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AIMS: Walkinshaw SuperUte debuts

Sin bin: The Walkinshaw SuperUte's one-way glass rear window will have protective fathers worried.

Walkinshaw Performance brings back the panel van… sort of

4 Jul 2011

ONE of the country’s leading Commodore tuners, Walkinshaw Performance, has done what GM Holden dares not – it has reinvented the panel van.

Based on the Commodore SS Ute, the Walkinshaw SuperUte comes with a slick canopy over the ute tray and can be had with just about everything Walkinshaw Performance offers for a Commodore.

If you tick all the boxes, the SuperUte can set you back $82,000, including the vehicle.

However, it is not quite a real panel van because passengers cannot make their way from the front seats into the back without getting out and going around.

The canopy has no side windows and a carbon-fibre rear door with a one-way window.

“The thing about it is, it’s a nightmare for fathers, because you can’t see in,” joked national sales manager Tony Harris.

13 center imageMore seriously, Mr Harris said the SuperUte options menu gave buyers a wide range of choice and some flexibility as to how much they spend.

“What we are demonstrating here is what you can potentially do with a stock-standard product and how you can make it look different, feel different, behave differently and perform differently without compromising the integrity of the vehicle.” The show car’s Edelbrock supercharger with Eaton internals boosts power and torque from the standard 6.0-litre Chevrolet V8 from 270kW/530Nm to a massive 460kW/860Nm, with 720Nm available from 3200rpm.

“This is a 2300 series supercharger, and that means the torque curve is flat, so it’s on tap all the time. You can be in sixth gear and put your foot down and it just pushes you back,” said Mr Harris.

“We could get more out if it, but we’re not interested. On everything we do, we offer a full driveline warranty for balance of new car warranty. If it’s a new car, you’ll get three years or 100,000km.

“One of the reasons we offer a warranty, and one of the things we focus on so much, is driveability. It has to be something you can use in everyday driving. You don’t want a beast of a car that you can’t drive.” Mr Harris said that, to be considered a SuperUte, a vehicle needed to have the canopy, supercharger, new headers, exhaust system and specifically calibrated Bilstein shock absorbers, all of which costs about $25,000.

However, Walkinshaw would recommend that buyers also take the brake upgrade, which includes six-piston Alcon callipers on the front and four-piston callipers on the rear, adding a further $6500.

Although the upgraded brakes fit inside the standard wheels, 20-inch wheels that fit inside the standard guards are available, priced at $10,000.

Mr Harris said demand for Walkinshaw’s products was still growing strongly despite the economy.

“Last year we did 120 superchargers nationally. This year to the end of June we have done 75. It’s massive.

“Our business grew 30 per cent last year and, when you think about the economy, we are pretty happy with that result. This year we are expecting another 25 per cent increase.”

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