After getting behind the wheel of two of Patterson Cheney’s most prized possessions – the RS350 and RS400T – I sat down with Sales Manager, Nick Batzialas and New Car Consultant, Mark Cini to find out more about the company’s creation.
It’s immediately obvious from the craftsmanship and quality of work performed on each Race Sport vehicle that this is a quest for perfection. As the mastermind behind the Race Sport brand, I asked Nick to explain what inspired the Race Sport offering.
What inspired RaceSport to be born is simple, we realised that there was a huge hole in the market. Some people don’t want the fanfare of a HSV, they find that having a car that looks completely standard has its benefits, like being able turn up to a business meeting without looking like a boy racer, and being able to take it to the track for a quick run without anyone knowing what it is capable of. Subtlety was at the forefront of the idea. We wanted to design the ultimate sleeper.
Patterson Cheney also has a long history of motor racing, going back to the 1950’s, we are also a non-HSV dealer and being a performance orientated company we felt a hole in the market needed to be filled with something a little special.
Operations like the Race Sport setup is a tough gig to convince management to spend money on, especially when you consider that Patterson Cheney is strictly a new car dealer. Mark walked me through the steps involved in convincing management that Race Sport was a viable option for the Holden dealership.
It was an intense challenge to get that over the line, however we do have a enthusiastic motor sport culture at the dealership, we also spent a lot of time/money on research and development, making sure the product was above and beyond its competitors in terms of quality, reliability and performance. We have spent many hours on the track making sure that our modifications are able to cope with the punishment that they will get from being fitted to a V8 enthusiast’s car and to that end, we were confident that there will be minimal warranty work being carried out, therefore there wasn’t a lot of risk involved.
Everything we do is designed to look OEM. For example our exhaust, comes in and out the same way the original factory fit unit does, so for warranty issues not related to our modifications there is no extra labor involved in getting the exhaust off.
Patterson Cheney sells between seven to ten Race Sport vehicles per month, so there is certainly a market out there for enthusiasts after subtle, but effective performance modifications. I can certainly attest to the initial reaction after opening up the taps in the Race Sport vehicles, which turned out to be very similar to the experience encountered by potential buyers, according to Mark.
We have a lot of people who come from a HSV dealer or an FPV dealer, and once they return from the test drive, which is a standard 30 minute experience through scenic Warrandyte, they are totally blown away by the staggering torque that is available from such low revs. The car becomes so much more usable day to day. Needless to say it make my job as a salesman a whole lot easier when the product is this good, the main comment we get from people once they step out of the car, is “ this thing sounds amazing I just wanted to keep revving it!”
With all new E85 compatibility in the VE2 Commodore, Mark was also keen to suggest that work has already started on getting E85 working with the Race Sport modifications.
We are ready to go the second we get one in the showroom. We would like to develop a 3 stage tune system that will enable people to have 3 tunes for their car, one for running full tune 98 Octane, one for 50/50 or E85/unleaded mix and one solely for E85 blend. At this stage we are still researching this but we look forward to doing some extensive testing.
The most important part is convincing people to put their money where their mouth is for a Race Sport vehicle. When quizzed about why people should buy a Race Sport vehicle over a HSV, Nick said:
Well I actually think we offer a very different service than HSV. Our cars are very subtle, however, they produce more power, more torque and a superior ride to HSV and they do this while remaining inconspicuous.
We also have a few perks to it being a Holden not a HSV. There are no additional service costs; it cost exactly the same as a standard V8 commodore to service and we also offer a free loan car when you service the car or are adding a new performance modification to your car. We have an exclusive relationship with the owners of the cars and go above and beyond for the aftercare service.
You also get automatic inclusion to the RaceSport Owners Club, which entitles you to special service offers and upgrade offers, drive days and exclusive track days.
You also get outstanding value with a RaceSport upgrade. You can get into a fully appointed SS-V with an RS350 package for less than the cost of a HSV Clubsport R8 model. It also out performs it 0-100 and on the 1/4 mile test and of course with our handling package it also beats it around the track.
Suffice to say, the two men behind the Race Sport package are ecstatic about their efforts and indeed the package on offer. After a thorough test drive, I’ve got to say I’m in the same boat. You can get in touch with Patterson Cheney on 03 9262 6666 or visit http://www.pattersoncheneyholden.com.au