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Skip's Underwater Image Gallery > Jason mirabilis
So much engine, so little space
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¿Por que? ¡Por que no!

When one day I awoke from a restless sleep with a dream involving big, fast cars fresh in my mind, a seed had been planted.

As the seed germinated and grew, those that care most about me took great delight in connecting this with a hitherto latent mid-life crisis.

At first I denied this, sincerely believing them to be misguided. However, as the seedling grew and original thoughts of a white, 6 cylinder executive sedan were discarded for dreams of a bright red 300 horsepower V8 monster, reality began to stare me in the face.

So, after much deliberation I placed my order for the newly released Series 2, VX
Holden Commodore SS in October 2001 and after three anxious weeks of waiting, finally took delivery of it on 2 November 2001.

OK ! OK ! So what if I am middle aged?
I've confronted it and this is my way of dealing with it. It could have been much uglier than this - think about it. I just hope you are able to get through your mid-life crisis in as dignified a way as I have (so far).

Skip's Underwater Image Gallery > Jason mirabilis
Industrial design and art combine with breathtaking beauty in the form of a plastic engine cover

Power is a potent thing isn't it?

completely unsustainable use of natural resources and degradation of the environment should frighten the hell out of all of us.

We all care about this stuff but hey - if I could deal with my crisis some other way, I would. Truth is, an inconspicuous, fuel efficient, four cylinder, Mom, Pop and kids family car just wouldn't have done it for me.

First introduced by General Motors in 1997, the LS1 5.7 litre V8 engine is probably best known as the heart and soul of the Chevrolet Corvette. It is also found in the Chevrolet
Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.

A lot has been written about how wonderful this engine is. Mine seldom gets a serious workout but having all that oomph on tap, available at the twitch of your right foot, can boost your hormone levels to those of a schoolboy and ain't that what it's all about?

Cutaway view of LS1 Engine in Corvette Form
Gen III LS1 5.7 Litre Alloy V8 Engine
Capacity (cc) 5665 (346 CID)
Bore x Stroke (mm) 99.00 x 92.00 
Compression Ratio 10.1 : 1
Valve Configuration Overhead Valve
Valve Lifters Hydraulic Roller
Cylinder Block Material Cast Aluminium
Cylinder Head Material Cast Aluminium
Valves Per Cylinder 2
Firing Order 1 - 8 - 7 - 2 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3
Assembly Site St Catherines, Ontario, Canada
Fuel Induction System Sequential Fuel Injection
Cam Drive Chain
Power (DIN, kW) 225 @ 5200 rpm
Torque (DIN, Nm) 460 @ 4400 rpm

Boot - right hand side (and, without the SERIES II, in front of rear wheel arches on both sides)
Behind front wheel arches (both sides)

It's hard to overstate the importance of these insignificant little chunks of plastic.

As the eye scans across the car in profile, your focus is inevitably drawn to GEN III V8 badge. In a wonderfully subtle and understated way, it reinforces the enormous urge otherwise concealed beneath the bonnet (hood) and issues a challenge to every boy racer in town.

Skip's Underwater Image Gallery > Jason mirabilis
17" Alloy rims with Bridgestone B530 235/45R17 tyres

Holden Australia Web Site
Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) Web Site
Holden New Zealand Web Site



Bye baby . . . go fast - burn rubber - raise hell !

I finally sold the old girl in September 2004, still running on her original tyres. I'd never had a flat tyre and the spare in the boot was a mint 235/47R17 Bridgestone on a shiny 17” alloy rim. The guy in the tyre shop called me a "real gentleman". My "friends" call me a "little old lady".

Distance traveled: 60,972 km
Fuel consumed: 7,759.50 litres

Average fuel economy: 12.7 litres/100 km ( = 22.2 miles/gallon = 18.5 miles/US gallon)
Worst fuel economy on a tank: 17.9 litres/100 km ( = 15.8 miles/gallon = 13.1 miles/US gallon)
Best fuel economy on a tank: 9.8 litres/100 km ( = 28.8 miles/gallon = 24.0 miles/US gallon)

Total cost of fuel consumed: $8,216.71 (New Zealand dollars)
Cheapest fuel: $0.79/litre (November 2001)
Most expensive fuel:$1.23/litre (May 2004)

Official fuel economy figures from Holden literature (auto transmission)
City: 13.5 litres/100 km ( = 20.9 miles/gallon = 17.4 miles/US gallon)

Highway: 8.5 litres/100 km ( = 33.2 miles/gallon = 27.7 miles/US gallon)

My best fuel economy was achieved burning a whole tank driving sedately on the open road at 105 km/h with almost no city driving. The "official" highway figure is about 15% better than my best fuel economy. Maybe my economy would be better cruising at 70 km/h or less but not even I'm that lame and realistically, the official figure seems wildly optimistic or in other words, crap.

Believe it or not I replaced her with a new wee Peugeot 307XSi. It's also red with 17" alloys but there the similarity ends. Emasculated, I now have half the number of cylinders and less than half the horespower. After doing about 20,000km in the Pug the average fuel economy is running at 9.0 litres/100 km. That's about 71% of the Commodore's consumption or a 41% improvement in fuel economy. Worth it? I dunno, but it sure makes me less concerned about the ever increasing price of fuel. It's now (June '05) up to about $1.30/litre. At this price, fuel to run the Commodore for 10,000km would cost $1,651 and the Pug $1,170, a difference of $481. Woop de s#it! Makes me want a V8 again.

2004 ianskipworth.com