With the racer’s name adorning the dash, V8 fans need to grab one of these babies, CHRIS RILEY writes
LOWNDES? He’s the bloke who got into strife after jumping ship? Started out in Holdens, upset fans when he switched to Ford in 2001, then upset them again when he went back to Holden in 2010.
At least that’s the way I remember it.
I guess it’s all history because Holden has put his name on the back of a Commodore, just like his hero and mentor the late Peter Brock.
The Craig Lowndes SS V Special Edition Commodore is unlikely to be the last “special” before they pull the plug on local production the year after next.
But you better get in quick because Holden reckons it will be doing a limited run of these cars. The manual is priced from $57,990, the auto with wheel mounted paddle shifts from $60,190.
This compares with $46,490 and $52,490 for the standard SS Redline on which the car is based.
The Lowndes special does not benefit from a lift in power. It’s motivated by the same 6.0litre V8 as that in the run-ofthe-mill Redline, with 270kW of power and 530Nm of torque from the manual or 260kW/517Nm from the slightly detuned automatic.
The Lowndesy does, however, get four-piston Brembo stoppers front and back, instead of just at the front.
The need for good brakes is lost on most hot-rodders, but you need the stoppers to match the rest of your setup.
Also part of the Lowndes package are upgraded suspension bushes, fitted to extract the most out of the handling.
If it was us, we’d take the auto because you’re going to get tired of changing gears, especially if your daily drive involves a lot of traffic.
For your money, you’ll get lots of black bits, 20-inch wheels with licorice strip 30 series Bridgestones, four-piston Brembo brakes and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Lowndes’ signature is embroidered above the glovebox and the car comes with a certificate of authenticity.
You get all the fancy gear from the Redline too, like headup display, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and blind-spot warning.
On the road, it looks fantastic, like the kind of car you dream of owning.
But it’s possibly not the car you want to spend a great deal of time in, not with the rockhard suspension. That’s the price you pay for better handling (not that the average punter needs to hammer through corners like a race car driver).
Having said that, after a bit you become accustomed to the harshness and adept at avoiding potholes.
Although it features two drive modes, we didn’t find much difference between standard and sports modes in our test automatic.
But changing gears via the paddle shifts does provide a more satisfying response with much better, tighter control over the proceedings. With a 71litre tank and rated at 11.8 litres/100km, we were getting 13.8 in mixed driving.
Yes, it’s just an SS with some extra stuff, but by golly we’re going to miss these V8s. There’ll be a lot of punters waiting to put their money down on one before they’re gone. They could do a lot worse than grabbing one of these babies — four stars out of five.