Model Tested: Walkinshaw Performance Series II SS Commodore: $99,990 ($117,760 as tested).
It was 23 years ago at the Sydney Motor Show, following Holden’s split with Peter Brock, that HSV was born and what is now known as the Walkinshaw Commodore – a 1987 HSV Walkinshaw Group A VL SS Commodore – soon became the statement that the late Tom Walkinshaw’s Walkinshaw Performance would follow up on.
Revealed to the public at the Sydney International Motor Show in 2010, the Walkinshaw Performance Series II SS Commodore is just as outrageous as the 1987 variant it has been modelled from.
With enough power to strip paint from nearby buildings, the Series II SS Holden Commodore is finished in the same Panorama Silver colour fitted to the 1987 Group A SS Commodore, with the build run limited to just 23 examples.
The 1987 Group A SS Commodore made do with 180kW and 380Nm of torque from its 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. Fast forward 23 years and the Series II Walkinshakw Commodore tears apart those figures, managing to output 460kW and 780Nm of torque from its supercharged 6.0-litre V8.
Walkinshaw Performance’s new partnership with US auto supplier Edelbrock has led to a more responsive, reliable and efficient package that has been put through hundreds of hours of testing.
A unique suspension tune by renowned suspension supplier Bilstein is now fitted to the car and is available to order as an official part from Bilstein, even if you happen to own a Walkinshaw Performance vehicle overseas.
From the outside, there is absolutely no mistaking the WP Series II SS Commodore’s intentions. Shod with 20” wheels and low profile rubber, the package is finished with discrete carbon fibre highlights at the rear and a three-inch bi-modal exhaust system with four outlets.
In keeping with the 1987 Group A SS Commodore, the bonnet features a non-operational power scoop and blacked out Holden emblem.
There is a reason for the massive 20” wheels fitted to the WP Series II SS Commodore; they house gob-smackingly large brakes by V8 Supercar brake supplier Alcon. The optionally fitted brakes were featured on the test vehicle and span a massive 378mm in diameter at the front with six-piston callipers and an equally impressive 365mm at the rear, also with six-piston callipers.
Inside the cabin, uniquely braided seats and thumping Rockford Fosgate sound system with 12-inch sub-woofer help give the cabin a unique touch.
Turn over the V8 monster and prepare to unleash an aural assault on anyone near the car. The deep V8 idle is truly reminiscent of the 1987 version it attempts to replicate.
The tight shifting six-speed manual transmission is mated to a slightly heavy but easy to use clutch that makes rowing through the cogs a breeze. The package remains composed and easy to use even in heavy peak hour traffic.
To comply with regulations, the exhaust note is comparatively subdued until around 3500rpm; from there it turns absolutely feral. When you summon the courage and open up the throttle in first or second, the acceleration rush can only be described as supercar-like.
The WP vehicle has 275mm wide rear and 245mm wide front tyres to cope with the extra power and torque, but even that isn’t enough to keep the tyres gripping under full throttle on occasions.
Even at highway speeds in sixth gear, the throttle can be prodded to provide instantaneous response. Supercharger whine isn’t as loud as the last Walkinshaw Performance vehicle I drove, but the supercharger can still be heard working from both inside and outside the cabin.
If you thought the car sounded good from inside, the external drive-by noise under full throttle is nothing short of manic.
Over the recent years I’ve had the chance to sample a large number of performance vehicles, but none have been able to match the braking performance of the Alcon package. As a $17,770 option on the WP vehicle, they are worth every penny if you’re serious about using this vehicle on the track. The brakes don’t squeal or feel too lacking when cold, which is often a drawback to performance brakes, but when they warm up they provide unmatched braking performance.
With six-piston callipers and not only the front, but also the rear, it’s nearly impossible to find a situation where the braking package doesn’t excel. ‘S’ shaped grooves are cut out of the rotors to aid in heat dissipation.
On test, the car averaged around 14L/100km, which included a 50/50 split between highway driving and bi-modal activating city driving.
As you can see in the pictures, the car is far from discreet. There were at least five occasions where I was left chatting to people on the side of the road or in a car park.
The guys at Walkinshaw Performance have done an excellent job putting together a package that is covered by the balance of the new car warranty and can be used as a daily driver if so desired.
Priced at $99,990, the Series II SS Commodore is limited to just 23 examples, so you will need to get in quick if you would like to secure your own vehicle.