Ford Performance Vehicle took the high ground with its 335kW Falcon GT last month but now WP, from the same stable as Holden Special Vehicles, is hitting back with a Commodore that jumps into the luxury class with a price tag somewhere between $99,990 and $117,760.
Its supercharged 6-litre engine also makes 460kW with 780 Newton- metres of torque, and it comes equipped with everything from giant brakes to a body kit that echoes the original Walkinshaw Group A Commodore from 1987.
Despite the hefty showroom sticker, Walkinshaw boss Craig Wilson says around half of the 23 cars in the limited-edition Series II Supercar run have been sold less than a week after it was previewed at the Australian International Motor Show, including five to show visitors.
"It's really hit the mark. If you want bragging rights we've got the car," says Wilson. "There are no gimmicks. It is a go-fast car."
Walkinshaw Performance has been growing rapidly since it was established two years ago as a step beyond HSV. It specialises in limited-edition packages for the Commodore, although the Series II is a new development.
The cost of the Series II includes a brand-new Commodore SS, which is then comprehensively tweaked at WP's workshop in Clayton, Victoria.
"It's a different beast when it comes back," says WP spokesman, Simon Frost.
That's largely down to the WP 230 Edlebrock supercharger conversion, but the car also gets special Bilstein suspension with six-piston brake callipers at all four corners — with 378mm discs up front and 365mm on the rear.
A specially-commissioned audio upgrade package from Rockford Fosgate is included and all 23 cars are sprayed in Panorama Silver, another tip to the original Walkinshaw Commodore that started the Holden Special Vehicles business.
The package also features a three-inch bi-modal exhaust, carbon fibre lip spoiler and specially-embroidered WP headrests, sill plates and armrests The addition of the WP230 supercharger represents a new frontier for Walkinshaw Performance, and not just because of raw numbers the supercharged engine delivers.
Chief Engineer Alan Hale says it's the power under the curve that is the key.
"The big benefit of this package is the huge 12 inch long intake runner system which delivers massive amounts of torque under the curve, for instance 700 Nm as low as 3000 rpm," Hale says. "We're really proud of the end product and we know it is going to be popular with customers looking for something extra from their Holden or HSV.''
Wilson says the Series II is not intended to compete with HSV but to give Holden fans another choice.
"We've discussed what we're doing with HSV. It's a close relationship," he says.
And he promises the Series II will lead to more go-fast parts from WP.
"After they're gone people will be able to buy a lot of the items separately. We're still working on that but there will be a lot of stuff."
WALKINSHAW SERIES II SUPERCAR
Price: $99,990 to $117,760
Engine: 6.0-litres 90-degree supercharged OHV V8
Power: 460kW at 6000 revs
Torque: 780Nm at 3450 revs
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel type: 98 RON (PULP)
Fuel tank: 71 litres
Brakes: Four-wheel six-piston calipers on 378mm discs up front and 365mm rotors on the rear
Suspension: Front Bilstein mono tube shocks on coil springs, direct acting stabiliser bar. Rear Bilstein mono tube shoscks, multi-link independent rear
Wheels: 20 x 8.5R2lw-10
Tyres: Front — 245/35; rear — 275/30.
23 years ago...
WALKINSHAW VL SS GROUP A SV
Engine: 5.0-litre V8
Power: 180kw at 5200 revs
Torque: 380Nm at 4000 revs
Transmission: Borg Warner BT5G five-speed manual
Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated on the front with finned alloy caliper
Suspension: Sports suspension, including Bilstein rear gas pressure shock absorbers and Bilstein front suspension strut inserts
Fuel tank: 83 litres Wheels 16x7R16 alloys
Tyres: 205x55 VR Bridgestone RE71.