13 greatest Aussie performance cars

13 greatest Aussie performance cars

MOTOR lists Oz’s greatest-ever muscle cars

2008 FPV F6

2008 FPV F6It ran the greatest-ever Australian engine, full stop. FPV's XR6 Turbo-based F6 model debuted with the BA Mk ll range in late 2004, sporting 270kW and a V8-beating 550Nm. But with the all-new FG Falcon's introduction in 2008, the F6's performance went from ballistic to stratospheric.

The turbocharged six now delivered 310kW and a thumping 565Nm (at just 1950rpm!), giving the FG F6 supercar levels of in-gear stonk. Despite having nothing to do with our most famous race, the F6's balance and point-to-point capability put the classic Aussie V8 in the shade and proved FPV's engineering excellence.

1977 Holden Torana A9X

77 holden torana A9XWith Brocky behind the wheel, it won Bathurst in 1979 by an unbelievable six laps, and set the lap record on the very last lap cementing both car and driver as all-time racing legends. The 5.0-litre V8 A9X, based on the LX Torana SS hatch and SL/R sedan, was honed into a super-reliable and capable Bathurst winner by John Shepherd and Brock, and remains the best Torana ever produced. Of 500, 95 were sedans, but the record-breaking hatch is the icon.

2013 HSV GTS

HSV GTS Gen F2HSV didn’t hold back on its Gen-F series GTS after learning it would be its last Aussie Commodore-based halo model. So it dropped the LSA from GM’s Camaro ZL1 in the GTS’s nose, before matching it to a proper torque-vectoring driveline, to not only make it the most powerful HSV ever, with 430kW/740Nm, but the most dynamic too. And while its 4.55sec/12.59sec times on the strip at PCOTY 2013 were impressive, it was our judges’ effusive verdicts that confirmed it as one of Australia’s greatest ever muscle cars. 

1985 HDT VK SS Group A

1985 vk ss group aThe first Group A Commodore is also the most revered. New racing regulations for 1985 meant Holden and HDT had to produce a road-going VK to comply. Sporting a Phil Zmood-styled bodykit, Scheel seats and a Momo wheel, the Formula Blue Group A saw the carby Holden V8 de-stroked to 4987cc (for under 5000cc racing) while packing 196kW. A courageous drive from Brock at Bathurst '85, Grice's '86 win and Kings Cup at Spa in '87 cemented its pedigree.

1971 Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III

Xy falcon gt hoThe GT-HO wrote the book on Australian muscle-car performance. With its 'shaker' intake atop of the 351 Cleveland poking through the bonnet, the Phase III's earth-shattering performance saw 0-100km/h in high-6s, a mid-14 quarter, and 227km/h. It claimed a single Bathurst crown (Allan Moffatt in 1971, cardboard box included) but astounded journalists with its brutal pace. Four decades later, it remains Australia's most famous muscle car. 

2015 Ford FG X Falcon XR8

Ford Falcon XR8Hard-nosed Ford fans might question the FPV GT-F’s absence, but with the XR8 basically the same car – bar the name, stickers, and a smidge less power – it earns a spot almost on value alone. Thanks to its FPV-developed Miami engine, which it nurtures up front in ‘335kW’ form, the XR8 is a 12-sec quarter-mile eater for under $60K. And along with the stonk, it also uses FPV’s chassis goodies developed for the R Spec and GT-F, so it can lap a track too. 

1967 Ford XR Falcon GT

67-Ford XR Falcon GTThis is the car that created the Aussie muscle car. Invincible at Bathurst '67, the bronze-only XR GT was proof The Great Race was morphing from gentlemen racing to a manufacturers' battlefield. The GT was based on a Fairmont with a police-spec 168kW 289ci V8, four-barrel carb, bigger brakes, retuned suspension and a floor-mounted, all-synchro close-ratio four-speed. And it started a tit-for-tat war with Holden that still rages today.

1988 HSV VL Group A Walkinshaw

88 HSV VL group ADeveloped under Tom Walkinshaw, HSV's UK wind tunnel-tested Group A won Bathurst in 1990, toppling Ford's dominant Sierra and outlasting Nissan's new Skyline GT-R. The Panorama Silver VL ran Holden's first EFI V8, with a five-speed gearbox and two throttle bodies planted on the engine for 180kW. Many of the outrageous bodykits were removed from brand-new cars, the future collectability of the 750 Walkys unforseen.

2015 Holden VF II Commodore SS V Redline

Holden SS CommodorePrevious Commodore SS models have worn good and bad traits in equal measure, but in classic timing, the Commodore’s last gasp thrusts the SS closer to perfection than ever before. By welcoming GM’s LS3 engine, the VF II’s flagship SS V Redline finally has an engine to match its finely tuned chassis. Meanwhile the engine’s arrival in to the range also births a new affordable drift king: the base SS Ute, which marries a 304kW LS3 to 245mm rear tyres, for only $41K.

1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS 350

69-Holden HT MonaroIt's the fastest Monaro in the classic original body: the mighty HT GTS 350. In August 1969, the '68 Bathurst-winning HK GTS's fully imported 186kW 327ci V8 (5.3-litre) gave way for a larger, more potent 224kW Chevy 350 (5.7-litre). The added oomph produced a 15.7sec quarter and top speed of around 209km/h, and the revised suspension with improved brakes made it a better driver's car than the original HK, and sharper than the HG model that followed it. The HT 350 backed up its credentials by winning Bathurst in '69, the sole victory for the outstandingly talented Colin Bond.

1972 Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1

72 Torana GTR XU-1The original 1970 LC Torana GTR XU-1 replaced the Monaro as Holden's factory racing weapon, and thanks to its small, light, agile package, managed to win several rally titles. But for 1972, the LC's 3.0-litre six was bored out to 3.3-litres and scored triple Stromberg carbs, creating the 142kW LJ GTR XU-1.

New seats and softened suspension made it a more tolerable road car, but the Bathurst version scored a lightened flywheel, a hot camshaft and a 3.08:1 diff for 220km/h down Conrod Straight and a 15.2sec quarter mile. But the LJ GTR XU-1 is most famous for delivering Peter Brock his very first Bathurst bounty.

2008 HSV W427

08 HSV W427There’s no substitute for cubic inches, and the W427 proved it. The most expensive HSV ever produced carried the largest engine installed into an Aussie car - the 7.0-litre LS7 V8 from the Z06 Corvette - ably assisted by the VE Commodore's superb chassis.

It was the most ostentatious Holden since Brock's ill-fated VL Director, and was built to order at a price of $155,500. It was HSV's king hit, a showpiece of engineering reflecting the passion of its customers, with the 375kW/640Nm package backed by a full factory warranty. Despite a tough economic climate, HSV still flogged 137 of them at the record price.

1972 Chrysler VH Charger E49

72 VH ChargerThe best car never to win Bathurst? In 1971, Leo Geoghegan's E38 Charger showed promise but was hampered by its three-speed gearbox. After its second place, the E49 was developed with an extra gear (denoted by the '4' on its guards) among other changes in pursuit of an ultimately elusive Bathurst crown.

Sadly, the extra cog didn't elevate the Charger that extra step up the podium, but its acceleration went toe-to-toe with the XY GT HO as the 4.3-litre triple Webered six was good for 225kW/440Nm. We clocked an E49 at 211km/h during a 1972 test and it remains as revered as the Phase III.

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  • Satan crawl back in your hell hole until you grow up Jesus knows all dummy
  • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AfXrUm7iWpE
  • @Jesus , piss off ya little Midget. (Google Jim Jeffries, Jesus). Lol
  • Rivet counters!!
  • You guys should all be shot! Why there is no Gemini coup in this list is the biggest question?
  • @Satan, you're a real pain in the ****, ya know that? Get to the naughty corner, and I'll deal with you later.
  • 2000 years on and Jesus still thinks he knows everything ;)
  • @Jackbum It did mate, and the cars raced at Bathurst were not A9X's, they were purpose built race shells. A9X did homologate certain parts but never raced successfully (some of the race cars were road cars, many were actually upgraded L34's).
  • @Me Go and do your homework mate. HT suspension had rubber bushed replacing steel bushes and yes the wheels had a different offset BUT THE SUSPENSION WAS IDENTICAL - the rubber bushes were for durability/maintenance nothing to do with improving the car's handling. There were NOT thicker rubber bushes in the HT GTS350 and HG GTS350 manual cars, they retained the HK's springs and shocks. Only the lesser models had softened down suspension. Yes the XR GT was released in 1967 but it was BUILT because Ford found out about GMH's upcoming GTS327. Knowledge of the upcoming GTS327 made Ford jump the gun and create the XR GT. The actual GTS327 when it was released is why Ford created the GT-HO. This is straight out fact, confirmed by people from within Ford at the time. The XR GT is not a muscle car, but it was the first Australian Performance Car. Another stupid comment, VK Group A wasn't raced until 1986 idiot. The 1985 Bathurst car was a 308 VK Commodore. And I obviously know a lot more than you, foolish boy.
  • @Me XR GT was released in 1967 BUT it was made as Ford found out about the HK GTS "Special". The actual physical HK as it was built and released in 1968 is why the GT-HO for 1969 was built - Harry Firth was the architect for this..
  • @Ripper Pretty sure you will find the road going A9X had a stock L31 engine mate....
  • @Me What about the idiot author of the artical saying ththe 3.3 in the LJ was a bored out 3.1 (186)? Last time I checked both a 3.3 (202) and 3.1 (186) had the same 3.625" nominal bore.... It was a .25" difference in stroke that made the difference...
  • @Jesus The suspension was revised on the HT. The track was widened, control arm bushes went to neoprene rubber from the Ks steel units, thicker rubber bushing in the rear leaf spring eyes...revised. The XR GT was built and released a year before the HK 327 yet that's the reason it was built lol? GTOH. The XR GT is Australias first muscle car....unless you wanna try and claim the HD X2 hahaha, The VK Gr A SS did in fact race at Bathurst in 1985...Are you like 15 y/o mate or 80 and think you know it all?
  • The title is PERFORMANCE cars, and is the correct title. Then it jumps to the use of muscle cars. WTF? Virtually nothing said about the A9X is actually correct. I'll leave it at that. VK SS Group A did not race at Bathurst 1985. The XR GT did not create the Aussie muscle car. The HK GTS327 did that, and it is the reason the XR GT was built in the first place. HT GTS350 was good for about 14.7-8 second quarter mile times. 15.7 is GMH's smoke and mirrors at play. Suspension was not revised from HK, it is the same, exactly. Later in HT the upper control arms were raised slightly only to improve the straight line behaviour of the car, but is actually made it's handling worse. HG GTS350 is identical to HT suspension wise. LJ 3.3 litre XU1 engine IS NOT a bored out version of the 3.1L LC engine. And suddenly scored Stromberg carbies? Idiots. I didn't realise that the "Bathurst" version of the 1972 XU1 got a 3.08:1 rear axle? And once history is corrected (if ever) we'll know that 1972 was actually Brock's 2nd Bathurst win. Unfortunately this may never happen as the guys and girl with the knowledge to fix it are gone now (Firth, West, Brock and Heather Russell).
  • How did you manage not putting the L34 Torana in there? Bathurst wins in '75 &'76 along with supplying the engine for the famed A9X, should have it way ahead of some of the others you listed.
  • My hart thinks vk gpA but vf GTS Awesome