Of the thousands of stories that have gone live on www.motormag.com.au this year, these are the 10 you enjoyed the most. Here’s a recap for any you missed the first time around.
10. Sweet Dream – Subaru WRX STI 23B
Our ‘Sweet Dream’ section is a chance for our editorial team to let their imaginations run wild and create the cars we wish were on-sale right now. We then present the idea to our gun photoshop guru, Brendon Wise, and he brings them to digital life. Judging by the response, plenty of people want to see Subaru reprise their greatest hit, the Impreza 22B.
9. Sweet Dream – Nissan S16 Silvia
But even more want to see Nissan revive the lightweight, rear-drive, turbocharged sports coupe it did so well for decades. Toyota’s massive success with the 86 surely makes such a car a no-brainer. Nissan got close with its awesome iDx concept, but Andy Palmer’s departure for Aston knocked it on the head. Shame.
8. Walkinshaw Racing Edition review
There’s nothing like a powerful V8 to get petrolheads excited, and they don’t come much more powerful than the 550kW/980Nm Walkinshaw Racing Edition. What’s most surprising about this monster isn’t how fast it is – though a 12.08sec quarter mile isn’t hanging around – but how well the Gen-F Clubsport package copes with 60 per cent more power.
7. Holden VF II Commodore debuts LS3 V8
The big news of 2015 for Lion fans was the introduction of the last-ever Aussie-built Commodore, the VF Series II. Rumours Holden would farewell its V8 sedan by nicking the 6.2-litre LS3 V8 from HSV proved accurate, and the result is arguably the best Commodore ever, with brilliant response, plenty of pace and an outrageous exhaust note.
6. Ford Mustang lands in Oz
Despite its imminent manufacturing shutdown, Ford had a huge 2015, at least for performance fans. It wasn’t Ford, however, but conversion specialists Mustang Motorsport who managed to have a right-hand Pony Car on Aussie roads first. Despite a $125K price tag, at least one found a home but conversion isn’t the end game for MM, it’ll be offering plenty of go-fast gear for the new Mustang.
5. Ford Focus RS power revealed
It seemed at times as though the information drip-feed regarding the new Focus RS would never end. As a recent series of development videos shows, however, that was sometimes because Ford was making it up as it went along. The Focus RS’s power figures, for instance, weren’t announced at the car’s reveal because the engines kept going bang. Problem solved, Ford’s new hot hatch produces 257kW/440Nm and promises to be one of the cars of 2016.
4. FPV engineers create 700Nm XR6 Turbo
It’s late on a Friday afternoon when suddenly a story drops regarding a group of ex-FPV engineers tweaking ex-police vehicles into highly-tuned track weapons. Premcar offers engineering services in the Asia-Pacific region, but used its downtime to create 320kW/700Nm XR6 Turbos with Brembo brakes, Shockworks suspension and sticky Kumho tyres, all for around $40,000 as a turn-key package. Hopefully we’ll manage to blag a steer in 2016.
3. Herrod Motorsport Ford Falcon XR8 review
The first Falcon XR8s were only just appearing in showrooms but Robbie Herrod had already taken delivery and got his hands dirty under the bonnet. The Miami V8 was wicked up to 510kW/760Nm, mammoth Harrop brakes installed and wide 295mm rear rubber added thanks to Herrod’s modified rear suspension. It proved almost impossible to performance test thanks to the sheer grunt and manual gearbox, but on the road proved an excellent tourer with ferocious acceleration.
2. Holden Monaro HRT 427 for sale
Holden’s HRT 427 7.0-litre Monaro is one of Australian motoring’s greatest ‘what if’ stories. Built to take on the world’s best, the project was killed when the numbers couldn’t be made to add up. One car did escape into private hands and popped up at Melbourne’s Dutton’s Garage earlier this year. It didn’t hang around long, only to appear shortly after listed at Melbourne exotic car dealer Lorbek’s! Who owns it now?
1. Mid-engined Holden Rodeo track monster
Who could’ve guessed that our most popular story this year – by a country mile – would be about a home-built Holden Rodeo we stumbled across at a Winton Test ‘n’ Tune day. But what a Rodeo! A mid-mounted L98 6.0-litre GM V8 produces around 450kW, which is plenty to motivate 1100kg of Frankenstein’s monster. It looked a bit of a handful, but the noise had to be heard to be believed.