HSV VZ Maloo R8

Aussie super-ute tears the record books a new one

by LOUIS CORDONY

SURE, YOUR W1 is the fastest, most powerful and last Commodore-based HSV to be built, but does it hold a world record? Well, the 2006 VZ Maloo R8 does, sitting right under the title for the fastest production pickup truck’ on the planet. And rightfully so.

BY THE BOOK Guinness World Records defined a pick-up truck’ by any vehicle with a flat load bed that stretches its entire width and one third of its length

Of course, down here in Australia we’ve called em utes since Lewis Bandt helped Mrs Farmer get her pigs to market in the 1930s. And we’ve also been hotting them up for as long as we can remember. Only two years after HSV was founded, it based its first super-ute on the VG Commodore, with a 5.0-litre V8 and overhauled front suspension.

Fast forward 16 years to 2006 and the Maloo had an LS2 V8 with 6.0 litres of shunt and rode on the updated VZ platform. With 297kW, 530Nm and 6500rpm redline, the Maloo certainly could move. Mark Skaife proved its speed on May 25, 2006, when he tore down a test range in Woomera, South Australia, at 277.16km/h in a four-speed automatic version (the manual version couldn’ pull top revs in sixth). But that’ not the speed you’ find under its name in the Guinness World Record books. Its average speed of 271.44km/h was taken from passes in both directions over a full 1000m. Either way, it smashed the previous record held by a Dodge Ram SRT-10 packing a Viper V10 – by more than 20km/h.

It was good for this kind of stuff, being on a longer wheelbase than its similarly powered coupe and sedan siblings. The independent rear-end was great for handling and gave it the edge on the rival FPV Pursuit ute too. And while that tonneau cover, with spoiler, would have made lobbing tools into the tray tricky, it certainly helped at such speeds, according to HSV at the time.

It might be a pointless record, but we still wonder how fast the more recent Gen F2 supercharged Maloo could have hauled a couple of lawn-mowers...