GRAB PIECE OF HISTORY
WE’LL MISS THESE V8S WHEN THEY’RE GONE
Oh yes, he’s the bloke that 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. But 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. It’s not the first time the
five-time Bathurst winner has had his name on the back of a car; let’s not forget the BF Falcon Limited Edition XR by Craig Lowndes ute.
If you want one, you’d 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.
Sorry, but the Lowndes special does not benefit from a lift in power.
It’s motivated by the same 6.0-litre V8 as that in the run-of-the-mill Redline, with 270kW and 530Nm of torque from the manual or 260kW/517Nm from the slightly detuned automatic.
They turn down the wick because that is the maximum amount of torque the slushbox can handle without dropping its guts.
The Lowndesy does, however, get four-piston Brembo stoppers front and back, instead of just at the front.
That’s not to be sneezed at because it allows the driver to brake harder and later into corners. The need for good brakes is lost on most hot-rodders but you need the stoppers to match the rest of your set-up.
Also part of the Lowndes package are upgraded suspension bushes, fitted to squeeze the most out of the handling.
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.
What you get is lots of black bits, 20inch wheels with liquorice-strip 30 series Bridgestones, four-piston Brembo brakes and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The black wing, black striping and glossy black 20-inch alloys give the car an aggressive appearance.
As well as badges and black bits, Lowndes’s 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 head-up display, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and blind spot warning.
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 rock-hard suspension that feels like it is going to self-destruct as it crashes through potholes.
That’s the price you pay for better handling, not that the average driver needs to hammer through corners like a race car driver.
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.
Verdict: It’s just an SS with some extra stuff, but by golly we’re going to miss these V8s. You could do a lot worse than grabbing one of these.
The hot-looking Lowndes Commodore is no quicker than an SS Redline.