Every now and then, you come across a production car and think: Hmm, that’s got just about enough power.
Then there’s Hot Tuner, where pretty much everything that turns up on the day has you thinking the same thing. And then there’s the odd situation where a car such as the Herrod Motorsport’s FPV ute rolls to the gate and you start to wonder if sometimes enough is actually too much.
See, here is a car that is so stunningly powerful, so urgent, that no matter what the Herrod team did to the chassis (and they did have a fiddle, trust us) the thermo-nuclear device under the bonnet was never going to be tamed.
Even with the Koni shocks and Herrod-spec springs under the ute, and even with the huge brakes with six-pot front grabbers and even with the 10-inch rear bags under the back end, this was never going to be pretty.
How unpretty? Um, consider that the best drag-strip time I could squeeze out of it was a 13.1. Embarrassing, actually, or it would be if you hadn’t been there to see the Ute From Hell still wheel-spinning through the traps in fourth gear.
So, as a drag-car, the Herrod ute doesn’t work (especially with a manual ’box to make things just that bit more difficult). But as a calling card for what the Melbourne-based workshop can offer those in the market for an embiggened Miami V8 engine, the ute works just fine, thanks.
On the dyno, the Herrod car scored big with 472.3 kilowatts. That placed it third outright, just a handful down on the Harrop R8 and the ultimately DNF-ing BTA F6. That level of urgency is the result of some Nth-degree stuff , but essentially, you’re looking at a complete package of injectors, high-boost pulleys to drive the blower and Herrod’s own intercooler kit, which not only looks factory it keeps intake temps well and truly under control.
Throw in the SCT (for which Herrod is now the Aussie distributor) custom tune and you can achieve the same result, even sticking with the stock headers and cats (there’s a bigger, flame burping set of pipes downstream).
The best news is such fi repower can be had for just $9400 drive-in, drive-out, though the cat-back exhaust will add another $1370. In the context of more than 470 rear wheel kilowatts, it’s a bargain.
Pricing for the other bits seems pretty reasonable, too. The suspension kit as fitted comes out to $2580 and the tyres (255/35 19 Dunlop Direzzas) are a $2200 proposition. At $7200, those big Harrop brakes are almost as expensive as the engine but they are, obviously, extremely necessary.
To be perfectly honest, this degree of tuning is, if not actually wasted, then certainly getting towards overkill on a ute. Watching it on the figure of eight was to admire Luffy’s drifting skill and even on the circuit, it was a good five seconds off the hottest pace, purely because it had to be driven sideways.
Everywhere. The leaf-sprung rear end is seriously underdone when it comes to harnessing this sort of onslaught; a fact Robbie Herrod freely admits just before his face cracks into that trademark splitwatermelon grin and you both wind up giggling at the sort of mayhem the ute can unleash.
Rick Kelly got a giggle, too: “This is the best fun of anything I’ve jumped in. It’s just great to hop into a car that’s got W-A-Y too much grunt…” I’ll tell you something else impressive about this car: It was driven up to Sydney from Melbourne the day before Hot Tuner kicked off.
It did the run with absolutely no dramas and even beat 10 litres per 100km in the process. And for that, we reckon you can forgive it having ‘enough’ power.
WHO: Herrod Motorsport
WHERE: 103 Northgate Drive, Thomastown, VIC 3074
HOW LONG: 25 years
SPECIALTY: Australia’s No.1 Ford enhancement specialist
CONTACT: (03) 9464 5100
ENGINE: 4951cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharged
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: double A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar (f); live axle, leaf springs, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 380mm ventilated/grooved discs, six-piston calipers (f); 356mm ventilated/grooved discs, four-piston calipers (r); ABS, EBD, BA, DSC
WHEELS: 19 x 8.0-inch, alloy
TYRES: Dunlop Direzza
SIZE: 255/35 ZR19 97W
PARTS AND PRICES
HERROD POWER KIT: $9400
HERROD SUSPENSION KIT: $2800
HARROP BRAKE KIT: $7200
TOTAL MODS COST: $22,970
VEHICLE PRICE (MRP): $52,990
TOTAL PRICE: $75,960
0-100KM/H: 5.25sec (19)
0-400M: 13.07sec (20)
100-0KM/H: 38.2m (10)
DYNO: 472.3awkW (40)
TRACK: 1:05.40 (15)
FIGURE EIGHT: 1:33.50 (9)
TOTAL POINTS: 113
“Who cares if it’s not the fastest thing out there, this is the most fun car to drive. It’s got a crazy amount of power, but it’s so driveable and well balanced. The fun factor is 20 out of 10.”
“It’s great to hop in a car with way too much grunt; you stand on the throttle out of a corner and it just launches into wheelspin. Surprising how much you can control it. It’s awesome.”