March 07, 2007
Horse 728 - Commodore's Kids
The red machine is the UK's new Vauxhall VXR8, which also happens to be Australia's HSV Clubsport R8 (ignore that "based-on" nonsense... this is as straight a rebadge as you'll ever see). Both are the evil spawn of the morbidly ugly Holden VE Commodore as presented after the speed freaks at HSV have had their way with it.
In this case, "having their way" means 420bhp in the old money or if you wish, the UK variant is 323kW as opposed to 307kW in Oz or a paltry 275kW in Pontiac's G8 "GT". The source of the enhanced juice is GM's muscled-up 6L V8 but instead of running 87RON in the US or 91RON in Australia, the UK VXR8 only runs on 95RON+
Operationally this is slightly bizarre. VXR being the performance department of GM in the UK (like HSV in Australia or Opel's OPC) also happens to be the biggest stakeholder in 888 Engineering who build their BTCC Touring Cars. 888 Engineering run the Vodafone Falcons in the V8 Supercars in Australia, which are Fords... Hmm.
To take this a logical step further, the Australian car was built to GM's "global climate standards" which meant that the tolerances for the vehicle were build for America's open spaces and snows, and Britain's slushy winters but someone seemingly forgot Australia's arid interior which is where the car woudl spend a lot of its life. Most new owners of the VE Commodore have found sparkling problems littered throughout the car - most of these are electric related.
The G8 on the other hand has had an agressive American styling package thrust upon it, highlighted by strong garish Pontiac design cues, such as that massive dual-port grille, fog lamps, hood scoops and front fender vents. At the rear, jewel-like taillamps also are mounted in housings and feature bright work surrounding the red light clusters. G8 models have red taillamp lenses and twin chrome exhaust outlets, while G8 GT models feature clear taillamp lenses and quad chrome exhaust tips.
With the General starting to realise the benfits of European motoring (the Cobalt is a re-cued Astra & likewise the Malibu is a re-cued Vectra) I don't know what they're possibly trying to achieve with the Pontiac brand. The car has logical competitors from within it's own stable such as the Buick Lucerne and the Chevrolet Imapala. I wonder if this car will suffer from cultural imperialsm like the ill-fated Monaro/GTO.
It looks like after all this time that Holden may have possibly found the markets for their Billion-Dollar-Baby. Time will tell if they just threw the cash into the wind.
Posted by Rollo at 17:06