RELOAD is an elite-level skid pig from Liqui-Moly Burnout Master, Steve Loader. Although still owning and competing his favourite tyre fryer, an HT Holden called UCSMOKE, Steve was keen to replace UNLOAD – the two-tone VE Commodore burnout beast he debuted at Meguiar’s MotorEx 2012.
“I wanted to build a car that had finer detail than the VE,” says Steve. “No-one had built a VF and this car popped up. It was a write-off but in really good condition and a pretty easy fix.”
That’s all well and good, however that doesn’t explain why anyone would tackle such a full-on, detailed build in only three short months. “I don’t like building slow,” says Steve.
“I like the rush and adrenaline of getting a car done. And a clear deadline stops it dragging on for years.”
Well known for outfitting his burnout weapons with insane, over-the-top, blown metal mountains, the first thing punters notice about RELOAD is its naturally aspirated power plant.
“It’s more for the sound, I can rev it hard,” Steve explains. “At 9000-plus rpm out on the pad, the 532 cuber is just screaming.”
PowerHouse Engines in Melbourne screwed together the methanol-sucking, 532-cube big-block Chev, which features the best of everything and churns out around 850hp. Highlights include a dry sump oiling system and alloy Brodix heads topped by Enderle stack injection – all roaring through custom four-into-one headers.
The hard-core motor is backed by a tough A-Grade Automatics two-speed Powerglide gearbox ahead of a beefy Ford nine-inch diff swinging off a ladder bar and Strange coil-over set-up. “This allows me to keep the back seat while keeping it nice and rigid, which is important for doing burnouts,” says Steve.
Black Spade Fabrications handled almost all the heavy fab work, while Burn City Customs spent bulk time getting the engine bay slick and smooth. Bodywork included replacement of the left-hand side rail, strut tower and inner guard.
One aspect that drew much comment in the Meguiar’s Top 60 Hall was the 22×8.5 and gigantic 22x12in KWC007s tucked up under the guards. These beauties are from Showwheels – the same guys he turned to for his previous rides.
“Being a Commodore I wanted to go with a modern-looking wheel,” recalls Steve. “Showwheels recommended these, as they hadn’t really used them much before. I’ve done a lot of dealings with those guys. They’re easy to get along with and they do custom stuff; these normally come in a machined look but I got them in full polish.”
Steve would happily skid RELOAD on the Showwheels jewels, except for the price of tyres and wheels. Rather he sticks with cheap 17s for the skid pad. “If they gave me wheels I’d probably do it, though!” says Steve.
Given the tight schedule, you would’ve expected Steve to have been sweating bullets on the run up to the big Summernats reveal. “There weren’t any major problems,” says Steve, “I never really thought we weren’t going to make it. You’ve got to plan, be well co-ordinated, get all the guys to work together and stick to a timeframe so that it goes from shop-to-shop and doesn’t stop anywhere.”
Steve acknowledges he has a good bunch of guys who don’t mind putting in the hours. Besides, it’s also about the fun you have doing it.
One hiccup was the overnight cannonball run from Melbourne up the Hume to Sydney for more paint! “The day before painting the exterior, Daniel and Ozzy from Burn City Customs rang me worried we didn’t have enough paint,” says Steve.
Steve scooted up to Sydney, grabbed the extra litre that Nathan Jones from HOK mixed at the last minute, before immediately chucking a U-turn to make it back to Melbourne the following morning by the time Dan and Ozzy were ready to start painting. Oh, and then he headed off to work! “This stuff happens and you just gotta do what you gotta do,” says Steve.
RELOAD was originally scheduled to go straight from the Meguiar’s Top 60 to the Liqui-Moly Power Pit. Unfortunately a small teething issue put paid to that. “I didn’t want to risk hurting the motor,” explained Steve. “After Meguiar’s MotorEx Sydney, I’m going to do as many burnout events as I can, work permitting.”
To make the most of having to veto the burnout pad at Summernats, Steve had a solid crack at Grand Champion. However he admits that unlike the old days, the current elite cars are so good, it’s really hard to compete. However that didn’t stop him having fun doing it and really enjoying the experience.
“I am going to keep this car for a while, as the VF is much easier to drive than UCSMOKE,” says Steve. “I’d like to have a go at building more of a show car to compete at the high elite level, plus do the Grand Champion and MotorEx Grand Master thing. I just don’t know what kind of car we’ll build.”
Looking at what Steve and his dedicated crew have achieved with RELOAD in only 12 weeks, there’s no doubt this build team is capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.
MEGUIAR’S GREAT UNCOVER: The Meguiar’s Great Uncover is a highly-anticipated Summernats institution. Of the 13 stunners unveiled in 2015, RELOAD was without doubt one of the biggest standouts.“When we first thought up RELOAD,
I didn’t expect to go as far,” says Steve. “With the colour, engine bay and trim coming up really well, it became a full-on car. Having all those people standing around was pretty nerve-wracking! Once we pulled the covers off, it was a good feeling though, for sure.”More so, RELOAD has a definite presence about it, attracting an enthralled crowd wherever it goes.
It’s HOK Limetime accentuated with Pagan Gold and a pinch of gold flake, finished off with HOK’s new Show Clear – all over green HOK primer. When you see RELOAD in the sun, the Pagan Gold and flake really make the colour pop; it’s an awesome combination.
OWNER: Steve Loader – 2014 Holden Commodore VF SS-V Redline
COLOUR: House Of Kolor Limetime with Pagan Gold
Block: Chev 532ci big-block
Internals: JE pistons, roller cam, Kellys crank
Oil system: Custom dry sump
Intake: Enderle mechanical injection
Diff: 9in Ford
Suspension: Ladder bar rear, Strange coil-overs
Wheels: Showwheels KWC007 22×8.5 & 22x12in billets
Tyres: 245/35 (f) & 315/25 (r)
Steering wheel: Standard
Seats: Custom leather & snakeskin trim
Gauges: Auto Meter
Story IAIN KELLY Photos JOHN CHURCHILL & JOHN BUSH