When it comes to exclusive Australian muscle cars, this is one of the rarest and most desirable you’re likely to ever find – and it’s for sale.
Don’t be fooled by the blood-red HSV HRT 427’s relatively modest exterior – beneath the skin lurks a heavily-modified Monaro with a 420kW heart, bespoke suspension and monstrous brakes, all designed to allow it to compete against extreme-performance European cars like the Porsche 911 GT2.
Built in 2002, it was the first time HSV shoehorned a 7.0-litre V8 into a road car, something the Clayton-based manufacturer wouldn’t do again until the VE-based W427 touched down in 2008. The HRT 427 also went on a serious diet, purging its air conditioning, radio, rear seats and airbags in the quest for more performance.
Further modifications include a vented carbon-fibre bonnet, unique front and rear bumpers, rear lip spoiler, rollcage, fixed-back racing seats with four-point harnesses, a flat-bottomed steering wheel
The numbers were, for the day, incredible. The 7.0-litre dry-sumped C5-R engine was built by GM Racing and belted out 420kW and 780Nm when equipped with a race-style carbon-fibre airbox and inlet rams, providing enough power to take the HRT 427 to 100km/h in under four seconds and record an 11.7-second quarter mile time.
However, only the second prototype received the carbon inlet; the car on sale has a more road-friendly inlet manifold and air filter.
The suspension was bespoke, ditching the standard Monaro’s MacPherson strut front setup and installing a billet alloy double A-arm arrangement. At the back, a 4.11:1 diff ratio and beefed-up multilink suspension took power to the ground.
And it would have been a limited-run Aussie muscle car hero, had it not been killed by beancounters in 2003.
Happily though, two cars made it out before the HRT 427 project got the chop – and the only privately-held example is for sale. Originally sold at auction for a whopping $920,000 before changing hands two more times, this car – which wears the ‘0001’ build number on its firewall – is now for sale.
Back in the day, HSV reckoned it would have cost around $300k if the project had actually received the green light ($412k in today’s money, adjusted for inflation). This car? The current owner won’t part with it for anything less than $650k.
And the current owner is Jim Markos, a man with an extensive collection that’s mostly made up of high-end Euros like Ferraris, Lamborghinis and classic Porsches.
“To be honest with you, among all the different cars that I own, I really enjoy driving this car,” Markos said to Wheels.
“It’s definitely one of my favourites, there’s no doubt about that.”
“They really put a lot of gear into this car, a lot of effort to develop the car and make it something special. A lot of magnesium parts, a lot of carbon fibre parts, great brakes, great lightweight wheels - the seats are perfect for the car’s purpose.”
But now it’s time for a new owner to hop behind the HSV HRT 427’s Sparco steering wheel. Who’s got the cash – and the courage – to own one of Australia’s fastest and rarest performance cars?