HOLDEN is making the final touches to a louder, angrier version of its high-performance Commodore-based ute that will help to farewell the car.
The collectable tribute car will be the first of three special-edition models that will celebrate the locally made Commodore’s legacy once manufacturing ends late next year.
The last of the limited-run utes is believed to be a bespoke-badged version of a Holden Commodore VFII SS-V Redline, featuring more aggressive aerodynamic tweaks and a much more sinister growl from the bimodal exhaust snaking down from its LS3 V8 engine.
It is expected to go on sale early next year, costing around $55,000. Despite its more aggressive looks, the special ute is expected to carry over the 304kW/570Nm normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8, mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Holden declined to comment on the ute’s existence. However, the carmaker has previously said it would roll out a series of Commodores wearing special badges and celebrating the end to almost 40 years of manufacturing the sedan, wagon and ute line as next year’s production deadline looms.
When it does arrive, Holden’s ute-based celebration should be an instant hit with the Commodore faithful: its parent company, General Motors, has already hinted that the era of cut-price performance V8s will come to an end with the locally made version of the car. The ute’s limited production numbers, too, suggest it will likely count among the last 2000 or so V8-engined load luggers built by Holden.
It should also be the last chance to own what is one of Australia’s great driver’s cars – let’s be honest, under its sleek ute-coupe styling the Holden is more two-seat sports car than worksite hack.
We get our first look at the ute in about February. However, Holden is still undecided as to what badge it will stick on the ute -- two other specialist Commodores that will roll off the carmaker’s South Australia-based production line include the Holden Calais-based Director and a performance version of the Redline sedan. Holden had planned to name the sedan version of the Commodore the “Bathurst”, but an insider said the name had been dropped in favour of another, as yet unannounced choice.
Critically, though, Holden admitted that while the special Bathurst badge had been shelved, the project team that was working on the hi-po send-off for the Commodore had not lost pace.