The fastest and most famous utes, and quickest SUVS. Number 1 will amaze you…
WITH THE WORLD OF SPORTS UTES AND SUVS HEADING mainstream, manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of performance, from factory fast specials, to motorsport and speed records. America’s love affair with the truck/ute goes back to the 1960s, but NZ isn’t far behind, with a love for the working vehicles evolving to a family transport. So we have compiled the top five top-of-the tree, fastest and most famous utes and SUVS from around the world that, for reasons of speed, profile or performance, truly deserve a high five.
5 GMC SYCLONE: WORLD’S FASTEST PRODUCTION TRUCK
Back in 1991 when The Simpsons was in its second year, America’s GMC produced a truck that blew everyone and almost everything away: the aplty named Syclone. With a 4.3-litre turbocharged V6 and allwheel drive, the four-speed automatic gearbox was good enough for 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds back when a Ferrari 348 did the same time in 5.4 seconds! Syclone’s 209kw/474nm put it down the quartermile in quick-for-the-time 15.4 seconds, though aftermarket tuners unleashed their potential and ran much faster.
4 HSV MALOO R8: OFFICIALLY WORLD’S FASTEST TRUCK
The World’s Fastest Truck was a title claimed by HSV’S Maloo R8 ute back in 2006, when Mark Skaife drove a showroom standard 6.0-litre V8 to reset the Guinness World Record two-way average of 271.44km/h, near Woomera in South Australia’s outback. This beat the record at the time of 248.78km/h by a Dodge Ram SRT10 8.3-litre V10.
3 NASCAR TRUCK SERIES
Starting in 1995, the Truck series was established as a third-tier to the NASCAR series, and it remains the world’s most successful truck racing championship. The trucks run 5.9-litre carburettored V8s producing around 500kw, with a four-speed manual, and weigh just 1542kg. Along with manufacturer support from Ford and Chevy, Toyota notably joined the series in 2004, and remains in it for the current 23-round championship.
2 MAD MIKE’S RUMBUL
Kiwi’s own Mad Mike built his own Mazda REPU (Rotary Engined Powered Ute) and called it the RUMBUL Stadium Truck. Based on a Mazda B2000, RUMBUL runs a 13B Renesis engine from an RX-8, producing around 186kw/250hp, and weighing just 900kg – though recent updates include a peripheral ported, fuel injected 13B twin-rotor engine. Because loud.
1 ROD MILLEN’S PIKES PEAK TACOMA
Quite fitting that two Kiwis fill the top two spots, and in the wake of his success at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in 1994, 1996 and 1997 in his Toyota Celica, Millen built this facsimile of a Toyota Tacoma truck in 1998, replete with the rear of the aerodynamic body painted black to simulate a tray. With a central driver position, the tube-framed Tacoma was specifically built for the 20km Pikes Peak hill climb, the second-oldest motorsport event in the world. The Tacoma ran a 746kw/1000hp 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine and weighed just 885kg despite its all-wheel drive; it could manage 0-100km/h in 1.7 seconds though it wasn’t designed for standing acceleration (Pikes Peak has a rolling start line), and was geared to max out at 211km/h, with acceleration the most important factor when climbing the dirt road (back then). The Tacoma managed to win Pikes Peak in 1998 and 1999, and even had its own Hot Wheels replica made.