THE EN­THU­SI­ASTS’ HERO

Still the one when a big V8 is what moves a driver, GRA­HAM SMITH writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

THE big, boom­ing V8 in the per­for­mance Com­modores sig­nalled an era of change.

NEW

Launch­ing the VE in 2006, Holden claimed model would save its ba­con. It didn’t.

As Holden, like Ford and Toy­ota, plans to aban­don lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in favour of sell­ing im­ported cars, so buy­ers have aban­doned the likes of the Com­modore Fal­con voted with their feet for smaller cars and SUVs.

But then, as now, there was much to like about large cars, par­tic­u­larly hero mod­els such as Holden’s big boom­ing V8 SS and SS-V.

The lusty 6.0-litre pound­ing away un­der the hood blew any idea of fuel fru­gal­ity but there re­mains some­thing ap­peal­ing about the surge and sound of hot Com­modore.

If thirst was no con­cern and you wanted old-school grunt, the SS and, new for the VE se­ries, up-spec SS-V would be you. A sleek Sport­wagon launched in 2008 ex­panded ap­peal.

The SS badge dates to early ’70s when it was at­tached a HQ per­for­mance model. In the VE, the V8 un­der­scored its cre­den­tials with out­puts of 270kW and 530Nm.

Trans­mis­sions were six-speed­ers, man­ual auto, lat­ter most likely choice for to­day’s buy­ers.

The VE was a roomy com­fort­able car to drive, the big V8

lazily cruis­ing along the high­way, with plenty of punch to over­take when needed.

NOW

The SS is pop­u­lar with, let’s say, en­thu­si­asts. It’s im­por­tant then that you check any car un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for signs of hav­ing been owned by a hoon — look mod­i­fied en­gines, tricked-up trans­mis­sions, low­ered sus­pen­sion and af­ter­mar­ket wheels.

A mod­i­fied en­gine might give you stronger per­for­mance but it’s likely to be at the cost of fuel con­sump­tion drive­abil­ity, and pos­si­bly dura­bil­ity.

Tweak­ing trans­mis­sion can sharpen shift­ing make it harsher to drive.

Low­ered sus­pen­sion is likely to be un­com­fort­able and bot­tom out over speed bumps across gut­ters as you drive out of your drive­way.

Af­ter­mar­ket wheels can in­fe­rior to the gen­uine fac­tory wheels. They are of­ten eas­ily chipped cracked, and knocked round by the small­est bumps against a kerb.

The best thing to do if you sus­pect car has been mod­i­fied or had hard life, walk away keep shop­ping.

The al­loy V8 is much im­proved over the 5.7-litre en­gine that pre­ceded it and there isn’t goes wrong with it.

But im­por­tant to lis­ten for any tick­ing com­ing from the en­gine, and in­spect closely for oil leaks. Par­tic­u­larly check leaks around the seal be­tween en­gine trans­mis­sion.

The six-speed auto also seems to be largely trou­ble-free but make sure it selects gears with­out hes­i­ta­tion and doesn’t clunk or bang when en­gag­ing drive re­verse.

A knock in the driv­e­line could from lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial. It could also be a sign of be­ing driven hard. There have been re­ports the diff fail­ing and it can ex­pen­sive to re­place.

Reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing is im­por­tant keep the SS run­ning smoothly, so check for a ser­vice record.

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