There’s a reason this ultimate Aussie Ute is commanding big bucks

Holden pickup front three-quarter

Australia might be best known for kangaroos and koalas, but car nuts know the land Down Under better for Mighty Car Mods, burnout contests, and V8 Supercar racing. Sadly, the domestic production in Australia is all but dead. Ford left in 2016 and GM plans to pull out of the Australian market completely this year. GM fans were already in a tough spot with Holden discontinuing domestic production in 2017. Before ending production, though, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) sent the domestically produced Zeta platform out with a bang. This effort culminated in handful of completely bonkers GTSR W1 Commodores and Maloo Utes, like this one that Lloyds has up for auction.

In a previous article we briefly touched on the very special Maloo that was up for grabs, but let’s take a closer look at the super-Ute that HSV concocted. The W1 took the already-bonkers GTSR package on the VF Commodore and Maloo and kicked up the heat. Instead of the 580-horse supercharged LSA engine, HSV went all in with a 636-hp LS9. This monster of an engine is the same powerplant from the C6 Corvette ZR1. This 6.2-liter engine isn’t just a standard block with a large blower on top, either. GM went with titanium connecting rods, a more aggressive cam, a dry-sump oiling system, and then added a 2.3-liter Eaton supercharger. Power is transferred through a Tremec T6060 close-ratio six-speed manual box to a limited-slip differential with electronic torque vectoring.

Despite all this power, the GTSR W1 isn’t just a fast car in a straight line. HSV intended this car to be as dynamic as possible. For instance, braking is handled by a massive set of six-piston brakes with two-piece rotors, measuring 410 mm (16 inches) in the front and 372 (14.6 inches) in the rear. The suspension is equipped with Suprashock parts. (For U.S. readers who may be unfamiliar, Suprashock provides suspension components for V8 Supercars series racing.) The handling upgrades are complemented by a set of Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track tires.

What is perhaps most egregious about these cars is that America never got them. We got a 707-hp Challenger Hellcat and the 591-hp BMW M5, but GM deemed us unworthy of its Aussie super sedan. Perhaps this was due to an unwillingness to outshine the Corvette and Camaro, but most likely it was just the kind of cost-saving enterprise that drained the lifeblood out of Pontiac. Oh yes, we had the VF Commodore-based Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet SS, which GM did almost nothing to market. Yet another 2019 Blazer-sized disappointment to car enthusiasts from the once-great performance giant.

In all, HSV produced a total of 300 VF Commodore-based GTSR W1s and only four Maloo-based Utes. This 681-km (423-mile) 2017 Maloo finished in the striking “Light My Fire” which is up for auction has over two weeks remaining and is sitting at a whopping $735,000 AUD ($566,460 USD). Put in perspective, this is a vehicle that is nearly three times as rare as a ‘71 Hemi Cuda Convertible and a fraction of the price.

Given the rarity and value, this Ute will probably never be driven in anger as intended. It’ll probably sit in some lucky Aussie’s collection, unless an enterprising American with a serious budget can purchase and attempt to have it imported under a show-and-display exemption. We average folks can drool over the images and dream of what experiencing this V-8 monster must sound like in person.

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