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Holden's secret super ute project! Thumping 550Nm HSV SportsCat was ready to launch against the Ford Ranger Raptor and Toyota HiLux

The Walkinshaw W550 was originally designed as a HSV.

Holden and HSV were ready to launch a 550Nm Colorado-based super ute in Australia to take down the Ford Ranger Raptor, only for the brand to be axed before the first utes could hit dealerships.

Just how close Holden came to having a genuine Ranger Raptor rival has been revealed, with the ute now known as the Walkinshaw W550 originally designed as the next HSV SportsCat, CarsGuide understands.

But with the Holden brand axed by GM - taking HSV with it - the Colorado project was put on ice, before being launched by engineering firm Walkinshaw as a series of impressive upgraded to Colorado models built between 2018 and 2020.

Had the pack made it to new Colorados, Holden and HSV would have been the proud owners of Australia’s most powerful four-cylinder diesel dual cab, with a sizeable 550Nm on tap - up 20 per cent on the 500Nm produced by the Colorado’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine.

That’s enough to top the Ranger Raptor and the Toyota HiLux (both 500Nm), as well as the the Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-Max.

The upgrade - which cost $13,990 - delivers the Walkinshaw Performance Diesel Power Pack, which includes a Walkinshaw Performance Engine Calibration and High Flow Air Filter.

You also get new 18-inch wheels, a suspension lift kit, new body styling (flared wheel arches, side steps, decals, front fascia and grille, bonnet scoops), as well as new front recovery hooks. Optional - and more expensive - extras include SupaShock hi-po suspension and AP Racing front brakes, which are intended for more hardcore off-road use.

Would a HSV Sportscat that out-punched the Ranger Raptor been enough to save Holden? Probably not. But the former homegrown hero would have at least gone out holding dual-cab bragging rights in Australia.