Which is longer — an Australian novel or the name of the Holden HSV E Series Maloo R8? Don’t answer that — simply sit back and admire the classiest ute (pickup truck to you) ever built. As the official name is a mouthful, it shall hereinafter be referred to simply as the Maloo R8.
HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) is the performance arm of GM-owned Holden. It was formed in 1987 as a partnership between Holden and Scottish guru Tom Walkinshaw, with a brief to customize standard Hoidens to improve performance, styling and interiors. One of the first products was a souped-up utility vehicle. The VG Maloo appeared in 1990 and evolved through the decade shadowing Holden’s mainstream VP, VR and VS utes. There was a revamp in 2001 when the VU Maloo was updated in line with the newly launched Holden Ute. There was a facelift the following year when the Y Series Maloo with its businesslike rear spoiler appeared, swiftly followed by the Z Series in 2004, the first to feature a 6 litre engine.
But the daddy of them all growled onto the scene in 2006. The fun-to-drive E Series is offered as the Maloo R8, retaining the 6 litre V8 engine fitted to its predecessor — though tuned for greater power output and fitted with electronic stability control. It has a six-speed manual gearbox, an advanced braking system and independent suspension.
The Maloo R8 looks stunning, with its racy coupe-style front and cab, alloy wheels, narrow rear window and load bed with lift-up metal tonneau. It has been described as ‘a serious machine wrapped in full-throttle styling’. Whatever, this Australian masterpiece must be the most attractive pickup truck never to be seen bumping around the Outback with battered bodywork and a few sheep on board.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
5,967 cc OHV V8
Top speed of 169 mph (271 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Maloo was officially accredited by The Guinness Book of World Records as the globe’s fastest standard production pickup truck when a Z-series model scorched past the incumbent Dodge RAM SRT-10 8.3 l V10’s paltry 155 mph (249 km/h), outdoing the bumptious big American by a comfortable 14 mph (23 km/h).