Down in Australia, there’s a deeply held love of not only V8s but also car-based pickups that they call “Utes,” short for utility. There’s also a lot of love for Aussie speed merchant and GM partner Holden.
You might recognize the Utes pickup-ish body style from the long since discontinued Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino, both of which were sent out to pasture in the USA in the late 1970s and late 1980s respectively. Down in Australia, though, Utes lived on, continuing the true rear-wheel drive muscle car heritage.
With the latest version of its iconic Ute, Holden has now set a new Nurburgring lap record for a commercial and utility vehicle with a V8-powered 8-minute 19.47-second lap time. Holden has decided to turn this achievement into a new video marketing campaign, which you can see below.
The record-breaking model is called the VF SS V Redline and it’s powered by a General Motors 6.0-liter V8 producing 348 horsepower and 381 pound-feet of torque. That might not seem very powerful compared to other modern GM V8s but it was enough for the Ute to slash 11 seconds off its GM-estimated lap time.
With the VF SS V Redline, customers get a Ute that’s more sports car than utility coupe. For the first time it has ‘split’ front and rear tire sizes, customizable electronic power steering, and a six-speed automatic.
“Being surrounded by mostly European manufacturers at the industry days, the Ute really stood out and I was getting plenty of thumbs up. Plus a few of the more expensive European cars on the track got a shock as this red Aussie Ute flew past them!” said Holden Dynamics Engineer Rob Trubiani in a GM press release.
We’ve always been big fans of the Aussie Utes. In the last few years, GM has rolled around the idea of re-releasing a Holden Ute-based El Camino in the States but has decided against the idea, as it figures the sales figures wouldn’t be strong enough to make an argument for the car. We think they should reconsider.
Here’s a three-part video series on their run at the ‘Ring. Worth watching!