END OF THE LINE

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Guy Allen

SS-V PROVIDES KILLER BANG FOR THE BUCK

T he call to Holden to beg/ borrow/steal a new-gen car was rare, but we had a mission: to add current icing to the SS history in this mag.

The plan was a quick country tour to introduce it to Leo Pruneau, one of the key stylists of the first SS (the 1972 HQ) and then Hayden Pilgrim, the owner of an ultra-early example who (along with wife Margaret) also happens to be the caretaker of a national HQ SS group. See the main feature starting on page 66.

This, the last of the SS line – there is a range of them in ute, wagon and sedan formats – just reinforces how tragic the decision to stop local manufacture really is.

Particularly when you talk to passionate folk like Leo and Hayden.

If you have to call it quits, it is a good a way to do it. The VFII SS-V picks up a hi-po version of the LS3 6.2 litre V8, claiming 304kW, or near enough to 400 horsepower. In a four-door family car.

Dynamically it’s a long way from the often crude (but loveable) performance predecessors of the seventies or early eighties and, really, far more ‘out there’ in sophistication than the tarted-up Belmont which inaugurated the SS nameplate.

Bristling with the now-expected traction and braking safety electronics of a modern transport of delight, it also has huge performance, a nicely-gated six-speed manual shift, good interior fittings (finished leather and suede abound) along with an infotainment system that says where you are, how much dinosaur juice you’re burning but, so far, nothing that says why.

It’s a big and blocky piece of machinery, though its visual size diminishes rapidly as you move away. Meanwhile it’s fast, very capable – you won’t feel cheated on the handling front, so long as you remember what it is – roomy and comfortable. It makes very satisfying angry noises for the occupants, without offending by-passers.

And it costs around $54k in SS-V form, or closer to $59k in the up-spec Redline edition. Good luck finding a better bang-for-buck factor in a four-door.

We’re not going to pretend this is a comprehensive road test – it ain’t. However the SS-V is a damned good piece of kit.

The only disappointment was when we opened the bonnet and were confronted with a big grey plastic blanket engine cover. What the hell? Expecting inlet trumpets and warning signs on the rocker covers saying ‘Dragons be here’, you get porridge. You can get an accessory dress-up panel, but it’s not enough.

By far the biggest surprise with this toy came from workshop guru and part-time collector Morley, who has a 30-year (and

counting) history road-testing current cars. When we asked him to nominate the keeper of the entire SS line, he picked this, the new one (see page 77).

It’s one of those gadgets which, after a brief drive and a bit of thought over what it represents, will have you scheming for ways to fund it. Don’t say you weren’t warned… y

You want more?!

THE ULTIMATE expression of the SS theme is the SS-V Redline, which costs an extra $6300. For that you get staggered wheel sizes, sportier suspension, Brembo brakes and forward collision warning. Ticking the Redline box also gives you access to a couple of options, including the Blackline roof (including sunroof) and bigger 20-inch wheel package.

Fast Facts

2016 HOLDEN SS-V

TradeUniqueCars.com.au 35 BODY: all-steel monocoque ENGINE 6.2-litre LS3 Chevrolet with fuel injection POWER & TORQUE: 304kW @ 6000rpm, 570Nm @ 4400rpm PERFORMANCE 0-100km/h 4.9sec SUSPENSION: Front: independent with coil springs,.

Rear: lindependent with coil springs BRAKES: discs ELECTRONICS: satnav, ESC PRICE: $52,400 incl ORC CONTACT: holden.com.au Need more?

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