GRAB PIECE OF HISTORY

WE’LL MISS THESE V8S WHEN THEY’RE GONE

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Chris Ri­ley

LOWN­DES?

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.

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