Pace Notes

7 THINGS WE THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW

– SN

01 HSV’S W1 SUPER UTE

EXPOSED! Clayton’s ultra-exclusive 474kW Maloo W1s

IT’S THE ULTIMATE Australian muscle car, but you can’t buy one. MOTOR has learned that following the cessation of local manufacturing, four GTSR Maloo W1s were built by Walkinshaw Performance for a handful of people in HSV’s inner circle.

An HSV spokesperson told MOTOR the company wasn’t actively hiding the cars – simply chose not to publicise their existence – however, it’s understood the owners were required to sign contracts promising their silence before, during and after the build process.

All four cars feature every mechanical modification made to the 275 W1 sedans with the exclusion of the side skirts – the Maloo has a longer wheelbase and therefore different skirts – and quad exhaust outlets, the trayback W1s retaining the regular twin unit.

As such, the Maloo W1s use the 474kW/815Nm 6.2-litre supercharged LS9 V8, modified to work with the Commodore’s electric power steering, and TR6060 close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, both lifted from the previous-generation Corvette ZR1.

Maloos aren’t compatible with HSV’s Magnetic Ride Control, but the specially developed Supashock dampers fit just fine, the only modification being a slight tweak to the rear anti-roll bar setting. Wheels are 20 x 9.0-inch front and 20 x 10.0-inch rear, wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track rubber and covering 410mm fully-floating two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers up front with 372mm rotors out back and four-potters at the rear.

Obviously, there’s no Aeroflow spoiler, but the carbon front-guard inserts make an appearance, while inside the diamond-quilted Podium seats and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever are all present and correct. The program was born when HSV itself investigated the possibility of producing a limited run of Maloo W1s, the business case for which didn’t stack up due to the cost of calibrating and validating such a limited run of cars. Enter Walkinshaw Performance. Starting with the base vehicles, which left the production line as HSV GTSR Maloos, Walkinshaw applied the W1 modifications and gained the necessary VASS (Vehicle Asssessment Signatory Scheme) approval to ensure the cars are fully compliant and road legal.

Even so, the process was expensive, as Walkinshaw must provide evidence that the W1 alterations meet the relevant standards. No party was willing to go on record as to how much the Maloos cost, but a source told MOTOR “decent Lamborghini money” was a good guide.

The four lucky recipients are a closely guarded secret, however, we can confirm one of the Maloo W1s is painted in Light My Fire (gold), another is in XU-3 Yellah, the same hue as the original VS GTS-R, while a third is red and the fourth is either matte black or matte silver. Sadly, according to our information only one example is likely to ever see the public road, the others being tucked away in private collections.

Given the outrageous sums of money W1 sedans are changing hands for, it might seem odd that HSV couldn’t make the business case work for a limited run of Maloo W1s, however, part of the problem was only a limited number of LS9s could be sourced.

Any Maloos built would have reduced the number of sedans available, with HSV telling MOTOR it was confident the four-door would prove be the more popular package.

Nonetheless, while the Maloo W1 was not an official HSV program, kudos has to go to the company for allowing a limited run of these special Maloos to be built, cars whose stories will be followed for decades to come.

– SN

02 SPEEDSTER RETURNS!

ONE-OFF CONCEPT (for now) celebrates 70 years of Porsche

PORSCHE HAS given itself a birthday present. Presumably it wasn’t a surprise. Still, given the Stuttgart maker is celebrating 70 years of building some of the world’s best sports cars, we’ll forgive it the indulgence, especially when the present is pretty droolworthy.

Unveiled at Porsche’s ‘70 years Porsche sportscar’ event in Zuffenhausen, the 911 Speedster Concept is a modern interpretation of the very first car Porsche built on June 8, 1948, a Porsche 356 Roadster dubbed ‘No. 1’. The Speedster cherry picks the choice bits from the 911 range and infuses plenty of retro cues to “forge a link between the very first Porsche and the cars of today”.

The first true high-performance open-top Porsche was the 1952 356 1500 America Roadster, which used an aluminium body to shed 60 kilograms compared to the equivalent 356 Coupe. Powered by a 52kW flat-four, it could reach 175km/h, though only 16 were ever produced for the US market.

Built in Porsche’s Motorsport Centre, the basis of the Speedster Concept is a Carrera 4 Cabriolet. The windscreen rake has been increased and side windows shortened to match, giving it a lower, stockier stance. A trademark characteristic of the Speedster is its hunchback look, created by the double bubble rear cover, in this case made from carbonfibre.

Also constructed from carbon are the front guards, bonnet and seats.

Weight is kept to a minimum elsewhere by the use of a manually-fastened fabric tonneau cover rather than an electrically-operated convertible roof and the deletion of air-con, navigation and the radio. The lightweight seats are covered in brown Aniline leather, while the wind deflector features a ‘70 years of Porsche’ engraving.

Externally, the retro theme continues with the central fuel filler located in the centre of the bonnet, the aerostyle ‘Talbot’ mirrors and unique headlight design. Transparent and opaque surfaces create a cross on each headlight, mirroring a practice still prevalent in club racing today, the use of tape to prevent stone chipping and glass breakage.

Thankfully, the Speedster Concept isn’t a case of all style, no substance. Under the skin is essentially the chassis of the 991.2 GT3, albeit with 21-inch centre-lock Fuchs-style alloys rather than the usual motorsport-inspired 20s.

Also lifted from the GT3 are the six-speed manual gearbox and 368kW/460Nm 4.0-litre naturallyaspirated flat-six, which now sings to 9000rpm through a set of titanium exhaust pipes.

In its press release, Porsche says the Speedster Concept “offers a glimpse of a potential series-production version…A decision on whether to move ahead will be made in the coming months.” Given the current market appetite for limited edition Porsches and the fact a similar Speedster farewelled the 997-generation in 2010, we’d suggest the production version of the 991.2 Speedster will appear shortly before the new 992 911 drops later this year.

Just 356 of the last-generation Speedster were produced, so expect a similarly limited run this time around and a price tag in excess of $500,000. That’s assuming you can get on the shortlist in the first place! m

– SN

SIX CARS WITH THE SPEEDSTER DNAI

03 ALFA ICONS REVIVED

INCOMING! Surprise supercar and hot new coupe from Alfa Romeo

04 MASERATI CHARGES UP

BATTERY-POWERED Alfi eri promises 0-100km/h in 2.0sec!

MASERATI IS planning to embrace electrified performance in a big way, its forthcoming Alfieri coupe leading the charge when it arrives in 2020. Revealed as a concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Alfieri was expected to receive highperformance versions of Maserati’ twin-turbo V6 and V8 engines, however, it will now rely on battery power to deliver blinding speed.

A triple-motor setup will deliver all-wheel drive with true torque vectoring, with Maserati claiming the Alfieri will bolt to 100km/h in around two seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 300km/h. Key to its performance will be its Ferrarideveloped electric drivetrain, delivering 50 per cent more power than Maserati’ current V8-powered sports models, while keeping the weight penalty to 175kg compared to a conventional internal-combustion engine.

Maserati promises long range and quick charge times thanks to the use of 800-volt charging technology, which is projected to allow a 400km range refill in 15-20 minutes. The Alfieri will also be offered as a plug-in hybrid, however, what role the ICE will play, and what engine that will be, is currently unclear.

Maserati has grown rapidly in recent years, from just 6000 sales globally with 12 per cent market coverage to 50,000 sales and 46 per cent market coverage in 2017, largely on the back of the Ghibli sedan and Levante SUV. According to CEO Tim Kuniskis, the plan is to increase this to 100,000 sales by 2022 thanks to an all-new Quattroporte and new mid-size SUV.

– SN

05 FERRARI 250 GTO SELLS FOR $92M

WITH THE international classic car market continuing to boom, it was possibly only a matter of time before the record for the world’s most expensive car sale was broken. However, few could have imagined a figure in excess of AUD$90m.

US entrepreneur David MacNeil, owner of automotive floor-mat firm WeatherTech, has reportedly paid

US$70m for Ferrari 250 GTO chassis 4153GT 63, which was raced extensively in period at events such as the 1000km Nurburgring, Le Mans 24-Hour, Tour de France and many more.

It’s described as one of the best 250 GTOs in existence (there are only 39 to choose from) and has been used and shown extensively at classic car events all over Europe in recent years.

– SN

06 ALPINE A110

LAUNCH DATE: Q4 2018; $97K

FAST FACTS 1.8litre turbo four; 185kW/320Nm; 0-100 4.5sec

AUSTRALIAN pricing and specifications have been announced for the new Alpine A110.

Three variants will be offered, the $97,000

Pure, $103,500 Legende and $106,500

Premiere Edition, limited to 60 cars.

07 BRABHAM BT62

LAUNCH DATE: Q4 2018; $1.8M

FAST FACTS 5.4-litre V8; 522kW/667Nm; 972kg; Oz built

BRABHAM has announced its Australian home base will be The Bend Motorsport

Park in South Australia, recently completing testing with its BT62 supercar before continuing development overseas.

08 BUGATTI CHIRON

LAUNCH DATE: NOW; $599.99

FAST FACTS 0kW/0Nm; 3599 pieces; ages 16+; 56 x 25 x 14cm

FINALLY, A Bugatti we can all afford. LEGO has released the Technic Chiron, a 1:8 scale model of Bugatti’s mega-buck hypercar. It features real suspension, moving pistons and is available now from LEGO stores.m

ALFA ROMEO will revive the 8C supercar as a hybrid, 522kW halo model as part of an ambitious plan to remake the iconic Italian brand.

Every five years Fiat-Chrysler hosts a presentation outlining its plan for the next five years. It’s a big deal, for under that umbrella sits Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. In its latest presentation, it was the latter that scored a lot of the spotlight as FCA looks to capitalise on the growing premium market.

Alfa’s growth in recent times has been impressive, from 66,000 sales in 2014 to 109,000 in 2017, which is projected to increase to 170,000 this year. However, this is drastically short of the 2018 goal of 400,000 units outlined by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne at the 2014 presentation.

Reflecting on the underachievement, Marchionne said FCA management underestimated the complexity of relaunching Alfa, which increased costs and slowed down product launches, and also the reaction of its German competitors to Alfa entering a market they’d effectively had to themselves in recent times.

In order to hit the ambitious 400,000 unit sales target this time around (2022 is now the proposed target date), Alfa boss Tim Kuniski outlined seven major launches between now and 2022. The MiTo and 4C will cease to exist, but the Giulietta, Giulia and Stelvio will all receive mid-life updates and will be joined by a small and a large SUV. However, casting the all-important Alfa halo over these products will be two new sports cars, reviving iconic badges from history.

Topping the range will be a new 8C, a fully-fledged mid-engined supercar using a carbonfibre monocoque and producing in excess of 522kW. Just what engine will power the 8C to 100km/h in less than three seconds is currently unknown, but we’d put money on the fact it’ll be an upgraded version of Alfa’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 twinned with a hybrid system, Alfa confirming the car will have an “electrified front axle” a la Honda NSX.

Joining the 8C will be a new GTV, a two-door, four-seat coupe built on the Giulia QV platform but featuring, presumably, a hybridised version of the QV’s V6 to produce in excess of 450kW. All-wheel drive will be standard, but with no mention of the 8C’s electrified front axle it seems safe to assume it will be a traditional all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring capabilities.

Nonetheless, performance car or not, electrification will be a key element in every new FCA product as the company battles to meet stringent new emissions targets. Alfa Romeos will be no exception. E-boosters will be used to boost power and eliminate turbo lag, while FCA’s plug-in hybrid technology, applied across its entire portfolio, will allow for more than 50km of electriconly driving. All vehicles will be capable of level three autonomy, assuming local regulations allow it.

It all points to an exciting future for the Italian brand, with Marchionne adamant the mistakes of the last five years won’t be repeated. “We’re a lot more aware of the impediments associated with the introduction of the [Alfa Romeo] brand,” he said.

– SN