to achieve that this year.”

You’d think Mary would be ready to get out and enjoy the ute, but Kris reckons the Velkovskis’ run with 1TUFGM is over.

“I’ve had my fun with this car, and now it is time to move it on so I can concentrate on finishing CGMFLY,” says Kris. “I’m hoping to try and get that car finished for Summernats 33!”

We’ll be ready and waiting to CGMFLY again!

SINCE I STARTED ATTENDING SUMMERNATS I’D ALWAYS HAD A DREAM TO GET IN THE TOP 60, AND I WAS ECSTATIC TO ACHIEVE THAT

KRIS & MARY VELKOVSKI 1969 HOLDEN HT UTE

Colour: PPG Alaskan White

POWERPLANT

Engine: 350ci small-block Chev

Induction: Wilson 95mm throttlebody, Edelbrock inlet

ECU: Autronic SM4

Turbo: Twin Garrett GTW3582

Heads: Dart Iron Eagle

Camshaft: Hyrdaulic-roller

Conrods: Scat forged

Pistons: CP forged

Crank: LT1 Corvette

Oil system: ASR race pan, Melling pump

Fuel system: Bosch 1650cc injectors, Holley 1800 pump

Cooling: Twin 10in Spal fans, alloy radiator, electric water pump

Exhaust: Custom manifolds, twin 3in system

Ignition: MSD

TRANSMISSION

Gearbox: Powerglide

Converter: 3500rpm Dominator

Diff: Strange Engineering housing and centre, 3.00:1 gears, Truetrac, 35-spline axles

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Front: King springs, 50/50 shocks

Rear: Calvert mono-leaf spring and nine-way adjustable shocks, CalTracs bars

Brakes: Wilwood discs and calipers (f), Strange Engineering drums (r)

Master cylinder: Wilwood

WHEELS & TYRES

Rims: Weld AlumaStar; 17x4 (f), 15x8 double-beadlock (r)

Rubber: M&H 185/45 (f), M/T Street Radial 255/60 (r)

THANKS

My brother Rob who helped from start to finish; Andy from D&D Smash; Chris for the trim; Lucas from Stroke Me Fabrication; JPC for the tune; Arthur from Tuners Edge for all the parts; Shaun from ERP; Jenky from Heavy Duty Automatics