BUY­ING GEN-F MALOO R8

One of the most out­landish ve­hi­cles to wear a Grif­fin badge, the Maloo R8 is a spec­tac­u­lar high­light of Vaux­hall’s per­for­mance port­fo­lio...

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS - WORDS Dan Furr PHOTOS Dan Sher­wood

Now’s the time to get hold of one of the most out­ra­geous ve­hi­cles to wear a Vaux­hall badge.

We’re at a point in time when we have no idea when the next VXRs will be an­nounced. It’s strange to think of Vaux­hall with­out a line of red hot hatches, es­pe­cially when the past four­teen years have been some of the most fruit­ful in the man­u­fac­turer’s time as a pro­ducer of per­for­mance cars. At one point in the not too dis­tant past, it seemed as though there was no end to en­thu­si­asm for slap­ping a VXR badge on the arse end of even the most mun­dane of mod­els. Fastest peo­ple car­rier in the world? Com­pleted it, mate. Mod­i­fied Meriva? You knows it. It didn’t mat­ter if you wanted a fam­ily runaround or a track-fo­cused speed ma­chine. What­ever your re­quire­ment, there was a VXR avail­able for you to en­joy.

Co­in­cid­ing with the launch of the VXR brand at the 2004 Bri­tish Mo­tor Show was the ar­rival of the Monaro. None of us in at­ten­dance had ever seen a Vaux­hall like it. Pow­ered by a Corvette-stolen V8, the cur­va­ceous two-door was es­sen­tially a re­branded prod­uct of Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles (HSV), the per­for­mance arm of GM’s Aus­tralian man­u­fac­turer, Holden. Within three years, the Monaro was re­placed by the big­ger, an­grier VXR8, a car many see as the mod­ern-day Lo­tus Carl­ton. Even so, not even last year’s 587bhp 6.2-litre VXR8 GTS-R – the most pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion Vaux­hall of all time – can com­pete suc­cess­fully against its cargo car­ry­ing sib­ling, the Maloo R8, when it comes to vy­ing for the ti­tle of cra­zi­est Grif­fin ever sold in the UK.

Cre­ated in 1990 and based on Holden’s fa­mous Ute, the Maloo was a per­fectly sen­si­ble utlil­ity ve­hi­cle un­til it was treated to an un­nec­es­sar­ily pow­er­ful V8 engine and sporty body kit. The R8 trim level was cre­ated in 2001. It was an R8 which broke the record for the world’s fastest pro­duc­tion pick-up truck in 2006, beat­ing the Dodge Ram SRT-10 by record­ing a top speed of more than 168mph.

RISE TO POWER

There have been nine dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of Maloo, but the most re­cent is the Gen-F edi­tion (20132017). It’s a rip-roar­ing riot of a ma­chine avail­able in both nat­u­rally as­pi­rated and su­per­charged guise. We tested the 543bhp Maloo R8 LSA shortly af­ter its launch in 2016. The blown beast shares much of its me­chan­i­cal com­po­nen­try with the VXR8 GTS, a 576bhp colos­sus boast­ing 545lb/ft torque. Oosh!

Gen-F Maloos were avail­able to or­der new from a hand­ful of Vaux­hall deal­er­ships. This ver­i­ta­ble chunk of thun­der from Down Un­der sub­se­quently earned it­self a ded­i­cated fol­low­ing from a small-but-en­thu­si­as­tic com­mu­nity of UK-based petrol­heads. It’s im­por­tant to note there are those who have im­ported their Maloos di­rect from Aus­tralia, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a wider range of trim and colour op­tions than Vaux­hall of­fered. These same buy­ers saved them­selves the has­sle of wait­ing for a rare Vaux­hall-badged ute to make it­self avail­able for pur­chase, but if you look in the right places, there’s ev­ery chance you’ll man­age to avoid the ex­pense of ship­ping and im­port du­ties.

We took a trip to see Marc Wale, owner of Vaux­hall V8 spe­cial­ist, MW Per­for­mance, in or­der to find out what you need to be aware of if you’re tempted to buy a tidy Gen-F Maloo R8 to call your own. Read on in or­der to dis­cover what it is you should be look­ing for.

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