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HSV is set to build the world's fastest ute, the LSA supercharged V8 GTS Maloo.
Holden is poised to introduce what will become the world’s fastest ute -- probably of all time -- leaving a legacy likely to last decades after General Motors’ Australian factories close in 2017.
The Holden Special Vehicles performance car division will ensure the humble homegrown ute goes out with a very big bang by installing the supercharged V8 from the $100,000 HSV GTS sedan, the fastest and most powerful car Australia has ever produced.
HSV has been working on the top secret project for the past four years but has only told Holden dealers this week.
The supercharged ute has managed to stay under wraps because most pundits figured it would simply be too powerful for a vehicle that starts life as a workhorse.
But the boffins at HSV have fitted the supercharged Maloo (aboriginal for ‘thunder’) with the latest technology to enable its might and power to get to the road responsibly, including the biggest brakes ever fitted to a ute anywhere in the world.
HSV boss Tim Jackson refused to confirm such a car exists but Holden dealers have told Carsguide it will be in showrooms by the end of this year priced about $85,000, making it the most expensive ute ever sold in Australia.
It will also likely be one of the most collectible cars in Australian motoring history, with just 150 expected to be made, compared with 500 Ford Falcon GT final editions, and the more than 1000 HSV GTS sedans sold over the past year.
The HSV GTS Maloo, as it is expected to be called, is likely to become the fastest ute of all time because the only vehicles that could possibly overtake it are US pick-ups; although they have a lot of power, they’re too big and too heavy to match the speed of Holden’s sleeker and lighter car-derived ute.
The 'LSA' supercharged V8, which has almost as much horsepower as a V8 Supercar, was originally designed for a racing version of the Chevrolet Camaro in the US.
The engine is shipped to Australia and fitted on the Holden production line in Elizabeth, near Adelaide, before the partially-completed car is transported to HSV in Clayton in the outer suburbs of Melbourne for the finishing touches.
It also means the GTS Maloo is the most powerful ute to ever go down a Holden production line.
The super-Maloo will come with most of the same, heavy duty hardware upgrades as the GTS sedan, including extra engine and transmission cooling and a high-strength differential and tailshaft.
Carsguide understands that the GTS version of the Maloo will be available with manual or automatic transmission, but the automatic will have gearshift levers behind the steering wheel for the first time (which are also likely to appear across the Commodore V8 automatic range later this year).
The GTS version of the Maloo is expected to have a retuned version of the regular Maloo’s performance suspension set-up rather than the adjustable magnetically-controlled suspension from the GTS sedan, to preserve at least a little cargo-carrying ability (currently rated at 487kg for the auto and 473kg for the manual).
The Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore utes are likely to be the last car-derived, V8, rear-wheel-drive utes in the world.
Overseas there is a small number of car-derived, front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder utes, leaving heavy-duty pick-ups as the only vehicles likely to challenge the GTS version of the Maloo in the future.
Ford and Dodge released their versions of the world’s fastest pick-ups a decade ago.
Ford was the first to claim the title of World’s Fastest Ute. On 23 July, 2003 a standard production Ford SVT F150 Lightning powered by a supercharged 5.4-litre V8 (283kW/610Nm) recorded a top speed of 237.722 km/h at Ford’s proving ground in Michigan.
But it wouldn’t stand for long. On 2 February, 2004, a Dodge Ram SRT-10 powered by an 8.4-litre V10 borrowed from the Viper supercar (373kW and 712Nm) broke the Ford’s record with a top speed of 248.783 km/h at the Chrysler proving ground in Michigan.
A few years later, on 26 May 2006, Holden racing hero Mark Skaife claimed the Guinness World Record off the Americans in a HSV Maloo (powered by a 6.0-litre V8 with 297kW and 530Nm) after two high speed runs at the Woomera rocket range about 500km north of Adelaide.
Two times were recorded and then an average was taken: a time of 265.72 km/h into the wind and 277.16 km/h with a tailwind, to make an average of 271.44 km/h.
As with all HSV’s since late 2006, the GTS version of the Maloo is speed limited to 250km/h.
But Guinness World Records recently changed their regulations to allow speed limiters to be disabled for the purposes of setting a record in a mass production car.
HSV is yet to confirm if it will repeat its 2006 world record attempt and raise the bar, but a recent test by Top Gear magazine pushed the HSV GTS sedan to almost 280km/h.
The other record to be broken could come with collateral damage.
Last year Holden’s new generation VF Commodore SS-V set a lap record for a ute at the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany, a perilous 21km strip of daunting race track in a mountain range about 175km north-west of Frankfurt.
But with significantly more power (430kW and 740Nm), bigger brakes and grippier tyres, the HSV Maloo would easily shatter the Holden SS-V ute record.
Fast facts: world’s fastest ute
HSV GTS Maloo
Price: $85,000 (estimated)
Engine: Supercharged 6.2-litre V8
Power: 430kW and 740Nm (560 horsepower)
0 to 100km/h: 4.5 seconds (estimated)