Holden back on top

The pow­er­ful Walkin­shaw Holden hits the mark, write Paul Gover and Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

FAST car brag­ging rights in Aus­tralia are back in the red corner, thanks to Walkin­shaw Per­for­mance and a wicked 460kW Com­modore.

Ford Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cle took the high ground with its 335kW Fal­con GT last month, but now WP, from the same sta­ble as Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles, is hit­ting back with a Com­modore that jumps into the lux­ury class with a price tag some­where be­tween $99,990 and $117,760.

Its su­per­charged 6-litre en­gine also makes 460kW with 780 Nm of torque, and it comes equipped with ev­ery­thing from gi­ant brakes to a body kit that echoes the orig­i­nal Walkin­shaw Group A Com­modore from 1987.

De­spite the hefty show­room sticker, Walkin­shaw boss Craig Wil­son says about half of the 23 cars in the limited-edi­tion Se­ries II Su­per­car run have been sold less than a week af­ter it was pre­viewed at the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show — in­clud­ing five to show vis­i­tors.

‘‘It’s re­ally hit the mark. If you want brag­ging rights we’ve got the car,’’ says Wil­son. ‘‘There are no gim­micks. It is a go-fast car.’’

Walkin­shaw Per­for­mance has been grow­ing rapidly since it was es­tab­lished two years ago as a step be­yond HSV. It spe­cialises in lim­it­ededi­tion pack­ages for the Com­modore, though the Se­ries II is a new devel­op­ment.

The cost of the Se­ries II in­cludes a brand-new Com­modore SS, which is then com­pre­hen­sively tweaked at WP’s work­shop in Clay­ton, Vic­to­ria.

‘‘It’s a dif­fer­ent beast when it comes back,’’ says WP spokesman Simon Frost.

That’s largely down to the WP 230 Edle­brock su­per­charger con­ver­sion, but the car also gets spe­cial Bil­stein sus­pen­sion with six-pis­ton brake calipers at all four cor­ners — with 378mm discs up front and 365mm on the rear.

A spe­cially com­mis­sioned au­dio up­grade pack­age from Rock­ford Fos­gate is in­cluded and all 23 cars are sprayed in Panorama Sil­ver — an­other tip to the orig­i­nal Walkin­shaw Com­modore that started the Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles busi­ness.

The pack­age also fea­tures a 3-inch bi-modal ex­haust, car­bon-fi­bre lip spoiler and spe­cially

broi­dered WP head­rests, sill plates and arm rests.

The ad­di­tion of the WP230 su­per­charger rep- re­sents a new fron­tier for Walkin­shaw Per­for­mance, and not just be­cause of the raw num­bers the su­per­charged en­gine delivers.

Chief en­gi­neer Alan Hale says it’s the power un­der the curve that is the key.

‘‘The big ben­e­fit of this pack­age is the huge 12-inch-long in­take run­ner sys­tem which delivers mas­sive amounts of torque un­der the curve, for in­stance 700 Nm as low as 3000 rpm,’’ Hale says.

‘‘We’re re­ally proud of the end prod­uct and we know it is go­ing to be pop­u­lar with cus­tomers look­ing for some­thing ex­tra from their Holden or HSV.’’

Wil­son says the Se­ries II is not in­tended to com­pete with HSV, but to give Holden fans an­other choice.

‘‘We’ve dis­cussed what we’re do­ing with HSV. It’s a close re­la­tion­ship,’’ he says.

And he prom­ises the Se­ries II will lead to more go-fast parts from WP.

‘‘Af­ter they’re gone, peo­ple will be able to buy a lot of the items sep­a­rately.

‘‘We’re still work­ing on that but there will be a lot of stuff.’’

Go fast: the Se­ries II Su­per­car makes 460kW with 780Nm of torque.

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