Monthly Archives: November 2016

Salute to the classic Australian V8

Australian car manufacturing is coming to a close, putting an end to more than a century of automotive excellence from Down Under. General Motors Holden will close its plant on October 20, but won’t be going gently into that good night. Instead, the team at Holden Special Vehicles has created the GTS-R W1. It’s powered by an LS9 V8, and just 300 examples will be built, providing a fitting (smoky) farewell to the classic Australian V8.

For those who aren’t aware, Holden Special Vehicles is the Holden equivalent of AMG or BMW M. It takes family sedans and turns them into rolling rear-drive smoke machines, able to rip massive burnouts on command. They’re also pretty sharp handlers, too, showing a remarkable turn of speed for big, heavy four-door sports-car wannabes. And, to cap it all off, you can even buy an HSV wagon and ute.

The GTS-R W1 is designed to take everything learned by HSV over the past 30 years, and use it to create the ultimate Australian sports car. Power comes from a supercharged LS9 V8 making 474 kW (636 hp) of power and a monstrous 815 Nm of torque. It might seem a strange thing to say about a big V8 but this is a fairly exotic engine, with connecting rods and inlet valves made from titanium, dry-sump lubrication and a carbon airbox. Ferrari won’t be losing any sleep, but the idea of a four-door family sedan with the engine from a Corvette ZR1 is still exciting.

The Nissan NV Cargo X will deliver

When it comes to delivery vans, there isn’t usually much to get excited about. They’re typically big boxes on wheels, designed to hustle parcels and boxes about the city in the most efficient way possible. The one-off Nissan NV Cargo X is an exception to the rule. With a proper off-road suspension, Cummins diesel engine and bright sticker kit, it’ll get your package delivered – no matter the destination.

Based on a standard NV2500 HD van, the Cargo X has been reworked from the ground up for off-road duties. The standard suspension was thrown out in favor of a fully bespoke off-road setup, which now has enough suspension travel to accommodate a set of 37-inch tires under the wheelarches. Interestingly, the front suspension shares nothing with the regular van, but the rear end maintains a more conventional leaf spring design.

Also new on the NV Cargo X is the front bumper and skid plate, 10,000-lb (4,536-kg) winch and a custom off-road LED lighting rig. Coupled with the huge lift kit and a custom sticker wrap, the changes make for a Nissan unlike any other, although the finished product can’t quite match the Toyota Sienna Ultimate Utility Vehicle when it comes to rugged looks.

Mean looks aside, the biggest change to the van comes under the hood. Gone is the petrol V8, and in its place is the Cummins diesel powertrain from the Titan XD pickup. Although its 310 hp (231 kW) of power won’t set the world on fire, the 752 Nm (555 lb ft) of torque is perfect for effortless low-speed rock crawling.

The final area to receive attention is, as you might expect, the load bay. Given more the 230 cubic feet (6,513 liters) of cargo space to work with, Nissan has been able to kit it out with all the tools you’d expect to find in a dedicated support vehicle, making this a self-sustaining adventure vehicle. With an air compressor, fluid storage, a full-size spare wheel, recovery rope and tracks, jack and a portable welder, you can venture into the wilderness and be confident of coming back in one piece.

Unlike most concept cars, the Cargo X is actually a fully functional van, which has already been put through its paces on the Pyeatt Draw trail in Arizona. Nissan says it handled the rocky, muddy ravine with aplomb and based on the video below, we’re inclined to agree.