For largely an emotionless game of number-crunching game, BFYB can pull a bloke’s heartstrings.
For this here judge, it was the first hot lap of Holden’s SS Ute, a two-pronged reminder both of what a marvel of dynamic prowess the humble Australian ute has become and of how, in short course, that marvel will become extinct.
The brain tells you that it should be an overpowered, tail-happy excursion into the barriers in waiting, but the truth is that this V8-powered home-spun hay-hauler has more mid-corner poise and balance than the majority of the BFYB field.
It’s slightly loose in the tail and keener to tuck its nose than the SS-V Redline sedan, but no less capable – choosing one over the other as a track car is realistically down to a matter of personal taste.
Did power help its cause? Did it what. The SS’s scorching 170.75km/h V-max around the Winton circuit was the fastest in category.
But the ute’s corner speed was also quite handy – in our measured Turn Seven its 54.36km/h was quicker half the Cheapie Dozen, including both Subarus.
And its particularly seductive blend of power and poise netted a very respectable lap time of 1:06.10, pushing the SS into the top half of its category’s Winton circuit standings.
Problem is, the ute has all the Go and not a lot in the Stop department. Sure, it pulled a really good 36.70m 100-0km/h emergency stop with cold anchors, and scored accordingly well, but merely a handful of Winton blinders would overcook its modest brakes.
And right here is the SS Ute’s double-edged sword: its sharp $39,490 price plays an advantage in Price Indexing against the pricier SS-V Redline fitted with properly engineered-for-durability brakes.
And while we love its playful chassis, dodgy stoppers get a big markdown in the eyes of subjective judgement, where it scored just seventh in class.
But acceleration? Forget traction issues. Despite its slightly baulky manual, the SS Ute dispatched the 100m mark in 5.9sec and nailed the 400m in 14-flat, both numbers the second-quickest of their respective tests in the sub-$50K category.
As for rolling punch, well, none of its class rivals could sprint from 80-120km/h as swiftly as the Holden’s 3.5sec march. Oh, and it was the fastest though the 400m traps, too, at 167.2km/h.
Throw all of those numbers in the BFYB Calculator and the dinky-di icon on borrowed time lands in impressive fourth place in class.
$0-50K placing – 4th
Overall placing – 5th
Judges’ ranking – 15th
0-100km/h – 5.90sec (9th)
0-400m – 14.00 @ 167.20km/h (9th)
Lap Time – 1:46.10sec (11th)
Pricing – $39,490 (11th)
Engine: 5967cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power: 270kW @ 5600rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 4400rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Suspension: strut, stabiliser bar, coil springs (f); multi-link, coil springs, stabiliser bar (r)
Brakes: 321mm ventilated discs, 2-piston caliper (f); 324mm ventilated discs, single-piston caliper (r)
Wheels: 18 x 8.0-inch
Tyres: 245/45 R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!