You want something with four doors and more than 400 hp underneath its hood that’ll do 0-60 in under five seconds and instinct sends you packing for someplace in western Europe. Not Australia.
Turns out your instincts are wrong, and the Aussie-built Chevy SS does everything you’d never expect an American sedan to do and in all the right ways.
At least that’s what Derrick thought, which is exactly what led him not toward the path to Bavaria but precisely where Detroit meets Melbourne, the hometown of General Motors subsidiary Holden, who manufactures the rebranded SS under the guise of the Commodore.
Tucked in between the SS’ front shock towers sits the C6 Corvette’s 415hp V8, and that’s just fine with Derrick. But fine isn’t good enough, which led to Derrick and his father strapping a Whipple supercharger on top of the longblock, netting a more reasonable 528 whp that’s pushed past JBA headers and a MagnaFlow exhaust system.
As dads have a way of doing, Derrick’s has influenced the sort of cars he gets excited about. Tag along with Yee at his day job where he’s been immersed among Japanese-bred cars for nearly two decades and you might make the mistake of assuming his garage is laden with a Mitsubishi Evo or maybe a Subaru WRX, either with their requisite and oversized rear spoilers and an ability to shoot flames from their oversized tailpipes.
The pair of 1973 Mavericks will tell you that you’re wrong, though. “I’ve always been into these cars, mostly because of my father,” he says about the team of old Fords he’s collected that were followed by a GTO, and now the SS. “None of those are convenient cars for when you’ve got two kids, though,” he says about the others, which led to his getting the SS and putting the same sort of touches onto it that he’d done with past builds.
Touches that homologate his passion for American cars with V8s with the sort of Japanese sport compacts he’s inundated with at the office. Accolades at Southern California’s Wekfest car show, which, in large part, draws an import-centric crowd, as well as honors at Street Machine Nationals proves Derrick’s SS appeals to both camps. “I always give my cars just a little bit of import flavor,” he says, directing attention toward the Japanese-made Rays Gram Lights wheels. “I think this car fits both worlds really well.”
The SS further draws itself away from its domestic roots, but not how you think. The Holden-specific bits Yee’s subtlety applied to it, like the Australian firm’s emblems, grille, and flat-black trim that replaces Chevy’s chromed-out pieces lend themselves to an SS that’s entirely his. Not-so-subtle additions include the carbon-fiber hood, side vents, and rear spoiler that come by way of Derrick’s side business, Maverick Man Carbon, a company specializing in offering woven-fiber add-ons and components for the sort of cars the other guys have forgotten about. “Nobody ever made parts for the Maverick,” he says about the impetus for the brand. “I’ve always had a soft spot for cars that nobody makes parts for.”
Further cues are taken from the lowrider genre, where Derrick’s valve covers have been hand-engraved and chrome-plated. “You won’t notice it right away,” he says since the covers were dipped after the artist had his way with them, but it’s those sort of nuances that characterize this sedan.
Despite the SS being one of Derrick’s most modified projects, according to him, it’s his most reliable. The Recaro kids seat in the back is evidence of that. “The car is basically a four-door Camaro,” he says about the carefully crafted line GM drew between sports car and family hauler. “I’m not going to race this car; it’s purely for the street and for driving around with the family.” Says the guy with 528 hp underneath his hood and who’s just completed a single-fogger nitrous install.